Simone Goes Island Hopping in Thailand
Our Sutton Coldfield store manager, Simone, visited Thailand with Kuoni on an adventure to some of the Island’s must-see attractions. Whilst in Thailand, Simone explored some beautiful hotels to give you a closer insight into where is best to stay for families, couples and those seeking the upmost luxury – and also a range of incredible activities to make your Thailand holiday unforgettable.
“I was lucky enough to be invited on a Kuoni luxury FAM trip to Phuket, this was a fantastic opportunity for me as I have never visited Thailand. Another first for me was travelling on Singapore Airlines and on their A380 aircraft to Singapore, the service was impeccable and the flight extremely comfortable.”
“After a short flight from Singapore we arrived in Phuket and travelled around 1 hour North to Khao Lak on the mainland. For a first time visit to Thailand this resort is perfect, the area has a great resort-feel, with hotels scattered close to the beachfront and restaurants lining the main road, but it is a lot quieter than some of the bigger resorts and has a laid back vibe.” I stayed at The sands Hotel which is set in beautiful spacious tropical grounds along the quiet beach front. The hotel has some lovely restaurants including one of my favourites the Floating Market which is inspired by the famous Thai floating markets.
“The excitement began the next day with an early start of 4.30am to beat the crowds for our Original Bond & Beyond tour. This full-day tour by our own private speedboat took us to the middle of the stunning landscape scenery exactly as the title suggests; we discovered the best features of the world-renowned Phang Nga Bay, James Bond Island is a famous landmark in Phang Nga Bay. It first found its way onto the international tourist map through its starring role in the James Bond movie ‘The Man with the Golden Gun’. A distinctive feature of this famous bay is the number of sheer limestone cliffs that vertically jut out of the emerald-green water. The early start was worth it as we were the only people on the Island.”
“We then continued to Lod Nai Cave where we took to our Canoes for a peaceful paddle, so beautiful and relaxing, back on the boat and onwards to see the local life at Panyee Village before visiting the tranquil Koh Yao for a traditional lunch and ended the day with swimming leisurely at Nok Island. Without a doubt Phang Nga Bay and its James Bond Island must be at the top of the must-visit sights of Thailand.”
“Other highlights were visits to Big Buddha; Phuket’s Big Buddha is one of the most important and revered landmarks on the island. The huge image sits on top of the hills between Chalong and Kata and, at 45 metres tall, can be seen from as far away as Phuket Town and Karon Beach! Here we enjoyed the best 360-degree views of the island, with sweeping views of Phuket Town, Kata, Karon, Chalong Bay and more.”
“You cannot go to Thailand without visiting temples, we saw both Thai and Chinese Buddhist temples, and one of my favourites was Wat Chalong. Wat Chalong is one of Phuket’s most important temples and considered the spiritual centre of Phuket and is visited by thousands each year. It’s beautifully decorated, with infinite reflections from hundreds of tiny glittering glass pieces on its many pagodas.”
“During my trip I had the chance to see some beautiful hotels first hand, which then I’m able to make personal recommendations to our couples and families looking for a great place to stay when on a holiday to Thailand, discover some of my favourite below.”
Best for family – The Sands Khao Lak
“The hotel has a dedicated family wing with family rooms that have sliding doors and two-bedroom teen suites along with a fabulous aqua park and indoor soft play area for the little ones.”
Best for luxury – Banyan Tree Phuket
“Considered to be the best pool villas in Thailand, all villas are very spacious and have private pools, the hotel offers high end dining, I enjoyed afternoon high tea and a fabulous dinner in the Japanese restaurant. Service levels are impeccable.”
Best for romance & honeymoon – The Sarojin Khao Lak
“A beautiful boutique hotel with secluded rooms in a very serene setting set on a very quiet beach which is perfect for an evening stroll, you receive complimentary massages and there are a number of private dining options, perfect for honeymooners and anniversary holidays.”
Live like a celebrity for a week – Kata Rocks
“Another all pool villa resort, villas are so stylish and minimalist in style, the whole resort has an Ibiza beach club style throughout, sunset views are to die for from the bar and restaurant set high above where they serve fantastic cocktails with very cool music playing.”
Something different – Luxury Santhiya Eco Resort on Koh Yao Yai Island
“When you arrive at the pier you are blown away by the sight of this eco luxury resort built into the hillside, all the rooms are decorated floor to ceiling in teakwood, and even the light switches are made from the teak. The hotel’s beach is private which is unusual in Thailand, at night the beach turns into a relaxed area with beanbags, night beds and candles scattered around. You travel round the resort by their wooden cars, which are really cute. Although secluded the resort offers a daily activity programme including Thai boxing, yoga and cooking classes.”
“We were lucky enough to stay in a number of resorts and hotels, each of them different, I would definitely recommend splitting your stay between different areas on Phuket to experience more, my top splits would be either Khao Lak or the beautiful Island of Koh Yao Yai along with one of the many fantastic hotels on Phuket Island.”
Inspired by Simone’s Thailand adventure? Contact a travel expert to discuss your next travel plans here.