By John Ridler - PR & Media Manager
Mention the word Thailand and almost immediately the conversation turns to Phuket – even by those who have not yet visited Thailand.
No doubt their friends have been there.
But Thailand is not just Phuket.
Yes, it is one of the most popular destinations in Thailand and many first time visitors head for the island by choice.
Phuket is known for its beautiful beaches, year-round sunshine, colourful outdoor markets and thumping nightlife.
But this might be the exact opposite of what you want in a holiday.
Take heart – there is much more to Thailand.
Avoid the crowds and head for the quieter spots.
Thailand is filled with hidden gems from the forests of Northern Thailand to tiny islands on the Andaman Sea.
If you are not sure and still want a little fun and nightlife, Krabi is just a short distance away and Koh Samui is also a winner.
Or head up the west coast from Phuket to Khao Lak where you can walk for miles along the pristine beaches and bump into just a handful of visitors.
My current favourite islands are Koh Lanta and Koh Chang where the pace is decidedly sleepier and the locals friendlier.
These islands are host to a handful of small resort hotels where the guests are seeking quiet sun-filled days and nights filled with the sounds of the ocean instead of a disco. And if you are craving a bit of music then jump in a shared taxi and head for the nearest village where there is a little local action.
Thailand has so much to offer so branch out and find your newest favourite place to chill in Thailand.