A brilliant all-year destination, there's always a good time to be had in Thailand – even the July to October rainy season has its benefits, with many hotel rates being slashed by almost half. Culture and history are everywhere you go – with temples (often known as 'Wats'), shrines and statues nestled in around shopping malls, karaoke bars and massage centres.
At the beaches, you'll be blown away at the sight of distant jungles, wandering elephants, miles of golden sands and beautiful sunrises.
Where to stay…
For the perfect city-beach break combo, we recommend heading for Thailand's thriving capital Bangkok, before making the two-and-a-half hour bus journey to the silky sands of Hua Hin.
The Amari Group are known here for their comfy rooms and great rates – so book in at the Amari Watergate Bangkok and you'll find yourself right in the heart of the capital's bustling shopping district.
Inside the hotel, there are seven restaurants serving everything from home-cooked green curry, dim sum dishes and steaks – while the outdoor pool allows you to sip on a cocktail while gazing over the city's rooftops. Step outside and you'll immediately be absorbed into Bangkok life, as the sound of car horns and the scent of freshly cooked Pad Thai surround you.
There's a whole different vibe at the Amari Hua Hin - where milky marble floors and deep-blue walls welcome you to the beach resort.
The message here is relaxing - so opt for a traditional Thai massage at the in-house Breeze Spa and feel every knot in your body melt away (signature massages start from 1,400 Thai Baht approx. £28), before making the most of the inviting 38-metre heated pool. If you prefer your R&R with a bit of sand, head down to the beach – a mere five minute stroll.
Where to eat…
Grab a traditional Pad Thai at Bangkok's Asiatique Riverfront Mall and follow it up with a fruity dessert from the nearby Happy Lemon ice-cream parlour. To get there, simply jump on the free shuttle boat from the central pier at the Saphan Taksin sky train stop for 10 minutes.
In Hua Hin, don't miss the seafood haven 'Supatra By The Sea' – a trendy, beachside restaurant serving up yummy local dishes like deep friend sea bass in fish sauce or mud crab in black pepper. The Amari's Shoreline Beach Club's seaside kitchen, serving barbecued meats, veggie lasagne and corn cobs drizzled in melting butter, is a winner too. We suggest enjoying a classic mango sticky rice for pudding.
Where to shop…
Outside the Watergate, Pratunam market-sellers showcase exotic fruits, while across the road at the Platinum Mall there's an array of clothing and jewellery at low prices. Those with a love for labels should head to the Siam Paragon Centre.
Hua Hin's Cicada night market is a great place to pick up souvenirs – but to indulge in some serious shopping, head to Bangkok's Chatuchak Market where over 8,000 stalls of bargain-tastic goodness await you. Haggle down the prices on stone Buddha replicas, silk cushions, statement t-shirts and even furniture - or perhaps just settle in with a Beer Chang at one of the side cafés and people watch.
Where to drink…
The Viva Bar at Chatuchak Market comes ready with a DJ and cocktail list, while the Sirocco Sky Bar gives you an 800ft high view over Bangkok. Over in the backpacker district of Rambutri Road, you'll find Molly Bar's courtyard full of locals, loving the live band and cheap beer.
Hua Hin has a low-key but lively bar scene, which includes cocktails at Jungle Juice and the Satchmo Club, before dancing the night away at the Brewing Company Bar. If you last until 4am, stop by at Ask For Moon – a Café Del Mar-playing, vodka bucket-serving beach bar which stays open until sunrise. It's a local secret though, so you'll have to find it first.
It's easy to get carried away by the westernised parts of Bangkok, so take time to visit some of the capital's cultural meccas too. The Grand Palace, home to the precious Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is a stunning complex of royal halls and impressive architecture. Down the road at Wat Pho, you'll find the famous 49-foot reclining Buddha statue.
Away from the sea, take a tour of the lush Hua Hin Hills Vineyard. Start by loading up on spicy veg dishes while sipping on locally-produced wine, before heading out for an elephant ride through the grapevines and mango trees.
Room prices at Amari Watergate Bangkok and Amari Hua Hin start from £60 per night, dependent on season and availability. To book, visit www.amari.com. For the top picks at your chosen destination recommended by an impartial travel writer, check out the Discover Destination Amari website.
EVA Air flies non-stop daily from London Heathrow to Bangkok, with fares starting from £610, including taxes. To book, visit evaair.com. They also run codeshare flights with Bangkok Airways to Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai, offering passengers a choice of three classes of cabin service: Premium Laurel Class (business class), award-winning Elite Class (premium economy) and Economy Class.
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