Posted: 11 March 2014
Many visitors to Thailand may simply pass through the bustling city of Bangkok en route to other countries in Asia or to Australia, but if you’re the type of person who likes to experience lots of different things in one luxury holiday, it’s worth exploring Thailand further. Our Travel Consultants Gill Leonard and Vanessa Moore have visited pretty much every corner, including the areas below, and will be happy to tailor-make an itinerary so you don’t miss a thing!
Countryside & Culture
Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai, set in the beautiful Mae Rim Valley, surrounded by mountains and terraced rice fields, is the ideal place to embrace Thai traditions. Indulge with a Thai spa ritual, join a kickboxing class or an introduction to the Thai language to learn a few essential phrases, or go rice planting. A ‘tried and tested’ highlight is the Thai cooking class, where you may well learn a trick or two to impress your guests at your next dinner party! Excursions to local food markets, hot-air balloon rides across the Ping River Valley and making paper in the Mae Sa Valley Craft Village, can also be arranged. Thailand's northern artistic and cultural capital, Chiang Mai, should definitely be on your list; as well as a collection of temples, there is a night market where you can purchase Thai silk handbags, delicate glazed rice paper parasols and jewellery − all at great prices.
Four Seasons Tented Camp – Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai is sure to fulfil any desire for a real adventure. Not only is the resort set in exotic bamboo jungle and approached by riverboat, but guests are invited to experience a very special elephant encounter. A mahout (person who works with elephants) will teach you how to command these gentle giants, you will embark on an elephant trek through the Thai jungle and can even assist in elephant bathtime in the river nearby. Being up close to and getting to know these impressive creatures is a truly magical occasion, but if the mahout training doesn’t appeal, you can always try hiking through the jungle, bird-watching, fishing and traditional basket-weaving. Or, venture on an excursion down the mighty Mekong River, passing villages as you sail into the Golden Triangle where the watery borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma meet.
Thailand’s sun-drenched islands in the south are a beach-lover’s paradise and Phuket is one of the most popular spots to head to. If you check-in to Banyan Tree Phuket you’ll have the facilities of Laguna Phuket right on your doorstep too, including restaurants, boutiques and an 18-hole golf course − edged by the pristine sands of Bang Tao Bay and the Andaman Sea. Back at Banyan Tree Phuket you will be able to relish the utter sense of peace and privacy in guest villas that boast either a jet pool or private pool, and a private garden and a patio, while resort facilities include the blissful Sanctuary Spa by Banyan Tree. It would, however, be a shame not to explore Phuket’s wider environs; from breathtaking Phi Phi Islands or snorkelling in the reefs of the Similan Islands, to the dramatic limestone karsts at Phang Nga Bay − best explored from either Six Senses Yao Noi or Phulay Bay, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve.