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Like many of my fellow Australians, I have travelled to tantalising Thailand to see what all the fuss is about. In fact I have had four Thailand holidays staying at four different locations: the islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, the coastal tourist area of Ao Nang in Krabi and the capital city of Bangkok. They are all unique in their own way.
Patong Beach in Phuket is probably the most well known Thailand holiday destination with it’s reputation as the party capital of Thailand. Patong’s streets are bulging with vendors and markets selling anything from pirated dvd’s to fake designer brand sunglasses. Although the beach here is hugely popular, I would not swim here, but a short drive to neighbouring Karon Beach or Kata Beach will more than satiate your golden sandy beach thirst.
Although Patong Beach boasts hundreds of up-market resort hotels, a western-style shopping centre called Jungceylon, nightclubs and bars and an array of top quality restaurants, it still has a seediness and stench about it that is unappealing. After staying at nearby Kata Beach, I would not bother with Patong at all, unless you really want to haggle a deal with the many street vendors or you want to experience the vibrant night life.
There are many things to do and see on a Phuket holiday, that makes it extremely popular with tourists from all around the world. The highlights would have to be:
For more inspiration of what to do an see during your stay in Phuket see top 10 things to do in Phuket.
We have been to Phuket on three different occasions and have stayed at a variety of hotels and resorts. You can expect to pay anything from $40 to $500 AUD per night, depending on your budget and your preference of style of Phuket accommodation. Most beachfront hotels/resorts charge around $100 to $150 AUD per night.
Here’s a couple of the places that we stayed at that I would recommend:
Although Krabi does have an international airport, you can catch a ferry from Phuket over to Ao Nang, which is well worth the trip as you cruise past many other pretty little islands on the way. If you fly in, it is a 20 minute drive from Krabi Town, located on the west coast of southern Thailand.
Ao Nang is a fairly relaxed and laid back small beach resort town with plenty of top class hotel resorts, nice little restaurants and some great shopping. It is a little lacking in nightlife and young party travellers would bore quickly, but it does have a few relaxed bars and two nightclubs.
Ao Nang offers a wide range of activities and attractions, including snorkelling, kayaking, island-hopping, climbing, scuba diving, spa/massage/beauty, shopping, white water rafting, hiking, temple visits, elephant trekking, cooking classes and fishing.
I can highly recommend a long boat trip around to Railay Beach and then a short walk around to Phra Nang Beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The water here is exquisite and the beach is flanked by high limestone cliffs on either side.
On the eastern side of the beach there is Phra Nang Cave that contains a large collection of carved wooden phallic symbols, offerings and other objects believed to help with fertility. Definitely worth a try if you are wanting to conceive!
A day spent island hopping to the outer islands of Chicken, Poda and Tup Islands are also a must do. But a word of warning, these islands get very busy and crowded so you’re best to get up early and jump on the first long boat or speedboat before the tourists all swarm in.
But probably one of the best things to do in Aonang Beach is to find a spot for a cool beverage and watch the magical sunset over the beach. It’s divine!
For more on Ao Nang Beach and Krabi read my post Kool & Kicked Back in Krabi.
I’ve visited Aonang Beach on two separate occasions, with our first experience being very favourable and second not so favourable. Because on both occasions we wished to be beachfront there are limited resorts in this location. Most of the hotels and resorts are tucked away or are located a distance out of town and they are generally more expensive that Phuket.
I would recommend Aonang Villa Resort and I would not recommend the rundown and tired Golden Beach Resort.
Koh Samui is the second largest island after Phuket, located off the east coast of Thailand with an abundance of natural resources, white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. There are many things to do on this island paradise, apart from just lounging around your resort pool or on one of the beautiful beaches.
There are literally hundreds of hotels and resorts littered around the island so the choices are endless. My advice is to watch for great accommodation deals on Luxury Escapes for starters, that include all types of extra goodies like massages, dinners, transport and activities.
We stayed at the Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa at Lamai Beach. This was superb 5-star resort accommodation in a great location and yes we did get a great deal at the time!
Known as the “Land of Smiles”, a Thailand holiday has much to offer, from holidaymakers seeking sandy beaches for relaxation and watersports galore, to the bargain shopping and pulsing nightlife. For most it’s about venturing to the islands in the Gulf of Thailand or Andaman Sea, such as Koh Samui or Phuket, for postcard-perfect beaches fringed with palm trees. Most of all it’s an affordable holiday and the Thai people are friendly and willing to please.
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Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
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