Thailand is infamous for offering a perfect budget beach getaway. Awesomely affordable, even in the best hotels, with cocktails served in coconuts all-day, clothing markets galore (arrive with an empty suitcase), street food stalls to make your mouth-water, white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters and palm-tree adorned islands, it’s a picture perfect destination that summons up all of those tropical cliché expressions. And we recently discovered that the destinations of Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi are perfect for an island hopping holiday!
An easy to book and pleasantly reliable ferry connects the three beach locales with each other and each destination offers up a slightly different side of the country, making them the perfect Thailand triad! Discover these exquisite Asian destinations with Asia Odyssey.
Famous for its Happy Hour specials and party bars of Patong beach, the island of Phuket is infamously popular amongst tourists looking for a great deal. However, if you, like us, simply want to relax and don’t fancy fighting of a deck chair, we discovered that the quieter beaches of Karon and Kata further south offer a tranquil setting for days spent wallowing in bathtub-warm water.
However, when you are done turning yourself the colour of a lobster, the main streets down south are still dotted with trendy street cafes serving up fresh seafood and food stalls where you can find a delicious pancake slathered in chocolate spread and fresh island banana – the best way to end a day in Thailand!
A number of smaller islands surrounding Phuket are also ideal for getting away from the crowds. Khao Lak, to the north, is famous for its diving and luxury hotels while the archipelago of Koh Lanta offers a peaceful retreat and gorgeous rainforests and Koh Yao is home to a number of undisturbed small fishing villages.
Sitting in the middle of the Andaman Sea, between Phuket and Krabi, are the magical Phi Phi islands. Where two crescent shaped bays join on the main island of Ko Phi Phi Don, a small slither of land creates what is known as Phi Phi’s main street and town and is where most of the inhabitants of these islands reside. A walk up the steep hill to the Phi Phi viewpoint provided us with exquisite views of this unique island destination and photos at the top presented a sobering impression of just how devastated the Thai community was by the 2004 boxing day tsunami.
Separated by a vast forested area and only reachable by longboat, the other side of Ko Phi Phi Don is home to a number of blissful hotels which sit smack-bam on the beach with pools that overlook longboats and fire dancers that light up the beach at night. The islands of Phi Phi are best explored by longboat or kayak to visit the iconic setting of “The Beach” film, snorkel with a thousand fish or discover hidden bays surrounded by towering cliffs.
Iconic limestone towers welcome you to the picturesque Krabi province and a gorgeous sandbank appears from the sea at low tide, offering up a walkway to the tiny Tub island. Nestled amongst towering, jungle covered cliffs, we found Krabi to be one of the most picturesque places in Thailand. While the province offers a number of beaches and islands to explore, as well as amazing inland activities to enjoy, we struggled to tear ourselves away from our gorgeous hotel with its rooftop pool overlooking the rugged beauty that is iconic of this region.
We found Krabi to be perfect for long days doing nothing, best enjoyed with a loved one by your side – it would be a great place for a romantic proposal or honeymoon! Full day canoe tours, jungle treks, hot spring excursions and sunset cruises were a great way to fill the last few days exploring this tantalising Thailand triad!
While there is so much more to explore in Thailand, Phuket, Phi Phi and Krabi offered us the best beach bliss we could imagine. We will be returning to discover what more this colourful, cultural country has to offer, but for now, this perfect triad will be etched in our memories as a taste of Thailand that may just turn out to be second to none!