Resplendent with lush tropical forests, endless miles of white-sand beaches, magnificent islands and towering mountains and cliffs, Thailand boasts a natural beauty that beckons visitors from around the world. From white-sand islands in the South replete with coral reefs, to bustling urban epicenters like Bangkok, to the mountainous north full of farmers, jungles, and hill tribes, there is something for everyone in this Southeast Asian country.
Thousands of temples, known as wats, dot the landscape and can be found in even the smallest and most out-of-the-way villages. Without question, visitors have plenty to see, do and enjoy here, and their holidays are made even more enjoyable by the welcoming, friendly, carefree locals.
Not surprisingly, everyone from virtually penniless backpackers to jet-setting millionaires flock to Thailand, and the country easily accommodates them with everything from simple beachfront bungalows to some of the most lavish luxury resorts on the planet.
Inexperienced travelers will be surprised at how easy a trip to Thailand can be. Many Thai speak English. It is easy to get around, and there is access to technology and the level of amenities that most Westerners expect. Hotels here will range from basic budget hostels appealing to the backpacking set to five-star resorts. Here is a look at some of the most amazing hotels that Thailand has to offer:
The architects at the Sri Panwa in Phuket have taken every advantage of the hilltop perch of this gem. Wraparound infinity pools surround glass-enclosed suites, allowing guests to step from bedroom to water, with nothing but air and sea behind them. Seven restaurants and a cooking school can be found onsite, along with a spa. The bar features seaside views and top notch liquors to enjoy. With easy access to all the beach life here, and every need met, guests may not want to leave.
The tallest all-suite luxury hotel in Bangok with spectacular views and exceptional facilities, The Banyan Tree Bangkok is located right in Sathorn, close to the Silom shopping and entertainment area. Perfectly poised so that guests can experience all the cultural wonder that Bangkok offers, the hotel is full of luxury to enjoy after a long day. A rooftop bar on the 61st floor allows for great views, and there is access to exercise, spas, a ballroom, meeting room, and fine rooftop dining.
For those who never got to have a treehouse, or those who never wanted to outgrow it, this is the place to stay. Deep in the Khao Sok rainforest, Our Jungle House offers a number of treehouse bungalows along with jungle cabins for those who like their feet on the ground. Eco-tours, nighttime jungle treks, and views of tropical birds and elephants are just some of the things right outside the door of this beautiful resort. An onsite restaurant and bar, wifi, and spa services are also available.
The W has a lock on what is cool before it ever gets there, and their Koh Samui Retreat is no exception. Nine miles of private beach and 74 individual pool villas give guests their own personal space, with full access to all the on-trend amenities. Bars offers drinks of both the alcoholic and smoothie kind, fitness classes, and food for both those who love and those who dislike Asian cuisine are just some of the things to find here. Beach barbecues and multiple styles of cooking classes can fill the days you are not enjoying the many water activities here. In short, anyone not having fun here just doesn’t know how.
The Peninsula Bangkok offers luxury, tranquility and beauty, along with a few extras. It is nestled along the Chao Phraya River with a breathtaking view of the Royal Palace. This hotel has won numerous awards for luxury including Asia’s number one city hotel and the best hotel in Bangkok. Due to the hotels W shaped structure, there is a view of the river from every one of its 370 rooms. The Peninsula academy offers an opportunity to learn about Thailand in more depth, from cultural classes to excursions about the environmental importance of coastal mangroves.
The Veranda High Resort, located in the mountains just outside of the Northern city of Chiang Mai, has highlighted both the traditional and the contemporary with an old and new section to the resort. Contemporary verandas are available for those who want to take advantage of the spectacular hilltop views overlooking miles of tropical jungles and terraced farms from their balcony. The traditional zone is a great example of Northern design. Guests at the Veranda High Resort can enjoy kids programs, learn to be a farmer at a local rice paddy, or rent mountain bikes to explore on their own.
There are many reasons to come to Koh Samui; to scuba dive, snorkel, and enjoy an island where beach meets tropical jungle. For those looking for a retreat from the ordinary here, the Banyan Tree is the place to go. This hotel chain draws from local architecture, and in this case, they have built a hillside resort that hangs cliffside over a small bay. This means panoramic views are everywhere, and featured in spectacular rooms. The place can be steep and requires lots of stairs, but a friendly staff of complimentary golf cart chauffeurs can help visitors get where they need to go. As a family-friendly resort, this place offers children’s programs, babysitting, and a kiddie pool areas.
The Mandarin Oriental along the Chao Phraya River has been a centerpiece of Bangkok’s hospitality industry for over 135 years. It is a combination of modern and timeless, elegant and relaxing. Certain traditions, like a “smart” dress code for guests young and old after 6pm, continue at this majestic hotel. This is balanced by advances like hotel-wide wifi. Of special note here are the legendary Authors Suites. Each has a theme based on famous authors who have stayed at the hotel. There is also a host of classes in Thai cooking, yoga, and other cultural activities.
The Rayavadee Resort, full of small individual guest huts, is situated along the Khao Phanom Bencha National Park. The location of this resort is one of the most spectacular sites to see– it is the intersection of lush jungle, the sparkling aquamarine Andaman Sea, and sheer sandstone cliff formations that are unique to this region of Asia. Adventurous guests here can kayak, take private rock-climbing lessons, or learn to scuba dive, while the more laid-back can enjoy romantic beach walks, relax in the spa, and enjoy five-star dining.
The Lebua Hotel was rated Thailand’s #1 hotel by Conde Nast readers in their Traveller’s Awards contest. The hotel offers suites with kitchenettes, allowing visitors to test their Thai cooking skills on their own after taking one of the many classes offered in town, or to make some good old fashioned comfort food. The poolside cafe has a reputation for Bangkok’s best breakfast. Those who want an evening out will enjoy the rooftop bar with excellent food, top-shelf drinks, and a 360 degree panoramic city view.
Located on a small island, Six Senses Yao Noi is famous for the spectacular views of the stone pillar limestone formations that form sheer cliffs into emerald green water in Phang Nga Bay. It also offers guests the best of luxury opportunities; beginning from the moment they touch down at Bangkok airport, where a helicopter is available to transport you to the resort in style. In addition, they offer a private hilltop villa, yacht rides complete with a private chef, suites with private pools, and much more. In addition to the standard resort amenities, the Yao Noi has their own farm of free-range chickens, and a fabulous aerial yoga class.