Beat the crowds by avoiding the Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui beaches and set sail instead for the Andaman Sea off the west coast. The islands of Koh Kudu Yai and Koh Roi are two of the most remote spots in Thailand with incredible scenery and wildlife, and very few visitors. Anchor off Koh Roi and buy the early morning catch directly from the local fishermen, then access the beach via a hidden lagoon and find yourself surrounded by a mangrove forest, home to a very noisy fruit bat colony. In southern Thailand, visit the Khao Luang National Park a mountainous region which is still largely unexplored. Famous for its waterfalls, natural swimming pools and orchid species, the park is also home to many exotic animals including barking deer, clouded leopards, elephants and tigers. Hire a local guide to discover the more remote areas and spot the rarer birds and animals.
Thailand is known as a diving paradise, some of the world’s best dive sites are located off the west coast where divers can explore shipwrecks, secret tunnels and coral reefs. Over in the Gulf of Thailand the relatively unknown Ko Chang archipelago is the perfect place to admire the fascinating marine life and swim with green sea turtles. Thanks to the tropical climate the sea temperature rarely dips below 28°c so even deep drop-off sites are easily accessible all year round.
Inland, a visit to one of the bustling markets is a great way to experience Thai culture. Head to the Kathu Market located halfway between Phuket Town and Patong Beach. This is a market for locals, people come to eat, shop and socialize with friends and the stalls sell fresh produce and spices rather than souvenirs. A word of warning, if you’re taller than 5’5”, take care whilst walking through the stalls, they are built for the short of stature. To take a little of the Thai experience away with you, book into The Blue Elephant Cooking School in Phuket Town. Classes are taught in the historic Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion and are led by dynamic chef and founder of the Blue Elephant School, Nooror Somany Steppe. The course includes a visit to the local market to pick out fresh ingredients and the menu changes daily, ensuring you will have a chance to prepare and taste the very finest Thai cuisine. With so much to offer, this beautiful country truly has something for everyone and you are sure to leave Thailand with not only incredible memories but also an overwhelming desire to return to the land of a thousand smiles.