Tropical beaches, time-stamped temples, tasty curries – holidays to Thailand will have you grinning from ear to ear. It is the land of smiles, after all.
Beaches, national parks, culture – Thailand comes first in its class for just about every category. The so-called Land of Smiles manages to put on an out-and-out feast for visitors, who can choose from buzzy Bangkok, daredevil Chiang Mai in the north and a super-green south. Not to mention a load of dreamy islands and pig-out street food.
Thailand holidays serve up two, top-drawer coasts. So, as you can imagine, its beaches are a big deal. Phuket, on the country’s Andaman Coast, is where most sun-seeking tourists end up. All Inclusive holidays here are a breeze, thanks to a heap of cut-above hotels. Bang Tao and Tri Trang Beach supply the silky, vanilla-white sands. And nearby Patong’s the party animal of the island – its Bangla Road could even take on Koh Phangan’s legendary full moon parties.
Wind things down
Compared to bubbly Phuket, Khao Lak’s the shy type. That doesn’t mean it’s missing the goods, though. It’s got loads of the sandy stuff, a handy night market, plus a truckload of daytrips. It’s fronted by limestone islands and cliffs poking out of the sea, and backed by national parks full of elephants, waterfalls and lakes.
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Thailand’s southwest coastline isn’t short of knock-out beach scenes. But deserted sands and a ban on over-development set Khao Lak apart. Three world-class national parks and 20 kilometres of powdery white beaches are the main draw here, but the lack of crowds is a close second. If it’s Thailand’s serene side you’re after, this is where to find it.
Just off Thailand’s southwest coast, Phuket is heaving with 40 kilometres of beaches that bear the country’s trademark white sands and hammock-strung palms. But that’s about the only thing these sandy stretches have in common – in terms of their vibe, they couldn’t be more different.
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