A Taste of Thailand

Anne-Marie Banks on 20 November 2018
It is a country that for some reason hadn’t really been on my radar, but I was lucky enough to take my whole family in 2017 for the wedding of my brother (who many of you know lives in China). Thailand sometimes struggles to overcome misconceptions and prejudices of “seediness” and lack of cleanliness, but the truth is there is so much more to this country than it’s often given credit for. On top of that, I found Thai hospitality among the best I have ever experienced, and I’d go back in a heartbeat.

Which resorts are best?

Thailand is such a large country, with so many resorts that there really is something for everyone; sorry the urge to use cliché is strong today! If it’s nightlife and large resorts that you’re after head to Pattaya, Phuket or Chaweng Beach on Koh Samui. However, if like me, your party days are behind you, smaller, more picturesque resorts include Krabi – where life is centred around the Aonang beach area; Koh Lanta which is a beautiful, tropical island off the mainland, accessed James Bond style by speedboat and Fisherman’s Wharf on Koh Samui - a beautiful village style resort where you can experience traditional street markets twice a week.

Responsible Tourism Excursions

Of course, Thailand is synonymous with elephants and like many of you, I am fascinated and a little bit in love with these majestic creatures. Therefore, it saddens me the amount of unethical practice and elephant riding that continues to operate in 2018. All is not lost though as the many organisations are seeking to eradicate unethical practices and Thailand now has several companies that offer fantastic encounters allowing you to get up close and personal with elephants in a responsible manner. Like all Travel Counsellors, I’ll only ever recommend experiences that are, to the best of my knowledge, ethical and sustainable. Elephant Hills luxury camping experience is frequently cited as the highlight of a traveller’s trips and is one I would always strive to include in any client’s travel itinerary.

Which hotel is right for me?

With some of the world’s best beaches, Thailand is home to a plethora of hotels for every budget and every taste, and many of them sit right on beautiful white coastline meaning you can literally step outside your hotel room onto the soft powdery sands. In fact, if you’ve always dreamed of a tropical water villa Thailand has some on offer at fantastic value. Likewise, the private plunge-pool on your balcony! What I would say is that it’s always best to know what you want from a hotel as some of the most luxurious are found in rather remote locations, children’s facilities can be scarce at more boutique properties (and even in larger chains) and some are on very busy public beaches. The beaches in Thailand are all government owned so if you’re dreaming of relaxed, uncrowded beaches you need to select the right hotel. These are all things I can help and advise you on.

When should I visit?

Like many long-haul destinations, the general rule is their summer sits alongside our winter. December through to March is a perfect climate to visit Phuket and the surrounding areas of the mainland whilst Koh Samui and its neighbouring islands are ripe for visiting from February until April. Visiting around about the Easter period is an absolute blast too as it usually coincides with Songkran, a Thai festival which involves 2-3 days of the biggest water fights you’ve ever seen. Prepare to get very wet! I tend to find many clients are pleasantly surprised at the excellent value at this time of year compared with traditional favourites such as the Canary Islands.