A couple of hours either direction of Bangkok, there are some of the most popular and relaxing Beach Resorts In Thailand. These resorts have been an oasis for Bangkok’s elite, working-class, and tourists alike for many years now.
Depending on what kind of weekend you want to have, more or less can help you decide what Thai beach resort city you want to visit.
We’ll start in Hua Hin and then move on to Pattaya and it’s nightlife and LGBTQ community and activities.
The fact that the Thai royals plus the elite of Bangkok society, the so-called“ hiso”, choose to holiday here has transformed this former fishing village into a smart beach resort.
Despite the loss of most of its traditional wooden housing, and the fact that the squid hung stands along the beach have been replaced by guesthouses, Hua Hin still manages to retain much of its Thai charm.
Hua Hin, Spa Capital of Thailand:
Nowadays it is known as the Spa capital of Thailand, each Spa taking their cue from the world-famous Chiva Som Spa which was the first to offer holistic treatments in the area and offering a wide range of holistic activities including massages, exercise regimens, facials, and body polishing, as well as medical programs and stress management.
One of the best is the Deverana Spa in the Dusit Thani Hotel, Hua Hin.
Golf and Elephant Trekking in Hua Hin, Thailand:
There are those who claim that playing golf on one of the six international style golf course around the town is stress management enough, and others who will recommend a day spent elephant trekking with the gentle giants who once worked in the jungles of northern Thailand.
Dining in Hua Hin, Thailand:
Off Naresdamri Road are many narrow Sois lined with cafés, restaurants, bars, tailor shops, and guesthouses. The multilingual menus displayed testify to the international clientele now attracted to the town.
The “catch of the day” is available at all restaurants and at the night market on Dechanuchit Road where tiger prawns, crab, crayfish, and pancakes can be sampled.
This can be followed by homemade ice-cream served from an old-fashioned freezer on wheels, ice-cream which, it is said, is delivered to the Palace once a week as it is a favorite with the royal family.
Hua Hin, Spa Capital of Thailand: Every imaginable treatment is on offer from holistic to hedonistic.
First on the scene was the world-famous Chiva Som, offering health regimes, detoxing and utter and complete rest for stars of stage and screen and stressed out business execs. . Chiva Som still dominates, but new spas are opening up regularly
All have a Signature treatment and all offer many different types of massage, Swedish, Hawaiian, Hmong, and Ancient Thai Massage as practiced by the monks of Wat Po in Bangkok and with whom most traditional Thai Masseurs have studied.
The ingredients will differ from spa to spa, but you will find delicious kaffir lime leaves, steamed eucalyptus, clove, black pepper, and basil, used in most of the preparations.
Body scrubs with rice and mango, ginger, and avocado will wake you up or send you to sleep. All will be done after consultation with your therapist.
Nor are Spa therapies available only in the grand hotels. Many smaller establishments offer excellent treatments, but in a more limited space and if what is needed is a massage, reflexology, or facial or body treatments with minimum pampering, you will be adequately served in these smaller establishments.
Top Spas in Hua Hin, Thailand.
Beach Resorts In Thailand
Deverana Spa, Dusit Thani Resort Hotel, Hua Hin
Opened in the year 2000 by a member of the Thai Royal Family, the Deverana Spa is set apart from the hotel and surrounded by quiet walkways and water. The famed beach is only a few steps away.
Designed by Lina Lotto (responsible for many top spas in the world today including Carey’s Manor Hotel Spa in the New Forest in the UK) this spa is totally relaxing.
Subdued lighting and therapists who seem to float around on soft cushioned feet means the client relaxes from the moment she, or he, enters the foyer to be seated, provided with a cup of warm or cool lemon grass tea, and have shoes removed and feet encased in cotton slippers.
All rooms have showers, toilets, and underwear is provided for those who wish to wear something during the massage. Many of the Thai herbal products used are exclusive to Deverana.
The Barai at the Hyatt Hotel, Hua Hin, Thailand.
Next on the list is the Hyatt Hotel’s BARAI an oasis of serenity set in 4.5 acres of land. The Barai differs from other spas in that the suites cater for overnight stays in one of eight spa suites and they offer treatments lasting over a whole day or more.
As well as the spa suites, there are 18 private treatment rooms, a tranquillity court and a relaxation pool, and yoga and meditation sessions are provided.
The architectural concept is inspired by the Khmer culture, the beauty of which is carried through from interior design of the public spaces to each of the treatment rooms. The integration of traditional Thai herbal therapies with contemporary ideas of health is a feature of The Barai.
Anantara Spa Resort, Hua Hin, Thailand
The Anantara Spa Resort is located on the Gulf of Siam, not far from the palace of the Thai royal family. Built in the style of a traditional Thai village the hotel is surrounded by lush tropical gardens.
From ancient ayurveda to modern holistic therapies and reiki, the spa menu at Anantara is guaranteed to entice and delight.
What is offered at Anantara that is different from other spas is a three-hour session of Shirodhara massage. This is often referred to as the ‘massage of the third eye’ and has long been considered one of the most powerful ayurvedic treatments available.
Continuing with a soothing back massage during which strong massage strokes are applied to those areas that carry most stress (the ‘mouse muscle’ as some masseurs call a computer users painful shoulder joint) the treatment ends with a long soak in a soothing honey and milk bath.
All these spas provide special spa menus with healthy dishes (healthy but not boring) and a day spent at any of these is a perfect way to unwind
Pattaya, Thailand, Night-life, and other diversions.
Across the Gulf of Thailand lies the brasher Pattaya whose risqué diversions attract quite a different clientele.
The neon-lit nightlife for which it is famous has totally transformed what was once a fishing village as quiet as HuaHin until it became an R. & R. resort for Americans during the Vietnam War.
Nowadays, South Pattaya is full of bars, beer gardens, pubs, discos, and transvestite cabarets, many of which have earned the town a reputation for nightlife and Gogo bars.
Dining in Pattaya and other entertainment:
But nightlife is only one side of Pattaya. The other side is a range of excellent restaurants offering some of the best food in Thailand and PADI licensed Dive operators offering the best water-sports facilities in the country.
However, the main beach is noisy and crowded and the vendors who patrol the narrow stretch of sands can be persistent. The few who come here in search of a bit of peace and tranquillity usually head for nearby Jomtien Beach
Pattaya Nightlife – Sex Clubs and Gay Bars: Pattaya is Thailand’s Naughtiest City, Even Better Than Bangkok
From Sex Clubs to Gay and Lesbian Bars, from Go-Go bars to transexual cabarets and an incredibly versatile nightlife, Pattaya can provide it.
It could be argued that Pattaya, rather than Bangkok, deserves the title Thailand’s Naughtiest City.
Certainly, its reputation for non-stop partying and sexy nightlife grows yearly. It’s all based on customer choice.
Where to Find Sexy Nightlife in Pattaya.
Away from South Pattaya, beer bars, restaurants, and streetside hostelries can be found, where drinking and chatting are the order of the evening (especially around Sois 6, 7 and 8 in Central Pattaya).
More relaxed than the frenetic scene in South Pattaya, customers can still find companionship at the bar for the price of a drink.
Transexual Cabarets at Alcazar and Tiffany
North Pattaya is the quietest area, but it has the famous Alcazar and Tiffany Cabarets, which feature transexuals dressed to kill. Both these cabaret houses are immensely popular with Thai and foreign tourists, who come to marvel at the glittering costumes and the quite fantastic-looking transexuals.
In the less than 100 bars in the area, many are pub-restaurants providing music from western rock to Thai folk and trendy pop to country music, all provided by local bands and singers.
Gay NightLife in Pattaya
Boyz Town is a favorite for the gay nightlife scene and this area of gay go-go bars and beer halls can be found around Soi Pattaya 1 and 3. Soi 3 is credited with being the largest concentrated gay area in Thailand with male go-go bars and nightclubs catering to Thais and foreigners.
A quieter area can be found at the nearby Sunee Plaza. An even quieter one is just out to town at Jomtien Beach where the scene is more mixed than in Pattaya.
Pattaya’s Gay Scene
Homosexuality is accepted throughout Thailand with a minimum of fuss or prejudice, and Pattaya is proof of this, even if it can sometimes feel a trifle overdone and too rich for some people’s taste.
However, areas for the sex trade are well sign-posted, and it is almost impossible to wander in unexpectedly and be shocked. The people involved in the scene are invariably friendly, reflecting the liberal and tolerant nature of the people.
There are homosexuals who offer their services through the go-go bars, but these are not necessarily prostitutes or rent boys. Often a gay Thai male is just interested in finding a partner.
Again, not all male escorts/prostitutes are gay. Sometimes it’s a mere matter of making a living.
Katoeys or Ladyboys
There are also the ladyboys (Thailand’s transexuals, transgenders) who are flamboyant and extravagant, OTT in every sense of the word. They provide a dramatic background to the gay and lesbian scene with their confident and well groomed appearance.
There is a growing Lesbian community in Thailand but it is very small when compared with the gay male scene. No clubs seem to be devoted to the “toms” as they are called in Thailand, but as with the girlie scene, the gay scene and the transexual scene, many are in it for financial gain.
Beach Resorts In Thailand: Hua Hin or Pattaya?
Hua Hin is short on malls and top-class shopping in shopping plazas as befits a quiet, tranquil resort but numerous side trips can be made to scenic areas and historical palaces. Pattaya offers parasailing, windsurfing, diving, offshore islands, an orchid farm, several theme parks, golf, tennis, archery, and the most important nightlife.
To sum up, Hua Hin attracts an older, polyglot group of people whose main thought is to relax while still having fun, whereas Pattaya attracts a group who want to play hard and who eschew relaxation in favour of fast living.