While Thailand’s main cities are abuzz with energy, venture off the beaten track and you can find some of the most enchanting places for a relaxing, off-grid escape. You will begin at a charming, sustainably built lodge in the jungle-cloaked north before heading to a secluded island in the south. At each property, you are welcome to switch off from the modern world and tune in to Thailand’s striking beauty. Peace, serenity and wellness are key.
After landing in Chiang Rai, a peaceful city in the Golden Triangle, you will transfer by car to the mountain retreat of Phu Chaisai. A hidden treasure of Northern Thailand, Phu Chaisai sits amidst majestic views of untamed jungle. The tasteful, rustic-chic design feels in harmony with the impressive surroundings, and invites plenty of moments to just “be”. This sense of relaxation is further enhanced by complimentary yoga sessions, laidback Thai cooking lessons and a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the mountains.
OVERNIGHT FLIGHT // 5 NIGHTS AT PHU CHAISAI RESORT
For those looking for light adventure, simply strike out from the hotel for a morning's trekking in the mountains, enjoying the birdsong and plentiful photo opportunities along the way. For those with more energy, there is plenty to keep busy with, from horseriding and mountain biking to bamboo rafting and wild river swimming.
We have included two day trips as part of this holiday. The first will take you through some of the more unique temples of Chiang Rai, allowing you to explore the Buddhist architecture and religion without the crowds. The second is a day of soft trekking through the lush forests and the lesser-known “Suan Pa Village”, the home to the Akha tribe. Learning about the tribe and their way of life will be the focus of your morning, before a picnic lunch by a beautiful waterfall.
Arriving at Phu Chaisai feels like a deep breath of fresh air: everything about it instils a sense of tranquillity. It feels both intimate, with its bamboo rooms, winding jungle pathways and thatch-roofed restaurant, yet liberating, with its infinity pool and mountain vistas from every angle. Plus, while WiFi is available, televisions and alarm clocks are not, so that you rise to the sound of an awakening forest instead.
Onward from Chiang Rai airport on a short internal flight to Phuket, after which you will take a private long-tail boat to Koyao Island Resort. This is one of ETG’s all-time favourite beach resorts in Thailand. The relaxed collection of villas look out towards Krabi on the mainland and incredible limestone islands in the sea, meaning you enjoy one of the most iconic vistas in the country. And compared to many other Thai islands, Koh Yao Noi remains remarkably undiscovered, so you can experience all this in peace and serenity.
6 NIGHTS AT KOYAO ISLAND RESORT
The picturesque backdrop of limestone karsts, crystal clear waters and sandy beaches make Koyao Island Resort's location quite outstanding. It couldn’t be easier to hop from the beachfront pool to the ocean kayaks, before a delicious meal in the open restaurant. Yet, as each villa faces the spectacular sea, there's little reason to do anything but simply enjoy the panorama.
If you do choose to stir from your island cocoon, we suggest taking a complimentary paddleboard or kayak to explore the small uninhabited islands dotted nearby. Experienced cyclists may wish to enjoy some off-road mountain biking through the forests, or you could even rent a motorcycle and travel in search of the small villages nearby. Complete each day with a cocktail as the sun disappears behind the horizon.
A genuine hidden gem, Ko Yao Noi embodies the Thai beach dream: white sand, turquoise waters and, miraculously, a minimal number of tourists. The earthy aesthetic and rustic-luxury vibe mean you can feel truly at one with island living, yet still have all your creature comforts cared for.
If you want to make the most of outdoor activities in the mountainous north, the best time to visit is between October and February. Koh Yao Noi is at its best from December to April, as it is hot and dry (but still not sweltering). Therefore, overall, we’d suggest this holiday will be at its best from December to February.
As part of this holiday, you will receive a complimentary Thai cooking class at the Phu Chaisai open-air restaurant, an alms offering experience at the Golden Horse Monastery, and a traditional Thai massage at the Phu Chaisai Spa. During your cooking class, you’ll learn how to prepare authentic Northern Thai, Burmese and Akha regional dishes; the Golden Horse Monastery provides the unique opportunity to offer alms to monks on horseback, and the Spa Village uses signature ancient techniques passed down by each generation.
Revitalise is a culmination of 16 years’ work, research and client feedback. Our travel team take annual trips to each of our destinations, testing the experiences and inspecting the hotels (someone’s got to do it, right?). We are passionate travellers in our own lives, and we have all visited Asia with our friends, family or backpacks. Basically, we’ve done the legwork: we know travel. And that’s why these trips are nothing short of magical.
We understand that while you may be itching to travel again, committing to a trip right now feels daunting. That’s why we have introduced our COVID-19 promise. We promise that if you book a holiday with us, but for any reason cannot travel due to COVID-19, we will refund you the bulk of your money, up to the day of your departure. We hope that this will give our travellers a little peace of mind and help you enjoy the magic of travel anticipation once again.
An ETG experience cannot begin unless our travellers feel secure in every respect. Financially secure: we are fully ABTA and ATOL bonded. Fully supported: our friendly team is on hand to help 24/7 before, during and after your trip. Free from hassle: we will ensure your trip runs like clockwork. Plus, all our experiences are tried and tested by our discerning team, so you can rest assured every excursion you book with us is both worthwhile and ethically sound.
With ETG, the experience starts the moment you pick up the phone. We are committed to seamless service at every stage of your journey. Before you depart, your dedicated travel consultant will provide all the information and insider tips you need to get you prepared (and excited!). Your in-country experiences will be distinctive, tailored to you, and always reveal the fabric of the destination. And you will come home with memories to share - not just photos to show.