It doesn’t get more exotic than Thailand – the food, the people, the culture, the religion, the beaches. A holiday on one of its many islands or by beautiful stretches of beach on its mainland offers a totally relaxing, sun-soaked break that won’t cost the earth (unless you want it to – Thailand does luxury like nowhere else!). Whether you want peace and quiet on a secluded beach or partying into the night at a beach bar, there’s somewhere perfect for you in the land of Smiles. Choose a location from our list below, book a flight, buy some international travel insurance, and you could be sipping a tropical cocktail on the beach in no time.
The party island – Koh Phangnan
Famous for its Full Moon parties, Koh Phangnan is a Mecca for party-loving souls. A massive 10,000-20,0000 people paint their bodies with colourful UV paint and descend on Had Rin Nok beach each month to dance to international and Thai DJs until the sun rises. During the day, the white sand beaches and calm turquoise waters are a great place to recover from the night before and prepare for the next night’s party!
The ecological island – Koh Lao Ling
This tiny island has just one resort and it is fairly basic – tents on the beach, no air conditioning, shared bathrooms and cold showers. However, this ecological approach means that the island stays as beautiful as it always was and guests are rewarded for not being offered five-star luxury with an incredible back-to-nature experience. You may be sleeping in a tent but you will be right on the beach, the waves lapping just metres from you, with shade provided by a naturally growing forest. Rates are fantastically cheap and include board, three meals and the use of kayaks and snorkelling gear.
The barefoot luxury island – Koh Kood
200 miles southeast of bustling Bangkok, in the Gulf of Thailand, lies the small island of Koh Kood, home to less than 2,000 people, a smattering of coconut plantations and a few sleepy fishing villages. OK, Koh Kood has budget accommodation too but it does luxury so well, it deserves a spot on this list. Take the Soneva Kiri, whose enormous villas are surrounded by lush jungle, pristine beaches and fantastic snorkelling potential over the stunning coral gardens. Personal butlers, an outdoor cinema to watch films under the stars, an incredible observatory from which you can gaze at Saturn’s rings, and 24/7 chocolate and ice cream bars make this resort truly luxurious.
The getting-away-from-it-all island – Koh Adang
Accessible only via longtail boat, Thailand’s remote Koh Adang offers a holiday in splendid isolation. Perfect especially in peak season when most of Thailand’s beaches are packed with holiday-makers, this pristine island near Koh Lipe in the Andaman Sea boasts spectacular waterfalls, lush jungle, pure white sand beaches and incredible coral. Part of a protected marine national park, infrastructure is limited but simple huts and tents can be hired overnight.