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  • dannyrado

    Hi,

    We have to make a trip to Singapore early next year. I’m thinking of combining with a week in Thailand. We’ve never been.

    We are a small fam with a 12yo daughter. My wife isn’t a fan of place to place travelling, she’s certainly more of an unpack and spend a week somewhere person. I don’t think either of us want a magalluf experience, so I think Bangla road is out.

    We’re looking for suggestions really, obviously Phuket is easier, it’s cheap from Singapore, and we can get back one stop too, using qatar, Etihad etc. I’d want real luxury though, but not insulated luxury miles away from anywhere. It would be great if it were an English speaking clientele too, so my daughter can hopefully find someone to play with in the pool etc..

    Friends have suggested Koh Samui, which looks extraordinary, but Phuket is cheaper and easier to get to. Doesn’t need to be Thailand necessarily, but if I’m looking at things to do, that ticks the boxes.

    SamG

    Phuket has plenty of luxury options. However a “quirk” of luxury does often mean that you get villa type rooms, private pools and so you end up not seeing anyone !

    My general experience is the further south you go the more of that type of property you find. You may be better springing for a slightly less luxury property in one of the main resorts if you want a bit more life

    One idea is to flick through the Kuoni and TUI websites and see what options they’re offering.

    Luxury escapes, secret escapes etc often have good deals for Phuket too

    Gary

    Agree with @SamG. We have similar preferences re long stay/kids. Luxury is not hard to find in both Phuket and Samui, but many are isolated.

    If there isn’t a strong preference for either location, I would recommend identifying one or two suitable resorts that fulfil your requirements first, then plan backwards to sync your flights.

    Bangkok Airways operates a direct SIN-USM flight (timing works with BA arrival to SIN if applicable), and as you pointed out many flights to Phuket from SIN too. You can identify Bangkok Airways reward availability via https://www.qantas.com/au/en/book-a-trip/flights.html then ring QPC to book (over the phone only & painful) unless you have QR miles. Sometimes cash fares work out better value then redemptions.

    BuildBackBetter

    Weather is an important factor to consider before deciding on the destination. It can be very different from east coast to west coast (Thailand or Malaysia). Use this website to filter for your month of travel.

    https://www.selectiveasia.com/weather/december

    I dont agree with above posts that many luxury resorts are isolated. Its not like maldives where you get your own private part of the beach. Unless you are looking for uber luxury resorts in Koh Samui, most upscale resorts, even if they have villas, have common pools and beaches used by all guests where you can easily find people you can talk to. Phuket also has the advantage of having the option of day trips or island hopping, where you can find trips with small groups and can feel exclusive (usually the cheaper ones are bulk booked by tourist groups – avoid them). Also transport is cheaper in Asia, so even if you end up in a resort away from crowds, you can reach restaurants outside easily.

    dannyrado

    Thanks all.

    I think it’s got to be Phuket, reassured that it’s not all Benidorm. Easier (and substantially cheaper) to tie in flight wise, and plenty to do there, keep us entertained.

    It’s late March, so looking at that page weather looks ok.

    So, onto recommendations for where to stay. I will do extensive research (always do) but some pointers.. Lovely resort, nice views, walking distance to some eateries, markets, etc

    SamG

    Weather is an important factor to consider before deciding on the destination. It can be very different from east coast to west coast (Thailand or Malaysia). Use this website to filter for your month of travel.

    https://www.selectiveasia.com/weather/december

    I dont agree with above posts that many luxury resorts are isolated. Its not like maldives where you get your own private part of the beach. Unless you are looking for uber luxury resorts in Koh Samui, most upscale resorts, even if they have villas, have common pools and beaches used by all guests where you can easily find people you can talk to. Phuket also has the advantage of having the option of day trips or island hopping, where you can find trips with small groups and can feel exclusive (usually the cheaper ones are bulk booked by tourist groups – avoid them). Also transport is cheaper in Asia, so even if you end up in a resort away from crowds, you can reach restaurants outside easily.

    Agree it’s not like the Maldives – but some of the resorts way down south are quite a way from a resort (and the cost of taxi in Phuket is surprisingly high!) + once you’re inside although they do have shared facilities, they’re often very quiet, bars very empty at night etc.

    Some ideas could be either Le Meridien or the Marriot at Merlin Beach (although I wouldn’t necessarily stick to the big brands) They may not be luxury enough but I’ve been to both a couple of times and I like the balance between them being a decent hotel with good pool and beach areas as well as their easy access to Patong and Karon. Otherwise personally I’d have a look around the Karon / Kata / Kata Noi areas and see if there are any hotels that take you fancy. That way you’ve got access to a good selection of restaurants/market etc as well

    Can recommend Simba sea trips. As @BuildBackBetter says – these are smaller and more exclusive. They set off very early in the morning so you’re generally leaving somewhere as the bulk groups arrive.

    kiley

    For me the Nai Harn Hotel at nai Harn was one of the best hotel experiences of my life. The inclusive buffet breakfast had everything you van think of.

    https://www.thenaiharn.com/

    Or/And
    Sii Laguna which is right on the beach and The hotel has plenty to do included, sailing, windsurf, SUP, daily fitness classes etc, but a bit quiet in the evening.

    However, walking distance to some great beach bars and restaurants, just 200yrds away (I completely recommend “Beach Pig bar and restaurant” owned and managed by Ben! Which is next door to the hotel)

    https://www.saiiresorts.com/phuket/laguna/offers/flexible-offer/?gclid=CjwKCAjwpayjBhAnEiwA-7ena3IAsWeLqu4PInQ9-gei742krVVOmFTar13pshDmrQtVP_uF_5JgsRoCwA4QAvD_BwE

    Phuket has plenty to keep you busy for more than 2 weeks with attractions and sooo many amazing beaches.

    Richard Peters

    This was great pre pandemic and easy walking distance of good local restaurants (some of which will collect and return you for free)

    https://www.dusit.com/dusitthani-lagunaphuket

    Also sufficiently far away from the tackier side of the area. Had two excellent suits made for buttons as well.

    Aston100

    Can recommend Simba sea trips. As @BuildBackBetter says – these are smaller and more exclusive. They set off very early in the morning so you’re generally leaving somewhere as the bulk groups arrive.

    I can vouch for this bunch:
    https://phuketsailtours.com/

    memesweeper

    Consider Chiang Mai. No beach but tons of kid distractions. I took three kids many moons ago and they loved it.

    Also when in Singapore be the hero and take the bus to Legoland Malaysia. Fabulous fun and – if you pre-pay a “deal” — good value. Probably the best family thing we did in “Singapore”!

    SamG

    For me the Nai Harn Hotel at nai Harn was one of the best hotel experiences of my life. The inclusive buffet breakfast had everything you van think of.

    https://www.thenaiharn.com/

    Or/And
    Sii Laguna which is right on the beach and The hotel has plenty to do included, sailing, windsurf, SUP, daily fitness classes etc, but a bit quiet in the evening.

    However, walking distance to some great beach bars and restaurants, just 200yrds away (I completely recommend “Beach Pig bar and restaurant” owned and managed by Ben! Which is next door to the hotel)

    https://www.saiiresorts.com/phuket/laguna/offers/flexible-offer/?gclid=CjwKCAjwpayjBhAnEiwA-7ena3IAsWeLqu4PInQ9-gei742krVVOmFTar13pshDmrQtVP_uF_5JgsRoCwA4QAvD_BwE

    Phuket has plenty to keep you busy for more than 2 weeks with attractions and sooo many amazing beaches.

    Of course it’s just my opinion but this is the type of place I personally wouldn’t recommend for a week for someone who’s never been. It’s a good slog away from the airport (could easily be 2hrs) , an hr away from where Simba launches from etc. It’s not near any of the more obvious resorts, tourist markets and that kind of thing, especially in the evening when you’ve got a 12 yr old to keep happy!

    That said if hotel is high on your priority, I agree that the more luxury options (and especially the better value options) are down in the south

    BuildBackBetter

    Consider Chiang Mai. No beach but tons of kid distractions. I took three kids many moons ago and they loved it.

    Also when in Singapore be the hero and take the bus to Legoland Malaysia. Fabulous fun and – if you pre-pay a “deal” — good value. Probably the best family thing we did in “Singapore”!

    And here I was thinking Chiangmai is more of a honeymooon destination 😳
    Can you share some examples of the ‘kid distractions’?

    Karl

    I’ve visited both Phuket and Koh Samui and much prefer the latter.

    Only been to Patong in Phuket which seemed quite sex-touristy, over-priced (by Thai standards) and the beach wasn’t great.

    On Samui, Chaweng is probably the area to avoid as lots of nightlife and little in the way of luxury accomodation.

    A lot of the fancy Samui resorts tend to be isolated with little/if anything within walking distance. One exception though is the Melia, a lovely hotel at the top of the island. It is situated right on a nice beach, has excellent staff, a great pool and plenty of activities for both adults and kids. It’s on a road with a some nice restaurants, albeit not overly fancy ones but serving decent food. There’s also a nearby Kimpton which looks slightly more upscale.

    dannyrado

    Thanks again, I’m not looking for six star luxury by the way, I want to be able to go to the lobby in my next swimmers and decathlon sunnies. I do love a gorgeous room and surroundings, but not the hoity toit that generally comes with super expensive/exclusive resorts.


    @Karl
    I had looked at the Melia first, because I should be able to use the 20% offer from being Melia gold.

    SamG

    If you’ve only been to Patong it’s a little unfair to rule out Phuket 🙂

    I like Koh Samui but I think just the extra cost alone for the flights doesn’t justify it vs Phuket esp for a family. (that SIN-Koh Samui flight is ridiculously expensive for what is one of / if not the shortest flights out of Singapore!)

    davet

    Thailand is such an incredible and diverse place its really difficult to recommend based on the information at hand, if you have been lucky enough to see a lot of it then you’ll likely make recommendations based on what you like

    for example Koh Laak isnt too far from the airport, the resorts would be excellent for familes and its near lots of tours and local areas – away from patong. its near sailing and other excursions too, however is it in the thick of it? not at all

    Koh Samui will cost you more but will feel more Thai and the experience is much nicer but if you are looking for the facilities of Koh Laak you wont find them, I’d also prefer samui as i visit Thailand for the exact vibe the islands give. However my next visit is with a 2 year old and an 11 year old also travelling via singpaore so it doesnt work for us in that trip, we have swapped it out for Koh lanta just off the coast by Phuket – but would I recommend the full time in Thailand in Koh Lanta, probably not.

    memesweeper

    Can you share some examples of the ‘kid distractions’?

    Highlights from memory:

    – Cafe full of cats
    – Festival of “releasing the little birds” at the temple (requires good timing, to be fair!, but there are many other festivals and temple based activities)
    – Waterfalls
    – Elephant sanctuary
    – Night safari
    – Night markets/shopping
    – Tuk tuk rides

    … we did zero prior research. We just showed up and found things. Kids aged 6 – 11 IIRC, they all loved it. There wasn’t even a pool at the hotel, it was a guest house… we had to find distractions every day.

    blitz18qb

    For me the Nai Harn Hotel at nai Harn was one of the best hotel experiences of my life. The inclusive buffet breakfast had everything you van think of.

    https://www.thenaiharn.com/

    Or/And
    Sii Laguna which is right on the beach and The hotel has plenty to do included, sailing, windsurf, SUP, daily fitness classes etc, but a bit quiet in the evening.

    However, walking distance to some great beach bars and restaurants, just 200yrds away (I completely recommend “Beach Pig bar and restaurant” owned and managed by Ben! Which is next door to the hotel)

    https://www.saiiresorts.com/phuket/laguna/offers/flexible-offer/?gclid=CjwKCAjwpayjBhAnEiwA-7ena3IAsWeLqu4PInQ9-gei742krVVOmFTar13pshDmrQtVP_uF_5JgsRoCwA4QAvD_BwE

    Phuket has plenty to keep you busy for more than 2 weeks with attractions and sooo many amazing beaches.

    Would also give a thumbs up to ‘The Saii Laguna’ in Bang-Tao. Right on the beach, great pool and beach bars next door. ‘The Golden Fish’ is a nice spot to eat and watch the sun-set right on the beach. Have been lucky enough to stay here 4-5 times over the last 2 years including a 14 days Covid quarantine stay!

    Bang-Tao in general has loads to choose from – Boat Avenue with restaurants, night market, blue-tree water park 2km away, golf if that’s your thing. Can easily add an island day trip as well.

    We also like ‘The Sands – Khao-Lak’ – Not as busy as Phuket.

    Would avoid Patong for the obvious reasons.

    I live and work in Bangkok, so Thailands has been our playground during Covid. Just bit the bullet and booked Disney Hong Kong with the kids but with Emirates Business BKK-HKG 👍🏼

    djdj

    We visited Thailand recently with 2 children (5 and 8)

    Our itinerary

    Krabi – dusit thani
    Krabi is amazing, lot of trips, lots to see, lovely beaches dusit thani was around a 15 minute ride from aonnang so away from the hustle bustle..
    Khoa lak, sands
    Lovely area, hotel was nice but very chaotic. Has a small water park. Not as much to do in the area but plenty of restaurants around.
    Phuket, angsana Laguna
    Or least favourite hotel due to location. We had to get taxis to restaurants outside of the resort. Apart from that hotel was lovely, lots to do in Phuket. Beach was nice. However we had friends who stayed in Kamala and we visited them, and we actually preferred kamala over bang tao

    gundam

    In Phuket, we stayed 5 nights at the Nai Hairn for a bit of luxury. It is quieter down south. It was nice having a beach by the doorstep and their staff at the beach bar will set up parasols for you and supply beach mats. They have one pool and it’s not the biggest. A few local restaurants east 10 mins walk away or the village is about 20 mins walk has a more bars and restaurants.

    We then moved on to Karon and stayed at Mandarava. It’s not as plush as Nai Hairn but we have been before and wanted a little more hustle and bustle for our second week. It’s a big property but it is very nicely landscaped with 5 swimming pools dotted around the resort. You will always find one that suits your taste. Karon is much bigger area so there are lots of restaurants within 10-15 min walk.

    We used Bolt ride a fair few times and it was reliable and good value.

    If time allows, I would recommend a visit to the Phuket old town for the weekend food markets. About 45 min taxi ride.

    Hope you have a wonderful trip.

    ArinaStark

    Combining Singapore with a week in Thailand sounds like an amazing plan for your family trip! If your wife prefers a more relaxed vibe and you’re not into the wild party scene, then Bangla Road in Phuket might not be your cup of tea.

    vetjames

    Khao Lak is quite nice for a more relaxing family holiday; it’s an hour North of Phuket. We were there last November for ten nights and are going back this November.

    ArinaStark

    You’re right that Phuket is cheaper and easier to reach, but if you’re looking for luxury without being isolated, Koh Samui could be a great option too. It’s extraordinary and offers a more upscale experience.
    Thailand has plenty to offer, but it’s totally up to you. For some awesome suggestions and activities in France and other countries, check out https://www.getyourguide.com/arc-de-triomphe-l3238/, they’ve got you covered! Have a fantastic trip, and don’t forget to soak up the sun and make unforgettable memories!

    shilly

    Try the Phuket JW Marriott Mai Khao Beach resort, stay in the hotel or the Marriott Phuket beach villas that have 2 bedrooms. We go every other year at least with all different groups ie the last time we went 10 of us from young to old. The service is brilliant, the staff are very friendly and great choice of food at the hotel and local. They have lots of activities as well for all ages. We have been to the JW Khao Lak and although we have always had a great time it is an hour from the airport where the other one is only 15mins from the airport and we prefer the 2 bedroom villas as they are called. If you have a 12 year old I wouldn’t go to the Melia which is on the same stretch of beach at Mai Khao. The staff were not as friendly, poorer food choices and more adult orientated. We stayed for a few days in January and definitely will not go back. March is a good time for Phuket, whatever you choose have a great time.

    Gary

    Flying domestic PG USM BKK and then connecting to international flight with CI departing BKK. They are separate tickets.

    1. Would PG agent through check our luggage to the CI international flight?

    2. Have 3 hours between landing and departure times in BKK. Does that sound reasonable? (We had 4 hours but PG made a schedule change).

    TIA

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