Thailand is far more than a beach destination and islands like Phuket and Koh Samui boast a whole host of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy whether the tropical sun is shining or not.
Many visitors flock to Thailand each year in search of sugar sand beaches, blissful seas and a perfect, golden tan. It’s true that in a tropical climate, you can almost guarantee seeing the sun on your vacation, but of course, depending on the time of year and location you choose, it’s possible a few seasonal showers will manifest.
Fortunately on the Thai, rainy season does not mean constant downpours, but it does mean favourable rates. Villa guests prepared to plan for a few rainy day activities can therefore look forward to a a more affordable, quieter stay, but still with some sunshine, plus a whole host of other activities to make the holiday a memorable one.
Here are some excellent backup activities to keep in mind that offer just as much enjoyment as a day of beach lounging.
Many visitors to Phuket or Koh Samui seize the opportunity presented by a rainy day to indulge in a few indulgent spa treatments. The range of options ranges from full-day or half-day packages to a one hour shoulder rub or a soothing foot massage. After a week of touring the temples and beaches, a traditional Thai foot massage is actually one of the best treatments you can choose. Trained reflexologists stimulate reflex points in the feet – known as “Sen” in Thai - that correspond to various other parts of the body. After pinpointing where the aches and pains are coming from, they then ease away the pain gradually while you enjoy the relaxing sensation.
On a rainy afternoon, staying indoors at one of Thailand’s private villas is far from a inconvenience. You can relax and enjoy a movie marathon, for example. Many of the island’s villas feature state-of-the-art entertainment systems, and some even have their own mini cinema rooms. If you are travelling with a group of friends and have trouble agreeing on the perfect movie to watch, why not make a day of it and get everyone to select their favourite film? That way you can enjoy a bit of everything, from action and thrillers to soppy chick flicks.
Marvellous Muay Thai
Guests who are not content to sit back and relax on a rainy afternoon may want to try Muay Thai or Thai boxing. The country’s national sport is now popular worldwide and Muay Thai gyms are peppered across Samui or Phuket. Not only is it a great form of exercise and a good way to pass a few hours doing yourself some good; Muay Thai also offers a unique window into Thai culture and history. After working up a sweat with your hooks and roundhouses, the heavenly sensation of a natural shower in the falling tropical rain is the perfect way to freshen you up for round two.
Unlike most tropical islands, Phuket boasts a fascinating history that covers everything from the ancient traditions of the sea gypsies to tales of its role as a well-established stop-off for merchants and traders. Tin mining is also an integral part of the island’s past, and one of the best ways to learn about it is with a visit to Kathu’s tin mining museum. A morning spent at the museum allows visitors to discover Phuket’s history through a number of displays depicting the lives of miners, which even includes an authentic reproduction opium den. Visitors who can’t get enough of Old Phuket may also be captivated by a trip to the National Museum in Thalang, which is a great place to learn about the fascinating legends of Phuket’s past as it houses exhibitions on Sino-Portuguese heritage and the island’s sea gypsy culture.
Of course, a drizzly afternoon is the perfect time to pick up a few holiday souvenirs for your loved ones back home. Phuket and Koh Samui boast a vast range of retail options and for an afternoon of serious shopping most people head to the Central Festival shopping malls, of which there is one on each island. Central Festival is the perfect place for an afternoon of browsing and buying, with everything on display from designer clothing to top brand electronics. Koh Samui’s Central Festival only opened in March this year, and has been designed to follow a an island theme. This means the decor and displays actually offer visitors some insights into the island’s diverse culture and history, as well as a whole host of modern products.
by Max Vee