Me and a friend are planning to do the suggested trip on this site that includes Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. We have set aside 10 weeks for this and have allowed 2 extra weeks from the 20th (ish) of April to visit some islands. We would like to experience a mix of good beaches to relax on with some good weather, a bit of exploring and some good old fashioned partying!
Any suggestions as to what islands to visit at this time of year and routes? How many do you think we can see in two weeks?
Was thinking Phi Phi or Samui, Ko Pha Ngan for the full moon party and another island or two to just completely unwind on?
Thanks for any help!
#1 Si84 has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 8
Do you know what the weather will be like on those islands at that time of year?
#3 Si84 has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 8
It really depends what you are looking for. A few islands this i liked are:
Koh Lanta - Enough bars and other backbackers to party but you can also relax and chill out here. I found the people really hospitable.
Koh Jam - if you are looking for something more quiet i really liked it here. The beach doesnt look as nice when the tide is out as you can see dead coral but it is lovely when it is in and hardly anyone else on the beach, total relaxation. We stayed in some small bungalows on stilts, they had a tree hous kind of feel. The island doed not have electricity for part of the day.
Koh Muk - beautifull beach and just a small longtail ride from emerald cave.
#4 JAYDEE has been a member since 6/7/2007. Posts: 5
Thanks for the suggestions.
Another question for you guys. How do we get down to the islands from say Bangkok. Is a flight needed or can we do it by train/bus and if so how long? As I am planning on doing the suggested trip on this site it currently ends in Hanoi/Sapa...would we be best getting a flight straight from there to the islands or would we need to go to Bangkok.
Alternatively is it worth doing the suggested trip in reverse so we actually end up finishing in Bangkok and therefore make it a bit easier to travel to the islands?
Sorry guys you have one very confused individual here!
#5 Si84 has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 8
We made our way down to Trang from Bangkok by overnight bus, then on to Koh Riley and the other islands from there. It took about 17 hours all in all and involved getting on 2 smaller mini buses. I prob wouldnt do this again as it was quite hard to sleep. I do know that you can get an overnight train down south from bangkok as well but this was fully booked when we tried so you may be best booking a few days in advance. The overnight train is fairly comfortable as they change the bseats into sleeping bunks as night, its a really good way of meeting people as well. You can also fly (to Trang i think, not definate though) lots quicker but more expensive.
#6 JAYDEE has been a member since 6/7/2007. Posts: 5
oops, sorry, our overnight bus took us to krabi not trang, got mixed up, there are so many places to remember xx
#7 JAYDEE has been a member since 6/7/2007. Posts: 5
See our story on getting from Bangkok to the islands for a blow by blow explanation of how to do it. Just read it backwards if you're going the other way ;-)
Thanks everyone you have all been very, very helpful!
#9 Si84 has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 8
There are so many options - but going along with some of the above suggestions you could try to island hop out of say Krabi to Ko Jum, then Lanta, then onto the daytrip boat for one or more of the Trang islands - Ngai, Kradan, Muk.
Or you could easily spend your two weeks checking the various bays at Ko Phangan and adjacent Tao.
Weather in April tends to be pretty good pre-proper wet season stuff, usually lots of sunshine but storms and usually short showers a distinct possibility. travelfish's interactive weather map gives useful stats.
I have a fair bit of info about these islands at http://tezzasthaiinfo.blogspot.com/
Be careful coming to Thailand in April and May as these are the hottest months of the year. If you have sensitive skin or are not used to 40+ temperatures you may not have much fun.
The East Coast islands have been going rapidly downhill for many years now but there are still some nice places to stay if you are willing to go that little bit further. Out West Koh Lanta is still a good bet as is Koh Phayan in Ranong. I have been told about some nice islands down in Trang province as well but I haven't been there yet.
If you have only two weeks it might be worth your while to fly (around 1,500B - 2,000B one way) but overnight buses and trains are another easy option.
By the way, where is Koh Riley? Never heard of it!
#12 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108
Weatherwise April is also good for Phi Phi, Lanta, etc. And as the rains begin in May, they tend to cool things down a little here during the hottest part of the year as opposed to places like Samui and Bangkok (which are blazing hot and dusty). It typically only rains briefly, and then the sun comes back out. Plus the rain itself is warm! So very pleasant overall.
As far as water being crystal clear at Samui/Tao, etc., I disagree. Maybe at shallow snorkelling depths it may appear clear and clean, but if you are thinking of scuba, the water is not clear at all--in fact it's rather silty because the Gulf gets just one tide a day to exchange the water in the entire basin, and there is significant runoff from agriculture and drainage of major rivers into it, exacerbating the siltiness.
I'm not trying to discourage you from visiting the Gulf Islands, especially if you are keen to take part in the FMP on Phangan, but don't discount the islands on the Andaman side because people scare you off with stories about weather.
BTW, for Guernseystu--I would guess the reference is to Railay Beach/Bay at Krabi. Not an island at all.
#13 Quero has been a member since 14/1/2007. Posts: 12
Good post Quero and thanks for the hint regarding Rai Lay which, as you correctly pointed out, certainly isn't an island.
#14 Guernseystu has been a member since 10/7/2007. Posts: 108
Thank you everyone for all your ideas...this site is just what I needed. After we leave south east asia we are going to Australia. Seeing as I have been to Australia before it was quite easy to plan but I was completely clueless on South East Asia before looking at this site. I think we will do the Samui archipelago on this trip. Then after Australia my friend will be going home but I will be heading back to South East Asia again and will visit Islands which are less "touristy" as some of you have suggested.
#15 Si84 has been a member since 7/7/2007. Posts: 8
good site to check weather is www.weatherbase.com
in terms of flights from Bangkok to the islands and to the countries you're going to, check out the Discovery Pass on Bangkok Airways website. They fly to both Phuket and Ko Samui. Pass makes a lot of sense if you're flying internationally especially. But you can only book outside of Thailand.
#16 smartcookie has been a member since 11/8/2007. Posts: 15