There’s extra to Thailand than buzzing cities, crazy-beautiful seashores and even crazier events. Like dawn Shavasanas with fellow yogis, broadening your thoughts while studying all about Buddhism, and discovering your individual slice of pristine sand with no one else for miles.
So in case you’re eager to emerge from the opposite aspect of your Thailand escape feeling healed, fairly than hungover, listed below are six locations providing distinctive experiences for many who need one thing extra conscious, than psychological…
The vibe: Railay is a jaw-dropping peninsula stretching out previous the favored metropolis of Krabi, but it surely feels extra like a distant island because of the truth it’s minimize off by large limestone cliffs, and subsequently solely accessible by way of a 20-minute boat experience.
It’s a tangle of 4 epic seashores: Railay East, Railay West, the competitor for Greatest Seaside within the World, Pra Nang (studded with dramatic cliffs and exquisite caves), and the chilled out climbing mecca, Tonsai. They’re every break up up by jungle trails, cute tropical pathways and karst formations. Enable quite a lot of days right here; there’s a lot to find in a deceivingly small house.
Our favorite? Hippy hangout, Tonsai. That is the place bouldering buffs scale the cliffs and relax on the white sand beneath. Solely accessible by a rocky jungle path off of the aspect of Railay West, it’s critically chilled, with barely any bars, and heaps of finances bungalows.
Greatest for: Climbers, boulderers and explorers who need to discover their chill.
How one can get there: Simple. Simply hop on one of many many boats departing every day from Krabi, or on board one in every of our West Coast Thai island hopping excursions. Krabi has a significant airport, so it’s simply reachable on a flight from Bangkok.
Koh Lanta Yai
The vibe: One other cluster of paradisaical gems on the Andaman aspect of Thailand, Koh Lanta is giant and comparatively developed with inns and eating places, however nonetheless heaps extra laid-back than it’s cousins, Phi Phi and Phuket.
The principle island, Koh Lanta Yai is giant sufficient to be explored by bike or scooter, with heaps of actions. In addition to the same old (canoeing, jungle hikes to seashores, snorkelling) there are some distinctive alternatives for the extra socially and environmentally acutely aware – suppose voluntary seashore clean-ups and canine strolling with Lanta Animal Welfare.
Greatest for: Yoga lovers and do-gooders. There are a handful of yogi hangouts providing every day classes and wholesome smoothies in all-round zen environment. And whereas there are many sustainably-built hippie bars and cute seashore hangouts, you’ll be able to relaxation assured you’ll by no means miss a category as a consequence of a hangover from the rager you had the evening earlier than.
How one can get there: Hop on one of many many every day departure boats from Krabi, Trang, Phuket or Phi Phi, or on board one in every of our West Coast Thai island hopping excursions.
Koh Kradan, Trang Islands
The vibe: A tiny slip of sand within the Adriatic, dotted with hammocks and makeshift swings, Kradan is empty aside from just a few tiny resorts, bars and seashore bungalows. The coral just a few ft off-shore is among the greatest you’ll see in Thailand – suppose rainbow colors, a whole lot of Nemo’s and in case you’re fortunate, even rays.
A couple of days right here will probably be sufficient to reset you totally… and in case you tire of doing an entire load of nothing in paradise, Kradan’s barely bigger neighbours Koh Ngai and Koh Muk would possibly supply a change of surroundings and a few fancier consuming choices.
Greatest for: Snorkelling and snoozing. And nothing else. Kradan is silent, sleepy, and fully unspoiled.
How one can get there: Koh Kradan is nicely off the backpacking path, but it surely’s nonetheless straightforward to get to in excessive season, which stretches from November to April. Throughout this era, ferries run from Phuket (three hours), Phi Phi (2 hours), Trang on the mainland (beneath an hour) and Koh Lanta (additionally round an hour).
Throughout the off-season, you’ll be able to nonetheless catch a brief boat experience from the mainland port city of Trang – kudos to the true castaways who blag a visit there with a neighborhood.
The vibe: Over on the opposite aspect of Thailand, Koh Phangan’s barely extra chilled out large brother is filled with prime eating places, spas, Buddhist temples, and tropical yoga gardens.
The preferred resort, Chaweng Seaside presents all the things your customary holidaymaker or backpacker may need: an excellent (learn: busy) seashore, nightlife, ample buying and heaps of actions. However in case you’re nonetheless studying this, we’re guessing you’re not on the lookout for that. Don’t concern – Samui is a giant island, so there are sufficient seashores to go round.
Our suggestions? Maenam seashore is just a little high-end, with boutique retailers and lashings of empty sand so that you can meditate the day away on, but it surely’s Bophut that holds onto its chill the toughest. You’ll be capable of meet fellow yogis right here, wander via the quaint colonial village, and pack in as a lot yin yoga as you want, all earlier than your wholesome Thai curry lunch.
Greatest for: Vacation-seekers who need a steadiness of wellness and leisure, and enjoyable excursions. With so many waterfalls to chase and the idyllic Ang Thong Marine Park simply offshore, Samui can simply eat up every week of your itinerary.
Getting there: One of the best ways to expertise Koh Samui’s blissed out seashores is on our Thailand Wellness tour. Dawn yoga, Thai therapeutic massage courses, sizzling spring soaks, and eccentric strolls round Samui’s Fisherman’s Village make sure you’ll be extra healed, and fewer hungover out of your journey to Thailand.
Wish to go it alone? You’ll be able to fly immediately from Bangkok to Koh Samui on one in every of as much as 5 flights a day – however we are able to organise all of that for you. If you happen to’re heading there by land, you’ll be able to catch a ship from Surat Thani on the mainland, or from Koh Phangan or Koh Tao.
The furthest south you will get earlier than hitting the shores of Malaysia, Koh Lipe is the quintessential Andaman jewel, and a smaller, extra chilled model of Koh Lanta. Asides from the token 7-Eleven, and the quaint Buddhist temple within the small central village, there’s subsequent to no improvement right here, asides from a superb mixture of resorts and finances seashore bungalows.
Sufficiently small to stroll round, it’ll begin to really feel like residence shortly right here, which is why we like it. There’s Dawn Seaside for watching the dawn, Sundown Seaside for – yep, you guessed it – and a heap of contemporary seafood to tuck into lining the lanes and seashores all over the place. A bunch of resorts supply yoga, and also you’ll be capable of hire a snorkel seemingly each few metres. Come dusk, you’ll be able to head to Pattaya Seaside for low-key events that final till the early hours. Oh… and blue, bio-luminescent plankton alongside the complete shore.
Greatest for: Wannabe mermaids and animal whisperers. There’s some critically wonderful snorkelling and diving, and for these with the time, a visit to wildlife-filled Tarutao Nationwide Park, lower than two hours away, is to not be missed.
How one can get there: Koh Lipe is 2 hours from the mainland by ferry, which you’ll be able to catch from the mainland port of Hat Yai. Already island hopping? Koh Lanta, Koh Phi Phi, Phuket and Krabi even have ferries departing every day to this little gem – they take round 4 hours however the journey is so value it.
So Pai, nestled up within the northern Thailand province of Mae Hong Son, isn’t an island like the remaining, but it surely would possibly as nicely be, for all of the tranquillity it presents. Simply ask one in every of our Digital wizards pictured above, Rachael. She’s one severe occasion animal and even she received some slumber up right here.
At first, Pai could seem like your customary backpacker mecca, full of leafy hostels and hammock-filled hangouts. However there are additionally wellness centres, the Chedi Phra That Mae Yen temple, loads of locations to apply meditation and find out about Buddhism, Thai cooking and therapeutic massage. Plus, there are even some pure sizzling springs to soak in.
Greatest for: Hippy sorts, various travellers and anybody bored with the noise of close by Chiang Mai.
How one can get there: Hop on our Wellness tour– which lets you breathe within the contemporary mountain air earlier than whisking you off all the way down to Koh Samui.
If you wish to go it independently, you’re in for one deal with of a drive. Hop on a bus or moped to absorb the twisting, turning roads all the way in which from Chaing Mai, which is round 80 miles south.
Able to expertise this aspect of Thailand? Begin right here.