Blog Archives: Thailand


Steppes Big 5: Thailand and Indonesian Five Star Getaways

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In conjunction with Malaysian Airlines, Steppes Travel are offering truly incredible prices to five of our favourite resorts in Thailand and Indonesia. These limited offers are genuine and we keep pinching ourselves daily as they seem too good to be true. Stretch the body and not the budget with upgrades to business class from as little as £375 one way. Travel in style.

Thailand

Choose from a hammock hangout on idyllic 15 km wide Koh Samui, located in the Gulf of Thailand. Or go west to the Andaman coast, and buzzing Phuket,Thailand’s largest island. Fringed by natural rain forests and internationally acclaimed marine parks, diving and trekking adventures are on the doorstep if you can extract yourself away from serious luxury.

Belmond Napasai – Koh Samui

A seven night stay at Belmond Napasai starts from only £1465 per person including flights. Save up to an incredible £1000 per person. The offer includes one free night and an early booking discount if booked 90 days prior to stay. Complimentary one way business class upgrade is included with Malaysian airlines, subject to availability. Price based on two sharing a sea view Hill Villa on bed and breakfast basis. Children under the age of 12 may stay for free with complimentary breakfast. Please enquire for further details.

Why we like it : We love the peaceful location and traditional sense of Thai service

Banyan Tree Samui- Koh Samui

A seven night stay starts from £1815 per person for one week in a Deluxe Pool Villa. Receive two nights free on any seven night stay, and enjoy a complimentary 60 minute massage in resort. Children travelling may qualify for a free stay when sharing a room. Stay at Banyan Tree between now and the 15th June 2017.

Why we like it : Large villas scattered along the hillside with stunning views of the white sand beach

The Sarojin – Phuket

A seven night stay starts from £1370 per person in a Garden Residence on a bed and breakfast basis. This price is based on two people sharing a room and flying Malaysian Airlines with a one way upgrade to Business Class. This price is valid for stays during September and October 2016. Prices from £1995 in November and December.

Why we like it : Genuine warmth of the staff and one of the best beaches in Phuket.

Indonesia – Bali

The island of Bali is a perfect summer getaway with weather at its driest during May – October. A destination for boutique hotels and stylish retreats, Bali offers fashionable night scenes in Seminyak; the coolest corner of the island with chic galleries and dining options. Or the flip side of stress easing jungle tranquillity in Ubud, Bali’s thriving cultural heart.

Alila – Seminyak

A seven night stay starts from £1785 per person, based on a Pool Suite on a bed and breakfast basis. Malaysian Airlines one way upgrade to Business Class included.  Stay at the Alila between now and the 31st October 2016.

Why we like it : Style, and bags of it. One of Bali’s more contemporary beachside properties

Como Uma – Ubud

A seven night stay starts from £1995 per person including a one way upgrade with Malaysian airlines to Business Class. Stay at Como Uma Ubud between now and the 31st March 2017.

Why we like it : A haven of peace but easy walking distance from Ubud’s bustling centre 

All these offers are subject to availability and need to be booked with Steppes Travel by the 19th August. Travel to be completed by the 15th June 2017.

Southeastern Promises: Big 5 to See & Do on your Thailand Holiday

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Thailand-Top-5

I spent two months this summer exploring Thailand, as part of an extended journey around Asia. Whilst there I fell in love with the beautiful landscape, charismatic locals and delectable cuisine; here are my favourite places that I visited.

Bangkok

The capital of Thailand and most people’s entry point, Bangkok is chaotic, humid and exhilarating, but has some of the country’s most famous cultural sites, amazing shopping experiences and one of the best transport systems I’ve encountered. Despite the recent bombing tragedy, I’ve never felt safer in a city of its size.

Top places to visit there include the impressive Grand Palace, which houses Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho, which is home to largest Reclining Buddha and contains more Buddha images than any other Temple in Thailand, and the weekend market at Chatuchak, said to be the largest in the world.

My favourite two experiences around Bangkok were spending the day cycling around the city and the backwaters to the south, and taking a long tail speedboat up the Chao Phraya River to visit Ko Kret, a tiny island inhabited by a Mon community famous for their ceramic wares – both trips were a glimpse into a completely different, and more serene side of the city.

Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, in the north of Thailand, is famous for its numerous temples, northern Thai cuisine (try the famous khao soi) and trekking opportunities. A lot of the stunning Lanna-era temples,colourful markets and boutique guesthouses are contained within the old city walls which runs a 2 by 1.8 kilometre rectangle through the heart of Chiang Mai.

Further afield lies my favourite temple in Thailand, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, located near the top of Suthep Mountain about 15 kilometres from the city. Entered via a steep climb of 300+ steps (or a cable-car ride), the temple compound is beautiful and atmospheric, and hosts the most incredible views looking over the city and the surrounding Ping Valley.

Must-dos in Chiang Mai include taking part in a cookery class, watching a Muay Thai show and exploring the ancient old city streets and bazaars.

Chiang Rai

Further north from Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai is a much smaller city, compared to Chiang Mai & Bangkok, but retains a huge amount of charm. Nestled within mountainous valleys, it is an ideal base for superb trekking, particularly amongst the various ethnic hilltribes of Northern Thailand. There are also beautiful waterfalls worth visiting.

My favourite attractions within the city surrounds are Baan Dam (the Black House) and Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple), which are unique and completely contradictory, architecturally. Designed by a famous Thai painter, Chalermchai Kositpipat, the ornate Wat Rong Khun is blindingly-white, with unconventional detailing and beautiful murals. In contrast, the Black House is more of a private museum, with grounds that contain numerous teak buildings adorned with dark objects including skulls, animals and artwork.

Hua Hin

Thought to be Thailand’s oldest beach destination, Hua Hin is conveniently located four hours south of Bangkok. The beach itself runs for 6 kilometres along the eastern coast, and the town contains numerous restaurants and a lively night market.

At the southern, quieter end of the beach is Wat Khao Takiab, a hilltop temple that has become overrun with monkeys but hosts spectacular views of the coast.

One of my favourite places in Thailand is the nearby Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, which is easily visited as a day-trip from Hua Hin. Sam Roi Yot is a marine national park and activities there include a long tail boat ride around the limestone karst islands, a visit to a colourful fishing village, Bang Pu, and a hike up to the most famous attraction Phraya Nakhon Cave, a large cavern with a hole in the ceiling and a small Temple shrine.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao (or Turtle Island) is the smallest of the three main islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Primarily known for its excellent scuba diving, there are many other activities on offer, such as hiking, rock climbing and Muay Thai.

My highlights during my visit to the island were visiting the beaches, especially Koh Nang Yuan, a nearby island, and Aow Leuk, snorkelling off Nang Yuan and Mango Beach, sea kayaking around the bays and watching the nighttime fire shows on the beach.

To learn more about your Thailand holiday, get in touch with our Thailand Travel Experts for more information. Call us 01285 880980 or email inspire@steppestravel.com.

Getting hairy in Thailand

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I’m no TV critic but whether you’re fans of the Hairy Bikers or not, they were brimming with charming enthusiasm during their recent time in Thailand on The Hairy Bikers’ Asian Adventure.

Without the smugness of some travelling TV chefs, they really did get stuck in. They visited local schools, cooked for tuk tuk drivers in Bangkok, danced with the Lanna tribe near Chiang Mai and fished in the waters off Koh Yao Noi near Phuket – home to the stunning Six Senses Yao Noi.

I was lucky enough to grow up in Bangkok and Hong Kong (featured in an earlier program) and it was great to see real people and places highlighted. Yes there were some silly moments but still good fun, and you could certainly feel the humidity (and see it with the frizzy state of Si King’s hair)!

If you’re considering travelling to Thailand or any of the other places they’re visiting then it is well worth watching the program. Don’t worry if you’re not too keen on this type of telly – you’ll see the countries and
their people without the ‘shiny’ TV production effect and get a genuine feel for the destination. It certainly made me want to pack my bag and return back to Thailand!

You can catch up on the previous epsiodes here and watch tonights show which features Japan.

Revisiting the land of smiles after 10 years

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Heading east for my holiday, rather than west as usual (I am part of the Latin America Team at Steppes), I travelled to revisit Thailand, I haven’t been for over 10 years, when I embarked upon my solo round the world trip.

Bangkok is still as delightful as ever, a taste sensation with delicious street food and incredible temples set throughout the city. Most notably the Grand Palace and Wat Po which are still as remarkable as they once were or perhaps better; I have travelled so much in the past 10 years giving me a new appreciation for their grand splendour. In fact I thought the city had cleaned up its act, cleaning the streets and not to mention the new airport and sky train, which I had to go on to access Chatuchak weekend market on my last day – fantastic for shopping!

This trip took me south to Thailand’s islands and beaches which did not disappoint. I gained my open water certification on the charming island of Koh Tao – incredible!

I also headed off the beaten track on a local train to Ayutthaya, the second capital of Siam after Sukhotai and the trading capital of Asia, with its beautiful temples it was like being transported back to the 16th Century. Set at the confluence of three rivers the many temples can easily be accessed by boat, on foot or by bike, if you can brave the heat! Both Mahathat, with its famous Buddha head consumed in a fig tree and Ratchburana, where you can venture inside, stood out so much so that I headed to the Chao Sam Phraya Museum to see the fascinating artefacts from Ayutthaya period. Bronze and gold Buddha’s along with intricate wooden carvings – well worth the visit.

I am already planning my next visit, and hope to include Cambodia and Laos next time. Right, back to work and back to selling South America!

If I’ve inspired you to consider a holiday to Thailand please contact Sallyfor ideas or information. Sally grew up in Bangkok and shares my enthusiasm for the land of smiles.