By THE NATION
Coastal destinations have taken seven of the top 10 spots, with Phuket the most-booked destination spot during 2021 Songkran, jumping to No. 1 from fourth in 2019, and knocking Pattaya off the top into second place, according to Agoda.
Other beach destinations that dominate the 2021 list include Hua Hin/Cha-am (No. 3), Krabi (4), Koh Samui (5), Khao Lak (6) and Koh Chang (9). Bangkok dips to seventh spot from second in 2019.
With international travel off the table, Koh Samui (5), Khao Lak (6), Koh Chang (9), Khao Yai (10) make it in the top 10 this year, ahead of Tokyo, Rayong, Kanchanaburi and Chonburi.
"Travellers this year are also looking to pamper themselves, opting for 4–5-star hotels, a change from 2019’s preference for 1-3.5-star hotels," said Timothy Hughes, vice president corporate development, Agoda.
“Songkran marks the beginning of the Thai New Year. Recovering from two periods of Covid-19-imposed lockdown, Thais are being a little more indulgent rewarding themselves and their loved ones with upgraded stays to 4-5 star properties. Phuket, Pattaya, and Hua Hin/Cha-am lead the top destinations this year. But domestic travellers are also choosing destinations once deemed crowded with international tourists such as Koh Samui, Hughes said.
"We are also seeing a big pick up in popularity of lesser-known beach destinations like Koh Chang,” Hughes added.