Factor in awesome food, a welcome as friendly as you'll find anywhere, plus enough hammocks and big soft cushions for a lifetime's worth of lazing and you should be suitably bewitched. In terms of places to stay and eat, this protection keeps things at a basic, though adequate, level and on all beaches the only choice is simple national park bungalows, with minimal electricity, and cold water. Manao which means lime in Thai is set on a low-key air force base, where you have to show your passport at the entrance gate. The pick of places to stay is OonLee Bungalows, run by a Frenchwoman and her Thai husband — who also happens to be a gourmet chef and a carpenter. Primarily Tao is famed for its diving — shallow waters, easy currents, epic corals and whale sharks pull in the crowds — with numerous scuba-diving schools based here. Sai Thong's tidy wooden fan-cooled bungalows are simply furnished and all have balconies, hammocks and private bathrooms. Flatscreen TVs and bathtubs add extra comfort to the natural setting. Your host family will also provide you with endless feasts of sumptuous seafood and take you on day trips to remote islands with secret beaches. One of the best is found at the suitably named Relax Bay, home to the resort of the same name, a French-owned endeavour complete with a range of secluded and comfortable wooden beachside bungalows and large tents. Alamy Once home to pirates and political prisoners, Tarutao, at the southern end of Thailand's Andaman coast, is now one of Thailand's best-protected national parks. There's little in the way of urban build here and really the only thing to do is relax and enjoy the sun. Room rates on Samet tend to be much lower during the week. Relax is the kind of place where you might end up staying longer than planned, thanks to the almost homestay style of genuine and friendly service, authentic Thai food — the French menu isn't bad either — and calming, restful atmosphere. There's nowhere to stay at Ao Manao, but the friendly Sun Beach Guesthouse on the Prachuap seafront comes with pool, sea-facing balconies and wonderful sunrises.