As the temperatures start to drop in Australia, conditions in southern Thailand are just about right; cooling down a little from the peak temperatures seen in March, April and May but still a few months shy of the humidity that comes with the wet season. In Koh Samui and Hua Hin you’re unlikely to see any rain while in Phuket it is marginally wetter, but generally in the form of short bursts. Plus this time of year sees fewer crowds and lower prices.
Best for Tranquility
X2 Kui Buri
Half an hour from the popular resort town of Hua Hin, the X2 is one of just a handful of hotels and private villas in the sleepy enclave of Kui Buri. Pronounced “cross to”, the X2 Kui Buri is one of two properties in Thailand from the X2 brand that offers boutique, design conscious resorts with a relaxed vibe. 23 villas (most with private pools) are spread across four acres of beachfront land, surrounded only by local fishing villages. There’s a bar and restaurant, spa, swimming pool and petanque court, but other than that this is the pace to just sit back and appreciate the art of doing nothing.
Rates: Villas are priced from THB16,780 (about A$552) per night including champagne breakfast.
Best for the Beautiful People
The brainchild of British property developer Tim Dean-Smith, Beach Republic is modelled after resorts in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. The property describes itself as a beach club with rooms attached, rather than strictly a resort, in keeping with its cool and sexy style. The Residences are a mix of rooms, villas and penthouses (most of which have private pools), and are styled in bright, bold colours with high tech gadgets. The Ocean Club is an Ibiza-style oceanfront bar with day beds, private cabanas, swimming pools, DJs spinning all day and cocktails flowing freely.
Best for a City Stopover
If you’re flying into Bangkok it’s great to break the trip with a night (or two) at a stylish city hotel. LIT Bangkok is petite by city standards with just 79 rooms, set inside a modern, L-shaped, low-rise building. The hotel is in a great location, just a couple of hundred metres from the Skytrain and close to multiple shopping malls, the historic Jim Thompson House, traditional sois (alleys) lined with restaurants and Chinatown. Inside the hotel complex there’s a swimming pool (to cool off after a muggy Bangkok afternoon), two restaurants, a spa and a leafy green courtyard.
Rates: Rooms are priced from THB7,000 (about A$230) per night and suites from THB9,000 (about A$296) per night plus taxes.
Best for Couples
Let’s Sea Hua Hin Al Fresco Resort
A destination of choice for the Thai royal family; Let’s Sea Hua Hin began life as one of the area’s most famous restaurants and expanded into a boutique luxury resort in 2007 (and has also undergone a recent refurbishment). The 40 rooms run along a lagoon pool so those on the ground floor can step directly out into the water, while those on the second floor have a private “moon deck” for stargazing. Take advantage of the rooftop or beach yoga sessions, or relax with the champagne brunch.
Rates: Suites are priced from THB4,499 (about A$148) and pool access suites from THB4,999 (about A$165) plus taxes.
Direct flights to Bangkok are available from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth and flight time is between seven and nine hours. Return economy fares start from A$1,049, premium economy fares from A$1,757 and business class fares from A$3,366.