I will travelling Thailand with my friend in end Sep - November, we are looking at doing a 1 month diving course out there and to also travel. We are unsure how to go about this, ie, where about weather wise is best and what times. We where originally looking at doing the diving course all of Nov of Ko Tao, but have read that is the wettest month, so are wondering if we should do the course in Oct, then travel November - December.. but don;t know the best route to take thats the dryest.. Also, if we do travel November, would it be better to start at either Vietnam or Cambodia if the weather would be better then?
Lastly.. (for now lol) any idea of budget for 4 - 5 weeks of travel?
As you can see, I really don't know which is the best option. This is my first time traveling so any help at all would be greatly appriciated!
Thank you in advance to those who reply
#1 HollyN has been a member since 13/7/2012. Posts: 18
Having seen so many complaints from posters re the shockingly wet periods that can happen in the southern Gulf between November and mid December about one in 4 or 5 years (but not necessarily on a regular basis) and seen the rainfall/wind figures for those particular years, I've always advised travellers that it might be best to avoid that area that time of year unless they really really want to see one of the islands or beaches or go to The Party.
My own personal experience is that my one November visit to Tao way back saw real nice weather. I figure I was lucky - the next year I was on big Ko Chang in mid/late November and there was a constant stream of refugees from Tao/Phangan/Samui complaining of rain, floods, wind and big seas.
One suggestion might be to hit Tao first - late late Sept/real early November might be before the wet gets a chance to ramp up. and it could be one of those 3 in 4 or 5 years when the wet season that side is normal, which means as good as elsewhere.
Thing is all the islands in Thailand tend to be normally in wet season in October/November - but if the southern Gulf is having one of its shockers, other locations tend to be not as bad. I've travelled the Andaman extensively in wet season and never had a shocker. So it may be worth considering doing a dive course out of Phi Phi or Phuket.
Um, just re-read your OP.
If you are going into December it might be a good idea to delay the dive course until trip's end - in the Andaman the wet season usually is ending some time in the second half of November so Phi Phi, Phuket or Khao Lak may be the go.
Note that statistically, anecdotally and in my experience the wet season tends to end earlier in the EASTERN Gulf. Often all November is pretty good on big Chang, Mak, Wai and Kud. I can't recall seeing a dive school on Mak last March but the other islands have them. Okay islands too.
I can only speak in terms of Thailand budgets - I usually travel single, move on often, stay in budget bungalows but not dumps, eat budget but well, have a drink or 3 but don't party hard - last few trips I've averaged just under 1500 a day on everything once off the aircraft.
Agree with longbeach, Oct/Nov can be very rainy on Ko Tao. The best weather then is usually further north (northern Thailand/Laos/Vietnam). I also agree with tezza you should leave the dive course for December and do it on the Andaman side (Phuket, Khao Lak, Phi Phi, Lanta, etc). Have to include the usual disclaimer though - it's the tropics and weather can be quite unpredictable and variable year-upon-year. What you actually get might be a surprise.