Thai time – it’s a must on your travel cal­en­dar

From ex­quis­ite beaches to lively ac­tiv­i­ties and fab food - it’ll be one of your best

Better Homes and Gardens (Australia) - - November Contents -

Soak up the luxury and beauty of this idyl­lic des­ti­na­tion

Imag­ine… sun-kissed beaches, deep blue skies, gen­tle waves or doz­ing un­der a co­conut tree. What about a spa that re­laxes you into dream­land? Or the re­verse, where you party like a crazy per­son. Let’s add in fab­u­lous foodie in­dul­gences from sim­ple re­gional flavours and lo­cal road­side eater­ies to ro­man­tic sun­set din­ners. Plus, re­sorts that feel like you are in heaven. If you’re think­ing ‘yes please’, then idyl­lic re­sorts in Thai­land are for you.

Koh sa­mui, here I come!

The third-largest is­land within the Gulf of Thai­land, Koh Sa­mui (koh is the Thai word for ‘is­land’) is un­doubt­edly one of the most pop­u­lar and beau­ti­ful places in the re­gion. Also known as the ‘Ori­en­tal Pearl of Phuket’, Sa­mui hosts a great num­ber of beau­ti­ful nat­u­ral and man-made at­trac­tions, so there’s noth­ing to stop na­ture lovers, fam­i­lies, friends, in fact ev­ery­body, from hav­ing a fan­tas­tic time on the is­land.

Whether you de­cide to sit back and re­lax or get amongst it, the south­ern end of Sa­mui and the small bou­tique ho­tel Avani+ is def­i­nitely worth your visit. Go is­land hop­ping on a long­tail boat to close-by Koh Tan and Koh Madsum, to walk or snorkel and won­der at the sea life. Then lie back on a rus­tic beach lounge and lis­ten to the lo­cal reg­gae mu­sic while the is­land pigs (yes, pigs!) wan­der around your feet like house­hold pets.

Maybe spend your morn­ing with the ho­tel’s chef at the lo­cal Sa­mui food mar­ket in Hua Thanon. Once the shop­ping is done, it’s back to the re­sort for an out­door tra­di­tional Thai cook­ing class and in­sider tips - be­fore you feast on what you created!

In the af­ter­noon, choose a tra­di­tional Thai or sig­na­ture mas­sage, a lounge by the two pools or en­joy your own pri­vate plunge pool.

In the evening, try a pre-din­ner drink at the ho­tel’s funky VW bar - a hol­lowed-out 1970s Volk­swa­gen bus. Then fol­low up with a de­li­cious beach­side bar­be­cue din­ner and an in­cred­i­ble fire show!

Now head for Hua hin

Or, pos­si­bly, it’s a lit­tle fur­ther north on the main­land that you’ll adore. Just a short 2.5-hour drive down the

coast from Bangkok is the pretty re­sort of Hua Hin. Long favoured by the royal fam­ily as a hol­i­day des­ti­na­tion, King Rama VII built a sum­mer palace named Klai Kang­won, which means ‘far from wor­ries’. As Thai­land’s first sea­side des­ti­na­tion, with white sandy beaches, safe swim­ming and plenty of fun ac­tiv­i­ties, Hua Hin is one of the lo­cals’ favourite get­aways.

Full of lively mar­kets, parks and great golf cour­ses, in this mix of city and sea you’ll find a hub of splen­did ac­tiv­i­ties, along with de­li­cious street food, su­perb eater­ies and de­light­ful lo­cal beach­side restau­rants.

The place to stay is the new Avani+ re­sort amid lush gar­dens fac­ing onto a large la­goon pool, sur­rounded by oh-so-de­sir­able hol­i­day ac­tiv­i­ties.

While you’re there, it’s well worth a morn­ing visit to the Mon­soon Val­ley Vine­yard show­cas­ing its many grape va­ri­eties, be­fore head­ing to the restau­rant for a de­li­cious meal with match­ing wines. On your way back to the city you can visit Hua Hin rail­way sta­tion, opened in 1911 and con­sid­ered the coun­try’s most pic­turesque train sta­tion.

If you’re look­ing for a more en­er­getic day, don’t miss the Vana Nava Wa­ter Jun­gle. It’s one of the largest wa­ter parks in Thai­land and boasts some of the coun­try’s long­est wa­ter slides. It’s a great day out for both adults and kids, with a huge wa­ter­play area and aqua course of ropes, ob­sta­cles, wa­ter guns and more in­ter­ac­tive fa­cil­i­ties.

For a bit of fun in the evening, the Hua Hin night mar­kets are where lo­cal artists sell their work for vis­i­tors to pick up hand­i­crafts, paint­ings, draw­ings, vin­tage bric-a-brac and spe­cialty ar­ti­san items. Food ven­dors also of­fer a range of Thai street food, so there’s a trea­sure trove of eater­ies. Imag­ine... your next trip to Thai­land!

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