Posted by doobieninja on 21/6/2017 at 10:28
Me and my girlfriend will be in Bangkok around Xmas eve and Xmas day (our first time in south east Asia!!!)
We are then looking at around 10 / 11 days down in the south islands but I'm struggling to decide exactly where. We want what most people want - jungle treks, waterfalls, snorkeling, boat trips e.t.c but we don't want hordes of people everywhere and party backpackers. (I do appreciate the time of year we are traveling)
I really want to visit the elephant sanctuary in Phuket but have been told Phuket will be busier and is less rural than some places. I understand Ko Lanta to look beautiful and quieter and places like Phi Phi to be busy and loud? My friend loves Tonsai but has only been in mid January. Also where should we be for actuall NYE?
Any help much appreciated as I feel I'm getting no where with my research.
Thanks very much
#1 doobieninja has been a member since 5/6/2017. Posts: 4
Posted by Tilapia on 21/6/2017 at 11:44
Places will be packed with both foreigners and Thais, so look into reserving a spot well in advance and be expected to pay more than what you see on the website ... and when you enquire about the inexplicable price increase expect to hear that the website has not been updated lately, etc. (despite the very recent date at the bottom of the webpage).
I would consider setting up shop somewhere at least a week before the holidays, plan to stay until a day or two after NYE, or longer, and negotiate a lower room rate with the owner. You can do this if you're going to be sticking around, eating in the restaurant, drinking the resort's beer, and such.
If you want to avoid crowds, stick to islands that do NOT have car ferries and that might require a little extra effort and/or time to reach. Koh Jum is a good choice for this, as is Koh Phayam.
Something else you might consider is spending the holidays somewhere else in the country, then hitting the south afterwards when it is less crowded and less expensive. It's just as nice a month or so later, that's for sure, and the weather might be better, to boot. I really like the area along the Mekong River. You can get riverside bungalows at a bunch of spots for very affordable rates without having to reserve in advance. The area between Nong Khai and Chiang Khan is gorgeous, quiet, little visited, has great areas to explore on two wheels (scooters and/or bikes) and on foot. Except in Si Chiangmai and Nong Khai you will be looking across the Mekong at some very wild parts of Laos. Makes a great alternative to the holiday crowds in the south.
#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,524
Posted by doobieninja on 22/6/2017 at 05:25
Thank for your response. We are traveling that time of year because unfortunately it's the only time my girlfriend can make it. We live in the UK but I will be in Vietnam for a month before meeting her for Xmas and New year.
Going to a ethical elephant sanctuary is a must for us. So I was thinking of maybe flying to Phuket for two night so we can go see the elephants in the day. Then boat over to an island to make our base for the whole trip......Ko Lanta? we want somewhere where we will have enough things to do but not be overly crowed. If it is a little busy for our liking I'm guessing we could go off to other more secluded islands for the day? (thanks for the tip a bit Ko Jum!) We could then fly back from Krabi , the only problem is flying into Phuket and out of Krabi will probably cost more than using the same airport for in and out flights.
#3 doobieninja has been a member since 5/6/2017. Posts: 4
Posted by antoniamitchell on 22/6/2017 at 18:11
Regarding flights, if you are planning on flying in and out of Phuket and Krabi on budget airlines, you pay per segment (same as you do with Easyjet or Ryanair in UK) so it's not necessarily cheaper to fly in and out of the same airport. Even on the big carriers, it's often not that much more expensive to vary in and out airports. Plus as you're coming from Vietnam, you'll have to change flights in Bangkok anyway, so I'd focus more on which flights work with your connections.
I also enjoyed Ko Jum, but there's not a vast amount to do there (that's kinda the point), so it sounds like it would be too quiet for your tastes, so your idea of basing yourself somewhere busier, and then taking day trips or short overnighters to quiet islands sounds like a good idea.
Enjoy your trip.
#4 antoniamitchell has been a member since 13/5/2012. Posts: 566
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