It might surprise you to learn that Thailand welcomes 20-30 million tourists per year, and when you consider the many aspects of the unique South East Asian country, it is not hard to understand why the Land of Smiles is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. The North and South of Thailand are like chalk and cheese, with mountainous jungle areas in the North, while the South offers premier beaches and unspoilt tropical oceans, with many unique islands off the coast of Phuket.
This island is a separate province and is home to many retired Europeans and quality tourists that spend half the year in the sun, then return home to Europe in the summer, thus escaping the harsh winter. If you really want to experience the wonders of the Andaman Sea, there is yacht charter in Thailand from a well-established operator that has an impressive fleet of top vessels that you can hire. Phuket is the ideal departure point for a cruise in the Andaman Sea.
Samui island has long been a favourite for European and Scandinavian tourists, with many hi-end beach resorts that are simply stunning. You are only a stone’s throw from the full moon party island of Ko Pang Gan, if you want to experience a rave that lasts a few days.
Chang is the world for elephant in Thai, and this island resembles the shape of an elephant, hence the name, plus this island is much less developed than Samui or Phuket and you can still rent a bamboo bungalow on the beach. Again, there are a few 5-star spas and resorts on the island, but also some mid-range 4-star hotels that are easier on the pocket.
A quiet fishing town on the Andaman Sea side, Krabi is a favourite for those who like nothing more than relaxing on a beach, or poolside with your favourite cocktail, and there is a mixture of accommodation, from guesthouses to 5-star resorts and everything in between. You can rent a fishing boat for the night and the local fisherman will show you how to catch fish, and on the way back, you will experience the magic of a Krabi sunrise.
This was the home of King Rama IX, who lived in the amazing palace, and this coastal town is also popular with Thai tourists, as it is only 3 hours’ drive from Bangkok. Hua Hin sits on the Bay of Thailand and is a popular place for retired people. A little further down the coast, about 25km, is the small town of Pranburi, which is still relatively undeveloped, where you can enjoy pristine beaches and some great windsurfing.
If you have never visited Thailand, the South is a perfect tropical paradise, where you can immerse yourself in a colourful culture, and if you rent a yacht, you get to choose where you go.