we'll be travelling in southern Thailand in February. After spending few days in Khao Sok National Park we wanted to spend some 5 days on a beach - apparently we should be on the 'right' side of Thailand at this time of the year but no idea which one it is! So two questions:
1. Andaman coast or Gulf in February?
2. Any recommendations for a children friendly island / beach within reasonable distance from Khao Sok / Krabi / Phuket? We'll be travelling with two small children (less than 4 years old) and joined by grandparents so wouldn't want to end up in a techno party destination...
#1 adriana_o has been a member since 21/1/2013. Posts: 1
Either coast is beautiful in February -- take your pick. If you want really comfortable and family-friendly, Ko Samui is easy to get to from Khao Sok.
But Khao Sok is actually closer to the Andaman side... Ko Kho Khao , which is a very family-friendly and quiet island with expansive beaches, is directly west of Khao Sok and would also be easy to reach. The downside of Ko Kho Khao is that, while beautiful, it doesn't have the stunning aquamarine water and white sand beaches of some of the islands nearby. If you want a taste of that, you could do a day tour of the Similans, which could be booked from a travel office on Ko Kho Khao.
You could also stay on the Ko Similan or Ko Surin , which is the most idyllic of the islands I've been to and wouldn't be too difficult to get to from Khao Sok. However both are run by national parks so they're only suitable if you like the 'unspoilt' outdoors. You could camp in tents on the beach or book a cottage, which wouldn't be a bad idea for the family. I recall that Ko Surin has a private family cabin on a secluded part of Ao Mai Ngam beach that sleeps eight. I think it's fan only and it's pretty simple, but they do have a few air-con bungalows on the busier side of the island near national park headquarters too.
Also accessible from Khuraburi (the launching point for Ko Surin) is Ko Phra Thong, which is similar but even more remote than Ko Kho Khao... Phra Thong is really a charming island with a real "far off paradise" feel. The golden sand beaches there stretch for what seems like forever and they're always practically empty. Golden Buddha Resort there comes to mind as a possible option for the family... It's actually a community of foreign homeowners who have beach houses which are rented out by the resort when the owners aren't around. It's expensive, but I highly doubt you'd be disappointed there.
I haven't been to most of the islands around Phuket , but Ko Yao Yai or Ko Yao Noi might be good options. Of course, Phuket itself has some great upscale resorts and lots of activities -- but the scene can get pretty seedy in the bigger beach towns.
Ko Lanta might also be a good option if you're willing to head a bit further south.
There's no real difference in weather either side that time of year and both have really attractive locations. I reckon my decision, particularly if travelling with kids, would come down to ease of access.
And here the Andaman coast wins hands down. Nice beaches are closer and you don't have to hang around waiting for ferries which then take several hours to reach an island.
Closest nice beach places to Khao Sok (a bit over an hour) are Khao Lak and Ko Kho Khao - the latter is an island (only 10 minutes to cross to from the mainland, longtail ferries waiting for customers) not too many travellers get to with a nice range of accommodation and some very good beach areas. At Khao Lak I reckon Sunset Beach is hard to beat - I spent a few days at the elevated Baan Krating a while back - a nice not too expensive midrange joint.
Travellers' minibuses leave Khao Sok each morning and go direct to Krabi over good mountain roads which short-cut the main road route, take maybe 3 hours. I'd try to stay on Railay (east Railay is better value and has more accommodation and you can access the better West Railay and Phra Nang beaches in about 10 minutes of walking).
Some of the near-airport beaches at Phuket would take about the same time as Krabi (public bus instead of travellers' minivan; however I wouldn't be a bit surprised if there is now a morning minivan leaving Sok for Phuket). I spent a few days at Nai Yang just south of the airport last month and it proved a real nice little beach. I found Nai Yang Boutique Resort on travelfish's associated Agoda booking site was very good value lower midrange joint. travelfish's Nai Yang destination section mentions several backpacker/flashpacker places too.
A good place of this type on absolute beach front the other side of the airport I've stayed at is Seaside Cottages and Restaurant at Mai Khao beach.
Ah yes, DL got his answer in while I was writing mine so I didn't see his Ko Phra Thong suggestion.
Nice island, even more laid back and less visited than Ko Kho Khao. I didn't mention it because when I took the opposite journey from Phra Thong to Khao Sok a while back it was quite time consuming. But this was using public transport - if 4 adults are travelling they could hire a van to take them directly from Sok to the pier and then hire a longtail to take them across to the island - probably wouldn't be too much more per person than I paid. One of Golden Buddha's beach houses split between 4 would not be over the top price wise for midrange travellers and a perfect place. Of course if you want to go budget you have a choice of nearby Mr Chuoi's, Nature Beach etc.
My partner and i decided not to mention that due to the fact once i needed the alternative vacation via Phra Thong to help Khao Sok a while rear it turned out quite frustrating. Although this became employing general public transfer in the event that four parents tend to be travelling they may hire any van to consider them specifically via Sok for the pier after which it hire any longtail to consider them around for the tropical isle most likely couldn't be an excessive amount of a lot more for every man or women than My partner and i compensated.
#5 Howard55 has been a member since 21/1/2013. Posts: 7