My husband and I are headed to Thailand in mid February (we are in our early 30s). We will be there 10 days. We fly into BKK and would like to go straight to Chiang Mai for 3 days and then head to the South - we were thinking of flying to Krabi and then heading over to Koh Lanta and maybe doing some island hopping for 5 days, then heading back to Bangkok for 2 days before we fly out. Does this seem feasible?
My biggest question is where would you suggest going in the South? I have heard good things about Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi so thats why I was interested in the Andaman side. Would we have enough to do if we were on Koh Lanta for ~ 4 days/5 nights? Is it easy to go to other islands from there for the day? Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
#1 Ace8c has been a member since 30/12/2013. Posts: 2
Do you intend to fly out of Krabi or some other location like Phuket , Trang or Had Yai? Or are you leaving on surface transport? There are various island-hopping alternatives out of Lanta depending on from where you want to leave on exit.
Now 5 days doesn't give you much time - you could easily use them all at two locations, any more and you would be rushing too much. The obvious would be Krabi (the Railay area) and Ko Lanta. If you finish in Lanta, Krabi or Trang would be the place to exit by aircraft.
Other alternatives would be to head directly to Lanta from Krabi airport and then catch the ferry to Ko Jum or Phi Phi - and then ferry back to Krabi for the flight out. You could do the reverse direction if your flight arrival in Krabi coincides with one of the ferry departure times out of Krabi to Jum or Phi Phi. You can also access Jum from the mainland reasonably close to Krabi airport - any airport cabbie would know the way to Laem Kruat.
Other answers may suggest the Trang Islands are a good island-hopping option out of Lanta. You could hop down to Kradan, Ngai, Muk or Libong and then exit via Trang airport (Krabi airport is not out of the question but will involve another 90 minutes of land travel).
If you fancy a laid back island for contrast (although Libong doesn't get too much more laid back) a combination of Krabi and Ko Yao Noi or Ko Yao Yai, exiting via Phuket airport would work.
3 days in Chiang Mai is hardly worth it. You need longer to explore the north.
Lanta is quiet but you can do a tour to Trang islands from there.
Phi Phi has good snorkelling but is over developed. I rate Ko Hong much better for a daytrip.
With 10 days best not to move around much as you lose half a day each time. I would suggest you pick the north or the south but not both.
#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Um, as usual I didn't read the question fully:
"Is it easy to go to other islands from there for the day?"
Yep, Lanta has some good daytrips although maybe not as many as Krabi.
I reckon the standout is the Trang Islands daytrip put on by Petpalin and many longtail boat operators. They visit Muk, Kradan and Ngai and include the fabulous Emerald Cave on Muk. They usually do some snorkelling time at Kradan which has had some of the better coral I've seen in Thailand in recent years. These trips can be booked from any accommodation place. Ditto daytrips to Phi Phi and to Ko Haa/Ko Rok.
Krabi has far more daytrips but the Trang tour from Lanta is a good one. Krabi offers some excellent kayaking tours plus snorkelling plus hotsprings and freshwater lagoon. Last time I was in Krabi I spent 10 nights there. Easy to do.
If I was you Id fly straight to Krabi and do 5 nights there then 2- 3 nights Lanta then back to Bangkok.
Air Asia and Nok have cheap flights.
#5 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Thank you for all the information. Leonard, the reason we wanted to try to fit in Chiang Mai was because we heard this had better cooking schools, markets, temples and elephant sanctuaries than BKK or the South. Would you say this to be true? I guess I just want to fit in as much as we can since I don't know if I will ever get my husband to fly that far again! Of course I love the beach but we have never been to Asia and want to make sure we get a taste of the things listed above as well as the beautiful beaches.
Thank you, tezza, for the recs on day trips from Krabi and where to fly in/out I will definitely look further into this. Would you say that it is important to book flights/all hotels such as these ahead of time? I don't want to be caught without a flight/hotel but it sure would be nice to play some of this by ear.
#6 Ace8c has been a member since 30/12/2013. Posts: 2
Markets no. Bangkok has better markets and shopping. Just go to MBK shopping centre and Pratunam for goods. Street food is everywhere.
Cooking - i did one there it was average. U cant learn much in a day.
You can ride an elephant in Krabi.
Bangkok has better temples and museums. Go to Wat Arun, Grand Palace, Wat Po and the national museum. Suan Pakkard and Vinmanmek are also good.
CM is just a smaller less interesting version of Bangkok. You need at least 5 to 7 nights to explore the north.
#7 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
Most people love Thailand and go back. Its not a long flight from most countries.
Good rooms for $50, $2 meals, $7 massages, $20 snorkelling tours.
Why wouldnt u go back?
Most do. Its addictive. Rather than rush around stop and enjoy it.
If u want a taste of something different do a tour to kanchanaburi from bangkok. That would be better than going CM for short time.
#9 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
"Would you say that it is important to book flights/all hotels such as these ahead of time?"
Um, mid Feb is high season but not peak peak. There is no usual penalty (apart from forex changes) in booking your flights in advance. Railay tends to book out in advance so I'd be looking at travelfish's Agoda etc for likely places - don't shy at relatively unatractive East Raily. It is 5 minutes walk to gorgeous West Railay and 10 minutes to even better Phra Nang beach.
Popular places on Lanta could also be booked ahead Less trendy areas on Lanta and in the area can wait.
I wouldn't worry too much about day-trips - would wait until I was on the island to see who was offering a good deal.