The islands of Thailand

by Travelbag on 05 December 2013, 13:12PM

The islands of Thailand are the stuff of castaway fantasies. White sand, rustic-chic beach shacks, a hammock gently swaying between two palm trees as the turquoise sea laps onto shore… But each is quite different from the next, with its own characteristics; and there are dozens to choose from - so which is the right one for you? Below is a small selection of Travelbag’s favourites.

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Phuket
Phuket is Thailand's largest island, with a mixture of resorts ranging from the lively atmosphere of Patong, the peace and quiet in the south west of Cape Panwa or the long golden beaches of Karon. Easily reached via a short flight from Bangkok, Phuket is an island to be explored or to use as a base to see other parts of the Andaman Sea - boat trips to the nearby resorts of Krabi or Phi Phi are easily available.

For those wishing to experience the famous Thai nightlife , there are few sights as inviting as Banglar Road in Patong - filled with bars, nightclubs and a friendly atmosphere, this is the party capital of Phuket where the drinks flow and anything goes.

For any Travelbag clients who want to stay here in Patong, I can recommend the Merlin Patong, which is a four star beachfront property with all rooms having private balconies so you can enjoy a cocktail before walking into Patong to dance the night away.

For those wishing to stay nearby, but not in the heart of Patong, Karon is an ideal alternative. With a huge stretch of golden sands and fantastic surf, it is only 10 minutes by taxi from Patong and retains a more relaxed atmosphere with its mix of laid-back restaurants and bars.

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One of Travelbag's best selling hotels is The Centara Karon Resort, and here clients can choose from a range of room types to suit all budgets - the hotel has 3 swimming pools, several bars and restaurants and is a short stroll down to the beach.

For the clients who want to get away from the party atmosphere and a slower pace of life, the south west coast area of Cape Panwa is ideal. Crystal clear water and fine sandy beaches are more than enough reason to travel a bit further south for complete rest and relaxation. The 5 star Radisson Blu resort is set in a secluded bay with magnificent views of the turquoise ocean from here it is a 10 minute walk to the nearby village where locals prepare the freshly caught seafood in traditional Thai style.

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Khao Lak
Khao Lak is an area of Thailand that is notable not only for its long golden beaches but also its tranquil ambience. This is a destination where corporate chains, coffee shops and mass tourism have yet to reach and the locals really want to keep it that way.

High quality hotels are dotted along the coastline and offer some of the best value room rates in Thailand. There is a feeling amongst guests that this is their little secret, whilst the hordes descend into Phuket and Koh Samui, Khao Lak retains a traditional Thai feel to its town and surrounding area.

Khao Lak is accessed from Phuket Airport and a transfer by car takes approximately 2 hours - it is also a popular gateway for the serious scuba diver as it provides an easy route into the Similan islands, a veritable haven for coral reefs and tropical fish.

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One hotel that stood out for me on my recent visit was The Sands by Katathani, located on a vast beach. The resort offers a variety of room types from pool access rooms to family rooms to junior suites, The Sands caters to everyone. Rooms are designed on a light, fresh decor and furnished to a five star standard. There is an excellent games room, library, gym and one of the best kids’ clubs I've ever seen.

If you are travelling without the children, the adult only resort of the Kantary Beach may be one to consider. Sat on a pristine stretch of sand, the lead in room is a suite and the on-site supermarket caters for all your provisions.

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Koh Samui
Nestled in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui is an island that has it all. Outlined with fine white sandy beaches and covered in palm trees, it is the very definition of a tropical island. Within minutes of landing at the quaint thatched roof airport, you feel that your holiday has started immediately so kick back, sip on a cocktail and prepare yourself for a taste of island life.

If you want to be in the heart of the action, Chaweng Beach is the place to be. Stretching down the east coast of the island, it has a vast array of hotels for all tastes and budgets. One of our best value 5 star properties here is The Centara Grand Beach Resort, built in a colonial style and set on the heart of Chaweng beach, all rooms offer balconies where guests can unwind as the sun sets with a refreshing cocktail before heading out into the vibrant atmosphere that is Chaweng by night.

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For a more relaxed environment, clients can head to the smaller resort of Bhophut, located on the north shore, this area has fewer hotels dotted along the coastline and local restaurants are centred around the fisherman's village. Making for a relaxed atmosphere in the evening, on a much more intimate level than Chaweng, we offer a range of excellent value hotels along this stretch.

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One of my favourites was The Peace Resort, nestled on the white sand beach and with the rooms spread out amongst the grounds in a friendly bungalow style. The main restaurant offers excellent cuisine whilst sat watching the waves lapping the shore as the sun sets on another lazy day in paradise.

For more information on holidays to Thailand, visit www.travelbag.co.uk/holidays/asia/thailand


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