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Popular Beach destinations in Thailand are magnets for all kinds of holiday makers and pleasure seekers. From the young, to the mature, to the family looking for that bargain get away. Itís because they offer so much in terms of sun, sea, sand; from the spectacular to the sublime; and thatís before the sunís even gone down.

Phuket in the southern province, almost a household name in this country amongst a certain generation, is the biggest Thai island and is located in the Andaman Sea. Itís very mountainous with 70% of its surface being labelled as such. Beach resorts on Phuket are near legendary for all of the right and wrong reasons. Thereís Paton, with its fast and energetic nightlife, which covers everything from transvestite cabaret to live music clubs, generally populated by a younger, hipper, more hedonistic crowd. Kata is the opposite of Paton and is where familyís go on holiday. The nightlife is far more reserved and less frenetic with many restuarants taking up the mantle with a far more laid back approach. Then there is Karon which sits comfortably somewhere between the two extremes. As for beach activity, Phuket is in general Thailandís diving capital with lots of coral reef to see. Yachting is a large part of island life too and taking trips by canoe is a must. There is also ample opportunity to touch up on your golfing handicap if the mood so catches you.

Ko Samet Island (13.1 km) in the East - with Hat Sai Gaew being its longest beach - is some 220km from Bangkok. Itís situated on an archipelago so dry that water has to be shipped in. What this means is that in the rainy season the region isnít affected as badly (for the tourist) as it could be. Of course you can go jet skiiing or snorkelling and even take a squid fishing trip if youíre feeling a little adventurous. The beaches are all generaly of a high standard, which is what youíd expect, and the crystal seas are good fare for windsurfing too. Nightlife is of course excellent also.

Ko Samui is the 3rd largest island in Thailand at 228km sq and is surrounded by 60 other smaller ones, all of which serve the area as a stunning place of natural beauty full of clear water, coconut trees, lagoons and waterfalls. Canoeing and kayaking between islands is a must as the sense of freedom and adventure is immense. You can go diving too but there is a distinct lack of reefs, which will disappoint some but is not an issue for others. Cycling is available to get around and explore, and at night the clubs provide ample entertainment for all of the party animals there may be out there.

March 06, 2010

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Salawin river, Mae Hong Son province, northern Thailand
Hike & Hilltribe village homestay to Salawin river, Mae Hong Son

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