One of Thailand’s most popular destinations, the Pearl of the South is best known as a party capital with sun-drenched beaches, but there’s much more to discover. Cecilia Yee of Flight Centre Hong Kong reports.
Make a day of it
ake your way to the Phi Phi Islands and you’ll be wowed by sleepy Pileh Lagoon and the picturesque cliffs at Maya Bay. Since this area is part of Thailand’s government-owned national park land, access to the beach is limited in an effort to preserve the surrounding environment
Lie on a beach
Draped across the fringe of a broad, sweeping bay which cascades sharply towards the Andaman Sea, Bang Tao Beach is set against a more dramatic backdrop than many in Phuket. Shady, sheltered Tri Tra Beach, meanwhile, is undoubtedly one of Phuket’s finest. Its soft white sand and calm swells lure visitors who like to get off the beaten track
Experience the high life
With exclusive beachfront properties specialising in seclusion, romance and all things five-star, Cape Panwa is one for the grownups. Hire a yacht to explore the many small, secluded, uninhabited islands offshore and you’ll be asking your significant other if it is really necessary to return to real life
Eat on the street
Phuket’s thriving street food culture provides the perfect opportunity to indulge your taste buds. Start your evening with a drink at Khao Rang Hill viewpoint before strolling the vibrant night market, enjoying the sights, smells and spicy flavours of Thai cuisine.
Go island hopping
When in Phuket, you’ll want to cruise among Phang Nga Bay’s many islands, notably Koh Tapu. Known as James Bond Island, it’s where The Man with the Golden Gun was filmed in 1974. To visit the incredible, uninhabited Similan Islands take an early morning transfer to Khao Lak.
Take a hike
Bordering Phuket, Phang Nga Province has a number of national parks crying out to be explored. Walk the the nature trails with a guide, taking in the view of mountains, evergreen forests, dramatic rock formations and lazy rivers, while spotting monkeys, deer and woodpeckers.
Spa yourself silly
Nestled amid lush greenery, Keemala Phuket is a true Thai sanctuary, with soothing views over the Andaman Sea. A curated range of holistic spa therapies help you unwind and there are a range of rustic-chic room options in which to luxuriate.
Dive with whale sharks
The Surin Islands are a must visit for divers, and in the waters surrounding horseshoe-shaped Richelieu Rock, you’ve a good chance of encountering whale sharks. The deep, nutrient-rich water attracts many fish, most notably, the biggest of all.