I'm spending 10 days in Thailand in late May with 4 friends (all in our mid 20s.) I backpacked around Thailand in '05, the only islands I went to then were Ko Phi Phi and Ko Pha Nga.
This time as I only have 10 days I'd like to base myself on 2 or 3 islands. I fly into Phuket but really don't fancy spending much time there - not a big resort girl.
Any suggestions on which islands would be best? Happy to travel a bit, but as time is limited don't want to spend days travelling from place to place - 2 or 3 nearby islands would be perfect.
Looking to do the usual - beach, snorkelling, diving, drinks and dinners etc - and hopefully strike a happy medium between the type of places that might attract 18 year old backpackers away from home for the first time needing to party hard every night and somewhere deserted for the whole 10 days with nothing to do except lie on the beach.
Any ideas appreciated! Thank you! =)
#1 robin84 has been a member since 28/4/2009. Posts: 1
I don't really have a lot of experience, but I can tell you that we flew to Krabi and spent one day on Railay then booked out for Koh Tao. I really am wishing we would have spent a bit more time in/around the Krabi and islands area. Railay definitely deserves being checked out.
Koh Tao is awesome though. It seems to be the perfect mix of what you're looking for. There is nightlife, and you can go to bed if you want and be able to sleep just fine with no bass pounding.
Koh Pha Ngan is were I currently am. We were down in Hat Rin staying at the Drop In Resort. It was cheap (600 baht including air), but I absolutely hated the place. They only had 2 CD's and would crank the music so loud you couldn't talk, even if nobody was there, which there usually wasn't. Made it difficult and frustrating to get any sleep. The Sunrise beach in Hat Rin is very nice though. We moved to Haad Yao to a resort here. There is a lot of families, and probably not what you're looking for. If somebody else wasn't paying, we probably wouldn't have came here. Also ,renting a scooter and cruising around the island is cheap and makes life a lot nicer.
I know its not too much, but hope it helped a little.
#2 wide_open has been a member since 13/4/2009. Posts: 8
Phuket in late May is surprisingly mellow... consider checking out one of the northern beaches for less of a resort scene. May is low season and prices are much lower, too. Phuket's huge and a great place to rent motorbikes and explore. In May a lot of the beaches will be pretty empty. From Phuket you could also head south and explore the islands in Trang province.
Definitly do Phi Phi, really really good scuba diving there if your into that sort of thing... Also theres a bar there with a kickboxing ring where you can challenge your mates at a match, whoever partakes gets a free bucket or two!
#4 timeeee has been a member since 4/5/2009. Posts: 4
I recently went to Ko Lanta after another traveller recommended it to me. www.kantiang-bay.com is pretty useful with accommodation prices and stuff. Had the best thai food i've ever had in the same same restaurant and the beach is beautiful and it's easy to find a part of the beach where you feel like you've got the beach to yourself. Not so much a backpacker booze cruise like some of the other islands and a great place to dive and snorkel.
#5 donnavan has been a member since 21/3/2009. Posts: 7
"a great place to dive and snorkel."
Really? I didn't find much decent snorkelling on Ko Lanta at all....hardly any coral and very bad visibility.
I stayed at the beach near the NP which is within walking distance from Kantiang.
We went snorkelling down by the south of the island like literally round the far end of the beach of kantiang bay and there was loads of coral!! and also on a boat trip to Ko Haa and Ko Rok where i saw a whale shark!!
#7 donnavan has been a member since 21/3/2009. Posts: 7
Yes I've been to Ko Rok too.... best snorkelling in the Trang area but it's quite far away from Ko Lanta by boat and only NP tents there.
Ko Haa...you mean that rock near Ko Ngai and Ko Muk? It's a vertical karst in the sea, OK but not spectacular snorkelling around it. Again you need to go on a day trip to get to it from Ko Lanta. You might as well stay on one of the Trang islands (Muk, Ngai, Kraden) as they are much nearer to both Ko Rok and Ko Haa.
Late May... it might be better trying the Gulf side weatherwise though it probably won't rain 24/7 on the Andaman coast either. travelfish has a useful weather map if you do a search.
"Ko Haa...you mean that rock near Ko Ngai and Ko Muk?"
I think longtail driver is referring to the dive site Ko Haa (Five Islands) that's directly west off Ko Lanta - there's a beautiful lagoon in the middle with a white-sand beach which has really great snorkelling - some of the best I've seen in Thailand. The visibility is really good and the marine life is amazing.
Ko Ngai, Ko Muk, Ko Maa etc. don't have such good snorkelling and the visibility is not usually great, but people go to snorkel there to see the Emerald Cave.
Ko Lanta is the closest inhabited island to Ko Haa and trips take between 20 min and 2 hours depending on the boat you take and where you leave from on the island. Lanta's also quite easy to get to from Krabi.
"hopefully strike a happy medium between the type of places that might attract 18 year old backpackers away from home for the first time needing to party hard every night and somewhere deserted for the whole 10 days with nothing to do except lie on the beach"
Of the islands I've visited, Ko Lanta is definately my favourite - the deserted beach option is perfect and there's quite a lively nightlife - but it's mainly centred around bars, bands and fireshow - if your group wants to 'party hard everynight' more than enjoy quiet beaches - Phi Phi is probably the best place to choose - you can still find quiet beaches, but the nightlife is definately much more than on Lanta.
Have a great time!
#9 mermaidtraveller has been a member since 18/5/2009. Posts: 4