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The Hidden Gems of Thailand…and How to Get There

Posted on 12/20/2018
“Namaste.” That’s what the people in Thailand say every time they see you. The greeting is accompanied by hands placed gently in a prayer position at the heart level and a slight bow of the head. It means, “The Light (or Divine) in me salutes the Light (or Divine) in you.” That tells you a little bit about the kind and reserved culture that is Thailand.
An exotic place of pristine beaches, natural beauty, and ancient temples, Thailand also offers up vibrant cities and sophisticated culinary flavors. Many who visit the island peninsula are drawn to attractions like the dazzling Grand Palace and Wat Arun or the colorful Floating Markets in Bangkok. But some of the country’s most adventuresome and culturally immersive experiences are hidden on out-of-the-way islands and in small villages. These magical spots can only be reached by smaller ships.
Hat Chao Mai National Park
Hat Chao Mai National Park
Ko Kradan, for instance, is an island lover’s dream. This tiny destination has no roads, villages or convenience stores. The beautiful coral-sand beach is nestled between lush green hills and the crystal Andaman Sea. Ninety percent of the island is protected under Hat Chao Mai National Park. Snorkeling right from the beach is among the best in the world.
Also in the Andaman Sea, Ko Muk has the famed Emerald Cave. It can only be accessed from the ocean during low tide. You enter the cave and swim through the darkness, with the crashing sounds of waves around you, until you finally see light. Exiting the cave, you’re on a beautiful sandy beach that’s surrounded on three sides by towering rocks and water gently caressing the fourth side. The cave used to be a hideaway for pirates and their loot.
Phang Nga Bay
Phang Nga Bay
A bit further north at Phang Nga Bay, the sheer-sided sea mountains rise vertically out of the water to form some of country’s most spectacular scenery. In this quiet paradise, you can relax on the white sandy beaches and explore the superb coral reefs.
Continuing north, Ko Surin has spectacular marine life, plants and wildlife. It’s also a center for the Moken sea gypsies, a nomadic people who speak a unique language. You can visit their village to see their thatched-roof boats and mystical wooden pillar statues.
Baby Sea Turtle
Further north and east, Ko Mak is covered with tropical fauna and edged with white beaches. Cycling is a great way to explore this privately-owned island.
On Ko Khram Yai, one of the closest islands to bustling Bangkok, there are no resorts and no one lives there. It’s a sea turtle breeding site, and it offers excellent swimming, diving, and sunbathing.

Join Us On a Star Clipper Tall Ship Adventure

Star Clipper in Asia 7 nights from Phuket Northern Thailand
If you’re looking for a memorable vacation adventure that’s far from the ordinary, many of these treasured places can be experienced from a Star Clippers tall sailing ship. With sixteen sails billowing high above in the balmy wind, life onboard is blissfully relaxing and intimate. It feels as if you’re on your own private yacht – but it’s even better because all of your needs are expertly attended to. To find out more about the 7-night roundtrip Phuket-Northern Thailand sailing on Nov. 2-9, 2019, at an amazing price starting from only $1,680 per person, ask for Marlys at Connection to Cruise (call 909-798-9133 or visit

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