Travel

Thailand: A Popular Tourist Destination with Something for Everyone

Thailand has been one of the most popular tourist destinations in Asia for several decades, and Phuket ranks high among the places visitors choose to visit. I have been visiting Phuket since the 1970s but always enjoy returning, especially as it is one of the easiest places to visit from west Malaysia thanks to regular flights from KL and Penang. For those who enjoy driving, it’s quite a long, but generally scenic and effortless journey, and the destination is worth it.

The infectious island atmosphere, wonderful beaches, and multitude of bars and restaurants are just a few of the attractions that have ensured Phuket has remained popular with people of all ages. Fortunately, the infrastructure has kept pace with the rapid increase in visitor numbers, so a holiday on the island doesn’t have to be a stressful encounter.

As tourists have increasingly flocked to this Thai gem, hotels have sprung up to accommodate them, and on my most recent visit, my family and I opted to stay at the Marriott Phuket Beach Club, which is nestled on Khao Mai beach and offers a stunning view of the sparkling Andaman Sea.

This five-star property’s location is superb –just 15km from the airport for those flying to the island – and really has something for everyone. There are extensive facilities including three pools, tennis courts, bicycles for exploring the landscaped resort or the surrounding areas, a well-equipped fitness centre, and a kids’ playroom. In addition to the facilities, my children and I were all equally delighted with the endless activities on offer. That said, it is just as easy to find a secluded, scenic spot to relax and recuperate, allowing the magical location and the luxurious hotel do its work, while the ultimate pampering is available at the award-winning Mandara Spa.

Accommodation is in two-bedroom villas, perfect for our family of five. Our villa was well-furnished and came with a fully equipped kitchen, and we were grateful for the large TV and WiFi which ensured the kids were happily occupied on the rare occasions there were stuck in the villa. The kitchen was left untouched, however, as there is an excellent choice of restaurants, all of which we sampled. The kids loved the Italian outlet (Cucina), and, as would be expected, the Thai restaurant (Ginja Taste) was of a very high standard, even offering cooking classes for people whowant to upgrade or acquire skills. My wife and I loved the steak and fish available at the Andaman Grill, while the coffee shop, Siam Deli, has an extensive menu and was ideal for quick meals.

As always, there was much to enjoy during our holiday in Phuket, and though we were there during the rainy season (May to October; the driest months are December to March), there was no rain the whole week. Visiting during the rainy season also means low rates and quieter restaurants, which is never unwelcome!

It was our first visit to Marriott, and we were thrilled with what we found there; the family consensus was to return next year. However, it seems we are late to realise the charms of the Marriott Phuket Beach Club, as we bumped into some expat friends who live in Malaysia under the MM2H programme, and they’ve been visiting the hotel regularly since it was built in 1982. High praise, indeed.

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For more information on Membership and Holiday Living contact: Marriott Vacation Club Asia Pacific, Phuket: (+66)0 7633 8161(+66)0 7633 8161 A complimentary gift will be provided (terms and conditions apply).

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This article was written by Andy Davison for The Expat magazine.
Source: The Expat November 2012

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