Mention Koh Phangan and conversation invariably turns to backpacking memories and full-moon parties. However, a number of luxury resorts have opened in recent years, of which Santhiya Resort & Spa has one of the best locations.

Arrive by speed boat from Koh Samui to get a spectacular first view of the resort, set into the cliff face above its private beach.

Traditionally decorated rooms and villas feature intricate carvings and Thai objets d'art, while the outside bathrooms and private pools have views stretching down over the cliffs, giving a sense of idyllic isolation.

If you want a change of pace, walk to Thong Nai Pan Noi, where beach-barbecue restaurants offer simple, delicious meat and seafood at bargain prices.

Wow factor: The amazing views out over treetops and beyond to the beach by day, and up to the Milky Way by night.

Flight time: From 13 hours via Bangkok.

Go: Book with Turquoise Holidays; call 01494 678 400 or visit for more details or email