By Surabhi Pandey

Thailand is known for its spectacular beaches, breathtaking topography and rich cultural heritage. From nature lovers to adrenaline junkies and honeymooners to peace seekers, Thailand has something for everyone. However, when someone says ‘beach holiday’, we immediately picture a view of the ocean and vast sandy coastlines. 

One thing, which many people probably don’t know about Thailand’s beach destinations, is that there is much more to see and experience than their amazing beaches. While it is true that some of the world’s most beautiful coastlines are found in this country, it has a lot more than sun, surf and sand to offer.

If you are one of those people who seek a holistic experience out of your vacation, then here is a list of three beach destinations in Thailand that offers everything from culture, adventure and of course, nature at its best. Another amazing thing about this itinerary is that you don’t need to wait for a long vacation, you can cover these three islands on a five day break. Let us show you how:

Phuket- John Gray Sea Caves Kayaking And The Phuket Fantasea Show

You only need 1.5 days in Phuket and you can experience some of the best things that this beach destination has to offer. In addition to its pristine coastlines and beaches like Kamala and Pa Tong, Phuket has an amazing nightlife. But, that is not just it. Phuket also has an amazing cultural palette to offer.

The Phuket Fantasea show is a must-watch. From local dancers to mime artists and folk dance to acrobatics- this two-hour spectacle will take you far away from the digital world, into a mystical land where mythologies come alive in front of your eyes. You can also enjoy a lavish spread of multi-cuisine buffet dinner before the show. 

Another one-of-its-kind experience that you don’t want to miss out on when in Phuket is the John Gray’s Hong by Starlight with Sea Cave Kayaking and Loy Krathong Floating. This is not yet another water sports venture but rather a holistic combination of cruising in the sea while taking breaks to kayak under mountain caves and exploring hidden lagoons. This is an experience that will stay with you forever. 

The cruise begins in the morning and after an entire day of exploring the crystal green sea under caves and through lagoons, as you sail back to the land with the backdrop of the setting sun and the sound of gushing waves- the view is picturesque. At night, you get to make your own Loy Krathong using flowers and decoratives provided by the organisers after which you can kayak to a hidden cave in the night to float your lit Loy Krathong with your loved ones.

Floating these flower baskets is an old Thai tradition and being able to do it with the help and guidance of locals adds a dash of cultural flavour to the whole experience making it even more special. 

Phi Phi Island- Maya Bay, Monkey Beach And The Sunset Sail

If you want to enjoy the sea at its most untamed, Phi Phi is the place for you. From snorkelling to boat parties and kayaking to sea diving, Phi Phi has everything that a standard beach destination offers. What makes this island special, is it’s crystal clear emerald water and secluded beaches. The water at Phi Phi island is crystal clear, allowing you to truly enjoy the marine life.

Maya Bay is one secret untouched beach where people can only reach if the tides are low and they know how to swim. Another extremely secluded, small beach that is mostly submerged, is Monkey Beach. Inhabited by sea monkeys and crabs, this place is a haven for people seeking serenity and peace. 

Hire yourself a wooden longtail boat and sailing towards the sunset, and I guarantee you will have one of the best evenings of your life. The breathtaking frame of the setting sun in a clear sky with cliffs on one side and an endless ocean on the other is truly a sight to behold. 

Krabi- Luxurious Seaside Resorts, Happening NightLife And The Tiger Cave Temple

Krabi will be the last leg of your five-day trip so you can splurge a bit, by booking a lavish seaside resort where you can enjoy exotic as well as authentic Thai food and relax in the jacuzzi or book an in-room spa. If you are a night owl, Krabi has amazing late night bars and restaurants. Even the world-famous Ao Nang beach is flocked by tourists till late night.

You can also visit the Tiger Cave Temple, a Buddhist shrine located in the northeast part of Krabi. A venerated site, this temple is known for the unique tiger paw prints inside caves, tall and detailed Buddha statues as well as a spectacular hilltop view. After climbing a 100 steps up a hill, you can enjoy a birds-eye view of the entire city and trust me, the climb is worth it.

So the next time when you want to take a short beach vacay to Thailand, remember that there truly is much more to see and experience than just their gorgeous sandy beaches.