Thailand Traveller Digest by asliari2012

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                                                                                                                               andaman coast
                                                                                                                                  Ko muK
                                                                                                                               The impressive limestone karst
                                                                                                                               coast of Trang Province shelters
                                                                                                                               several sublime islands. The isle
                                                                                                                               of Ko Muk is home to spectacular
                                                                                                                               Hat Farang (aka Hat Sai Yao) – a
                                                                                                                               calming stretch of sand where
                                                                                                         a long-tail boat on   jade water kisses a perfect beach.
                                                                                                           the beach at hat    Further north, Tham Morakot
                                                                                                          farang on Ko muk
                                                                                                                               (Emerald Cave) is a rock tunnel
                                                                                                                               leading – at low tide – to a small
                                                  MINI GUIDE                                                                   beach surrounded by cliffs on all      Jewel-blue sea and the palest of
                                                                                                                                                                      sand at sunrise beach on Ko lipe
                                                                                                                               sides (tourismthailand.org)



                                                  THAILAND’S                                                                     Ko TaruTao marine
                                                                                                                               naTional parK
                                                                                                                                                                         Ko lanTa
                                                                                                                                                                      Ko Lanta is a crucible of cultures,


                                                  ISLANDS
                                                                                                                               One of the most unspoiled              mixing Buddhist temples,
                                                                                                                               regions in all of Thailand, this       slender minarets and chow lair
                                                                                                                               park encompasses 51 islands,           (sea gypsy) villages. Northern
                                                                                                                               including Ko Tarutao itself,           beaches are busy but fun, with
                                                  ‘Ko’ means island in Thai – the very word                                    covered in old-growth jungle.          more mellow ones to the south.
                                                                                                                               Long-tail boat tours take in           The cave complex of Tham Khao
                                                  conjures up dreamy beaches, huts in the                                      islands home to hornbills, langur      Maikaeo conceals a subterranean
                                                  shade of a coconut palm, fantastic rock                                      monkeys and fishing cats. Ko Lipe       pool and chambers as large as
                                                                                                                               is the most developed island, but      cathedrals – local guides can
                                                  formations and undersea gardens. Hop in                                      also has the widest choice of          arrange treks (around £4), and
                                                  a long-tail boat and cast off the moorings.                                  accommodation and beautiful
                                                                                                                               beaches (dnp.go.th/parkreserve,
                                                                                                                                                                      resort hotels can arrange
                                                                                                                                                                      transport and motorcycle hire
                                                                                                                               kohlipethailand.com).                  (lantainfo.com, kolanta.net).


                                                   southern gulf                                                               northeast gulf                                                               Fold 1
                                                      Ko Tao                                                                      Ko sameT
                                                   A scuba-diving honeypot off the                                             Within weekending distance of
                                                   crystalline Gulf Coast, Ko Tao is                                           Bangkok, Ko Samet is popular
                                                   also the easiest and cheapest spot                                          with Thais and visitors alike, but
                                                   around to learn dive basics. The                                            is surprisingly underdeveloped
                                                   Japanese Gardens, to the island’s                                           all the same. A coastal footpath
                                                   northwest, is an ideal dive site for                                        runs the four-mile length of this
                                                   beginners, with plenty of coral,                                            skinny island, skirting one lovely
                                                   turtles, stingrays and pufferfish.                                           cove after another. Sunset at the
                                                   Big Blue Diving is a recommended                                            northern end brings late-night
                                                   mid-sized local diving school                                               parties and karaoke sessions;
                                                   (bigbluediving.com; Hat Sai Ri;        Typical market stall offerings in    things get quieter the further         Take a jungle trek on Ko chang
                                                                                          ban bo phut on Ko samui                                                     to the ban Kwan elephant camp
                                                   four-day beginner courses £185).                                            south you go (kosamet.net).

                                                      Ko samui                               Ko pha-ngan                          Ko chang                               Ko KuT
                                                   Fairly large and multi-faceted         Things are changing on Ko            With steep, jungle-covered peaks       Coconut palms outnumber
                                                   enough to fit in luxury yoga            Pha-ngan. Parties still take place   erupting from the sea, Ko Chang        buildings on the easternmost
Tear out page here then fold along dotted lines




                                                   retreats as well as backpacker         on the beach at Hat Rin every full   retains a rugged spirit despite its    island in Thailand, just 20 miles
                                                   shanties, Ko Samui is particularly     moon, but the island as a whole is   package-holiday reputation. This       by sea from Cambodia, where a
                                                   blessed with places to eat, not        creeping upmarket. The beaches       is largely down to its accessible      secluded, unhurried atmosphere
                                                   least the many kow gaang (rice         of the north and east are still      wilderness: island treks allow you     pervades everything. There’s not
                                                   and curry) roadside stalls. The        relatively secluded (Hat Khuat,      to explore forests filled with birds,   much nightlife or even dining,
                                                   town of Hat Chaweng meanwhile          or Bottle Beach, is a top choice),   monkeys, lizards and beautiful         but the beaches of the western
                                                   is home to the Samui Institute of      and the jungle interior rewards      flowers. Evolution Tours offers         side, Hat Khlong Chao above all,
                                                   Thai Culinary Arts, which has          exploration with four, year-round    one-day trips that include a           are among Thailand’s finest. Two
                                                   daily cooking courses and classes      waterfalls. Change out of beach      waterfall swim and a stop at an        inland waterfalls are good short
                                                   in the arts of carving fruit and       clothes to visit one of the 20 wat   elephant camp (evolutiontour.          hiking destinations, with pools to
                                                   vegetables into intricate floral        (temples) – Wat Pho, near Ban        com; treks from £28).                  cool off in (kohkood.com).
                                                   designs (sitca.net; Hat Chaweng;       Tai, offers a herbal sauna for
                                                   three-hour courses £40).               about £1 (kohphangan.com).            Turn over for map and number locaTions


                                                                                                                                                                 December 2012 lonely planet Traveller 135
     mini guide
     Thailand’s islands
                                                                                                             Sights & Activities   Where to stay




     Thailand essentials                                                     The know-how
       TranSPorT                                                             Thai TaLK
     Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport                                          Basic traveller speak to help         ToP TiP
     is served by BA and Thai Airways                                        you on your way                       Thais set great store by
     from Heathrow (from £820;                                                                                     politeness. If you’re
                                                                             hello
     thaiairways.co.uk). Air-hopping                                         Sa-wat-dee                            tempted to try out a few




                                                                                                                                                   CoMpILeD By jASoN rILey & rory GouLDING, wITH CoNTrIBuTIoNS FroM AuSTIN BuSH, BrANDoN preSSer
     around the country remains an                                                                                 phrases, one way to add a
                                                                             excuse me (to get past)
                                                                                                                   polite touch and soften your



                                                                                                                                                   AND CeLeSTe BrASH. pHoToGrApHS: IMAGeBroKer/ALAMy, LooK/ALAMy, ANDy SeLINGer/SuperSToCK,
     affordable option, with operators                                       Kor a-pai
                                                                                                                   speech is to end a question
     including Bangkok Airways and                                           Thank you
                                                                                                                   or statement with the word
     Air Asia. Most routes originate                                         Korp kun
                                                                                                                   ‘krap’ (if you’re a man) or
     from Bangkok (Ko Samui from                                             how are you?
                                                                                                                   ‘ka’ (if you’re a woman).
     £140; bangkokair.com). Ko                                               Sa-bai dee mai
     Samui is the only island in this     The Library brings an unfussy      Fine. and you?
                                          aesthetic to Ko Samui
     guide you can fly to. Ferries serve                                      Sa-bai dee (krap/ka) laa-ou           FurTher reading
     the other islands from mainland                                         kun la (male/female speaker)          Lonely Planet’s Thailand
     transport hubs, including Trat,         Sri Lanta is a decadent yet     do you speak english?                 (£17.99) offers thorough
     Surat Thani, Chumphon, Krabi         ecologically responsible resort    Kun poot pah-sah ang-grit             coverage and insights into
     and Trang, often with a dedicated    on Ko Lanta where naturalistic     dai mai                               the whole country, while
     bus service to the relevant pier.    wooden villas dot wild gardens     i don’t understand                    Thailand’s Islands & Beaches
     It’s best to check your guidebook    stretching from the beach to       (Pom/di-chan) mai kow jai             (£14.99) focuses on coastal
     for specific details and providers.   a landscaped jungle hillside       (male/female speaker)                 regions. You can download
                                          (srilanta.com; 111 Moo 6,          goodbye                               individual chapters from both
                                                                                                                                                   THoMAS STANKIewICz/AGe FoToSToCK




        Where To STay                     Hat Khlong Nin; from £125).        Lah gorn                              guides at lonelyplanet.com
        Lemon yellow bungalows sit           The Library, by Chaweng                                               (£2.99). The Tourism
     peacefully beside the sea at Ko      beach on Ko Samui, is decorated                                          Authority of Thailand
     Chang’s KB Resort. Listen to the     in sparkling white – except for                                          (tourismthailand.org) has
     lapping of the surf while kids       the dramatic red-tiled pool. The                                         information and lists events,
     construct mega-cities in the sand.   resort is a study in pared-back                                          and thaitravelblogs.com is a
     Go for an air-conditioned villa if   and contemplative design, with                                           good source for insights into
     possible (kbresort.com; 10/16        iMacs in every room (thelibrary.                                         the country.
     Moo 4; from £30).                    co.th; 14/1 Moo 2; from £270).


136 Lonely Planet Traveller December 2012

								
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