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Thailand - best beaches for scenery, food, and night life?

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Seeking advice on where the most scenic beaches in Thailand are. I'm reading so much about 2 areas: Andaman Coast (Phuket, Ao Phang-nga National Park, Krabi, Phi Phi Islands)
and The Gulf of Thailand (Cha-am & Hua Hin, Ko Samui, Ko Pha-ngan). Which area holds more natural beauty and water-related activities? I'm not necessary on a tight budget but not looking for a back-packer's experience...somewhere in the middle. Safety is a concern because I will be traveling with 2 other women and we are all in our late twenties. While parties are a must, I want to have a slightly upscale feel (no dangerous drug and sex parties please!!). The plan is to spend a few nights in Bangkok, then fly to Phuket, and then take a boat to some of the really pristine and gorgeous islands for an authentic Thai experience. If anyone has any advice, it would be greatly appreciated!

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