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Southeast Asia forum

Phu Quoc or Koh Maak?

Posted by laurenbernard on 14/9/2006 at 22:02

Hello, hoping to get some views...

We're off to SE Asia for two weeks in mid November, flying into Saigon and out of Bangkok. I had planned on fitting in a few days at the end on Koh Maak to have some beach time and diving... BUT I've just seen the review of Phu Quoc on Travelfish and it looks amazing.

I don't think we'll have time to do both (given we also want to see Saigon, the Mekong Delta, Phnom Penh, Angkor etc) so which should I choose?

I'm looking for good weather, clear turquoise waters, good diving and a quiet, undeveloped, beach hut type atmosphere. (Fussy I know!!)

Any thoughts?

Oh - and is there anywhere to stay on or near Bao Sao beach on Phu Quoc?

Thanks!

#1 laurenbernard has been a member since 14/9/2006. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 16/9/2006 at 08:11 admin

Posted from within Vietnam.

Hi Laurenbernard,

Welcome to Travelfish!

Hmmm it's a tough question! They're very very different islands. Phu Quoc is big -- very big -- so you'll need a motorbike to see a lot of the island, while Ko Maak is small enough to mostly walk around. Ko Maak also has more in the way of nightlife than Phu Quoc. On the other hand, Phu Quoc's beachs, Bai Sao in particular, are stunning -- and unlike Ko Maak there's no sandflies... I was told by a number of resort owners on Phu Quoc that it's real popular with couples, looking for quiet time by the beach...

There is one place to stay on Phu Quoc -- see the Phu Quoc section for details.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by laurenbernard on 18/9/2006 at 22:46

Thanks very much somtam!

Hmmm... tricky. I'm worried about the sandfly issue with Koh Maak as I'm really not a big fan of sandflies! Do you know whether they are a problem all year round/on all beaches or could we avoid them? Is there a nice island in the koh Chang region that doesn't have them (eg Koh kood)?

Also, it sounds like you are saying that Phu Quoc's beaches are better than Koh Maak's - is that true?

All in all I am leaning towards Phu Quoc but that requires quite a major rethink of our plans so I want to be sure!

Thanks again

Lauren

#3 laurenbernard has been a member since 14/9/2006. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 19/9/2006 at 13:09 admin

Hi Lauren,

I've only been to Ko Maak twice and both times there were sandflies -- while they certainly weren't in plague proportions there were enough that I noticed them... The other islands are apparently fine -- Ko Maak is only one of two places in Thailand where I've had problems with sandflies -- the other in Ko Phra Thong down near Phuket.

Are the beaches better.... hmmmm...

Personally I preferred the beaches on Phu Quoc, but that's not to say the beaches on Ko Maak are awful -- they're perfectly fine.

The advantage of going to Ko Maak is if you don't like it there's a bunch of other islands you can go to instead that are just a short trip away. That's not the case on Phu Quoc -- if you get there and don't like it, you're pretty much stuck there.

Phu Quoc is just a one hour flight from Saigon, so it shouldn't require huge revisions to your trip as you're flying into Saigon anyway I assume...

Also bear in mind, I've been to just about every island in the region (bad job huh ;-) so I can be pretty picky when it comes to choosing an island -- chances are you'll be more than happy on either one...

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by Laura_B on 19/9/2006 at 16:20

Somtam in your experience, what island would you say is the best in terms of beauty?

#5 Laura_B has been a member since 30/6/2006. Posts: 54

Posted by bart on 19/9/2006 at 19:20

Uhhhhh What about Cambodia islands? Koh Russi very quaint and easy to get to from Sihanoukville.

#6 bart has been a member since 18/9/2006. Posts: 2

Posted by laurenbernard on 20/9/2006 at 19:00

Um... I've been put off Koh Maak by the sandflies... and the Cambodia islands are off our path as we're not going to Sikhanoukville.

I'm now considering Koh Kood as an alternative as it looks very pretty (and it seems there are now daily speedboats). But is it going to be full of package tourists on banana boats? And would you choose there or Phu Quoc?

Any views very welcome!

thanks

#7 laurenbernard has been a member since 14/9/2006. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 21/9/2006 at 09:19 admin

Laura_B -- tricky questions -- so many islands...here's I guess my top 5 (though bear in mind I haven't been to some of these in some time, and they're not all on Travelfish!)

Ko Rok (Thailand) - stunning snorkelling, camping only
Ko Mun Nork (Thailand) - beautiful beach, ease of access from Bangkok
Phu Quoc (Vietnam) - I loved it
Ko Tonsay (Cambodia) - back to basics, campfires and stars at night
Ko Phra Thong (Thailand) - an 11km beach with nothing on it, stunning views, jungle accommodation

Bart - agree Ko Russei is a great spot, though I prefer Tonsay (out from Kep)

Lauren, Ko Kut is big enough that even when there's lots of weekenders there, it isn't too busy -- or just plan your trip to be there on weekdays

#8 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,436
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Posted by Tilapia on 29/9/2006 at 03:54

Hi,

Another advantage that Koh Mak has over the Cambodian islands is that Bangkok is reachable in one day. If your flight is in the evening, you can leave from Koh Mak on the morning boat and be back in Bangkok by mid-afternoon.

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Posted by daflj on 3/9/2008 at 16:13

Hi Tilapia
to get back to Bangkok in a day from Ko Mak is there some sort of express bus from where the morning boat drops off?

Cheers
daflj

#10 daflj has been a member since 28/8/2008. Posts: 32

Posted by Tilapia on 4/9/2008 at 19:00

Hi daflj,

I've never used an express bus. I've always taken the songthaew back into Trat and then taken a bus from the market area. But, now I think you can arrange for a bus to Bangkok from the pier at Laem Ngop. If not, I'm quite sure that you can get either a songthaew or bus to the newish bus station and then head to Bangkok from there.

Sometimes it's good to have your bus ticket arranged before you go to the island, but only if you definitely know when you have to leave. This is because sometimes the buses fill with people going back to Bangkok from the other islands, especially Ko Chang.

Cheers.
Mike

#11 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,485
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Posted by daflj on 4/9/2008 at 19:03

Excellent, thanks Mike.
I might not know for certain which date I'll be leaving Ko Mak but my schedule is flexible enough that if I have to spend the night in Trat or somewhere closer to Bangkok then I'm sure I'll be able to manage that

#12 daflj has been a member since 28/8/2008. Posts: 32

Posted by Tilapia on 6/9/2008 at 00:01

Great ... if you're flexible, then you should try to log at least one night in Trat . It's worth it. And if you leave Trat at around 8 or 9 in the morning you should be back in Bangkok before dinnertime.

I wouldn't bother staying anywhere else between Trat and Bangkok unless it was Chanthaburi, or the old area of Chachoengsao. Trat 's a nice place to stay for a day or two.

#13 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,485
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