I am considering going to Ko Chang and some of the surrounding islands (Koh Mak, etc) during July or August, but I understand that this is the rainy season for this side of Thailand. My research has led me to many conflicting stories about how wet that really is...can anyone give their opinions? I understand that weather is always changing, but there's a big difference between "it rains heavily for an hour or so a day and then the sun comes out" and "we needed a helicopter to evacuate us from the roof of our flooded guesthouse".
Thanks so much!
It is a load of rain. Check out the weatherfish map and see what you think:
Often times during the monsoons, it does rain heavily for just a few hours, mostly in the afternoon when the heat builds up, but on other days, it rains all day and for days on end. I remember once in Lop Buri during the monsoon it rained for three days straight, and that was nowhere near the water.
I'd be more concerned about gettin to/from the islands, if the ferry is running, and what services and accommodation will be available once you get there. I'd expect accommodation, if available, to be pretty cheep, considering, but food might actually be more expensive given the pain of dragging it over from the mainland during the rains.
What other options are you considering?
Thanks so much for your reply.
I had hoped to travel from Bangkok to Siam Reap, and then on to Ko Chang and Koh Mak afterward merely based on geographical proximity. My hope was to find a beach area without mobs of people, plenty of places to explore, and where I can have a lot of interaction with locals as opposed to tourists. Because of that, I don't feel that somewhere like Pattaya or Phuket would be right for me. Perhaps Ko Samet would be a good option???
My itinerary is pretty open, but my original plan was Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Siam Reap-Ko Chang area-Bangkok-home. I am more than open to any suggestions anyone might have that would be better, though!
That area tends to be the wettest in Thailand around that time. Nevertheless I have seen plenty of wet season reports from Ko Chang saying people had a good holiday - looks like there is still usually plenty of sunshine between the showers/storms but when it rains it really rains.
During/after rainy period storms the surf can get very dangerous on big Chang where the main beaches face west into the swell. Take care - there are many drownings in wet season.
Chang has a big local population so acess will be okay - the vehicle ferries will only not run in the worst conditions. Acess to Maak and Wai may be more limited but Maak also has a fair local population which needs access to the mainland. Ditto Ko Kut.
Thing is you willl have to go back to the mainland from Chang to get these boats - the high season direct boats from Chang south are unlikely to run.
That type of year best weather is usually in the southern Gulf which does not normally get wet until October. The north and east coasts of Ko Phangan have some very chilled beaches in Coral Beach, Botttle Beach, Thong Nai Pan, Had Wai Nam, Had Thian and Had Yuan. Thong Nai Pan has the biggest local population but is the most touristy (pretty laid back compared to Phuket and Pattaya though).
For best interaction I'd be thinking of Coral Beach and walking/motorcycling into nearby Chalok Lum, the northern fishing town which has a nice atmosphere. There are also some okay bungalow resorts just along the beach from the town itself.
Chang is close to the mainland so boats should run in all but really bad storms. Maak is further away and the seas do get rougher. Chang is a big island and there are bars to retreat to if it does rain. You may get scattered showers or lots of rain. Every week is different in wet season. I'd still go if you want to relax. Prices are heavily discounted and few tourists will be there. If you strike a sunny day or two and there will be a few you can do a snorkelling trip and see other islands including Wai and national park islands.
#6 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
"where I can have a lot of interaction with locals as opposed to tourists"
Then forget Ko Samet. It is 100% tourism and any Thai that lives there is a bar boy, a housekeeper or some other resort employee. Ko Chang is a much bigger island with more options and local people. Bang Bao is a good place to meet local fishermen and their families for example. Sorry there's no magic boat/bridge across the gulf from Cambodia. You can fly from Siem Reap via Bangkok to Ko Samui but it costs an arm and a leg, and any bus option will also be via Bangkok.
Beware of rough seas during monsoon. I had a friend recently drowed on Ko Chang during a casual swim at Lonely Beach.
Thanks so much for your replies, everyone!
Unfortunately, the consensus seems to be that I will need to go from Siam Reap to Bangkok and then down, which I was hoping to avoid. As of now, I will be going from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, back to Bangkok, over to Siam Reap, back to Bangkok, down to the islands, and then back to Bangkok for home. It's just a lot of "back to Bangkok"!
Looks like my best option is to cut out either Siam Reap or the islands...it seems a shame to travel all the way to Thailand and not see some of its most beautiful scenery, but it would be amazing to see Angkor Wat and a bit of Cambodia. Any thoughts on which to choose?
Depends what you like. I much prefer the beaches and islands than going to slimey Cambodia. Ruins are good for a day then it's boring for me but others might spend 3 days exploring them and loving it.
#9 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
me and my girlfriend are planing a trip in september. How bad is it then in Ko Chang? We're planing to go from Bangkok to Saigon and see some islands and beaches. Which one be the best in that time of the year?
sorry for my bad english, it's late :D
#10 RokZala has been a member since 10/4/2012. Posts: 1