THE BEST OF THAILAND, IF YOU'RE NOT SO INTO FULL MOON PARTIES
When Thailand comes to mind for a travel destination, many envision the neon-clad full moon party goers and rambunctious revellers looking to light up the night. But the peaceful, tranquil paradise has so much more to offer than knock-off designer goods and cheap, seemingly endlessly flowing booze — known for its paradise-like beaches, it can be hard to find serenity if they’re overrun with other visitors.
For those looking to get off the beaten path a little and experience a more authentic and secluded Thai getaway,
this one’s for you.
A Truly Secluded Destination
If it’s a decidedly romantic trip you’re craving, Beyond Resort Khao Lak is bar none your best bet. The multi award-winning property boasts villa-only accommodation, and welcomes guests 18 years of age and older to ensure a sophisticated and sanguine getaway. Situated on the stunning soft-sanded and glass-like water of Pawkeep beach, this lush, verdant resort is a vibrant and perfectly balanced blend of serenity and privacy.
Each spacious villa offers guests an outdoor terraced space to enjoy and are generous in size, feeling more like a comfortable condo than a holiday accommodation. Waterways punctuate the property, adding an element of beauty and tranquility complete with waterfalls and fish. Beachfront dining options lend a tropical air of exuberance; there is hardly anything better than a freshly blended tropical cocktail sipped with your feet in the sand. Themed dinners, like cook-your-own seafood, meat and vegetables bring closeness and laughter with your partner while huddled over the grill, while the luxurious on-site spa’s signature couple’s treatment brings both pleasure and deep relaxation.
Plenty of sunloungers, both beachfront and smattered across the expansive salt water pool, means you can carve out your own personal slice of paradise, even when enjoying and sharing the property. Khao Lak’s city centre is a short 15-minute drive away, which guarantees utmost peacefulness anywhere on the resort, and an easy trip in should you feel like venturing out.
A Royal Seaside Escape
A three-hour drive south of bustling Bangkok, Hua Hin is a tropical paradise so idyllic, it's where Thai royalty pend their holidays. The Hilton Hua Hin Resort & Spa is centrally situated in the midst of all the shops, restaurants, and nightlife Hua Hin has to offer, and is also perfectly perched beachfront along an endless stretch of powder white sand and turquoise water that can easily take an entire day to stroll up and down (fresh coconut or piña colada in hand optional).
All the comforts of a plush, large resort are to be expected on site, and the resort doesn’t disappoint in this category: an enormous breakfast buffet delights with treats and cuisines from all around the globe and leaves little to be desired; the rooftop sky bar makes for insanely picturesque sundowner cocktails, and the waterslide that spits young and old guests alike into the wide, fountained pool brings delight and joy to all. A wonderful way to while the days away with family or friends, the resort’s expansive grounds offer plenty of space to revel in the supremely lush gardens and daybeds decorating the pool and beachfront areas.
When it’s time to head up to the room, no detail has been overlooked; the rooms are airy and spacious with touches of Thai and modern style beautifully blended into equal measure — the large marbled bathroom feels luxe, while the fresh floating flowers on many surfaces remind you to literally stop and breathe it all in.
Hua Hin’s walking streets light up at night with bars, dance clubs and street food, but is small enough they’re easy to navigate and hard to get lost. Pop into to any one for a game of pool and nightcap, or dance the night away if the mood strikes.
A Tropical Paradise
This island destination has become increasingly more popular over the years, but up until quite recently, Koh Samui wasn’t really developed — Thai International Airways only began flights to the island in 2008. Still a pristine paradise, there’s no better way to experience the authenticity of the lush, languorous island by staying at Sandalwood Luxury Villas. A short ride up from the main drag, Sandalwood offers only 14 private villas, most kitted out with a private infinity edge or plunge pool. All offering incredible panoramic ocean views, the villas are as sumptuous as they are comfortable. Kitchenettes make them feel like home, while gigantic bathrooms, outdoor Jacuzzis and super plush bedding lend that dreamy vacation feeling.
The secluded property offers the utmost privacy for guests, making it the perfect destination for those looking to indulge in some real R+R. Gorgeous, bright flora and fauna beautifully embellish the resort, and the fresh scent of greenery is a daily reminder you’re truly in paradise. Sandalwood’s gardeners take special care, and it’s evident they possess green thumbs. All staff are transcendently warm, and extras like having a phone provided for you during your stay to request a car to or from anywhere on the island, anytime, truly goes above and beyond.
Although the villas are so deliciously luxe and peeling yourself out of your private pool with an expansive view of endless jewel-toned water is an exercise in self-control, it’s worth it to amble down to the spa. Authentically warm Thai hospitality meets traditional and professional treatments, which are not to be missed. For a truly indulgent experience, treat yourself to the superfluously delightful three-hour package that includes a body and soul soothing scrub, wrap and facial, and ends in a heavenly and skin-soothing milk bath complete with candles and flower petals delicately decorating the tub and water.
There is plenty to do, see, eat, drink and shop in Chewang, Koh Samui’s centre, if you fancy a night out after a mind-meltingly relaxing day. Or, simply revel in your heavenly villa, order up some of the most amazing Thai cuisine from the resort’s room service, and stargaze the night away.
WORDS: TLSE CONTRIBUTOR, AIMEE WICE