Growing up in India, April has always been a fantastic month. Summer vacations, no studies, eating ice lollies on hot afternoons, playing outdoors with friends from morning to night, and family holidays with all our cousins.
In Thailand, Songkran or Thai New Year holiday is in April and you can already feel the excitement in the air. There are playful water fights held on the streets everywhere. Young and old alike gear up with their water squirt guns and colorful clothes all over the country to celebrate with water. Bangkok is famous for their extravagant and fun filled street parties outside Centralworld mall and Khao San road.
In Bangkok, everyone gets excited about travelling and exploring South East Asia in the summer. Cafe’s will be buzzing with people making plans and booking tickets online. It’s not that Bangkok as a city is bad during the holidays. I mean, if you love humidity, sunny days and walking around feeling like a melted ice-cream then you’ll just love it here in April and May. Not me though, I’d rather submerge myself in the beautiful cool azure waters of the Thai gulf or the Andaman sea instead of hanging out in supersized malls.
So, the school holidays are fast approaching and if you haven’t booked your trip yet, this post is for you. All these ideas can be booked last minute!
Are you ready for a unique Island Expedition?
For me, it is always a clear case of so much to see so little time. I’m always stumped about what activities to choose. And then we need to make sure the holiday is fun for everyone.. because not everyone is an adrenaline junkie like me. Such is life with kids.
This time we are hoping to do some unique activities. Check out turtles, swim with sharks at shark point, kayak in some hongs (caves) to see bio luminescent plankton and snorkel as much as we can as well. The beaches in Thailand are very calm and generally safe for kids to swim in during the dry season between November and May.
Phuket may seem like a tourist ridden party island at the moment, but there are quite a few unique and scenic spots you can get to from here. Landing here and taking boats to the various islands is a great idea.
A day trip is perfect to explore the surrounding islands. John Gray’s Hong by starlight tour has received great reviews as it combines the best activities in one day. Their 10 hour tour has kayaking in the lagoons near Phuket, cave exploration, seeing bio luminescent plankton, snorkeling and island hopping.
Travel tip: You will find a lot of local companies in Phuket, Koh Lanta, and other islands offering various tours. We generally book them on the spot or a day in advance after checking the weather and how we are feeling that day.
The Royal Navy Third Fleet Turtle Hatchery is another place within driving distance from Phuket in Khao Lak, 70 km north of Phuket Airport. If you stay in Khao Lak you can sail to the Similan islands and Surin islands to enjoy the bright and colorful reefs and hopefully swim with turtles.
Khao Lak white sand beach has some lovely hotels.
A friend recently went to Samet Nangshe and was spellbound by the majestic sunrise and camping experience there, and I’ve been eager to explore the green luscious forests of Khao Sok National park, located near Khao Lak but I think that would be perfect for another trip by itself. If you’re camping enthusiasts, you would love this.
James bond island and Maya bay are done to death. So I think Koh Lanta is a brilliant next stop for our trip. There are large ferries that take you from Rassada pier in Phuket to Saladan pier on Koh Lanta in 3 hours with a stop at PhiPhi island.
Koh lanta itself is a charming island town with great cafes and beautiful beaches. Hotel options are plenty and I would recommend hiring a scooter and exploring the islands many beaches on your own. I saw something called Secret beach on the map, and now I know I just have to go there. For more exciting undersea sights, take a tour to Koh Rok nearby for snorkeling.
Phi Phi islands
Oh Phi Phi, I fell in love with you on the big screen the moment Leonardo Dicaprio found himself on your powder fine white sand beach and looked in amazement at the towering karst islands surrounding the cove. If you haven’t seen the movie The Beach, please watch it. And then book your trip to the Phi Phi islands immediately. The sunsets are unparalleled, the beaches are clean and you can stay at hotels with the waves right at your door. It may not be the uninhabited secret island it may have once been but its got a laid back charm and good hotels that are kid friendly. To make this even more enticing for you, there is a place called Shark point where you can snorkel and swim around harmless varieties of sharks.
Travel tip: It’s one of the few places in Thailand where you can snorkel and experience the bio luminescent plankton all year round. Its best visible on a new moon night so keep that in mind if you want a truly spectacular show.
There you have it. Pack your swimwear and loads of sunscreen and spend your summer vacation on some islands in Thailand. You won’t be disappointed!