I am going to Thailand for the first time for July/August.
My plan is Bangkok > Surat Thani > Ko Pha Ngang > Krabi > West Coast Islands > Chang Mai and North > Bangkok
I'd like to try and stay in places that have a relaxed backpacker atmosphere, where I can access some of the local culture, yet still relatively lively and sociable. I am mainly interested in, eating local food; snorkelling; jungle trekking; watching nature.
Does anyone know any beaches like this in the places I am going? Also does anyone know if the West Coast Islands are still open in low-season?
Thanks for your answers!
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#1 Madrileno has been a member since 6/6/2014. Posts: 3
Don't know what "real" means to you. Islands are generally not great places for exploring "authentic" food; Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Krabi town are all good for that if you venture away from the traveler-oriented cafes and hit the markets and street stalls. We have a bunch of food listings here on TF but here are a few great blogs with a lot of specifics and how-to kind of stuff on food in Thailand:
July/August is wet on the Andaman side and accommodation / restaurants on some of my favorite lesser known islands, like Ko Bulon Lae and Ko Jum, will be almost completely closed. I would normally suggest Ko Lipe and Ko Lanta, but I've never actually been to either at that time of year so can't say exactly what it will be like. Also the national park islands near Lipe (Tarutao, Adang, etc.) will be closed at that time.
In short, you can expect any west coast island to be pretty quiet, which kind of thwarts your "lively and sociable" requirement. Places like Ao Nang and parts of Phuket will still have nightlife going on, but it doesn't sound like they're the kinds of places you'd be interested in given your "local culture" requirement. You'll find great snorkeling off Ko Tao, and the Gulf side tends to be less wet at that time of year (you could easily hop from Pha Ngan to Tao). Just read the specific TF destination guides for each island to figure out which beaches seem right for you.
Thanks a lot, a really helpful and informative answer. Ha, ha, yes, I realise the word ''real'' does sound quite pretentious, I am using it with a pinch of salt though ; )
I think I will try to get my ''lively and sociable'' fix in Ko Pha Ngang and enjoy some relaxation on the west coast if they are quite like you say. Thanks again!
Out of interest, any thoughts on what Ko Kut is like this time of year?
#3 Madrileno has been a member since 6/6/2014. Posts: 3