Words: Markus Bidaux
For decades, Thailand has been the hotspot for LGBTQ travellers in Asia. During my travels I have found the Thai people to be some of the friendliest the world over, which is important to me when I am travelling, especially on romantic trips with my boyfriend.
There are rumours and news reports swirling around suggesting the Thai government will be legalizing same-sex unions in 2019. Considering there are no other Asian countries with same-sex union or marriage legal status currently, it just goes to show how progressive Thailand is.
While plenty of gay men have had non-official wedding ceremonies in Thailand before, it is always nice knowing the country accepts you for you when planning a destination wedding.
I suspect that our mailboxes will be tickled with beautiful invitations to Thai destination weddings and our social media feeds are going to be brimming with smiling barefoot grooms on Thai beaches in the near future.
It is no secret that Thailand caters to every traveller, from wild nights in Bangkok and jungle adventures in the Golden Triangle to the north to playing with gentle giants at the reputable elephant sanctuaries. But for some R&R, Rekindling and Romance, with your partner head south to Thailand's gorgeous tropical getaways.
Whether you desire the perfect proposal spot, location scouting for your nuptials with your fiancée, the dream honeymoon or just going for that all-important couples' getaway with your hubby this region will ignite the passion of any traveller.
For that superb service and hospitality Thailand is famous for, Centara, the country's leading hotel brand, is the perfect choice for your next R&R break...
Centara's portfolio of hotels spans the nation and beyond. Each has it owns personality like its Grand Beach Resort Phuket which is designed with a Sino-Portuguese elegance that is characteristic of the island. The 261 rooms offer guests views of the four swimming pools, the lush and fragrant gardens or looking out onto four kilometre stretch of Karon Beach and the azure Andaman Sea beyond. Along that stretch of land, the resort is actually one of the few ocean side resorts with direct access to the beach.
There is plenty to keep a couple busy, from the on-site water park with waterslides, waterfalls, and Jacuzzi which will bring out the inner child in you; or take advantage of the resorts watersports, like kayaking, windsurfing and sailing.
Guests are spoilt for choice at meal times with seven restaurants as well as a swim up bar. If, like us, you try watch your figure, even on holiday, there is a fully equipped fitness centre, tennis court and three adult Muay Thai boxing classes each week. Because couples who sweat together stay together the herbal steam room and sauna are sure to entice or treat yourselves to a couple's treatment at the award winning SPA Cenvaree.
The resort and Phuket itself has plenty to keep a couple busy, but the real draw is diving. The area is a diving paradise with the King Cruiser shipwreck and colourful corals to explore and diving with wildlife like the harmless whale sharks all within easy distance.
You know you are in for something special when you arrive by boat to Centara's Grand Beach Resort and Villas in the province of Krabi. Located in the secluded bay of Pai Plong Bay, the resort is surrounded by towering limestone cliffs.
The rooms and villas reflect the traditional Thai architecture and all come with either a balcony or terrace looking onto the vibrant gardens and the crystal clear waters of the Andaman Sea.
A cascading swimming pool and complimentary non-motorised water sports, such as paddle boarding and kayaking, will keep you busy between meals at one of the resorts five restaurants. There is also a fitness centre for that last minute muscle pump before hitting the beach and SPA Cenvaree for some pampering.
Out to sea, the area is teeming with hundreds of tiny limestone islands. The resort takes full advantage of this offering 15 half and full-day excursions taking guests on trips to explore the islands and sea caves. Best of all you can discover your inner 007 on James Bond Island, no golden guns required.
What is better than a hotel stay on a tropical island? Your own private villa, of course.
On the southern tip of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand, Centara have a 102-strong all-villa resort. The villas offer that extra intimate level of privacy for your romantic getaway. The villas' design are contemporary with cool white walls, warm wood tones in the furnishings and the occasional splash of colour. Each villa has either a balcony or terrace for taking in the sea breeze and if you really want to push the boat out chose one of the villas with a private pool or Jacuzzi.
Outside the villas are three freshwater pools, the Reef Café serving up Thai, oriental and international cuisine and the seaside Coral Bar serving up cocktails and fresh Samui seafood dishes. And SPA Cenvaree can provide the essential Thai message.
The resort leads onto Natien Beach, a quiet stretch golden sands, but for those looking for a livelier beach vibe the popular Lamai Beach is only 10 minutes away. If you can be tempted away from the beach, there is a local reef to snorkel along and the 80-metre Na Muang waterfall to visit.
Get your sexiest swimmers and shades ready for your next R&R break. To ensure you always get the best deal on your next getaway visit centarahotelsresorts.com/special-offers/