In need of some advice on how best to tackle the islands in Thailand? I'm backpacking around SE Asia for around 3 months in total - starting in Bangkok, then going down to islands - then back up for the rest.
I 'm interested in experiencing a mix of both the party side and quieter / less touristy side of island life so if anyone has any suggested hopping routes that involve a mix of both that would be great.
When are you going? Chance of best weather November-April west coast, May-October east coast better. In general that is. Ko Phangan has it's party side but also much quieter in some of the northern half, so stay a few nights in different beaches. West coast maybe a mix of Railay beach near Krabi combined with a few nights on Ko Lanta which is relatively chilled out, especially the southern half.
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Okay, August usually sees best weather in the southern Gulf - Samui, Phangan and Tao. The latter 2 are great for a mix of party and quiet. You could spend of few nights in Phangan's Had Rin and then jump the relatively short distance north to one of the quietest beaches on the island - Had Wai Nam. Had Thian just south is almost as quiet although it has one party a week (Fridays from memory). Than Sadet a bit further north is a quietish gem and Bottle Beach on the north coast is one of the most attractive beaches in Thailand but very laid back. If you want to experience a typical Thai fishing village Chaloklum in the central north has some nice places to stay.
For party on Tao stay in Sairree and then head for quiet places like Sai Nuan or Gul Jea in the south west, Hing Wong Bay in the north east or Tanote Bay for compromise.
Over in the Andaman Augusts are usually wetter (but not a write off - I''ll be there this August) and the tourist scene is quieter. But not so much on Phi Phi and Phuket. Both also can give a mix of party and quiet. Stay in Ton Sai Phi Phi for party and then head for Viking's Bay or laid back east coast places like Relax Bay or Ao Toh Koh for quiet. Phuket's prime party place is Patong and maybe the most laid back nice beach is Mai Khao up north of the airport.