David Kevan, Partner at Chic Locations, is a travel industry veteran. His many years of practical experience and encyclopaedic knowledge of the travel industry means he is regarded by many to have “Guru“ status. His passion for travel and to discover new hotels and destinations never waives and as one of the very few individuals to receive the prestigious Friends of Thailand award , we thought David is extremely well placed to give us his insights into where to go to enjoy some romantic escapism. Read on to find out more.
Thailand remains the most popular of all of the countries Chic Locations offer in the south-east Asia region. This popularity is now being shared by many others and the main resorts of Phuket and Samui are noticeably much busier. I have been to Thailand over 150 times, not boasting just old!
I was fortunate enough to have seen places in their tourism infancy, very different to the resorts they have now grown into. There are still many places in Thailand where you can still enjoy romantic escapism. They might require slightly longer transfers but that rather adds to the real sense of exclusivity and excitement.
Here are just a few ideas:
Koh Lanta, just far enough south of Krabi to deter the day trippers. Two super hotels in Layana and Pimalai, the island has hardly moved on in terms of international development (other than a bridge) and is all the better for it.
Koh Phangan – 30 minutes by speedboat and maybe 30 years behind Samui in terms of appeal. Known for its lively monthly Full Moon Parties, the appeal is still wonderfully laid back, with superb beaches. Our suggested hotels are the Anantara Rasananda or the neighbouring Buri Rasa. Or look at Koh Tao, a further 45 minutes away but even less developed, with just a handful of international resorts, with Haad Tien our preferred partner.
Koh Kood – The furthest south of all the Thai islands, just before your reach Cambodia. One of the largest but least inhabited islands. Totally tropical, amazing beaches, hamlet size villages. Simply wonderful. Our suggested hotels here are the incredible Soneva Kiri, expensive but in our opinion worth every Baht or £, or the thatched roofed delights of the High Season Villa Resort (It is open year-round!)
Khanom – Located on the mainland, just south of Surat Thani. Even the Thai’s have to look at the map ! Deserted beaches , authentic markets where you might be the only European , dense forests and clear blue seas where you can generally see pink dolphins . Our suggested hotel is the Aava, a blend of cool Scandinavian minimalism and wide Thai smiles.
North Khao Lak – Whilst Khao Lak is still much quieter than its gateway resort of Phuket , development is coming with so many new hotels opening . But travel just a further 25 minutes up the coast from the main village and you can discover some truly delightful new resorts . We particularly like Le Menara with the majority of the villas on stilts , huge pool, expansive beach and great style.
Koh Samed – Just 3 hours south of Bangkok, reached by road and then speedboat, the island is an easy accessible beach retreat after an extensive tour around the region. We particularly like the Paradee Resort, with its (even) quieter location on the extreme south point , villa style suites and powder soft beach. The island has its pockets of tourist activity, but 75% is national park.
Koh Yai Noi – 45 minutes by boat from Phuket, but a very different world. Lush, dense forests , small cove beaches & villages. Here we would suggest the innovatively designed Treehouse , duplex suites complete with swing bridge.
Each resort is incredibly romantic, and will be best enjoyed travelling with someone equally special.
All can be easily combined with a stay in either Bangkok and /or Chiang Mai where Chic Locations have a number of equally innovative and unique hotel options. Dare to be different.
Find out more about holidays in Thailand chiclocations.com/category/locations/the-far-east/thailand/