Advisor Adventures

Vacationing in Thailand

Jungle retreats, tropical resorts, and amazing Thai cuisine lure travelers to The Land of a Thousand Smiles. Thailand's dizzying capital city Bangkok is a culinary must-visit – a place where tiny street food stalls and Michelin-starred restaurants both draw a crowd. Phuket and its surrounding islands are some of the most beautiful and intriguing in the world.

Michelle Boyles, Luxury Travel Advisor at Provident Traveltraveled to Thailand in December, where she visited Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai and stayed at resorts by luxury hotel brand Anantara.

We asked Michelle to share her first-hand experiences and tips for travelers interested in Thailand.

What did you do on your trip?

I went to Thailand for almost three weeks with my husband to celebrate my 50th birthday. We spent the first four days at the Anantara Layan Phuket, where we had our own little bungalow with a private pool. It was so relaxing.

One day, we took a tour to James Bond Island, famous for its towering limestone formations and for being a setting in the film The Man with the Golden Gun.

Then, we headed to Bangkok, where we spent four nights at the Anantara Siam Bangkok, a lovely luxury property that is centrally located. We used Abercrombie & Kent for many of our tours and transfers. In Bangkok, we went on tours that focused on music, the Floating Market and temples. We also went on a tour to Ayutthaya, a former capital of the kingdom of Siam.

I can’t say enough about Abercrombie & Kent. From the moment we were picked up, the guides got to know us. They learned what we liked and tailored our tours toward that. Their knowledge and personal attention made the experiences so memorable.


Next, we flew to Chiang Rai and stayed four nights at the Anantara Golden Triangle, where there is an elephant sanctuary. As a conservationist, I was happy to hear how they care for these rescued elephants that were once used in logging. We took a class about elephants that was taught by a veterinarian. In another Anantara experience, we walked with the elephants as they went to bathe in the river. Later, we learned what the elephants ate and made a snack to feed them.

In Chiang Mai, we stayed two nights at the Anantara Chiang Mai, which had a perfect location right near the night markets. We’d go there every night to visit all the little food stands. We also hiked to Doi Inthanon National Park, where we met coffee growers and townspeople. The trip made this my best birthday ever!


What other special experiences did you have in Thailand?

We took two Anantara cooking classes. Each time, we went to the market first and learned about the ingredients and food we would be creating.

Anantara resorts have beautiful spas, and I booked two massages during the trip. One was a Thai massage, and the other was a stress-relief massage with local oils. They were among the best massages I’ve ever had.


What are your top tips for travelers who want to visit Thailand?

My advice would be to go with an open mind. You might be surprised at the new things you learn. Another point is that this is a trip for everyone. You can make it what you want. Thailand is for beach lovers, for those who love culture, for birders, for ecoadventurers and more. There are so many ways to experience Thailand.

Which areas do you specialize in as a travel advisor?

My focus has been helping travelers with trips in Europe, Africa, Peru, Antarctica and, now, Thailand. I also help with travel centered on adventure, wellness and sustainability. I’m happy to help with travel in the US, too, of course. I love helping to plan road trips.

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