view from the Banyan Tree hotel sky terrace
If you were following my instagram, you already saw that I was hiding in Thailand in the past weeks. This was my first trip to Asia, probably one of the longest flights I took anywhere and it was totally worth it. 2013 was a great year for me and I wanted to start 2014 in the same amazing way, but also get away from work, computer, internet, too much stuff in the head. And I wanted beaches, sun, good (Vegetarian) food and beauty. Thailand will give you all of that and more and well, it is an easy place to like and to feel safe at. I should say that I traveled alone and it was a great experience.
Here is my report on my first time Thailand experience, maybe you decide to book a last minute winter escape !
I arrived at Phuket airport and decided to stay nearby the airport in the beginning and Nai Yang beach. It turned out to be a very nice beach with not too many crowds, also not much to do but a good easy start into Thailand. I also started my habit of fresh coconut water, mangos, watermelons and veggie dishes, and a Thai massage.
I continued with a night in Phuket town at the most charming hotel, The Memory On On, it’s the oldest in town and really worth a visit for the beautiful sino-portuguese architecture (fancy word to describe the gorgeous interior, and prices are decent by the way).
Then I started my island hopping adventure. There are so many islands south of Phuket that it’s hard to decide, but it’s worth really to get some advice on the places beforehand because they are so different. There are party beaches, family beaches, and yes a few fairly quiet peaceful ones with nothing but white sand and blue water.
Some of my favorite places from the trip
This was my first stop, it took me about 7 hours by boat to get here from Phuket pier. The island is small and has a little village, a school and you will see traditional fisher’s life and the crafting of the beautiful long tail boats. I stayed Coco Lodge, at very simple, more of a backpackers place and not right on the beach but next to the village which gives you a very authentic experience. I had one of the more memorable stays here, the owner is sweet and will do day trips that are hard to find at the more touristic places. 5 minutes away by foot is the luxury beach resort Sivalai, if you can afford it a beach house here looks like paradise. Anyone else can go to the beach here though.
I stayed here for two nights in a bungalow facing the beach, just paradise. Koh Kradan beach is basically a long stretch of white sand and fantastic light blue water. There are beach resorts one next to each other, the nicest being the Sevenseas. I stayed at the Kradan Beach Resort which is not as expensive and has the perfect position on the beach. The bungalows are not so well maintained but the place is still better than many other ow budget options here. Be careful with the very low budget options on this island, if you go further down the beach you are closer to the jungle and the noise of crickets is as loud as a construction site.
this is the most beautiful place I saw, I only went here on a day trip with the owner of Koh Mook’s Coco Lodge and it was perfect paradise.
after spending a night on Koh Lanta and not enjoying it that much I went on to Railay beach which is a good place if you have to get to Krabi airport.
I haven’t seen Phi Phi (the most famous most stunning island of them all but also the most touristic, I only passed it by boat and it looked impressive) but Railay I imagine has similarities. Railay is actually a peninsula and can be only reached by boat. The scenery is quite unreal, rocks, limestones, gorgeous tropical nature and two beautiful beaches that can be reached within 15 minutes from each other. And monkeys ! This was my last beach stop and I stayed a bit longer because it was so easy and relaxing and I was tired from island hopping every two days. I stayed at the Railay Princess hotel, a mid-range resort which has the potential of being luxury. The highlight here are the two big pools and a big breakfast buffet, I had an amazing time here.
Bangkok is buzzing wild city, I wasn’t eager to go after my relaxed time on the beach but the city ‘s energy sucks you in. If you can, stay at the Banyan Tree Hotel, I checked out the rooms at had dinner on the amazing 61st floor roof terrace and it’s really the way to experience Bangkok. Also the Sky Bar in Silom gives you a great cocktail with Vertigo experience on the 63rd floor.
Go to see the flower and vegetable market near Chinatown, the Grand Palace, Khao San Road and if you like some more underground culture, visit the art studios of V64 and of course . It’s a bit of a drive to get there, but worth the trip and taxi fares are low.
So here you go with my very long report, next time I would start in Chiang Mai …
The photos were shot on medium format film and a Mamiya 7 camera …