I'm flying into Bangkok at 10pm on Friday 4th July and flying out again at midday on Friday 11th July. I really just want to relax on the beach so was planning to head down to Ko Samet. I'm now worried Samet will be very busy & crowded so wondering if i would be better off travelling down to to Ko Tao instead? Any suggestions from experienced travellers would be grately appreciated?
#1 BernH has been a member since 11/6/2008. Posts: 1
Samet can get big crowds over the weekend due to its proximity to Bangkok, but through the week it's generally not so busy.
I'd suggest Ko Tao only if you planned to spend a significant amount of time snorkelling or diving -- both of which are better on Ko Tao.
Ko Samet has quiet beaches and busy beaches...
Even though Samet is one of the drier islands in wet season, Tao is usually drier again in July because its wet season is different - normally Oct into June.
And yep, Toa does have much better snorkelling and diving.
At the same time, the better weather in the southern Gulf leads to a sort of second high season in June or July, so Tao will be busier than Samet away from the weekends.
The logistics of getting to each place is interesting.
You arrive late Friday night so you will stay the night in Bangkok. If you stay 2 nights (check the Bangkok scene which is always worth a look evn if you have visited before) you can then bus it down to Rayong/Ban Phe for Samet on the Sunday - when you get out to the island the bungalows should not be booked heavily because the local weekenders will not be staying the Sunday night unless it is a long weekend.
If you decide to go to Tao I you may have difficulty getting to Chumpon in time for the last day ferry on Saturday. You will be in time for the night ferries which leave around 2200-2300. This way you will be on Tao by 0500 Sunday - maybe 7 hours ahead of the Samet alternative.
Actually, I'd be tempted to stay the day sightseeing in Bangkok and catch Lomprayah's praised night bus/fast catamaran to Tao which should see you on the island by 1000-1100 Sunday (I have a link to their webite on my Tao page first link below which gives times). There are also night sleeper-trains to Chumpon which arrive in time for the first ferry.
Fastest if you can afford it would be an early Saturday flight to Ko Samui and then a ferry up to Tao which could see you at the latter maybe mid afternoon on the Saturday.