WE ARE A GROUP OF HIGH SCHOOL FRIENDS LOOKING TO CELEBRATE RELAXING 50TH BIRTHDAYS SOMEWHERE. PRIORITIES ARE BEACH, SIGHTSEEING, LUXURY AT BUDGET PRICES. COMING FROM TORONTO, LONDON, MELBOURNE. SUGGESTIONS? C. HUNTER, MELBOURNE
Thailand would be a good choice since connections are about mutually convenient, you get great bang for your buck, the beaches are fine and nobody does massages and beauty treatments better than the Thais. There are several possibilities including Phuket, Khao Lak and Koh Samui but my pick would be Krabi. On the western side of the Thai peninsula, looking out across the Andaman Sea toward Phuket, Krabi is the long strip of coastline from Klong Muang in the north to Ko Lanta in the south. Set against a backdrop of craggy karst hills, the beach resorts look out across the steep limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay. Some of the resort areas such as Railay can be reached only by boat. If escape is high on the wish list, Ko Lanta has the best beaches along this coastline, and some of the swankiest resorts. There is everything the human heart could want in the local hotel inventory – child friendly to cheap and cheerful to drop-dead gorgeous. If money is no object, Pimalai Resort & Spa, pimalai.com/, which occupies 900 metres of blinding white sand, is the top of Krabi's luxury ladder. Some have lovely beaches at their front door, such as the plush but still affordable Tubkaak Boutique Resort, tubkaakresort.com/. Krabi has its own airport with good connections with Bangkok. You're getting into the rainy season but that's difficult to avoid in Thailand in midyear.
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