My partner and I are looking to travel to Thailand in September for our annual vacation. I know it is in the middle of the rainy season but from what I have gathered on this forum, it isn't that bad is it?
Now our only problem is, which island to spend a week of relaxation mixed with some cultural insights? We are looking for something fairly quiet (so far I have ruled Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui out), somewhere with a little adventure (think hiking, waterfalls, elephant trekking) and somewhere with good food! I was contemplating Koh Chang but then my friend suggested Koh Samet and also reading about the other fabulous Thai islands on Travelfish has now got us all confused!!
Can anyone make any recommendations for us?!?!
Thanks a bunch!
#1 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
Welcome to Travelfish kay_kay!
Ko chang in September is wet and I mean WET. that being the case, I'd suggest alternatives -- ko Samet is good, convenient to Bangkok with loads of resorts and good eating to choose from, though it has little in the way of waterfalls (none in fact) nor elephant riding. You can do a bit of walking, but it's nothing too exciting...
Where does spring to mind is Ko Pha Ngan. It's close enough to Samui that if time is tight you can fly to Samui and get the boat over, there's tons of places to stay -- from 50B a night shacks to 50,000B a night penthouses. There's loads of trekking opportunities and no shortage of places to eat. I'm pretty sure (though not positive) you can do some kinda elephant riding there...
Best of all, the weather won't be all that bad at all.
Hope that helps get the confusion under control ;-)
Oh, and I forgot to say we're midway through updating all ourt Ko Pha Ngan content (all the new stuff should be all on the site in the next few days) so what you read on Travelfish is as fresh as a coconut that just fell in your lap!
koh samet is one of my favorites and always a good getaway from bangkok, particularly mid week. but it is pretty thin on the cultural stuff you mentioned that you are looking for. there are a few good hikes to be had, and you can hire motor scooters to explore the island if you don't mind driving on what passes for roads there. the food is varied and excellent, with restaurants taking over the sand at night on the larger beaches. there are also a few daytime snorkeling trips that are worth a look.
check out the listings on the website to see if koh pha ngan has more of the things you are looking for and if the additional travel costs fit your budget. you can also fly into surat thani and catch the bus/ferry combo to the island. cheers.
maybe reconsider koh samui? i stayed at mae nam beach twice. it's quiet and families mostly stay there. and you still have the option of shopping, bars, muay thai stadium as well as waterfalls, elephant rides, snorkling, kayaking, ang thong national marine park.
#5 MJS has been a member since 27/10/2006. Posts: 19
Thanks for all the tips!
The info about Koh Chang was very useful! We don't want to be stuck in the rain for our vacation...
We will definately look into Koh Pha Ngan as that sounds quite nice. We were just a little reluctant about the travel time to southern Thailand because we are flying from Europe.
I have been to Koh Samui before and stayed on Lamai beach. I didn't really enjoy it there too much - esp when we went up to Chawang beach! I heard that Mae Nam is nice and I think we ventured up there but I would like to try a different island. Thanks for the advice though.
#6 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
oh could anyone recommend a nice beach on Koh Pha Ngan? not too crowded but also near amenities?
#7 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
Check out www.kohjum-joybungalow.com at Jum Ialand, Krabi for quietness but it's season starts 1st of October. Be prepared to have 50-50 chance of rain in early October as well.
#9 paulburus has been a member since 30/5/2007. Posts: 2
There is a resort that looks nice on Chao Phao Bay. Any comments on that part of the island?
Are there ferries leaving from Surat Thani pier that go direct to Koh Pha Ngnan? We really want to limit our travelling time and avoid the bus to Donsak if possible.
Thanks paulburus for the suggestion...unfortunately due to our teaching commitments, we can't go for vacation in October.
Thanks again to all!
#10 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
kay_kay, I suggest to go to Koh Phangan via Chumphong, not via Surat Tani.
You can get night train from Bangkok (sleeping place) then get boat to Koh Tao / Koh Phangan. You can buy "complex ticket" (train/bus/boat) at the train station of Bangkok (Hualampong).
p.s. Also good idea is to stay 2-3 days on Koh Tao, very nice place.
Thanks Vlad for the suggestion.
We were planning on flying down from Bangkok though as we don't have much time so that's why I was asking about boats from Surat Thani.
#12 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
kay_kay, you can see the schedule here:
By the way, before make decision you can calculate and compare how long it take to go from Bangkok to Koh Phangan using airplane/bus/boat and using night train/bus/boat.
When I travelled to the islands, I started from Bangkok at 7 p.m. and have been on the island before midday. There is no difference: sleep at the hotel or in the train, but when you sleep in the train you are moving in the same time :)
Hey what about reconsider Phuket as well? You been to Phuket before? I did some elephant trekking and hiking there as well, also quite adventure. Maybe this site www.phuket-guide.com can help more :)
#14 fangwantipa has been a member since 20/6/2007. Posts: 7
Our flight arrives in BKK at 6.40am so we don't really fancy hanging around Bangkok all day to get the night train. We want to get to the beach asap!!
Here is a good site for details on ways to get to Koh Pha Ngan:
I guess it does take about the same time travelwise whether it is by air/bus/boat or train/bus/boat but flying means we get to Koh Pha Ngan a day earlier than by train. Thanks for your suggestions though =)
#15 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
Hey Vlad, oh yes thats bad time. So you been to Phuket before as well? How do you like it??? I been to Patong Beach so many times and I really love the place :-)
#18 fangwantipa has been a member since 20/6/2007. Posts: 7
Nice read this thread.
As my girl and I will be staying at Koh Pha Ngan, at the Thong Nai Pan Noi beach in September 2007.
Its always nice to hear from experienced travelers that that is a good place to go in september.
#19 prometeus has been a member since 21/6/2007. Posts: 2
fangwantipa, I have been in Phuket in December, 2004 (leave it 2 week before tsunami) and in November 2005 in transit to Khao Lak. In general, I like Andaman sea :)
I stayed at Patong beach too, because it's a "center of life". I'd prefer not to drive when I take several beers :) Instead I'd prefer to ride on motorbike in the morning to quite paradise beach and return to Patong for the night party :) Or just go for daily diving.
In Khao Lak I stayed at NangThon beach (before going to Similans safari).
After about a week in Koh Pha Ngan, we have a few days spare. Should we use those days to stay on Pha Ngan or do you think we should venture out to Koh Tao or even Koh Samui? I have been to Samui before but my partner hasn't so maybe it is a worthwhile experience! We have already planned a few days in Bangkok..maybe three nights won't be enough in the city?!?!
Open to all suggestions! Thanks again.
#21 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15
My husband and I are traveling to SE Asia for the first time in September. We're arriving in Bangkok on Sept. 2 and flying out on Sept. 30. We've only just purchased our tickets (we're traveling from NYC) so I'm only just now starting our research. It seems you've been gathering knowledge since December, so I just wondered if you'd share any tips with me?? We'd like to see a bit of Thailand, but also Cambodia and Vietnam too. One thing I definitely want to do is some snorkeling and relax on the beach for a few days... Advice? Tips? I think we'll try to stay on Ko Pha Ngan too, after reading the thread above.
#22 bindergarten has been a member since 2/7/2007. Posts: 2
I am afraid my knowledge on SE Asia is not so hot. Thailand is always a great starting point. I have been to Bangkok and Koh Samui before. Island hopping sounds like fun. I have read that snorkelling equipment seems to pose a problem so it might be best to bring your own if you will be doing alot of that. Koh Tao seems to be the diver's paradise!
I think you will find a lot of other good threads on here with specific info..I can't help out too much I am sorry to say!
#23 kay_kay has been a member since 12/6/2007. Posts: 15