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Phuket accommodations and activities

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We are planning our first trip to Thailand next April: a couple of days in Bangkok, 3 days in Chiangmai and 7 days in Phuket. I have the fist part of the trip already booked and now I am looking at Phuket. I understand the city itself is touristy and overcrowded, so we would like to pick a more secluded spot with a nice swimming beach, an authentic looking decor and not more than 1-2 floors. Indio Pearl hotel looks very nice and seems tucked away but it's also a little pricey. Le Meridien has a good price but they are multiple-floor buildings that seem too overwhelming to be peaceful (perhaps just my impression). What are your thoughts of these two and Is there anything else that you can recommend? Khao Lak may be an alternative, but is it too remote?

Also, while in Phuket, we would like to go and tour the surrounding islands. We are not divers or too active in general, but snorkeling would be great. Based on some previous treads, a privately hired boat seems to be the best for Ko Phi Phi tour, right? And, we would like to have an elephant experience but I do not want to contribute to any operations that are not perfectly humane. Should we stay a day longer in Chiangmai and see/interact with the elephants there? Or is there a nice establishment in Phuket?

Please let me know what your thoughts are. Many thanks!

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