Paradise, even in the rain.
Lush, green, exotic. If you haven’t been to Asia before and are a little frightened by a culture shock, I really do recommend Thailand for the first time experience of Asia.The beauty with Thailand is that if you want it to overwhelm or underwhelm you, it will. You can play it safe or live on the edge. Bangkok is one of the most eye opening cities I have visited and loved it so much I have returned twice. It will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you do not have to stay in Bangkok, you can fly onward to one of Thailand’s abundance of stunning beach resorts or islands
My favourite visit to Thailand is when I really loosened the purse strings and splashed out on luxury accommodation. It didn’t cost much more than a bog standard trip to London and yet the whole experience was out of this world. If you have never been to Thailand or want to go back and have a few quid to throw at it, I really suggest trying out the trip I did and loved every second of…
I spent my first two nights in Bangkok at the Lebua hotel http://www.lebua.com/state-tower/ I am quite happy to say that I am fussy about hotels when I am spending a lot. This one did not disappoint. The welcome was superb, it is an all suite hotel and the rooms are outrageous. Being one of the tallest buildings in Bangkok meant the views from the superb balcony over the city and river were second to none.
They have a cocktail lounge with an outside terrace that gives the empire state building a run for its money. Be prepared to spend upwards of £15 for a drink here though, for Thailand it is very expensive. This hotel actually featured in the second hangover film and I’m not surprised, it is a treat for the most particular of travelers; it really is exquisite. My friend and I bawled up to the hotel in a tuk tuk whilst everybody else had mercedes and limosines, it really was quite amusing. Once I entered the reception in shorts and flip flops I felt slightly out of place. It was nice to dress up for a couple of days and live the high life.
I will never forget my first trip to the famous patpong market in Bangkok which is home to many many stalls selling genuine authentic fake sunglasses, bags and bric-a-brac. Its bubbly and vibrant and oozes with go-go girl bars and the ping pong show if you are brave enough to watch – I will say no more about this 😉 The shopping and culture of Bangkok is fantastic and exciting. There are heaps of museums and temples to check out. I probably wouldn’t recommend the zoo / tiger temple – I hear the animals are heavily sedated and not the best treated in the world. But hey, if you can prove me wrong then great.
The ultimate highlight of this trip laid a one hour flight south of Bangkok – Koh Samui Island. I spent the rest of my trip here and happily could have stayed forever. The most beautiful white sandy beaches, day trips galore and cuisine to tickle the taste buds of an angel. Personally, I love Thai food anyway but the options in Koh Samui are fab.
If you prefer a quiet relaxing and chilled out holiday or honeymoon, then Lamai or Bo Phut may be more idyllic. I wanted to stay in Chaweng but not right in the heart of it as it can be very touristy. I booked a hotel which looked nice but did not expect to be as blown away as I was. The service and the rooms were incredible, possibly the nicest accommodation I have ever experienced. The whole hotel resort was exceptionally stunning and right on the beach in a fairly quiet spot, just a ten minute walk from the centre of town with its bustle of shops, bars and restaurants.
The best day trip from here was to the elephant trekking at Namuang waterfalls. The elephants were well looked after and had plenty of space, shelter, shade and water. The trek takes you through the waters and through the jungle and lasts around an hour. It was an amazing day trip
The hotel I stayed at in Koh Samui was called the Kandaburi Resort and Spa and can be found on this website – http://www.katagroup.com/ I believe it may only be rated 4* but I have sure as hell stayed in apparent 5* hotels that did not touch on the standard of this hotel in any way.
What I wouldn’t give to go back and re-live this journey. If you decide to follow this or a similar itinerary, I will be both very pleased for you and very envious.
Thailand is beautiful, both inside and out.