I'm traveling with a friend to Thailand for the New Year's holiday. We've never been to Thailand before and are becoming confused by all the options. We are single, early 40s and like great beaches, not super commercialized, casual beach bars and a more laid back atmosphere- but not so sleepy that there is no one else around. Is there an area of Phuket that will fit the bill? We want to see Patong once out of curiousity but I doubt from what I have read we will want to spend a lot of time there.
What other beach areas are recommended? We are considering Krabi area, Phi Phi and Ko Samui but don't just want to hit the major tourist locations.
We're grateful for any advice.