Photography & Words: Fiona Caroline Photography
When I was offered the chance to visit the Islands of Thailand I jumped at it. I adore Asia anyway, and Thailand – a place I had yet to go – seemed to offer the perfect mix of culture, city, beach and nature.
I fell in love instantly.
It was a short trip where I briefly explored some of the better known Thai Islands. This short trip has resulted in a HUGE urge to return – to see more of this incredible country. I want get lost in bustling, busy and loud Bangkok, and soak up the culture and nature in Chiang Mai. I absolutely want to visit the Golden Triangle and cross over the Laos border to journey down the Mekong. But that is all another trip – another time! Here, now, you can be introduced to some of the beaches and stunning hotels I was lucky enough to find myself.
Let me start with saying that my favourite thing about Thailand are the people. I mean, they do have a bit of a reputation for being the kindest people on the planet! I could sit for hours talking to someone about their life, their stories, my life, my stories.. And let’s be honest – travel is about getting lost in the world of others.
The food, however, is a close contender! I am obsessed with Tom Kha Gai soup and now a bit of a Massaman curry fan! Fresh coconuts to drink from and fruit to try – Thailand is tropical, beautiful and so full of colour and flavour. The Islands are a excellent choice for a beach escape. Whether you are there as a solo traveller, backpacker, for a honeymoon or family get away – you will find your spot in Thailand. (And you will probably find it for pretty cheap!)
I travelled in low season (end of April) and was told that since I was visiting Islands on either side on the country I would get beautiful sunny days – but only on one side – and a lot of rain on the other! But hey- ho, It only rained once! I actually think low season is a brilliant time to travel. Less tourists, cheaper hotels and a high chance of great weather!
As I said before, it was a brief trip and what I took from this trip are first impressions. Now lets talk about Koh Phangan. This Island. This Island won my heart. I did not spend enough time here and I absolutely need to return! Known as the party Island – the home of the Full Moon Party – but please don’t let this put you off if you’re not into the party scene. It’s not all party! The is a vibe here is a totally chilled, welcoming and relaxed. You just slow down. This is the Island to lose yourself – or find yourself. Walk, swim, do yoga, explore the waterfalls, sleep, drink, eat clean and watch the stars with your feet in the ocean. It is absolutely idyllic.
Koh Samui, offers a fabulous mix of beach and urban. You can pick to slumber by the ocean, in the sun, during the day, and escape to busy towns to shop, party, watch shows once the night comes. Koh Samui is EASY to get to, if time is short, no ferries needed here. My recommendation for a luxury hotel here is the Sala Samui. Think beautiful hotel, stunning villas, excellent beach vibe and great food.
Koh Racha is the place if you want to have resort but want to also feel isolated. A small island perfect for keen divers. Just a short boat ride from Phuket, this Island is stunning. White sand, clear water, colourful fish and a stunning landscape. I stayed at The Racha, a luxurious resort with a fabulous Spa. This is a relaxing getaway. Not for those after nightlife, parties – or even towns for that matter! There is not much to do except the TON of activities the hotel offers. A stay on Koh Racha is about unwinding, relaxing, diving, spa, swimming and fishing. It is, however, a busy day trip Island, so prepare for boat loads of island hoppers coming ashore to explore this beauty for themselves!
A handy list of ‘Must do’s’ when you travel to the Islands of Thailand
Be polite, learn standard Hello/thank you/goodbye. And talk to people! Everyone is so friendly!
Go diving/snorkeling. Oh my, the sea is SO clear and the fish are so colourful. Observe – don’t interfere <3
Try the food, experiment with new food, take a cooking class. Food, food, food! Lets be honest, a huge part of different cultures (and of travel itself) is the food!
Sail out for a sunset. Watch as the ocean turn golden around you and the other boats become silhouetted against the gorgeous backdrop.
Get up early! Walk along the beach and watch the fisherman at work in the early morning.
Try your hand at yoga, there are so many well being resorts – it’s great to do a full moon yoga session or a sunrise yoga session (or just a yoga session) in Thailand. Relax. Let go.
Party! Okay, if partying is not your thing, you do not have to go wild, but it’s worth getting out there, at least once, and seeing what all the fuss is about!
Camera | Nikon F100
Lab | Carmencita Film Lab
Film Stock | Kodak Portra 160 (pushed once)
I am a film photographer, living in London, England. I photograph families and couples and I am the curator of Feather & Film. I adore to travel and photograph families and couples abroad – or those coming to London for their holidays! I love being in the darkroom and making prints. I like to press flowers and walk in the gorgeous parks in London. I am a girl from the country, but I love the city!
Website | www.fionacaroline.com
Facebook | www.facebook.com/fionacarolinephotography
Twitter | @fionacaroline_
Instagram | @Fionacaroline