Has anyone visited both areas and can you help recommend one over the other, whats they offer and what NEEDS to be experienced?
(1) Ko Chang (east of Bangkok, near Trat) AND
(2) Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan & Ko Tao (Gulf of Thailand)
We are limited on the number of stops we can make and were wondering which stop to cut out. Any suggestions?
#1 krazymary8 has been a member since 29/9/2009. Posts: 1
Depends what you want to do.
I really love Ko Chang -- it's great for a mellow beach holiday. Most of the beaches are getting quite developed and have mid-range accommodations, but a couple are still hippy-ish and rustic. You can dive here, but it's not great. Ko Chang is more beautiful than the east coast gulf islands (in my opinion), but is less of a meet-people-and-party island.
Koh Samui is mid to upper range accommodations, very developed and attracts a resort crowd; Ko Tao is where it's at if you want to learn to dive; Ko Phangan is backpacker's mecca with cheap rooms (unless it's the full moon party) and, of course, the full moon parties (and half moon parties, quarter moon parties, night before the full moon parties, etc.)
I like each area equally - particularly if you include some of the islands south of big Chang - Whai, Muk and Kut.
One decider may be what time of year you visit - Samui and neighbours can have very wet periods in October, November and December, but tend to be the driest islands April thru September. Statistically and anecdotally, wet season tends to end some time in late October in the Chang area - but it can be real wet mid-year.
Another decider could be duration of travel - if you are using land tranport you can be on Chang in around 6 hours from Bangkok, whereas Tao will take you maybe 11 minimum. Of course if you use one of the night buses or sleeper trains to the southern Gulf piers, this is no problem.
If travelling from Bangkok, quite a few people also visit Ko Samet, a real nice island about 3 hours from Bangkok and 2-3 from big Chang.