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Help me make sense of my island/beach research

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    So I've been reading up on the many opinions of the beaches in Thailand to try to choose a location to spend 7-9 days in March 09.

    What we are looking for:

    1. Budget accomodations ($30US per night or less for a double...no shared rooms!), budget food/drinks

    2. Accommodations on/near beach.

    3. Beach that's good for swimming/sunbathing (clean water, non-rocky shore)

    4. Area that has things to do other than beach stuff (i,e, day trips, hiking, cooking classes, markets, kayaking)

    We are willing to move around 1-2 times. Or stay put and take day trips. Whatever is more convenient. Although we realize that we may have to move about to make places more accessible.

    NOT looking for diving, partying

    I've narrowed the options down to:

    Koh Phangan/Koh Tao OR
    Krabi ( + ??) OR
    Koh Lanta + Koh Jum

    First option: SHould be okay if we can get away from all the FMP broo ha ha. But not sure how much there is to do on Koh Tao

    2nd option: Ao Nang doesn't really get good reviews on Travelfish, although I'm thinking there would be lots to do around Krabi??

    3rd option: Is there lots to do on Lanta?

    Any opinions/advice?

    Ideally we would like to pick one beach area that has lots of stuff to do and a second area where we could do nothing for 3-4 days on a nice beach.

    Thanks.

    #1 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 03:16

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  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Also wondering, if we choose Krabi, could day trips be done to any of:

    Ko Yao Noi

    Ko Yao Yai

    Khao Lak?

    Not sure what is involved in getting there, how accessible they are for a day/overnight trip and how much of a "budget" destination they are.

    #2 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 03:21

  • Jon_Mak_Mak

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    Hi, I would just like to comment on Ao Nang . I think Ao Nang is great if you use it as a base and go out to surrounding islands. There is some good things to do around here including the fossil site - Susan Hoi.

    I heard Ko Tao was only good for diving???

    Samui isnt a bad island if you stay away from Cheweng.

    Just my thoughts,
    Jon_mak_mak

    #3 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 06:43

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Thanks for the tips.

    I've almost dropped Phagnan and Koh Tao from the list.

    I am more heavily conidering some kind of combo that includes some of the following:

    Krabi
    Koh Lanta
    Koh Jum
    Koh Yao Yai
    Koh Ngai

    Of course I can't go to all in 9 ish days so I'd have to pick the best choice based on:
    how they meet our needs
    most logical route

    #4 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 07:10

  • somtam2000

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    Personally I don't like Ao Nang and so that probably comes through in the write-up of it on Travelfish -- that said a lot of people disagree with me!

    With just nine days I'd say you're on the right track limiting yourself to one coast (east or west). The west coast has a "richer" variety of islands and it's not a big deal to move from one to another.

    Of the islands you list, Ko Yao Yai is the most "out of the way" -- there's a recent post by tezza in the trip reports section you may want to give a read to.

    Other islands (just to confuse matters) look into the places off Trang -- we've recently updated the coverage for there (not the pics yet though) and there's a fair range out from there.

    #5 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 08:50

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Considering the above places, would it be logical to do a loop that starts and ends at Krabi? (Fly into and out of Krabi, perhaps)

    Or fly into Trang and work our way up? Although it seems like it would take us quite a ways more south than we really need to.

    Thanks somtam. I do find that the info on Ao Nang is really mixed. Ill have to do more reading.
    Good to hear its easy to move between the islands we are considering. Is it cheap as well to go between them?

    Thanks for the Ko Yao Yai tip. I'll take that into consideration.

    #6 Posted: 24/12/2008 - 09:38

  • swag

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    hi you might want to google tigerline ferries, they have a good website with all ferries that service the west coast with all the times for pick ups for various islands all the way down to langkawi.From memory you can get a minibus/ferry combo from Krabi and do a nice loop including Lanta and some islands off trang. well worth a look

    #7 Posted: 25/12/2008 - 06:16

  • somtam2000

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    Yup, travel between the islands is very affordable. Krabi will probably serve you as a better base as most of the islands you're considering are better reached from there than from Trang.

    Tigerline website is here

    #8 Posted: 26/12/2008 - 07:25

  • Jon_Mak_Mak

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    The problem with Ao Nang is the amount of 'Family tourists there' - I mean, you got mum, dad, gran, granddad, aunty, and 3 kids for every family (or so it seems) and the place gets busy!

    I don’t personally like this type of place, in fact, it’s the opposite of what I usually like but, the sheer beauty of the surrounding areas is worth putting up with the crowds for a short time. Also with an airport, its convinient too.

    #9 Posted: 26/12/2008 - 23:48

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    So still trying to decide....

    we will most likely fly into and out of Krabi (or overnight bus out of Krabi back to BKK).

    With 8 days, please share advice on how to split the time with the following places shortlisted:

    Krabi
    Koh Lanta
    Koh Jum
    Koh Ngai

    I realize that with only 8 days we can't see all.

    How bout 1 night Krabi , 4 Koh Lanta, 3 on either Koh Jum or Koh Ngai?

    What are the main differences between Koh Jum and Koh Ngai, besides Koh Jum being easier to reach from Krabi ? In terms of things to do? Budget required for each? Quality of beaches?

    Finally, if we decide to do Krabi /Lanta/Jum, can a day trip be taken to Ko Ngai?

    #10 Posted: 2/1/2009 - 04:45

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  • Jon_Mak_Mak

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    I think you would need more than 1 night in Krabi (Ao Nang) and maybe drop 1 of the islands?

    #11 Posted: 3/1/2009 - 18:54

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    "Hi, I would just like to comment on Ao Nang . I think Ao Nang is great if you use it as a base and go out to surrounding islands. There is some good things to do around here including the fossil site - Susan Hoi. "

    the fossil site is a joke.

    ao nang or krabi town is a good base as there are many daytrips which can be done like

    bor thor kayaking
    khlong thom hot springs
    snorkelling trips and island trips

    lanta is a bit boring, i wouldnt recommend staying there.

    i would recommend a trip to khao sok 2 or 3 n instead and the rest krabi

    #12 Posted: 6/1/2009 - 21:58

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    "worth putting up with the crowds for a short time"

    the crowds are pretty small and cover about 500m.

    ao nang is a laid back place even though it is popular with euro familes. it's a lot quieter and smaller than patong or pattaya!

    i really dont know why ao nang gets bashed as it's fine as a base. like most places in thailand the attractions you got to get out and see them not wonder around the tourist shops whinging about all the tourists

    #13 Posted: 6/1/2009 - 22:03

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Ugh...still torn.

    We are still planning on flying in and out of Krabi .

    Areas we'd narrowed down are:

    1. Krabi Town

    (considering Chanchalay Guesthouse)

    2. West Railay Beach

    (considering staying either in East Railay or Ao Nang for budget accommodation)

    3. Koh Lanta

    (not sure which beach yet, possibly Long Beach or Klong Dao, wherever we can swim and find suitable accomodations)

    4. Koh Jum

    Yes I know this is lot to see. Would it be to much?

    Itinerary suggestions? We'll have to start and end in Krabi bc of the flight.

    1 night Krabi town
    2 nights Ao Nang Railay
    4 Koh Lanta
    2 Koh Jum


    Good to Ao Nang is a good base. Maybe we should even add a day here (?) to do day trips to any of:

    Chicken Island
    Poda Island
    Hong Island
    Bamboo Island


    Lanta boring? I'd like to hear more on this. We'd definately be open to going somewhere else instead. Where is the best place to base a trip to Khoa Sok?

    Thoughts on Koh Jum? Good place to spend a last few days relaxing?

    #14 Posted: 7/1/2009 - 01:02

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    Chicken island = poda island.

    It looks like a chicken head.

    Hong Island is better than Bamboo island.

    You can also do a daytrip to Phi Phi.

    You can book a Khao Sok tour easily from krabi/ao nang or drive or bus it if you want.

    There's nothing much to see or do on Lanta. Only go there if you want to relax.

    Havent been to Jum but everyone says it's for kicking back as it's largely undeveloped.

    You could easily spend a week or more doing trips from krabi.

    i wouldnt worry about booking ahead either as there are many places to stay.

    #15 Posted: 8/1/2009 - 10:02

  • jyates

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd December, 2008
    Posts: 7

    I'm off to Ko Lanta in a few weeks and although I haven't been there have done some research. In Ko Lanta there are some good cookery courses, a national park to hike around, elephant trekking, canoeing in mangroves, snorkelling trips and more. I've spoken to people who have been there recently and all really enjoyed it - the night life isn't huge but it doesn't sound like that's what you want. Enjoy!

    #16 Posted: 8/1/2009 - 20:00

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    no snorkelling at lanta, you have to go to the trang islands on a boat

    cooking courses are everywhere in thailand

    national park isnt much

    elephant trek isnt much

    there's very little there at all

    #17 Posted: 8/1/2009 - 22:08

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Well, opting out of going to Lanta, could be an option I suppose. The main reason we were gonna go there is for beach time to relax at the end of our trip. And to take a snorkelling tour to some of the trang islands.

    But I suppose this could be done from Jum as well. And the beaches on Jum sound better than on Lanta from what I've been reading.

    Cooking classes we will try up in Chiang Mai. Possibly elephant trekking as well.

    I will do more reading up on Hong Island vs. Bamboo Island. If we stay three days at Ao Nang, one day we will do a 4 island snorkelling tour, and another day I was interested in a half day tour to Bamboo Island. But Hong Island could be an option instead.

    Will prob opt out of Khao Sok for this trip as we just don't have enough time :(

    Thanks for all the advice.

    #18 Posted: 8/1/2009 - 23:41

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    Many snorkelling trips go to bamboo island but the coral is poor. Hong, Poda and Phi Phi are better.

    #19 Posted: 9/1/2009 - 09:19

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    thanks t-rock.

    so I guess I'll decide between doing the "4 island tour" which goes to poda, tup, phra nang cave OR the Hong Island tour.

    suggestions for better snorkelling, scenery?

    #20 Posted: 10/1/2009 - 00:46

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
    Posts: 156
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    I think that you should do Ko Lanta... it is gorgeous and great for everything you have mentioned... you can do day trips to Ko Ngai, Ko Phi Phi and Krabi area... you can have a look at my travelblogs for ideas with Ko Lanta.. and do not miss a day with Lanta Long Tail day tours... they are fantastic and much better than doing the bigger more commercial tours...

    Their website is www.lantalongtail.com
    My blog is www.travelblog.org/bloggers/reet

    and also Relax Bay Resort would be perfect for what you want.. it is a LITTLE rocky under the water for the first 20 meters or so but it rocks.. either go for a fan bungalow or the VIP rooms if you can afford it... dont do the aircon room as its a concrete box...

    Feel free to contact me if you want further details but having done Phuket, Ko Phangan, Phi Phi, Lanta... I think Lanta is exactly what you are looking for!

    Reet x

    #21 Posted: 11/1/2009 - 16:26

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    Lanta is not gorgeous at all. It's beaches are fairly plain and the island is nothing special. It's ok for relaxing but as far as scenary goes krabi and phi phi are far better.

    #22 Posted: 13/1/2009 - 07:00

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    I personally think that there is more than just beaches and scenery that makes a place stand out as gorgeous.. the people, the food, the atmosphere, the activites, the list goes on..... we loved Lanta.. we felt like we were truly in Thailand and not just any old tourist beach destination... plus you have the advantage of taking day trips to phi phi, krabi, ko ngai etc...

    #23 Posted: 13/1/2009 - 09:47

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    We have pretty much decided that we will go to Lanta. We are not expecting the beaches to blow us away but we would still like to visit.

    We will stay three nights in Ao Nang or Railay,
    then three nights on Lanta and finally three nights on Jum.

    Ao Nang /Railay will let us explore beautiful beaches and take a snorkelling trip.

    Lanta will have okay beaches, sounds a bit more laid back than Railay, and will be a good base to do a snorkelling trip to the Trang Islands.

    Finally Jum will give us a chance to do absolutely nothing but relax on a nice beach.

    I know this will be a lot of moving around but we want to see different places and the final three days of just R & R would be enough for us to balance out the hopping around to get there.

    If we had an extra day to spare, should we tack it on to one of the islands, or maybe a night in Krabi the day we fly in?

    (Or just leave the extra day tacked on in the Chiang Mai plus MHS or Pai areas)

    #24 Posted: 13/1/2009 - 10:15

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    "I personally think that there is more than just beaches and scenery that makes a place stand out as gorgeous.. the people, the food, the atmosphere, the activites, the list goes on..... we loved Lanta.. we felt like we were truly in Thailand and not just any old tourist beach destination... plus you have the advantage of taking day trips to phi phi, krabi, ko ngai etc"

    Truly in Thailand LOL

    The island has about 100 resorts.

    Thai people generally do not like beaches and avoid the sun as they don't like to go too dark.

    If you want to experience real thai living you won't find it on a touristy island like Lanta.

    amz, better stay in the south as the northern beaches are horribly overdeveloped. Kantiang Bay is your best bet.

    #25 Posted: 14/1/2009 - 09:55

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    " the people, the food, the atmosphere, the activites"

    70-80% of the people on Lanta are muslim. Doubt you'd be hanging out with them much.

    The food on Lanta is no better than anywhere else.

    The activities are limited on Lanta.

    #26 Posted: 14/1/2009 - 09:57

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    Travelrock,

    I find your attitude really offensive. Why do you have to be so negative to my experience....

    I personally found that it felt like I was in a
    'different country' to my own when I got to Lanta having been to places like Phuket prior to arriving... I am aware that Thai people avoid the beach, how they feel about their skin colour and wasn't suggesting 'hanging out with the people of Lanta'... the food may not be any better than anywhere else.. in fact the food is pretty amazing EVERYWHERE in Thailand if you find the right places.....

    We are all entitled to our own opinions, but please stop trying to analyse what I am saying and make it into some sort of joke... your condescending attitude to my post (and various others) really ruins peoples experience on the forum.

    If you read the original post they had a certain criteria with what they were looking for, and in my opinion I felt that Lanta would be ideal for them...

    The people are great, in so much that when you deal with everyone they are fantastic (yep I know they are all over thailand) .... the food was great (yep I know it is everywhere else too) ... the atmosphere... I loved it... it was alot less developed than other islands... I found it a happy medium between being too crowded and too deserted... the activites... were plenty.. hire a motorbike (the roads are great), do a cooking class at Time for Lime, do different day trips with Lanta Long Tail, wander around the tiny villages, go for a trek.... what more could you want....

    Lanta certainly fits the bill for what the OP wants... I just dont understand why you have to be so negative towards others like myself, when all we are doing is trying to help fellow travellers.

    Reet x

    #27 Posted: 14/1/2009 - 12:38

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    not being negative, just real.

    You are painting Lanta in an inaccurate way.

    #28 Posted: 14/1/2009 - 21:37

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
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    "I find your attitude really offensive"

    Well that's life. Hope you get over it.

    I find when people exaggerate how good a place is like yourself travellers get disappointed because they expect paradise.

    There are pros and cons for every island.

    #29 Posted: 14/1/2009 - 21:40

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    Just because you have a bad opinion of Lanta doesn't mean everyone will agree with you... I am not painting any picture other than my truth.. and I dont know one person who I have recommended Lanta to who has come back disappointed... I haven't painted it as a paradise... but none of the other options they are considering could be considered a paradise either.... hmmmm this is boring me...

    You are entitled to your opinion but please don't trash mine!

    #30 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 04:35

  • travelrock

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 209
    Total reviews: 18

    Your postings are misleading and untruthful.

    I'm giving an accurate description of the island, you are not.

    #31 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 07:21

  • somtam2000

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    Emjay/travelrock,

    Can we agree to disagree on this please?

    Travel is a subjective pastime and there's often no cut and dried right and wrong. I don't expect everyone to agree with everyone's opinions on everything -- what a boring world that would be, but lets let this one go please.

    It's a big forum and there's room for many an opinion.

    Thanks!

    #32 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 10:52

  • swag

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    Having stayed on a number of Thai islands,one of the things that I enjoyed when staying on Lanta was the muslim influence in the cooking.Fantastic curries were we stayed on Long Beach.Was very different to the food on say Chang or Mak or Wai on the east coast.imho of course

    #33 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 11:49

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    My post are not misleading or untruthful... its MY opinion.

    No problems Somtam. I believe everyone should have their own different experience/opinions but that doesn't give travelrock the right to call me a liar or trash my experience.

    #34 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 12:28

  • mic59

    Joined Travelfish
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    I fully agree, somtam2000. I was recently in Thailand myself and met a good number of people who related enjoyable experiences in places I could not stand. But there is no way I would want to belittle their experiences, not everyone wants to blaze a trail off the beaten track. I generally try to go to new places but I found myself occasionally preferring to laze in some tourist area like Pattaya or Chiang Mai.

    #35 Posted: 15/1/2009 - 19:52

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    sorry somtam, but i think you are missing the point. the concern isn't over travelrock's opinions. it is about the overly aggressive and predatory way he expresses them. as you say, there is plenty of room on this site for differing opinions. but that doesn't mean we should have to tolerate someone's bullying and boorish behavior.

    #36 Posted: 16/1/2009 - 04:13

  • EmjayReet

    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Australia
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    Total reviews: 3

    Thanks guys.. exactly my point. xx

    #37 Posted: 16/1/2009 - 04:44

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