After spending an awful night at Gatwick airport (yes for some reason we decided to sleep in the airport!) we were off on our way to Phuket. I’d been to Thailand once before but couldn’t wait to get back there and see how it had changed and to explore new places. The heat hits you the second you step off the plane! The hot Thai air felt like a warm shower, especially after coming from the cold English winter. We had decided to explore Thailand by driving from place to place ourselves so the first thing we needed to do was to pick up our car rental. If you are contemplating renting a car in Thailand I could not recommend it more. We rented the car from a well-established company to give us peace of mind but still found that it was very cheap. The driving itself was pretty straightforward, the cars drive on the same side of the road as us here in the UK, the roads are pretty good and I wouldn’t say driving around Thailand is unsafe unless you’re driving around the main cities and you have to watch out for the hundreds of tuk-tuks! Our first trip was to Ao Nang in Krabi, this is somewhere I had not been before and was very excited to visit. Driving along the highway with brilliant rock formations exploding into the sky either side of the roads I couldn’t help but think how much I wished my usual commute to work could be this beautiful.
When we arrived in Krabi we stayed at the AONANG CLIFF BEACH RESORT, a fantastic resort situated on the Cliffside in Aonang. When we first arrived at Aonang cliff beach we were whisked away in an electric buggy to the back of the resort to an open-air reception where we were checked in by friendly, welcoming staff. Next we were shown to our room, wow, it was bright, luxurious and spacious with all the mod cons, the highlight though had to be the bath on the balcony (yes you heard me, the balcony). You can gaze out over Aonang and the Andaman Sea whilst soaking in the tub. Once we’d unpacked we wandered down to the pool area. The pool was my favourite part of Aonang cliff beach resort, it’s a stunning infinity pool high up on the cliff side with views out to the coast. There are even sun loungers in the pool so there is no need to ever get out! When you step outside of the resort you are amongst everything that Aonang has to offer, a great range of Bars, Restaurants and shops and just a short walk to the beach, yet when you’re relaxing by the pool it feels like you’re a million miles away from civilisation on your own tropical island. On one of the nights we were staying at the cliff beach resort we had dinner at the huge buffet that the hotel restaurant puts on every night. The buffet has a wide selection of barbecued meats, seafood and some Asian dishes. The food was good but I would have liked to have seen a few more vegetarian options available for us non-meat eaters. To see more on this great Hotel or to book a reservation click here .
We thought that the area of Ao nang itself was nice but maybe a little bit too touristy for our tastes, there’s plenty of bars and restaurants to visit in the evening and there are a lot of great day trips to go on, the beach is ok but you can easily get to some really beautiful ones (such as Railay and Tonsai). All in all we really enjoyed our stay in at the Ao nang Cliff Beach Resort, if you are in the Krabi area I would definitely recommend a stop there. After spending around a week in Krabi we decided to set out and explore some more of Thailand. We drove along the coast and then hopped on a tiny car ferry over to our next destination; the island of Koh Lanta (which is actually two islands). Koh Lanta is known for its coral-fringed beaches, mangroves and limestone outcrops, our first stop was Khlong Khong beach on the West coast. We had planned on staying in Koh Lanta for 3 or 4 days but ended up staying for 2 weeks, we loved it that much. The vibe on Koh Lanta is very chilled out and un-touristy, it was a nice place to relax after the hustle and bustle of Krabi.
During our time at Koh Lanta we stayed at the fantastic Eco Lanta Resort, located on Long Beach at the north of the island. The resort had a very charming, family run, natural, friendly feeling to it. The accommodation at Eco Lanta is made up of a series of bungalows set just back from the beach. The bungalows were spectacular, they were made almost entirely from bamboo (with the obvious exceptions of the toilet, mattress etc.) and decorated beautifully. Each bungalow has a porch area with seating and hammocks to relax in. Whilst we were staying at the Eco Lanta we had the unique experience of stepping outside our bungalow to see an elephant wandering around on the beach. SAMUI KATI After 5 weeks of travelling around Thailand we then hopped on a short flight over to Singapore. I had previously visited Singapore and can’t get enough of this diverse, clean and cosmopolitan city.
The first hotel we stayed at in Singapore was the Parkroyal on Pickering. The hotel is located on the edge of China town in close proximity to many of Singapore’s most famous sites such as Raffles, Marina Bay and Clarke Quay. In a city filled with skyscrapers the Parkroyal really sticks out in the Singapore skyline with its unique design that highlights its commitment to being green and eco-friendly. From the moment you step inside you are taken aback by the spectacular interior design that brings to mind images of Asian countryside and rice paddies. It’s really nice to know that the architectural design is matched by real environmentalism; the hotel collects rainwater, uses solar power where it can and uses light, motion and rain sensors to try and be as self-sustainable as possible. When we arrived at the Parkroyal we were greeted by very friendly staff waiting to check is in whilst we sipped on a refreshing complimentary lemon grass drink.
We stayed in one of the Orchid Club rooms, the room was simply stunning, decorated in tasteful greens and natural woods and large enough to contain the most comfortable king sized bed in the world, a work area and a sofa. In the large modern bathroom there was a bath tub big enough to go scuba diving in. Staying in an Orchid Club room also comes with some great privileges; champagne breakfast, all-day soft drinks, afternoon tea, evening cocktails at the roof top terrace and a whole host of other benefits. We really were looked after very well! When we wanted to relax we headed to the fifth floor and the infinity pool where the bird-cage like cabanas offer a unique place to soak up some sunshine.
After PARKROYAL we spent the remainder of our time in Singapore staying in the Marina Bay Sands Hotel which was a spectacular experience, it wasn’t great for the bank account but this place is on the bucket list. The reception was something I was not expecting, it was very much like being in an airport with huge groups of people running around with suitcases, however the staff were very helpful and even gave us a free upgrade. Once we had checked in it was actually very easy to find our room (surprisingly). The rooms were HUGE and very modern; I guess I was expecting something a lot smaller as we were staying in such a well-known hotel, and the view from the balcony was a spectacular view of the Gardens by the Bay. Part of the Maria Bay experience is going up to the Sky Park where you can bathe in the infinity pool (which was soooooooooooo amazing) and you can chill on the pool side with great cocktails.
After Singapore it was a hop on the plane and back to rainy UK. Below are more photos of our trip and an aftermovie.