By Cricket Ducat, Account Manager – Sales, Hotels & Resorts, Virtuoso
Whether you’re visiting Thailand for culture, food, temples, or just relaxation on stunning beaches, the land of smiles holds something for everyone. On a recent trip to Thailand, I experienced five-star luxury while being immersed in authentic experiences, thanks to the friendly locals.
I wanted adventure and cultural experiences alongside pure R&R. First I explored Northern Thailand’s rich traditions, then ended with unwinding on the South’s beautiful beaches.
Northern Thailand enchanted me, especially Chiang Mai and the Golden Triangle:
I spent my days visiting the temples and evenings wandering around night markets, shopping and eating the local cuisine.
- A cooking class. It’s well worth it to learn how different Northern and Southern Thai cuisine are.
- Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is a sacred temple atop a mountain range with impressive Chiang Mai views.
I experienced the Golden Triangle Virtuoso style at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp & Resort. Situated on a hilltop in the lush jungle, the property boasts breathtaking views of three countries: Myanmar, Laos and Thailand. Its Discovery Experience includes activities such as a cooking class focusing on Northern Thai food (my favorite: the rich curry noodle soup, khao soi).
- The Hall of Opium, next to Anantara Golden Triangle. The museum, opened in 2005, was a $10 million project to educate people about the negative effects of both the drug and the trade that for so long plagued the area.
Southern Thailand & The Islands
Boasting some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches, crystal-clear water, fascinating coral reefs, caves and waterfalls, the Andaman Sea coastline is a must-see.
- If you’re into snorkeling or scuba diving, or want to try them, the Similan and Surin Islands are great day trips.
The “original Thai Paradise Island,” Phuket is now regarded by some as overrun by tourists. But escaping the crowds and finding its beauty just takes a bit of research. I stayed at Virtuoso property Anantara Phuket Villas, situated along a prime stretch of Mai Khao Beach.
- Looking for a couples getaway? Anantara Phuket Villas offers 83 private pool villas for an ultra-romantic stay.
- Anyone – not just resort guests – can enjoy Anantara’s exceptional dining experiences. They include tapas and cocktails at the Tree House Restaurant with its beautiful panoramic view, and Sea.Salt.Fire for a beachside barbecue of fresh seafood accompanied by a tableside salt sommelier.
Koh Phi Phi & Krabi
On a day trip to Koh Phi Phi by speedboat, you’ll take in must-see sights including Monkey Beach and Pileh Bay. Monkey Beach’s resident monkeys aren’t shy about climbing on visitors in search of food. Pileh Bay is a large inlet with a coral reef at its entrance. The emerald lagoon is a great swimming area, surrounded by majestic limestone hills.
A couple of nights at Railay Beach in Krabi for a much less crowded but equally beautiful beach. The Railay Peninsula is surrounded by white sands, lush jungle and twisted rock.
Dreaming of a Thailand vacation? Check out virtuoso.com for ideas about everything from where to stay to what to do.