the perfect complement to cultural sites are Thailand's
beach resorts and tropical islands. The country offers more than 2,500
kilometres of coastline, generously provided with sandy beaches, sheltered
bays, quiet coves, and idyllic islands. Not only do Thailand's shores display
marked topographical variety, but they also present enormous diversity
in the style of seaside vacations. What remains constant is the tropical
climate and year-round sunshine.
The physical composition of the coastline varies from sandy beaches fringed with palm or casuarina trees to ruggedly beautiful limestone cliffs and out-crops covered with vegetation. The two main resort regions are the east and west coasts of the Gulf of Thailand and the deep south along both shores of the Kra isthmus.
Just a two-hour drive southeast of Bangkok is Pattaya on the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. It is colourful and vibrant place where a complete spectrum of watersport amenities is combined with a wealth ofon-land entertainment to ensure there is never a dull moment, night or day. For a different mood, the resorts of Hua Hin and Cha-am, on the opposite side of the Gulf, present a quieter scene for a more restful enjoyment of sun, sea and sand.
Even more spectacular are the beaches of the far south. Here, off the southwest coast, an hour's flight from Bangkok, is the island of Phuket, characterized by truly breathtaking tropical coastal scenery - unspoilt beaches of powdery white sand and the clear blue waters of the Andaman Sea - set against a backdrop of rolling hills and lush green vegetation. Matching the natural beauty are some of the finest beach resorts in the whole of Asia. Nearby, on the mainland, Krabi offers more pristine beaches backed by palm groves and surrounded by towering cliffs, while off the opposite shores of the peninsula is Samui. Less developed than Phuket, Samui affords the perfect escape into a Robinson Crusoe world - with, of course, all creature comforts.
All the top resorts offer a wide choice of watersports and scuba diving enthusiasts, in particular, will appreciate the rich marine life and colourful coral formations found in Thailand's coastal waters.
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