Phuket - Pearl of
Phuket is Thailand’s largest island, an international magnet for beach lovers and diving enthusiasts with the warm crystal clear waters the Andaman Sea. In centuries past, Phuket was referred to as Jung Ceylon, while locals called it Muang Thalang. The island was the perfect stopover sheltering international traders, Indians, Persians, Arabians and Chinese during the monsoon season, then returning to home ports laden with tin, Phuket’s prized commodity.
Owing to the island’s long history, Phuket has diverse cultural, architectural and cuisine influences, particularly the Chinese who were largely tin miners. There are some remarkable museums such as Phuket Mining Museum, Phuket Cultural Center at Rajabhat University and Baan Chinpracha – a fine example of a Sino-Colonial mansion. A stroll through old Phuket town with the many Sino-Portuguese style buildings is a trip back in time. The stunning beaches that dot the coastline, Patong, Kata, Karon, Kamala, Rawai and Nai Han are Phuket’s primary draw. But it’s not all just sun and sand, Phuket also has shopping for all tastes and budgets with bustling food markets, local street stalls and global brands in sleek and sumptuous shopping malls. Phuket is truly a multi-faceted destination that attracts millions of visitors annually.
Surat Thani - Island Gems
of the South
Surat Thani or simply called Surat, is in the lower southern Gulf of Thailand. The province is dubbed ‘the Province of a Hundred Islands’ as there are many big and small islands in the province. Popular islands such as Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan and Koh Tao are also part of Surat, each globally known and attractive for romance, partying and deep sea diving respectively.
While Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan, and Koh Tao attract the most visitors with their white sand beaches and clear seas, Ang Thong National Marine is a nature lovers’ dream, a pristine archipelago of approximately 42 islands largely of limestone with white sand beaches, waterfalls and hidden coves and grottos to explore. Another gem to explore is the Cheow Lan Dam and Khao Sok Lake, a gigantic reservoir surrounded by towering limestone mountains. Since the topography of the lake is similar to that of Guilin in China, it is dubbed ‘Guilin of Thailand’. A stay at a floating raft house under a canopy of stars at night is an unforgettable experience.
Koh Chang - Serenity in the Gulf
The third largest island in Thailand located in Trat Province and the lower eastern Gulf of Thailand, Koh Chang is a secluded and less developed island with nature still intact and thriving. Pristine white sand beaches and its blue seawater make Koh Chang a perfect destination for a long holiday or a short weekend excursion.
Klong Prao and Kai Bae beaches are great options for family holidays with
serene resorts and spas. For those more adventurous there is sea kayaking,
elephant trekking, deep water diving and shallow water snorkeling with
breathtaking coral reefs alive with colorful tropical fish of all shapes and sizes.
Historically there are also some interesting sites, Koh Chang Naval Battle
Memorial, located near Laem Ngop village, commemorates the naval battles
between the Thai Navy and the French fleet during Indochina War. It is also
worth visiting fishing villages along the further south of the island to explore
how the locals live at Bang Bao Bay – one of the largest fisherman
communities on Koh Chang, and with the freshest seafood on the island
prepared to perfection.