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Thailand has everything that you could possibly want from an island getaway. It’s a utopia rich in both culture and natural beauty. Thailand is situated in southeast Asia in the middle of what is known as the Indochinese Peninsula. Interestingly, it’s the only southeast Asian nation that has never been colonised. While northern regions such as Chaing Mai are popular, the islands and provinces in the south are world-renowned as the go-to hotspots for a “beach island holiday”. We’ll be delving into the wonders of Phuket, Krabi and Phi Phi Island.
Phuket is the largest island in the country. It’s the beach destination of choice for the majority of tourists…and for good reason. It has serene, sandy beaches complemented by clear crystal water as well as dense tropical forests. If you’re looking to “go off the grid” there are 32 small islands in close proximity. A two-hour ferry ride from Phuket is all it takes to reach the picturesque Phi Phi Island. If you’re looking for peace and quiet; an oasis where stress is a myth, this is for you. There are no roads and the only form of transport is by boat.
Phi Phi Island boasts the best snorkeling and scuba diving experiences in Thailand. The bold blue bays are home to exquisite marine life such as the Anemone Clown Fish, Blacktip Reef Shark and the Hawksbill Turtle – make sure you bring a waterproof camera.
Krabi is located on the west coast of southern Thailand. This is the best place for you and nature to find each other. You have the opportunity to experience:
- Sea caves
- Exotic marine life
- Rock climbing
- Beautiful national parks
- Hot spring waterfalls
- The Emerald Pool and Tiger Cave – a cliff monastery in a jungle valley
Thailand enjoys a tropical climate and has three seasons:
- March to June it’s very hot;
- July to October there is a lot of rain
- November to February it is moderate to cool
There is also a monsoon season from May to October, which hits the west coast, Phuket and the neighbouring areas. While the rains are heavy, they last for a short period of time.
Language, Cuisine and Music
Thailand’s national language is Thai, but in Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi, you’ll find that English is widely spoken. A delicate balance between fragrance and spice as well as the sense-awakening complexity of flavour are the fundamental elements that define Thai cuisine. A number of the culinary delights are touted as some of the best in the world; the three most well-known are pad Thai, tom yang goong and som tam. Please ensure that you try these sensational meals during your stay. The traditional music of Thailand is as distinctive as their cuisine. Because of the country’s geographical positioning, it contains predominantly Indian and Chinese influences. You’ll also hear songs that you know because pop music from Europe and America are also widely embraced by the people. Amazingly, the Heavy Metal genre was popular in the early ‘90s – however, the head-banging tunes seem to have now died down since then. The respect for religion is very important. Throughout your travels you’ll be able to visit religious sites and shrines. This is a very enriching experience, but please adhere to the following rules:
- You mustn’t wear revealing outfits when visiting the site
- Do not sit or climb on monuments of Buddha
- Women are not allowed to hand anything to a Buddhist monk
- It is disrespectful to touch people on their head, point your feet directly at an object and people
By not obeying these rules, you are disrespecting the Thai Royal Family.
When you are not physically at the beach it is unsuitable to wear the following clothes:
- Tank tops
- Sleeveless shirts
- Any other type of beach-style attire such as board-shorts
Health: Tourists do not need to receive any vaccinations unless you have come from – or have passed through – an area that is known to be contaminated. You must only drink bottled water and avoid using ice unless you know that it has been made from boiled or bottled water. Always have sunscreen with you – preferably with a high Sun Protection Factor (SPF).
Thailand boasts a plethora of festivals; they take place all-year round, so you won’t miss out on the one-of-a-kind experience. The world-famous Songkran Festival takes place in mid-April. It is a time to wash away all of the bad spirits, combined with the celebration of the Thai New Year! You’re not going to leave Songkran without getting blasted with water – be prepared to get wet. So, what’s next? Well, the best way to familiarise yourself with everything that the breathtaking islands have to offer, is to book a day tour. We’ll be highlighting tours that take place in Krabi, Phuket and the famous Koh Samui.
If you’d like to get your adrenalin racing, take a trip on a speedboat! You’ll have the privilege to visit the famed Koh Tub island, which, at low tide, gives you the opportunity to walk to other islands. It’s the perfect tour if you’re wanting to swim and sun bathe.
There is another speedboat trip that jets off to Phi Phi Island. This is the ideal place to snorkel and/or scuba dive. Cost: $65.90 per adult
How about rock climbing? Then your destination is Railey Beach, which is famous for this activity. Cost: $40 per adult
If you’re interested in canoeing, then you can go visit the marvellous sea caves. Prepare to be captivated! Cost: $65.46 per adult
If complete relaxation is what you’re after, then a hot spring and spa tour is for you. You’re going to be visiting a hot spring located in a rainforest – inner peace is waiting. Cost: $170.64 per adult
Phang Nga Bay Tour – Cost: $107.38 per adult
How you can get there: canoe, long tail boat, speedboat
Choose your mode of transportation and off you go! If you’re a beach and nature lover, you’re going to be in your element because isolated beaches, caves and lagoons are waiting to be explored and enjoyed. Oh, and you’ll also be able to visit “James Bond Island”. This is the famous spot where scenes from the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” were shot.
Khao Sok Discovery Tour – Cost: $96.50 per adult
This is one of the most postcard-worthy national parks in the world. It has an intriguing history and there are many mysteries concealed inside! The climate is influenced by the Pacific Ocean – as well as the Indian Ocean monsoons; this means that Khao Sok receives the highest amount of rainfall in Thailand. The park is home to 48 mammal species, 311 species of birds as well as reptiles, amphibians and countless insects. TIP: Look out for the Malayan Sun Bear – the smallest bear in the world! It has a height of 1.2m – 1.5m (head to tail).
Koh Nang Yuan Tour – Cost: $84.73 per adult
How to get there: Speedboat, long tail boat or even a mega-catamaran. Picture a day of swimming, snorkeling and sun-bathing – it doesn’t get much better than that. Koh Nang Yuan is actually made up of three islets that are connected by a sandbar. You can expect to see plenty of fish and coral.
Samui Island Tour – Cost: $53.84 per adult
This tour is great because it helps you familarise yourself with the island. You will be able to see the majority of the sites, be blown away by the beauty of the beaches and then relax with a delicious cocktail in your hand. After this tour, you’ll have all of your favourite spots picked out – discover, experience, enjoy.
Koh Tan (Coral Island) Tour- Cost: $50.60 per adult
How to get there: Long Tail Boat. Coral Island – the name says it all. Prepare for a premier-snorkeling experience! This tour is all about taking in the serene vistas – above and below the water! Just relax and live in the moment.
To ensure that you have a magnificent time in Thailand, we’ve compiled a guide of prices. Tipping: All of the prices include a service charge and so you are, generally, not required to tip. If the service was absolutely exceptional, it is considerate to offer a tip; you can be assured that it will be accepted with a smile. Please note that all prices are quoted in American dollars (USD)
A meal at an inexpensive restaurant – $2.06
A 3-Course meal at a mid-range restaurant – $17.68
A combo meal at McDonalds or similar fast-food restaurant – $5.31
A five hundred millilitre (draught) local beer – $2.06
A three hundred and thirty millilitre imported beer – $3.54
A regular cappuccino – $2.36 – $3.54
A three hundred and thirty millilitre soft drink e.g. Coke/Pepsi – $0.88
A three hundred and thirty millilitre bottle of water – $0.29
A one and a half litre bottle of water – $0.74
A mid-range bottle of wine – $19.16
A five-hundred millilitre (draught) bottle of local beer – $2.21
A three hundred and thirty millilitre imported beer – $3.54
A one-way ticket aboard a local bus – $0.88
Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) – $1.32 (meter start – see per km charge below)
The base-fare for a metered taxi – $1.33
Charge per kilometre:
Normal Tariff – $0.15
One hour Waiting period (normal tariff) – $2.95
One litre of petrol – $1.16
A Tuk Tuk (your destination needs to be in approximately a 5 -10 km travelling distance) – $8.84
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