Ultimate Experiences in A Tropical Paradise
Summer activities are always fun. Swimming in crystal clear water, snorkelling and greeting the creatures of the underwater world, or simply lying on the beach with a good book—all can well rejuvenate your body and mind. But in a tropical country like Thailand, you need not wait until summer. The dry season, which lasts between November and early April, is the best time to enjoy the warm sun and beautiful sea, especially on the west coast. The gentle tides, the calm and sparkling waters, and the lowest rainfall make Thailand the perfect destination for energetic travellers and laidback holiday makers alike.
Rock climbing, Railay Beach, Krabi
The quintessence of a tropical paradise, Railay is a unique destination. The gorgeous white sandy beaches backed by jungle, the dramatic limestone karst cliffs towering above the glittering bay, stunning caves and hidden lagoons all make Railay Beach an extraordinary getaway. Moreover, due to its cut off location, the peninsula is secluded, has no road, and can only be accessed by boat, making it even more peaceful and attractive than other nearby beaches. With giant pillars of monstrous rock formations, rock climbing is on many a visitor’s bucket list for adventure, and it is in fact one of the best places in the world to go rock climbing. There are hundreds of climbing routes for climbers of all levels, as well as numerous rock-climbing schools offering a variety of courses and tour packages.
Island hopping, Ko Lipe, Satun
The turquoise blue water with abundant soft corals and powdery white sand beaches make Ko Lipe one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. Part of Tarutao National Marine Park, one of the ASEAN Heritage Parks and Reserves 1982, Ko Lipe is a small island in the Adang-Rawi archipelago in the Strait of Malacca.
The marine ecosystem is home to as many as 25 percent of the world's tropical fish species, making the island a perfect destination for snorkelling. The twin islands north of Ko Lipe, Ko Adang and Ko Rawi, boast stunning beaches and a large coral reef offshore and are ideal spots for day-trip island hopping. While Ko Rawi is uninhabited, it is possible to stay in the national park accommodation on the secluded, unspoilt Ko Adang.
A laidback hideaway, Ko Samui, Surat Thani
Nothing could be more relaxing than lying in a hammock listening to waves breaking beneath the swaying coconut palm trees on a breezy beach. Thailand’s second largest island, Ko Samui has long been known as a holiday destination offering a large selection of activities and attractions that appeal to everyone. While Chaweng Beach is the most vibrant beach, with water sports, accommodation options, bars, restaurants, and beach parties, some other lesser-known beaches are perfect for a laidback retreat and are worth exploring.
Thongson Bay, an idyllic beach in the north of the island, boasts fabulous views with shallow, turquoise blue water. Ban Tai Beach, a two-kilometre long palm-fringed beach, is a haven of tranquility with its rustic bars and restaurants. Maenam Beach is also a good option for those who seek a relaxing, quiet beach but still want to enjoy beach drinks and the liveliness of the night market on Thursday nights. For seafood lovers, opt for Bang Por Beach, where you will want to lounge around the beautiful quiet beach after eating your fill of fresh seafood for lunch.
Swimming with a whale shark, Ko Tao, Chumphon
Imagine how exciting it would be to swim with the world’s largest sharks! Despite their sheer size of up to 15 metres long and a weight of over 40 tons, whale sharks are peaceable and harmless. Ko Tao, part of the Chumphon Archipelago on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand, is one of the world’s most famous scuba diving sites and renowned for the high chance of sighting these gentle giants. The best time to see whale sharks in Ko Tao is between March and June, which may be an attractive alternative if you have missed the west coast ‘whale shark season’ in February and March. Besides whale sharks, you will be excited by other bountiful marine life and stunning coral reefs that have attracted divers and naturalists for decades.
A weekend getaway, Rayong
Just about three hours from Bangkok by car, the eastern province of Rayong offers numerous attractions which make it ideal for a weekend getaway. Boasting many beautiful beaches, the small island of Ko Samet is just a 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland and is popular among Thai families and groups of young Bangkokians. The island is also famous for great seafood, beach barbecues, fire-juggling shows, beach parties and bucket drinks.
Thung Prong Thong, Rayong’s biggest mangrove forest, is another attraction well worth visiting. A one-kilometre walkway allows you to walk through the golden mangroves, making you feel as if you were walking in an impressionist painting. The area was once exploited by commercial shrimp farmers, but it was later restored by the municipality and local people and became a conservation and nature study resource. While in Rayong, don’t forget that is best known as “the Land of Fruit”. The best way to taste the tropical fruit is to try the famous “fruit buffet” which can be enjoyed at several orchards. It is also a good idea to call at Ban Phe Market when you get off the boat from Ko Samet, to shop for local products like dried seafood, fruit chips and souvenirs.
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