Thursday, December 14, 2006





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If you have any questions, wish to write some info or just want to shoot the bull, pleases post them here.

Below are comments I transferred off the various threads before I set THE FORUM up - I zapped a dozen from some dude in Costa Rica telling me what a great blog I had, and by the way, would my readers like to buy some great real estate? I think only 50% of his message was sincere. The real estate is probably crummy.

Wang said...
Hey there
read your post, excellent!
got a question here,
as mentioned above,
"In all, I didn’t think it was value - I’ve snorkelled better coral in the Philippines and on Fiji’s barrier islands for a quarter the cost."
mind sorting out the exact spots in Philippines having better coral than Similan?
August 21, 2007 7:23 PM

Sorry for the delay Wang.
I thought the snorkelling at Balicasag Island off Bohol and Pescador Island off Moaboal, Cebu was better (although the latter was too deep for surface snorkellers).
September 6, 2007 12:43 AM

Peter said...
My wife and I are going to Thailand (Andaman sea side) in Early November. I want to get away to a nice, cheap, small island with great water and activities, and Ko Lipe seems to be a good option. Can you tell me about traveling there in Early November? I heard that the boats dont run there until Late Nov, at the earliest...
August 1, 2007 12:52 PM

Pete, I'm not sure what time the ferries start in November. Keep an eye on Poh Bungalow's website and the other Lipe website on my Lipe chapter.
August 2, 2007 4:28 AM

Deano said
Though not Thailand; i can always remember many moons back travelling through Malaysia. Everyday at exactly the same time (think it was about 4pm) it would rain very heavily for about 50 minutes. Everywhere would be flooded, but then that would be it until the same time next day :)
August 5, 2007 11:09 AM

Sam said
I know you have explained it in your web page. But i am travelling to Thailand on the 3rd of October. I have not booked accommodation because no travel agent can give me the answer where is there going to be less rain and more sun at this time of the year?????????
Please help???
August 5, 2007 11:47 PM

Sorry for the delay Sam - October is wet season everywhere usually - anecdotally the southern Gulf islands get more of the rare prolonged wet periods than other places, so might best be avoided. I just got back from a wet season visit where according to statistics and the newspapers it was much wetter than normal, and I got some perfect days, lots of days with one or a few showers but cloud/sun between and two days where it rained more often than not. But these two days were not a write off. Overall I had a great holiday.
September 6, 2007 12:27 AM

Village Fox said
Hoping you could help me out with your expertise on the land of th smiles. I would like to head to Thailand from Early october to mid december - however, its for health reasons - i need use of a pool and the sea for 4 hourse everyday, and massage to strengthen myself... I found a wonderful spa on Ko Samui, was thrilled at the prospect, and not, as an Irish chic put off by the 'rainy' season.
However, having read all that i can find on the climate, I am feeling a little deterred. I picked thailand as i thought it would be warm and well priced for my needs... Any advice on a similar experience in a warmer or expectations for this location is much appreciated...
Many thanks in advance,
September 25, 2007 1:27 PM

Lesley Reid said
i would go to the spa at koh chang instead.i would have prefered the spa on sumui but the climate is better in koh chang and the price the same. if you have health problems then the time spent at the spa most probably make a huge difference.i went last year and did the program and i'm going again this year.
i went to the spa on koh chang instead of koh sumni. if you have health problems then thats where you want to go. same price. i would rather have gone to the spa on koh sumui but i was also worried about the weather as ijust could'nt face anymore grey skies. i went to koh chang last year and the weather was good and the spa fast program is amazing. you mst try it if you can.i'm going again for 3 weeks on the 9th of november
September 28, 2007 12:43 AM

Wow, I have to check these comments more often.
Fer a start, I don't think Chang is any drier than Samui in an average Oct. November, yes.
Secondly, it IS going to be warm in Oct. It is ALWAYS warm in the south.
Rain? Well, Oct is wet, but rain rarely spoils things.

Peter said...
Whole lot of useful info - never been to Bali but going out there in a couple of months.
July 30, 2007 3:27 PM .

Kris said
very usuful site, thx a lot. were in Bali 25yr ago and soon returning to this paradise
August 2, 2007 8:41 AM

Wlklasu said
Hi, thanks for some great info. Me and my fiancee are going to Sanur for Christmas/New Year and are looking for a hotel, just as you described, around the Sinduh area (since our parents will be in the Inna Grand Bali). Can you recommend any cheap/midrange hotel around 1km from their hotel - pricerange 20-25 to 30US$/double room? I've found a few (Gazebo, La Taverna, Irama Beach) but they were all too expensice. Any other you can recommend, preferably by/on beach:) Thanks for any info about this.
August 10, 2007 8:55 PM

wik, sorry I have not replied, have been travelling in Thailand and I avoid computers when travelling.
The only place I can think of which may be cheaper is Alits, very close to the Bali Grand and in the busy little street leading down to the harbour. Lots of atmosphere and good eats places in this street, but not noisy at night. Black sand beach here but 400m walk will get you to the beach at the Grand and 800m to the area around Gazebo

Marcia said...
Stumbled on this blog, Tezza, and remembered seeing some posting of yours on LP or TF or someplace. Glad I stopped to take a look. Very nice exposition of rips. We've just had 4 drownings on Phuket beaches in the past week and a half, and surely this is part of the answer to WHY? (That and people ignoring red flags.)
July 24, 2007 12:58 AM

Hi, I guess you dont need an editor though. thats should do fine. Ko Lanta is awesome and some other small Island I've been too. Never been to the samui yet, but I will one day to see how it goes but sure will be pack with white people :P
ah btw, nice one!

Janne said...
Thanks for this great, informative blog! You've really put some effort to it and it's appreciated :)
February 14, 2007 8:50 PM

Hi there,
Is this you?

Um, no. I believe leightravel is a man and wife team, travel Phi Phi extensively, experts in mid-range plus. I'm a budget travel boy..





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tezza said...


Hi Tezza,

First I would like to thank you for your great blog. Its been a big help in planning my wife and I's first trip to Thailand.
I just had a quick question on getting from Lanta to Kradan. You said you could catch a Trang day trip for 400 baht (tigerline wants 1400). Just wondering where in Lanta I could get that and also if you knew if you could get a ride back to Lanta 2 or 3 days later.

Thank again for the info and the help.

tezza said...

LOGWADER, the Trang islands daytrip boat goes down every day in high season. It goes by Ngai, Muk, Kradan (order depends on the tides), some snorkelling alongside some stack islands near Ngai and also usually at Kradan, some beach time on onr of the 3 islands and a visit into the Emerald Cave on Muk.
The full daytrip including lunch and drinks costs over 1000 but they also transfer people to the islands for I think around 500 these days.
Any accommodation place or small travel agent on Lanta will be able to arrange this for you.

Ranger Bob said...

Teza, This is Ranger Bob again. Just back from Malaysia and Thailand. Will update on your blog soon. Tell me how do you add the photos with the enlargement possibililty on your blog page. I use Blogger too, but don't see the application?? Check out the first out from Melaka.

Cheers Bob

tezza said...

Bob, nice page on Malaka.
My pix in the side-columns don't expand. It's the ones in the main text section.
And only the ones on more recent trips. I'm not sure if it is a feature of the photo editor built into WINDOWS VISTA or my newer elcheapo camera. I think maybe the former, but I don't know much about that stuff.
Love the TD!

May Lee said...


Hi Tezza,

Thanks for your awesome blog - it's worth its weight in gold for anyone planning a trip to Thailand!!

I've read in the LP about an annual regatta in Hat Chao Mai in May, but can't find any more info about it. I'm flying into Bangkok on 3 May, current planned route is bussing to Krabi, ferry to Lanta for a few days, ferry on to Phi Phi for a week, then ferry over to Phuket and fly back to BKK. However I'd really like to make a side trip from Krabi to Trang to catch this regatta - do you know anything about it? And do you reckon it's doable? Suggestions on where to stay (Trang vs. Hat Chao Mai beach itself) and how to get there and ultimately on to Lanta would be most appreciated!

Also, I have a blog of my own and would love to put a link to your page on it, I think my friends would find it useful. Are you happy for me to do that?

May Lee

tezza said...

Sorry for the delay in answering May Lee - I've been travelling in Thailand well away from computers.

I don't know anything about the regatta - Google should have something as it approaches.

Note that in low season May in the past the ferries between Krabi and Lanta and Lanta and Phi Phi have not run. Krabi-Phi Phi and Phi Phi-Phuket normally still operate.
You can get from Krabi to Lanta via the shuttle bus service as per my pages - and from Lanta to Trang by similar shuttle buses and then on to Hat Chao Mai via the local minivan service.
If you want to go direct from Krabi catch a bus from the bus station to Trang bus station - then transfer to the nearby minibus station for Hat Chao Mai. I think the bus from Krabi might actually pass the miniubus station - if so ask the conductor to stop there for you.
I think Krabi to Trang may be around 3 hours. Hat Chao Mai another hour or so plus waiting time at the minibus station.

Check my Chao Mai page for warnings to females about Sinchai's place. The Nature Resort behind the piers is an okay looking joint if a bit exxy and is not the Nature Resort on nearby Libong.
There are heaps of places to stay in Trang - I normally use the basic low budget Koteng Hotel but for something a bit flasher check and similar. I think Mysticpaki might have a suggestion towards the bottom of the Ko Kradan page - just found it:
"Thumrin Hotel is a 1 minute walk from the Trang railway station, charging year around 650 bath for a superior room with fridge, carpet, tv aircondition, bath tub and some english channels on its cable. Very nice rooms for this price excluding the fading carpets in the corridor. Standard Room without carpet and fridge is 550 baht. They also allow you to use the pool facility at the new posh hotel Thumrin Thana, free of cost."
Trang is a nice town to spend a few nights - but it takes a good hour+ to get down to Hat Chao Mai.

Any link you do is welcomed. Maybe if you have time you could do a trip report(s) on one or more of the Thailand places you visit for the new READERS' TRIP REPORT section and I can link your blog to your reports.

George said...

Hi Tez
Great blog! Wow... And so much detail - incredible.
It is obvious you are well-travelled and I'd really like your suggestion. I'm off to Singapore for work and I'd like to go to a nice beach resort when I'm over and done with work early in Sep10. I know it's monsoon period in Thailand (have been in the past and loved it) so I was thinking something like Bali this time. I heard though that the beaches are not nothing compared to Thailand's. What would you recommend for a nice beach holiday? Loved Krabi and Langkawi where I've been in the past and I don't want to get disappointed. Help!!!

tezza said...

Not all Thai beach areas are norqmqlly in wet season in September. The southern Gulf islands tend to have a different wet season, usually Oct into Jan. Maybe you could check my pages on Phangan, Tao and Samui to see what appeals.

East coast peninsula Malaysia is in the same climatic zone so normally Tioman and the Perhentians are also still having okay weather. I haven't a page on Perhentians because it is too long since I've visited, but it sure is a nice island. So too apparantly is nearby Redang. Ditto for Tioman, which I last visited recently and have a page - it is close to Singapore and can be flown onto by Berjaya Air.

There are some nice beaches on Bali - see my sections on the Bukit peninsula and Nusa Lembongan. And Bali out-cultures and has lower costs than Thailand or Malaysia any time.

tezza said...

Just an afterthought - if you are thinking of Bali Google for Australian September school holiday dates - places like the Kuta strip, Sanur, Nusa Dua, Jimbarin and Ubud get real crowded in Aussie school holidays. Other areas are not affected greatly.

Namaste said...

Hi, thanks for your very interesting blog. Next month we want to travel to Indonesia and we would like to spent 2 nights on Kanawa or Seraya island. The fishing village of Seraya seems interesting, but I've read that snorkelling oportunities at Kanawa are much better. Is it save to snorkel? No strong currents?

Which island would you recommend? (We = two adults and a young child)

tezza said...

Well if snorkelling is your priority, Kanawa is the one. Very good snorkelling, and currents were not a problem when I went snorkelling.
Note that Seraya has slgightly the better beach and resort. It's snorkelling aint bad, but can't match Kanawa.

matthew_hooper said...

Thanks so much for all of your research! It is really helping as I plan my upcoming trip to Thailand.

tezza said...

Matthew, I'm starting a new trip week after next - should have updates on Railay area and Kos Phi Phi-Ngai-Kradan-Muk-Phangan and Tao by early July.

Julian Summers said...

Congratulations on a terrific blog. I chartererd a yacht from Phuket a few years ago (see here) and sailed south; I think you have described the area perfectly. I'll be back in December 2010, starting from Langkawi this time and sailing north around the islands, so your information will be very useful.

tezza said...

Sounds great Julian - maybe you could fire in a few pix and some captions to the READERS' TRIP REPORTS section.

Myriah J said...

Ko Lanta...? I'm heading to Thailand smack in the rainy season and have been looking at Ko Lanta because it's easy to get to, has good outdoors activities, quieter but not ghost town beaches, etc. Is it simply a bad idea to head to this island around Aug. 8 given the rainy season? Other suggestions?


tezza said...

I don't think it is a bad idea. Lanta is a nice location. I haven't visited wet season but lots of posters say many beaches are too quiet, tend to have a lot of windblown flotsam )they face west into the wind), places shut. I would go to one of the first two beaches from the north which are more likely to have most places open, other travellers and bungalow people cleaning the beaches.

Alternatives? Well Phi Phi is easy to reach too - and the laid back east coast is nicely sheltered in wet season.

Smitha said...


Need your opinion on The Marina Villa in Lamai beach at Koh Samui. I would like to know if Lamai beach is too quiet to visit during early Sept and if I can swim on the beach. Is it near restaurants and night life? We are a young couple and wouldnt mind the crowds.
Also, could you recommend any cheap bungalows in chaweng too? Read somewhere about the OP Bungalows. Is it good enough?

tezza said...

OP has had a lot of praising posts on travel forums and when I checked it last August it seemed like a well positioned joint - can't beat a modestly prices place right on the beachfront. This is the lagoon part of Chaweng with the offshore reef - gets shallow at low tide but 300m walk south removes that. Main street out back of OP good shopping restaurants etc.

I don't know Marina Villa - just had a look at the website. It aint beachfront but the position is pretty good - plenty of restaurants shopping etc in that central Lamai area and the beach is nice for swimming etc.

tezza said...

Oh yeah - QUIETNESS.
Normally early Sept is still part of that area's second high season. I noticed in June this year Thailand does seem to have fewer travellers but I doubt popular Lamai would be too quiet anytime.

Georgia said...

Hello, I am a fan of your descriptions and finally I made it this year to fly to Thailand but in October and I also hope to have the chance to go snorkeling. You mentionned in different blogs where to go during wet season but the peak of wet season seams to be October. So what do you think - would be Ko Chang a good idea on the south east coast?
Thanks a lot for your help.

tezza said...

Big Ko Chang eastern Gulf tends to have about the same amount of rain as most of the Andaman in October and a bit less than the southern Gulf.

Points against it - all the good beaches face west, can get big dangerous surf and a lot of junk blown onshore during blowy periods
- aint much of a snorkelling island

Interesting point - wet season ends earlier here and November sees it one of the driest islands so if I you are going real late in October maybe you will get pretty good weather.

I personally would head for sheltered east coast of Phi Phi for good snorkelling, some real nice quiet bays and a sheltered lee coast facing east.

Ko Samet tends to be the driest October island - sheltered east facing beaches but snorkelling not up to much.

Hey, if I had my heart set on big Chang I'd go for it - damn the weather. We get plenty of reports from people who visit in wetter months than October's average saying they had a good trip.

Georgia said...

hm - no my heart is not hanging on Chang. thanks for the other tipps. I checked already Samet. Looks quite nice except for snorkeling. I will have a look at your descriptions of phi phi. thanks a lot!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Tezza

Thanks for the kind words of support, it is really appreciated as I am starting to having second thoughts of going on my own, I was told “put a few posts up out there and you’ll get so many responses you’ll have a headache deciding who to go with”; maybe it’s due to the state of the world’s economic market.
May you please advise me of a hostel in Bangkok that is popular with English speaking backpackers which I might be able to find a companion/ companions to travel with, there seems to be so many that picking on my own would be like a game of Russian roulette even with the research I have done.

Many thanks

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
tezza said...

I'm not a big help here.
I don't call in at Bangkok much - I usually enter Thailand thru Phuket or the Malaysian border.
Plus Bangkok (and the rest of Thailand) does not have may dorms.

I'd be going to one of the more popular places in the KSR precinct - sit in bars/restaurants, talk to people.

Actually, I travel single most of the time - including my first half dozen trips. No problems except no-one to share bungalow costs and some transport costs with. I find plenty of people to talk with along the way and have met up with quite a few travellers who want to team up for some of the trip.
I reckon just go there, start your trip and see what happens.

miki!! said...

you are a rockstar !

I'm also trying to do island hopping during Nov this year.

Whats your itinerary ?

Excellent posts man!

James said...

Great to read about all your travels. Thanks. Looking for some advice on travel a one month trip my girlfriend and I are planning this November/December. We were originally keen on Sulawesi but are now thinking of heading for Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and the Gili Islands and seeing what they have to offer. We're looking for a pretty chilled beachy holiday (snorkelling, diving, surfing etc) and are wondering if you have any suggestions on what/what not to check out. Thanks very much!

Meena said...

Have you guys ever check out kwangpeeb bay in koh Payam?
The island in Ranong, Thailand?
There is the most beautiful sight of the island. Here is some web:

wiisfhtganog said...

Wow, thanks for such an awesome source of info.
I can see you're away atm but I'll just post this on the off chance you (or someone else) sees it and can help me out.
My sister and I are traveling to Thailand for two and a half weeks (from 11-28 September). We want to split our time btw the north and south and are a bit torn on where to go. We've researched, but everything looks awesome. Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Pai or Mai Hong Son up north???
And Phi Phi, Krabi etc versus Koh Tah/Koh Pah Ngan down south???
In short, what would you recommend if it was your first time in Thailand?
My sister is pretty keen for a Full Moon party, but doesn't mind sacrificing it if you reckon the Andaman side is a better bet for us. We're after an active and interesting holiday with some chill out time and partying thrown in (hence: eveything).
Cheers. And even if you don't get to this question before I leave, thanks again for such a great site.

Candice said...

Hi Tezza, thank you so much for the information you've put together! It has been a huge help planning our upcoming trip to Thailand & Indonesia and I'm constantly referring to your advice.

I've got the 2 wks in Thailand sorted and was hoping that you could provide some advice on the Indonesian part of our trip. Similar to the question posted by James, my husband and I are looking for a chilled out stay with plenty of surfing, diving & snorkeling. We will be travelling to Bali in January and only have 6 days & 5 nights before heading home.

My husband is a really keen surfer so this is the priority for this part of our trip. I realise that it isn't the best season for surfing, so I was wondering if you could advise the best areas for surf at this time of year (must be right handers). Itinerary suggestions are most welcome : )

I was thinking Nusa Lembongan, Lombok and would love to visit Gilis if it isn't too much hassle to get there from Lombok giving the limited time we have.

I'd really appreciate your advice. Thanks again

tezza said...

Okay, back from Indo.

WIIS - I can't comment on the North, never been there (got nothing against mountains - just haven't had any spare time to get up there).
In the south, the wet season tends to kick in around Phangan/Tao in October - so in theory unless it is early you should get better weather there than in the Andaman. This may be particularly so if you did the south first and then went north.
But if I particularly wanted to see Phi Phi Railay etc I wouldn't let any theoretical weather differences sway me. Note too you can transfer across the peninsula in less than a day so it is possible to see both sides.

CANDICE - 6 days does not give a lot of time to travel around, I reckon I might restrict my time to Bali. Lembongan is a good bet because 2 of the main breaks are exclusive rights and the other rights and lefts. Lembongan is also good for diving and snorkelling trips.
Back on mainland Bali, Kuta has variable rights on the beach breaks but is onshore in Jan which can spoil things on blowy days.
The south (Jimbarin) side of the airport runway has rights.
Unfortunately most of the best Bali breaks (along the Bukit) are lefts - but Dreamland also often has a right as the tide drops. For a great value midrange hotel 10 minutes walk from Dreamland check Agoda for Condotel New Kuta Beach.
There are rights along Sanur Reef when the swell is working (Sanur is offhore in Jan) and similar stuff along the Nusa Dua strip.

If you do get to Lombok there are a bunch of rights along the south coast - maybe best to locate in Kuta Lombok and get a guide.
I've seen rights on the edge of the reef passages on Gili Air and Meno but they have always been small. Not sure if swell gets bigger here in Jan. The Gilis are probably the best of these locations for snorkelling and diving.

JAMES - I haven't been to Sulawesi so can't compare but your idea of Lembongan-Lombok-Gilis sounds okay. Of course wet season has usually kicked in but Lombok is drier than say Bali and the Gilis are about the driest area in Lombok. Note it usually gets drier as you head east so Sulawesi may be better again. Maybe not - that drier rule may only apply to the southern islands.
As to what areas to check out, the above answer to CANDICE plus my blog pages may give some ideas.

MIKI - haven't got an itinerary. Got to check some places I haven't been for a long time plus some new locations. Won't be visiting any of the classics like PP, Railay, Lanta, Lipe, southern Gulf, big Chang area and because of lack of time will be spending only 2 or so days on some places.

MEENA - nice promo. Have to check it next time I'm at Phayam.

floridapens said...

love the site!! hands down the most informative site I have found for Thailand's beaches.I wanted to ask a quick question,wondered if you could help?This January I will be staying
in East Railay and will be flying out of Phuket.I am looking to take the ferry via ThaLen/KoYaoNoi/Bang Rong question is for how much and how often do boats leave Railay for TaLen?
Any help you can provide will be very appreciated.

Doug Sawyer

tezza said...

Bob, there are no boats between Railay (or near locations) and Ao Thalen. You will need to get back to Krabi town and catch a the public songthaew up to Ao Thalen. I'm not sure how often it runs, but one would be shceduled to meet up with the afternoon boat. You would need to be at the songthaew leaving point near the department store at least an hour before ferry departure time.
This is a pretty time-consuming trip - if you want to save time there is now a high season speedboat which runs from Ao Nang near Railay direct to Yao Noi and Yai.

tezza said...

Oh yeah, and if your aim is to simply do a sight-seeing trip thru to Bang Rong, that speedboat goes thru to there.

floridapens said...

Thanks for the info,seems weird that no fan tail would go up the coast to Ao Thalen .My ultimate goal is to get back to Phuket at the Bang Rong pier and then on to the airport.You say there is a speed boat that goes that route during high season.Does it cost a lot?

Thanks much,

tezza said...

Not sure, never used it or saw a price. Should be a website somewhere - maybe Google can find it.

ePrinzi said...

hello there! I ran across your blog after endless research on the region. i am hooneymooning in thailand for 8 days dec 2- dec 11, after 2 days in Bangkok we were hoping to pick an island and stay there for the rest of our trip. our first choice in Koh Tao but since its the rainy season dont want to chance it. in your opinon where should we go? we are nto into high rises and a island like Phuket but also not backpacking hippies...any thoughts?

babiebear said...

Hi Tezza!

I am arriving in Phuket on 19 nov 2010 at 1910hrs.

I will like to transfer to Krabi in the same evening. While I am aware that private car transfers are available, the prices are steep for a lone traveller.

I was wondering if u know of late evening buses to Krabi. I checked the bus timetables online and the latest bus leaves at 1830hrs which I am unable to take.

Thanks! :)

tezza said...

eP - sorry for the delay, been away.

There are so many places would fit the bill.
But I reckon the east coast of Phi Phi is kinda like the more laid back parts of Tao - nice beaches, some good resorts, good snorkelling off the beach, some good walks and access to diving.
Relax Resort is a nice one a step up from backpackers. Maybe you could read my two Phi Phi pages to get a fuller idea.

Other Tao like islands - well Ko Lipe and Ko Phayam (to a lesser extent). But these are not as easily accessed as Phi Phi.

My idea of a perfect honeymoon place - one of the midrangers on Ko Ngai.

tezza said...

babie - with the exception of routes into and out of Bangkok, a feature of Thailand bus travel is no late buses. This timetable shows the last Phuket-Krabi bus at 1830. So if you have already booked at Krabi for the first night it looks like a private car or airport taxi - unless it is a tezza-like elcheapo place and it is better $$$$$-wise to blow the first night and stay on Phuket instead.

janinho said...

Hi Tezza, first of all many thanks for all the useful info your blog provides!

I'm going to spend about 2/3 weeks in Koh Tao (from very late December to mid Jan). I guess I will need to book accomodation beforehand as it's high season? Is it possible to book on the internet any of those beach facing bungalows you described(I am planning to spend between 400 and 500 per night and would avoid hotels)? If yes, could you raccomend any (facing a nice beach and not far from few bars where I can meet people as I will be on my own)?

Also, I might spend a further week in Koh Phangan, to which the same question above applies!

Thank you very much!

janinho said...

Hi Tezza, first of all many thanks for all the useful info your blog provides!

I'm going to spend about 2/3 weeks in Koh Tao (from very late December to mid Jan). I guess I will need to book accomodation beforehand as it's high season? Is it possible to book on the internet any of those beach facing bungalows you described(I am planning to spend between 400 and 500 per night and would avoid hotels)? If yes, could you raccomend any (facing a nice beach and not far from few bars where I can meet people as I will be on my own)?

Also, I might spend a further week in Koh Phangan, to which the same question above applies!

Thank you very much!

ash said...

Hi - Thanks for your blog/site. Tons of very useful information. We are looking to go to Malaysia this December and do either Langkawi or Tioman. I know that tioman can have really rainy weather but is so bad that you'd be stuck inside your whole vacation? We are planning to spend about 5 days in either place, which would you recommed as the best overall place to visit in late dec.


tezza said...

JAN - I'm a walk-in kind of guy. I reckon Google will be able to locate any websites where you can book these joints. TRAVELFISH is also a good source of links and telephone #s.
I think if I was visiting your time of year and didn't want the hassle of searching and perhaps not getting my first or second choice, I'd book ahead.

Most of those places I talk about on Tao are either not directly on the beach or not close to a few bars. Coral View had its own bar which can be a good time depending on the mix of visitors. I think for more than one bar maybe you should be trying to get somewhere beachfront on Tanote.
Chalok Ban Kai and particularly Sairee are very social but a lot of the accommodation aint beach-front.

On Phangan I'd be trying White Wind on Thong Nai Pan or one of the joints on Ao Sadet or Bottle Beach. Ao Thian East is a sweet location but few joints are beachfront. However the kickboxing place (all visitors welcome) has panormamic headland bungalows kinda like White Wind.

tezza said...

We are looking to go to Malaysia this December and do either Langkawi or Tioman. I know that tioman can have really rainy weather but is so bad that you'd be stuck inside your whole vacation? We are planning to spend about 5 days in either place, which would you recommed as the best overall place to visit in late dec.

ASH - I've never visited Tioman in Dec and never seen posts on that month. I have been in nearby Singapore that month and there were lots of fine spells between a shower or three.

Having said that, if it was me I'd be doing Langkawi which is in dead set dry season in December. However around Christmas-New Year will be popular with local holidayers - so book ahead and be prepared to pay peak season prices.

Malcolm said...

Hi Tezza, I'm looking at booking some accommodation on Tarutao in a couple of weeks for late December. Is there any way of finding out if the restaurant at Ao Molae is open? If I do six days there and it's not, how far is to the main restaurant (or would I more reasonably have to take my own food)? Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Malcolm

tezza said...

Late Dec tends to be peak in the islands so I imagine the restaurant should be open. It's a fair haul from Molae to the main NP HQ restaurant and when I was there, there was no regular transport apart from links to the ferry.
Maybe NP website has an email where you can ask.

Jennyinbc said...

Hi Tezza!
Great blog, there's so much information! I'm looking for a beachy holiday for about a week starting mid-November, and am considering Thailand. (I'm coming from Hanoi) I've been to Ko PhaNgan before and stayed at Thong Nai Pan, and also on Ko Phayam (maybe at Bamboo? I don't quite remember) and enjoyed both but want to go somewhere new this time. I'll probably be flying from Bangkok to whatever airport is closest to where I'm going, and am looking for a beach bungalow facing the ocean, cheap, with good food, a hammock, and a nice white sandy beach. Do you have any suggestions? Thanks!

tezza said...

Normally I'd suggest Bottle Beach on Phangan or the quiet beaches in the SW of Tao - but November is rainy season there, and sometimes but too often for comfort it is REAL WET. I will be in Thailand come November, but I'm avoiding the southern Gulf for that reason.

I'm thinking the quiet east coast of Phi Phi fits all your asks - fly into Phuket or Krabi. Check the Phi Phi pages and TRIP REPORTS for Ao Toh Koh, Poh's and Relax Resort (latter more flashpacker).

Ko Samet is a good one and Pudsa Resort on Ao Pudsa/Tubtim would probably do the job. Downside - nearest practical airport is Bangkok and it's going to take half the day to reach your resort.

You could fly into Trad and stay IN the Rocksand/Laya lamean precinct on Chang (pics 25% down Chang page plus on TRIP REPORTS page). They had a landslide near there during very heavy wet season rain a few weeks back, but the places I mentioned were not affected.
Or KD on Klong Prao would be nice (55% down page). These Chang places would be maybe one hour+ from the airport.

Check the pix of Island Hut on the Mak page. This is maybe 2 hours+ from Trad airpirt if you use the speedboat service - but could be way more if your flight time does not line up with regular speedboat departures.

Ditto Ko Whai Paradise on the island of the same name near Mak.

Note I can't guarantee a hammock at all these joints - some places have them, some you have to bring your own.

Pierre Andipatin said...

Hi Tezza

Thanks for such a thorough and informative site.

I am spending a week in Thailand in early Jan with my partner and 10 month old baby.

We're looking for an island and beach with the following:
- hut on the beach, not surrounded by heaps of others
- quiet life
- only takes a half day to get to from Bangkok (this could include Trang islands if we fly from Bkk)
- 1000-2000 baht max
- hot water
- balcony
- snorkelling nearby but not a rocky beach
- some shade on beach for baby and shallowish water
- nice food
- room not TOO small and rustic as we have the baby and don't want too many crawlies!
- not surrounded by upmarket developments

To give you a sense of what we like, we like Hat Sadet on Phangan, Sai Daeng on Ko Tao (although too corally!) and Candlelight beach on Sadet... But we want to go somewhere new!

I've been researching Trang islands but accommodation is so much more expensive than Phangan for example.

Can you give us a few suggestions?


Kalz said...

Hello Tezza !!

A brilliant blog needless to say. I need some guidance. We are planning to go for our honeymoon to thailand in the first/second week of december and wanted to go to Koh samui. Since there are floods there right now and its also the wet season do you think it is better to avoid the gulf and stick with phi phi or krabi ?

tezza said...

KARLY - I'm thinking Relax Resort on it's own nice beach on the quiet east coast of Phi Phi ticks most of the boxes. Not sure about hot water - and a half day from Bangkok would need an early flight to Phuket to make the ferries. I'm not sure about hot water.
Nearby Toh Koh Resort could do the job with the same qualification.
It's a fact that just about everywhere in the Andaman is more expensive than the southern Gulf.
Bottle Beach could do the trick on Phangan for most of your asks. It's not a great snorkelling beach.

tezza said...

KALZ - I will be in Thailand first week of December and am avoiding the southern Gulf because it is usually wetter than the Andaman and every now and then throws up a shocker. Is certainly that right now, but who knows about how it will be in 3 weeks? Well, I go on past averages.

The Andaman in early November normally sees wet season finished. I was looking at Railay prices for that period yesterday and was pleasantly surprised at say Diamond Private on East Railay. Some pretty good Ao Nang deals too.

Kalz said...

Thanks Tezza for clearing the air for us. Andaman side hopefully will be drier and I should be able to do some snorkelling?

tezza said...

Um, KALZ won't be confused but later readers may be - I meant to say above that early DECEMBER (not November) usually sees wet season ended in the Andaman.

Georgeanna said...

Thanks for all the great information and insights! I have a bit of a tricky question - we have 12 people (5 couples and 2 kiddos, 9 & 13) wanting to spend some beach time within reach of Bangkok. The catch? Our dates are Dec. 26-29. 2010. (Yikes.)

Do you know of any spots that are great by not yet over-saturated, so might still have room? Priorities include beach time, snorkeling and a fun bar or two. I think we're about in your price range - don't need frills, but not quite backpacking. Under 3000 baht/person/night would be grand. We're fine with cottages, rooms or a house, and will be traveling with 2 people who peak Thai, one who lived in Bangkok for about 15 years. Would love to be able to at least walk to beach.

Any ideas you might have would be so appreciated!!

tezza said...

If you mean easily reached from Bangkok by land I think Ko Samet is the logical one. Problem is Samet is popular and may already be booked for that popular time.
A beach meets your asks except for snorkelling (Samet is not known for good snorkelling - okay for mucking about) is Ao Tubtim/Pudsa and any of the two resorts I mention on my page would do the trick - thing is whith that many people you would need multiple bungalows (most sleep 3 at most). You will have to walk 5 minutes north for any bars apart from your own resort's beach bars.

I think Vong Duern Villa has a couple of bigger places would take a family. Vong Duern aint a bad beach.

If you can fly, this opens up many other possibilities for locations. Please let me know.

Pierre Andipatin said...

Hi Tezza,

Thanks for your recommendations - Relax did look great, however we've now decided that we don't want to go someplace where we have to go on a longtail boat or bad road which eliminates 95% of Thailand's islands and beaches!

So, do you have any more recommendations for us??? I thought I'd hit the jacket with budget accommodation in Mai Khao, Phuket, but the two options are out as one doesn't allow babies and the other has a 5 star hotel going up next door hence is noisy.


tezza said...

If you fly Bangkok Air into Trat you can make Big Ko Chang in under half a day. Bangkok Air's shuttle will drop you at your accommodation on the island via the big vehicle ferries.
For a nice trad hut on a quiet section of beach have a look at my pix of KP Huts on Klong Prao about 55% down the big Chang page.
The area around Rock Sand on White Sand Beach is pretty nice too, although it is a bit of a slog up the beach with gear and baby on access and departure.
One problem with Chang is no great snorkelling off the beaches.

Ko Lanta can be reached without longtails either by the bigger ferries out of Krabi or by taxi/minibus etc via the vehicle punts. I'd be looking at somewhere in the south to meet your needs - maybe Last Resort (20% down Lanta page). Lanta does not have very good snorkelling off the beach.

Now there are bigger ferries still going to Ko Lipe and my page shows a number of joints meet your ask - but a flight to Trang or Hat Yai and then access to Lipe is going to burn a bit more than half a day. Speedboat transfers should be avoided - can be VERY rough and overloaded. Lipe does have good snorkelling off the beach.

I could suggest a few places on Phangan and Tao although you may be pushing your half day thing there - but you say you have visited these island and want somewhere new.

tezza said...

Carly, forgot to ask - I take it the Mai Khao place with the construction next door is SEASIDE COTTAGES. What is the second joint you were considering? I'm thinking of a couple of nights near the airport in early Dec.

tezza said...


Becci said...

Tezza, first off you are a legend and your website has been the most useful thing I've come across in planning my trip!! Can you cover some more countries please?! Secondly, I'm trying to decide between Adang and Tarutao for an upcoming trip. What are your main reasons for preferring Adang? Is there as much to do there in terms of walks and peering at wildlife etc?? Looking for somewhere interesting but really quiet and not full of daytrippers if possible.
Thanks so much!

headji said...

Hey tezza!
You got a lot of good information here! My favorite thailand site.
I'm flying to thailand, krabi or phuket, with my girlfriend in late january/early feb 2011.
I was in Krabi in january 2010 and visited railey, phi phi don/ley/bamboo island!(<3) and lanta.
This time I would like to try something new with andaman island hopping in the trang and satun area. Our main goal is to get to Lipe&Adang and stay there for about 3 days or so. (only got 2 weeks, so needs go get back to krabi/phuket by then) After reading on your blog for many hours i find out that i want to head for so many tropical islands as possible on our way down. We are like you, weak for white sandy beaches and clear water. I also want to explore the rain forest, see wild animals. I've heard that khao sok national park is a great place. But i guess I need a tour guy and it will be kinda expensive to do this. This will be a budget travel for us, we want to use more money on getting to islands and explore the fantastic beaches and nature that south thailand has, and we will probably stay most of the time in tents or very cheap bungalows. Already got allot of info from your blog about that.

Ok! I was thinking: from phuket/krabi: stay only one night here and head to phi phi, we will stay at phi phi for 2 days or so(need to show my girlfriend maya bay... you know) And like my last trip i WILL stay one night at bamboo island. after this i probably get back to phi phi, then ferry from phi phi to krabi and then book a bus to pak meng in trang. But dont like the idea that the whole day is going for just traveling. But maybe we need to do this. Or is the trang islands easier or cheaper to get to from lanta maybe?
Since we only got two weeks, we know we need to plan a little before going so we can do as much as possible in that time. witch islands in the trang area do you recommend us to stay a night or two before going more south? places that seems nice: ko rok, ngai, ko muk or kradan I was thinking about. after reading allot i sure want to visit kradan, but dont know if this is the place we should be camping. Before we go to the satun and pak bara. will You recommend us to get back to pak meng and then take bus to satun and from there taxi to pak bara will be the easiest and cheapest way to do it?
Than Again when we come to pak bara, witch islands is worth to stay on? Lao Liang i really want to get a night at, what do you think? is pakbara the easiest way to get to this place? ko bulon is also a island that looks great, maybe just for a day-tour or so? And before getting to Lipe&Adang, you think we should spend a night in tarutao? heard that its not that many tourists here and tents at the beach as well. and that they have great wildlife in the jungle here. I think its was from your blog i read that if i do this i should book a tarutao - koh lipe and return ticket back to pakbara. This way the ticket will be way cheaper than book a new one from tarutao to Lipe? I'm a bit confused about witch islands are reachable by a longtail boat and witch do we need to book a ferry. Im a fan for day tours with a privat longtail(get more relaxed and can do it our way) But this will cost us some extra i know.
On the way back to phuket/krabi i guess we will be out of money and will book a bus from satun to phuket/krabi:)

This route is just a thought and we are open for everything. And the tips you can give us will really help us to get a great vacation. We will really appreciate your help.

Made a little movie from my last Thailand trip. Feel free to take a look:

(sorry for bad english)

cheers from norway(-20degrees.....)

tezza said...

Sorry for the delay in answering - just got back from Thailand where I stay away from computers.

Lak National Park - the tracks are short, a good map is given, you don't need guides.

Island hopping - seems you have little time and money, but sometimes spending a bit more on transport can save heaps of time. For instance I'd get a TIGERLINE ticket from Phi Phi thru to Lipe with a stop off at Ko Ngai and/or Ko Muk and maybe Laoliang.
I say maybe Laoliang because the tent resort is expensive. However a lot of the action on Laoliang is now apparently being handled by National Parks so in theory if you have your own tent you should be able to camp for a small fee. They could have NP hire tents too. Not sure because NP was not part of the action when I visited.

Using Tigerline to get to these will take an hour or so vs a full day via land routes. Similar for Trang islands to Lipe.
It may not be all that more expensive - the National Park guys at the piers at Pak Meng and Bara often want 200 baht entry fee - not so from that smaller pier I mention just across from Muk.
Last I heard there was no other regular transport to Laoliang so a hired longtail would cost a bomb. Pak Bara is way too far, the nearest pier is probably Hat Yao south of Trang, which Tigerline calls in to.
I suggest you visit Kradan by hiring a longtail or if you can get by with a few hours on the island, take one of the regular snorkelling trips with other travellers from Muk. Most of these also visit Ngai.
Tigerline lists a Kradan stop on its website but apparently often drops people on Muk from from where they have to organise a longtail to Kradan.
On Muk, Brian's MOOKIES bar has some tents.
Alternative travel to Trang islands from Phi Phi is regular ferry to Lanta and then daytrip boat to Hai, Kradan and Muk but departure times mean you have to spend a night on Lanta.
Libong is more time-consuming to reach than the above islands.
Ko Rok is very expensive to get to.

Easiest route from the Trang piers to Pak Bara is minibus back to Trang bus station, Satun bus BUT GET OUT AT LA NGU, motorcycle taxi to Pak Bara.
If you are afraid you might miss the afternoon boat to Tarutao, Lipe etc you could save a bit of time by catching a motorcycle taxi down to KK Travel opposite Trang Railway station where they run minibuses directly to Pak Bara. This will be more expensive but not ridiculously so. They can advise on whether a stop off ticket Bara-Tarutao-Lipe/Adang is cheaper than buying separate ones for each section (when I used the speedboat this was the case). KK usually sell combined minibus/boat tickets - I have found them scrupulously honest and a source of good info. They can also book accommodation on the islands.
The speedboats out of Pak Bara will be a lot dearer than the slow boats but there are more daily services.
There is a cheap slowboat from Bara to Bulon Lae but when I last visited one year ago they only ran speedboats from Bulon onwards to Lipe. They may run a slow boat in peak season. Bulon is not really a day tour island - hiring a longtail would be expensive.

headji said...

Thank you for your answer.
This really helps allot!

I hope you had a nice time in Thailand.

Evelina said...

My boyfriend and i are going first time to thailand on 10th of January for three weeks. We're looking for nice beaches, good for swimming, snorkelling, no crowds and a comfy beachfront bungalow, flashpacker budget (Mai Pen Rai
?). reading your blog i fell in love in east coast of Ko Phangan, but i'm a bit worried about statistics: 11 days of rain in January.
Where would you suggest shall we go for the best whether?

LvP said...

Hi Tezza,
what a great site u got, best seen so far.
I'm currently in singapore and planning to find n visit the LEAST touristic island of Thailand this week. I found your site, to bad this late, through looking at Koh Kradan. what's your opinion on Kradan, or can u advice on an other place. I'm aware that 'having' a beach for me alone is not gonna happen, but if you got tips in the right direction pls let me know.

keep up the good work n holiday's ;)

many thanx

tezza said...

- the least touristic island I've been to is Ko Siboya, but it is not known for nice beaches. Next is Ko Kho Khao north of Khao Lak where I spent some time at the end of last month - haven't had time to do a page yet. You can get kms and kms of beach to yourself there.
Next is Ko Sukorn/Ko Kut/Ko Yao Yai (about equal).

I meant to get to Ko Phra Tong and Ko Ra just north of Ko Kho Khao this latest trip but didn't have time - these are apparenty even less touristed than any of the above with 2 and one resort(s) resp. on relatively big islands.

Ko Kradan is more touristic because it is small with a surprising number of places to stay and also attracts a fair number of day-trippers. But it still falls on the LAID BACK side of things compared to places like Phuket, Samui, Phi Phi, big Ko Chang etc. And I dont't think you are going to find too many people on Sunset and the southern beaches of Kradan.

- the southern Gulf wet season does go into January, but can't be too bad because it is normally high season there then. Also because February is dry there is a suggestion that the second half of January should see less rain than the first half.
Note however this year is a LA NINA (wetter than normal) one - the southern Gulf certainly has had more than normal rain in Oct, Nov and early Dec.

Having said all this, if I had my heart set on the east coast of Phangan I would not hesitate.
Of course with 3 weeks you could easily spend the first half in the Andaman, cross to the southern Gulf and spend the second half on Phangan in what would be fairly late January into early February.

Statistically I have an idea the DRIEST location in January may be Samet and the far eastern Gulf around big Ko Chang. Pretty nice islands.

Steph said...

Hi, i am trying to choose beween Haad salad and Bottle beach. We have one week on Ko pangan and as it is over new year the resorts only take 1 week bookings. I am torn beween the secluded paradise of bottle beach v.s the opportunity to watch the sunset every evening on Haad salad and maybe have more social scene. Any advice would be great!! thanks, Steph

tezza said...

Well Steph, you have summed up the strenghts of each perfectly and I can't add anything except to say they are both great locations. This is a choice only you can make. Oh yeah, access is also a hell of a lot easier into Salad.

sbd2 said...

I am planning to take my 13-year old son to southern Thailand mid- to late-January for about 2 weeks. Things have changed rather dramatically since I stayed on Phukhet when there wasn't a single hotel or bungalow (I am really dating myself)! So many islands to choose from...I am looking for something beautiful (clearly), easy to get to from Bangkok (flight), not too crowded, but not too remote,emphasis on fun things to do (elephants, kayaks, bikes,etc) for a 13-year old boy, NOT on fun things to do for the 20-something crowd(no full-moon parties for us!), nice accomodations (not back-packer). What can you suggest?

tezza said...

An island with an airport and elephants limits things to Samui. Maybe you could check my page for Thong Ta Kien beach which would have your other wants.

Islands a short trip from an airport with elephants - Ko Phangan (airport Samui). The east coast beaches are great but pretty isolated from elephants etc - I'd be thinking of Had Salad in the nw which has a heap of nice places to stay and easy access.
Big Ko Chang in the eastern Gulf also has your elephants and other wants. The nearby airport is Trat. The only midrange place I've stayed on big Chang is Grand Lagoona which is a bit isolated - but I think the better bungalows/rooms at White Sand Resort and RockSand (latter just emailed me shots of their newly built snazzy room) would be okay. Heaps of nice midrangers on big Chang.

sbd2 said...

Hi Tezza:
Thanks for getting back to me.
BTW, it seems that you have a tough job, but I guess somebody has to do it. Keep up the great work--very evocative stuff.
Anyway, elephants are really not that important--I was just using them to illustrate the point of fun for a 13-year old. Bikes, hikes, snorkeling--you get the picture. Would you change your suggestion knowing that?
Easy access really is important. I don't have too much time and don't want to waste it getting there and back.
Thanks for your reply.

Amanda said...

Let me tell you that your blog has been a wonderful help!

I have a very specific question and i would love your help... What do you think the best option is: Stay on Raileh West at the Sand and Sea Resort OR On Raileh East at the Sunrise Tropical? I'm not concerned with the difference in price. I just want to stay in the best place in your opinion.

Let me know when you get a chance!!!!

tezza said...

STEVEN - easy access means you still want to be reasonably close to an airport. So I'll stick with somewhere on Samui, Phangan or big Chang. I'll add Ko Lanta (about 1 hour from Krabi airport), although snorkelling off the beach is not good - but the snorkelling daytrips to the Trang islands ARE good and you get to go into the fabulous Emerald Cave.

tezza said...

AMANDA - I'd go for Sand Sea on Railay West simply because you go out immediately onto one of the better beaches in Thailand whereas Railay East is one of the daggiest.
Not sure which property is better quality - have not stayed at either.

Amanda said...

Thanks for the advice. I have two more more Questions if your don't mind.... where would you rather spend an extra day and night, Krabi-Railay, Or Phi Phi Don?

And Where/what hotel should I stay in Phi Phi? There are too many choices!!! I would like something with air condition but would I love to stay on the beach.

tezza said...

Um, are you already staying on Phi Phi or do you mean should you cut a night off Railay and spend it on Phi Phi?
If the latter is correct, yeah - I'd do that. But I'd really try to get more than one night on Phi Phi.
If the former is the case - I'd have no preference one way or the other. Both are good.

Where on Phi Phi? Well I'm a great fan of the laid back east coast. Laem Tong has a number of West Railay type resorts. Relax Bay flashpacker gets many good reports. Down a grade I hear Toh Koh Resort now has an aircon bungalow. Loh Bakeo is great but very expensive.
I also like Long Beach. All the places I mention on my blog there have aircon except maybe Long Beach Bungalows.
Closer to town - Viewpoint and Bay View.

rujuen said...

Hi Tezza!

Been reading your blogg for many houres and just have to say, the best one so far.

Is it possible to buy an open tigerlane ticket (boat)? I will stay for some days traveling around phuket and then of my way to Kho lipe. But, on my way to Lipe I want to go off and stay some few days in kho Ngai, kho mook , Kradan before heading off to Kho Lipe. I know the price for the trip from Phuket to kho Lipe is around 1800 Bath(one way) but do you know if it is possible to use the same ticket several days or must I use the ticket the same day I buy it?

tezza said...

I answered RUJEUN on another forum - for other people interested in this question:
"I THINK you can get a Tigerline open ticket (for multiple stop-offs) but I don't know for sure - never had to do it. Does the website say anything about this? If not, is there an email link?"
Soon after RUJEUN sent this reply: "I asked a sweedish man the same question at facebook and he reply:
""If you want to stop on the way you must buy several tickets. You can´t use one ticket.
I suppose that you know that Tigerline don´t have any boat traffic from Phuket. Their traffic by ferry goes between PhiPhi and Langkawi with several stops on the route.
If you want to go from Phuket you have to buy a Joint Ticket. This means that you go by Tigerline´s minivan 5 hours from your hotel on Phuket 07.00 to Hat Yao Pier in Trang province with arr 12.00. At Hat Yao you enter their ferry to any island on the route.
The Joint Ticket fare Phuket - Koh Lipe is 1650 THB one way.""
I replied: "That's useful information Sessa, thanks. I heard the Tigerline ferry was not running out of Phuket when I was there in November. I hoped it might start once high season and more passengers begin (I want to use it in March).
Someone told me SPD Speedboat is now running a service from Phuket to Lipe. They have run a Lanta Lipe one for years. Google may find it.

MissM said...

Hi Tezza,

Thank you for a great blog! Our first stop at Koh Samui, Thong Ta Kien is entirely beased on your good description and further hotelrewiews from trapavisor. But: We have difficulties deciding on either Koh Tao or Koh Phangan. Could you please help? We are looking for a nice beach with easy access to the water (i.e. not rocky) as we usaually spend most of our days swimming, sunbathing and swimming again. It would also be nice to have some restaurants nearby or easily accessed by tuk-tuk as neither one of us likes to drive scooters.

We are also planning to go to Railey West or PhiPhi, but PhiPhi is not very favourably described in Lonely Planet. Seems as you disagree though? For nice sceenery and relaxed atmosphere for a couple who wants to refill their energy during three weeks in Thailand, would you recommend PhiPhi or Railey?

Would also be grateful for any tip about hotel (max 2000 baht)


susan said...

We're looking for a nice, but cheap island, close to Bangkok for a stay in late Feb. Koh Chang seems nice, but the activities seem pricey. Koh Mak sounds good as sounds like you can walk around and enjoy the island freely. We're on a strict budget so any advice would be appreciated. Want to hang out at a nice beach, with cheap accommodations and food, while enjoying walks and other inexpensive activities. Thanks for all the help.

tezza said...

MissM - Tao is nice but Phangan has such a good choice of your sort of beaches, why go further?

Easy to reach off the ferry - Hat Salad, Mae Had, Hat Yao (west). Harder to reach but nice, Bottle Beach and all the east coast beaches I mention.

I rate Railay and Phi Phi equally, but for relaxed atmosphere I reckon the east coast of Phi Phi is the go, unless you stay on say Klong Muang south which frankly hasn't got the nice beaches and scenery of most of Krabi.

I stay budget backpacker mostly so can't give too many recs of hotels. I always thought the places up at Laem Tong at Phi Phi were a class act.
At Railay any of the midrangers on West and East Railay are attractive with certain caveats like the stairs at Diamond Private.

tezza said...

Susan - I too reckon Mak will do the trick. I'm a fan of the southern beach - Ao Kao - next trip I'm going to stay at Island Hut if they have a vacancy.
Now I'm not too up to date on the cost of activities - I my daytrips and excursions when I first visited these islands last century.
But Mak certainly is an island you can spend a lot of time simply walking around checking the scene.

You might consider Ko Wai. Ko Wai Paradise has some of the cheaper bunglows around. Small island, easy to explore it all on foot, visit other restaurants which tend to be cheaper than Paradise's these days.

robert said...

Hi Tezza

Thanks for a continually researched,
superbly written blog(s) for all the places your feet touch! Hugely helpfull.
We are looking to visit Koh Lipe soon, Feb 9-12...
We would like to stay at Viewpoint Resort Bungs, Should we call or is there an email or do we take a chance and just show up(is that realistic?). Is it realistic to just show up on Lipe without anything booked?, We are not under any budget limits.
And do not want to sleep on the beach.
Many thanks

tezza said...

Robert, as far as I know VIEWPOINT does not have email. And like a dope I didn't get a 'phone # - maybe travelfish or one of those Lipe websites I list towards the bottom of my Lipe page might have some contact info.

If you walk-in and there are no vacancies there is apparently a new more-upmarket joint just to the south - a longer established upmarket place just to the north, plus a variety of places back a bit furthrer north on that beach (Sunrise) - inluding the new Varin2 place I have a shot of which must have at least 40 bungalows.

headji said...

Hey again tezza!
I just came back from thailand with my girlfriend.

First I want to say thank you for the good information here and the good answers you gave me for my questions.

Our trip went like this:

Arrived in Bangkok 24rd Jan.
Took the night-train the same day to surat thani, minivan from surat thani to krabi > phi phi island.
I will recommend the night-train to everyone, like you do. We had the 2nd class beds and yeah it was quite comfy. We stayed one night in phi phi and took the usual snorkling trip to phi phi leh, and then to bamboo island to stay in tent for one night. I love bamboo island itself. After like 3-4pm you will have the beach for yourself as the day tour speedboats leaves. But watch the "staff" when they clean your tent. Ours had spiders and other insects in it so it was a hell of a night. But last year this was not a problem. Next day we had booked the tigerline ferry to koh mook. It was very close that we didn't make the ferry because of the sea on the way back from bamboo. But we jumped directly off our longtail to the ferry so we were happy in the end.

We arrived koh mook and rushed threw charlies and asked for directions to mookies, we wanted to be there first to book a tent and we did. We got a warm welcome by Alex and his wife Nasha. Alex took over for Brian for not so long ago I think. Our tent was like one of the tents in your pictures. 250 baht with mattress, fan and light. We really liked us there and ended up staying for 3 nights. We had booked our tickets next to ko bulon but had to change it because my girlfriend got an infection in the foot and we ended up one night in trang and a hospital visit to get some antibiotic for her. Next day we took a speedboat to ko bulon. Nice Island but most of the resorts there were full and we was lucky to get a night. Already the next day we took the speedboat to koh lipe, I've heard so much nice about it so I wanted to have our last week there. As our vacation only was 17days. First sight of Lipe were amazing and truly beautiful. We ended up staying at Lipe beach resort at sunrise beach. 3rd row bungalow at the beach for 600 baht. Not bad. We met up with my mother and little sister the last days there. We just relaxed for one week ...except the hike up to the 3rd viewpoint at Adang. But wow, that was worth the walk/climb!! Our way back to bangkok went like this:
speedboat to pakbara - minivan from pakbara to trang - night-train from trang to bangkok. The last day there we did some shopping at the mbk center and drank some beers at khao san road before we took the flight home 03:30 in the morning.

I will probably make a video with pictures and stuff like i did from my last year trip and put it on youtube. I guess my mother(sessa) will upload some pictures at her blog when she's back home.


tezza said...

Wow Rubin, thank's for such a detailed report.

Yep,I'll be checkin Sessa's blog for new pix.
Hey maybe if you have time you could send me some with a bit of info for one or two of the islands you visited this trip for a new installment on my READERS' TRIP REPORT section - like Sessa did for last year's report?
The island with only one reader's report is Lipe believe it or not - and that was from Lady Tezza. Lipe is the most viewed island page on my main site along with Phi Phi.

It's interesting that Brian is gone from Mookies - I was there in June and he made no mention of thinking about selling although he was concerned with exposing his son to some Aussie culture.

Anyway thanks for the feedback. I wish more people would do this. I often wonder after answereing questions here and elsewhere how things worked out for the asker.

rujuen said...

Hi Tezza!

Prices of accommodation and names in different places this trip in January / February 2011:

'Karon living room' in Phuket (Karon) bargained from 1600 baht to 900 baht a night. Stay 2 nights. In addition to Phi Phi spent one night on the 'long beach bungalow' 600 baht night.
New accommodation the next day on the 'gypsy' 800 baht per night.

The next day we went to Kho Mook with Tiger Line. Checking in on the other side of Charley beach not far from the pier in a place called 'coco lodge'. 800 baht per night. We slept there two nights before we checked into the 'Mookie' for a night, 250 baht. Here I got to know Alex and Nasha as the new Holders of Mookie. They 'bought' Mookie for about 4 months ago. Nasha is pregnant (four month) and I expect that next time I go down there (july 2011 I hope), they will have a little boy (is that she wants the most).

The next day we travel to Kho Kradan for an overnight stay. Here it was full booked so had to settle for a bongalow to 1600 baht 'Kradan beach resort'.

At last we are on our way to Kho Lipe. Here I meet my son (Ruben) and his girlfriend (Jenny). The trip from Kho Lipe Kradan take about three and a half hours with tiger line. In Lipe, we stayed one night at the 'Serene bongalow' near Pattaya beach, 600 baht a night, until we found a new place the day after, at the sunrise beach 'Lipe beach resort, paid 550 baht per night, slept there two nights before we left back to Phi Phi and stayed one night at 'K house' for 700 baht. The two last days we got back to Phuket and Karon and to the same stay 'karon living room'. This time I paid 950 baht per night,and got the top floor.

PS: It's no problem to get an open ticket from Andeman master and Tigerline. I had one my self for the hole trip.

I will send you some picture from the trip soon. :)

I'm back in Norway and have to say: The winther is killing me :P


tezza said...

Thanks Sessa. Got to tell you the weather here in Australia was 39 degrees celsius and humid - Thailand much nicer anytime. Looking forward to your pix.

Falko said...

Hi tezza,

me and my hubby go to Malaysia in a few weeks. And of course we want to put in island time maybe on 1 or 2 islands. We like to have great snorkeling right of the beach, great scenery, nature, some diving, maybe kayaking, beautiful beaches. Otherwise we like it quiet and relaxing - so no noise, parties or drinking.
Now my question for you: which of these islands are nicer Thailand's Adang, Lipe or Tarutao (they can be easily reached from Langkawi) Or Malaysia's Perhentian Besar, Redang or Tioman? Which would you suggest to us for the above interests?
(While we don't like backpacker accommodation, we unfortunately can't afford luxury but prefer to have a decent clean place with our own bathroom with hot water. I'm of course aware that even basic places may charge a premium.)

tezza said...

Lipe and Adang are easiest to reach from Langkawi and Tarutao is not much further. I'm not sure how easy it is to organise diving at the last 2 - Lipe has a good set-up. And Lipe is the one for snorkelling off the beach.
I'd be thinking Mountain Resort meets your asks re not backpacker but not luxury, quiet, nice section of beach and killer views - and Adang is so close you could kayak across.

It's so long since I visited Perhentians I haven't got a page - hope to get there mid year plus nearby Redang which I haven't visited. But from memory Perhentians have all your asks. Only thing is you need to check when places open - wet season can be a killer there and nearly all joints close down, but I think places start to open in March.
Much more of a stretch Langkawi to Perhentians - it would take you all day v an hour or so to Lipe-Adang.

Even more time to Tioman. It meets your asks too, easily. I'd be thinking Panuba Inn. Many places on Tioman run all year.

Falko said...

Thanks a lot! Your site is great! Makes me want to go island hopping all year ;-)!

anne said...

This blog and your postings on LP are excellent--but I am overwhelmed. Realize you are on vacation--and perhaps I'll figure out before you are back. Scenario: traveling with family (including children ages 2 and 4) to Thailand in October. Upshot, cheaper in wet season, downshot, wet. Regardless, am wondering the warmest, cheapest, nicest beach to go to. I was thinking of Phi Phi, and made reservation at TohKoh resort that you reviewed, but was hoping for something CHEAPER and more off the path.

tezza said...

Wow Anne - this is one of the more difficult questions. Two points make it so:
- October is wet season everywhere, so I can't recommend going to the southern Gulf which is normally pretty dry until the end of Sept but then can get real wet some years
- and some of the better places I can think of are unfortunately not the cheapest places.

This applies to Phi Phi. The island tends to be popular all year and so you don't get big wet season discounts from what is one of the more expensive dry season islands. But the sheltered east coast of Phi Phi is certainly one of the better wet season locations. And definitely "off the path" - not too many people make it across there even in dry season.
Please check for recent user reports of Toh Koh Resort on Trip Advisor etc - some posts lately have suggested the place has dropped its standards.
I wonder if the bungalow joint on Ao Poh is any cheaper?

The driest island statistically in October tends to be Ko Samet and its beaches are east-facing. But it tends to be one of the less cheap islands for the same reasons as Phi Phi. Ao Nuan there certainly meets your asks re off the path. But maybe not cheapness.

Okay, if you are prepared to risk the southern Gulf's sometimes excessively wet Octobers, there are several excellent off the path beaches on the east coast of Phangan - check my pages for Ao Thian (east coast one), Had Wai Nam and Ao Thong Reng. Hell the 150 I paid for an excellent bungalow at Beam on Ao Thian last June was the best value I've ever had in Thailand. Plus Beam was a class act and Ao Thian a nice beach with access to nearby similar.

Warm wise, you will find no beach cold in October - but sheltered beaches will have less wind chill on those 15-25% of windy days when you first get out of the water.

Please get back to us on which place you finished staying at.

Dave said...

Firstly, thanks for all the postings, advice, suggestions, etc, could not have researched our trip without you.

OK, so I’ve done my research and have our 14 day Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi/Ko Lanta plan.

Some final questions on transport before we make our bookings.

Q1. We (2 adults, 2 kids 14 and 9) arrive in Phuket at 7.30pm on June 6. We plan to leave by ferry the next morning. We know to buy tickets for the ferry from an agency and not from the wharf as it will be cheaper and include a taxi to the wharf. The question is – are we best off to stay in Phuket Town that night to make it easy to leave the next morning? If so, can you recommend a place that’s under 1500 baht for 4 of us (most places kids under 12 stay/eat free anyway), includes breakfast and is quiet. Don’t need pools, fancy furnishings, etc. Just somewhere to stay that night to recover from flight rest before ferry, etc next day, but not a backpackers. Alternately, are we better off staying near the airport or some other location other than Phuket Town and buy ferry tickets and getting the taxi to pick us up from there?

Q2. I am getting conflicting advice on transport to/from Ko Lanta in low season (which I believe June is – is that right?). Some places say you can’t get there/back at all by ferry and have to take a longtail which is about 4000bt and some say you can but only from Krabi, not Phi Phi. What’s the situation? Can we go Phuket/Ko Lanta/Phi Phi/Phuket or even Phuket/Phi Phi/Ko Lanta/Phi Phi/Pkuket (I know we lose Krabi, but that’s travelling) or do we need to leave Ko Lanta out due to low season transport and do Phuket/Krabi/Phi Phi/Phuket?

Q3. When we arrive in Phi Phi, are we better off waiting for touts on the wharf from the hotels we have shortlisted (Paradise/Pearl because we’re not party people, want to enjoy the island, if you have any other suggestions, let us know), or grabbing a low season special online?

Q4. Best way to get to/from Phi Phi/Krabi then Phuket?

Q5. Best way to avoid the taxi mafia in Phuket. We are planning on visiting the Hill Temple, Phang Nga Bay, etc and see our options are to hire a car or get a driver for the day. What is the price difference going to be? I’ve heard stories of cars being damaged because tourists parked in a completely legal but “wrong” place “owned” by the taxi mafia. What’s the go?

That’s it (and I’m sure plenty) for now.

Thanks again in advance for all your help.

David and crew

tezza said...

I've answered this question on a travel forum - just did a search but it aint there anymore. Looks like it was blitzed for some reason. Anyway:

1 - I reckon go down to Phuket town that late in the day.
I have only stayed budget there but Agoda and etc will find real good places under your limit in low season June.
2 - No ferries in low seasons past from Phi Phi to Lanta. Go Phi Phi to Krabi by ferry of course and catch the hourly minibus which leaves from footpath in Soi 6, goes onto Lanta via vehicle punts and delivers to most accommodation.
3- I'm a good bargainer but I'm not as good as the booking sites apparently are for low season prices. I use them for places above budget. Lots of places won't send touts in low season.
4 - Krabi-Phuket: big bus from bus station whhich is out of Krabi town has advantage of comfort, less expensive. But goes to Phuket town some way from the beaches.
Minibus has advantage of starting in town, often calls at the pier, going to the popular beaches in Phuket(check this).
But if you are coming from Lanta to Phuket there is a minibus service off the island direct to Phuket instead of minibus to Krabi bus station (nearest) bus to Phuket.
5 - Daytrip operators are best way to do Phang Nga trip. They may do your other place.
Otherwise you can avoid taxi mafia by using a car and driver associated with your Phuket accommodation. Note some of these guys may be rogues, but the few I've used have worked out okay.

michael, claudia and sierra said...

hi tezza, nice public service you've got going here. i'm impressed by the site and your willingness to help.

ok - so here's the deal. we are from new york and living in singapore until the end of august. my husband is an adventurer and our 12 year old girl is too. they need a few daddy/daughter getaways. preferably something that involves monkeys and wildlife and well, just nothing like malacca in malaysia where there are t shirt and souvenir shops and not much else... they'll only have weekends so it needs to be a quick hop.

as for me, well - i'm an adventurer at heart but confined to a wheelchair due to an injury so not sure if i fit in to this whole scenario. i mean not on the weekend described above but perhaps, well, anywhere else. we can do some rough terrain and some steps but obviously i'm not hiking mountains and trekking through the jungle...

so any insight at all and i'd be grateful...

thanks so much

tezza said...

Okay, first - daddy daughter co-adventure weekend getaway with monkeys.
I'm thinking the Railay Tonsai part of Krabi.
Direct flights Singapore-Krabi wastes minimal time.
Monkeys - heaps of them on the East Railay to Phra Nang track. More on the adjacent high headland area and up the high valley track.
Adveture - can climb up to the viewpoints and down into the Princess Cave (latter with care) on the headland across to Phra Nang. Can do an introductory climb at both East Railay and adjacent climb-central Ton Sai. Your daughter will love it - I had my first climb a few years back and it was great. Can do pretty good snorkelling trips offshore on calmer days or hire a kayak and paddle around.

Longer trip involving you. Well I think the same area will do it. Caveat - can only access Railay/Ton Sai by boat. This could be tricky for you, I don't know your capabilities.
Tracks East to West Railay, to Phra Nang are flat, up into the high valley past the Diamond Cave not too steep, no steps - until you hit the divide over to Ton Sai where it is very very hard for fit dudes. But that's a long way up.
The loop and side tracks over at Ton Sai are not too steep, no steps. You get over there by longtail boat.
Back at Ao Nang by longtail is good shopping, restaurants.
Maybe you could base yourself there if the boats are tricky for you. Lots of people do. although low season is much quieter. The next 6 months are low season. Your husband and daughter could boat it across to Railay Ao Nang when they want some trekking climbing etc.
Ao Nang is a good base for longer daytrips to more distant attractions. Of course these can be done out of Railay with an extra longtail trip.

San Francisco Pride 2008. said...

Hi Tez, thanks for all the helpful information you've provided! I'm visiting Phi Phi 15/5-18/5 and i'll be staying at Paradise Resort. Thing is it's low peak season and breakfast is not included. I'm wondering if there is anywhere near Paradise resort that my partner and I can go for breakfast at? That asked, do you know of good eating places near Long Beach? Also, how long does it take to travel to Phi Phi town from Long Beach? Thanks really appreciate if you can help!

tezza said...

Sorry for the delay - I'm sure I've checked this page several times since the 8th.

I stayed at Paradise low season in 2009.
Adjacent resort Paradise Pearl's very nice beachside restaurant was open - only 2 minutes walk west. 3 minutes east is Long Beach Bungalow's restaurant and another 2 minutes gets you to Phi Phi The Beach's more upmarket eatery.

Viking's restaurant in the next bay less than 15 minutes walk west towards town was open as was Poh Bungalow's about 20 minutes east on Ao Poh.

It takes 30-40 minutes to walk into town, less than 10 minutes by longtail boat.

Simrat said...

Hi Tezza! I have gone through your extensive and very helpful blog posts about various islands in Thailand. It's amazing how much information you've got in there. My boyfriend and I are planning our first trip to the islands of Thailand and I think we'll stick to the gulf side. I have lots of questions to ask and would really appreciate your help -

1. I just cannot decide between Koh Phangan and Koh Samui. Which one is better for a more relaxed, romantic, exclusive getaway? I have gone through your post on "WHICH ISLAND" and "Thailand's Best Beaches" to find out what best matches my dream vacation (White sand soft beach; Crystal blue / azure water; Good service, food, relaxing resort; good snorkelling, swimming and beach activities; Something vibrant, but not backpacker crazy).. but I am still confused between Phangan and Samui (although tilting a bit more in the favour of Phangan). Will be getting in from Singapore, so the commute may be a factor worth considering too. Your expert suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

2. Secondly, I was thinking of staying all of the 5 nights in an upscale resort like Santhiya or Rasananda in Phangan or Anantara / Bo Phut / something else in Samui.. but, after reading your blog and finding out about these cool bungalows, I am thinking.. we may spend 2-3 nights in an upscale resort and the remainder in a nice beach bungalow. Now, if we were to go to Phangan, I am looking for suggestions for beautiful, natural, green & picturesque bungalow options that we could move to after our stay in the resort. I quite liked your picture of the rockside bungalow at Mai Pen Rai.. would that be the best option or can you give 3-4 other top recommendations? AND a way for us to get from the resort to the bungalow?

3. Even though I've read your blog over the last 2 days, I am still lost about the commuting bit on these islands. Is it possible to rent a bike or jeep on Phangan and go around different parts of the island? What are the absolute must-see spectacular beaches of Phangan that one should not miss? Ideally, my boyfriend and I would spend 2 days just relaxing in the resort, without stepping out, and perhaps 2 days exploring the island and neighboring islands. So we'll be looking for top highlights, not a complete tour.

4. Is it easy to make a day trip between Samui and Phangan? How can it be done and is it worth it?

My questions are endless... I'll wait for you to answer and bother you again if I need more info. This is a great resource. THANKS A TON!

tezza said...

1 I've always considered Samui the better midrange and above destination, Phangan better for backpackers. But Phangan is getting some really nice midrange and upmarket places these days.
Phangan has the better snorkelling off the beach - but only some beaches.
Certainly ease of access is important - at Samui you can be at your resort within half an hour of clearing customs - on Phangan it may take most of the rest of the day, depending on ferry connections and how far your resort is from arrival pier.

2 Santhiya or Rasananda look great and I think Thong Nai Pan Noi would meet most of your asks pretty well. If I had a chance of staying in one of these I'd jump at it.
Note Santhiya is actually on its own separate little beach just north of the main beach which means exclusivity but a walk to restaurants etc on/behind the main beach.
The other joint is on the main beach - can be a bit busy with backpacker types but this beach is still pretty relaxed.
TNPN does not have great snorkelling (would be okay around the rocks of the headlands for non-hardcore types) but those joints would throw on a snorkelling trip to one of the better Phanang locations or even to Ko Tao.
The beaut thing about TNP is that Mai Pen Rai/Ao Sadet is the next bay south (well technically Thong Nai Pan Yai is the NEXT bay south) - around 10 minutes in a longtail or on the east coast ferry which eventually goes down to Samui. By road it would be a bumpy/steep 15 minutes.
Bo Phut is an inferior beach IMHO - coarser sand, not particularly white and a steepish gradient most times. Central/south Chaweng and Lamai are two places for white soft sand and lots of high end resorts.

3 You can rent motorcycles/jeeps/cars on both islands. But I would avoid all the roads into eastern Phangan on a motorycle unless I was experinced at rough steep dirt riding. Samui's road stystem is better all round, but is busier. Riding driving on the western half of Phangan is no problem because the roads are mainly sealed. Ditto along the south coast.
It's too exhauting to list all the must sees - check stuff on both islands and see what appeals to you. Your resort will offer a 'roung island trip, by boat on Phangan, minibus or similar on Samui which is a good way of doing it.
In dry season the Ang Thong Marine Natioanal Park daytrips are very good - can do from both islands - will be a bit of a slog from TNPN unless a boat picks you up at the beach.

4 Yes you can do daytrips to Phangan from Samui. Each morning several speedboats arrived at Ao Sadet from Samui, spent a few hours and then moved on. Your hotel or one of the small travel agencies will offer these.

Simrat said...

Hi again! Thanks a ton for your detailed response. I can't tell you how helpful and valuable your suggestions are for a first-timer like me.

I am thinking Phangan will appeal more to us.. even though we are looking for something midrange and above, we don't want to be surrounded by commercial malls and restaurants. Phangan may be more our thing. Few more questions, if you don't mind -

1. Do you know whether Rasananda or Santhiya would be a better option from a commuting perspective? If we arrive at Samui around 1.00 or 2.00 pm on a certain day, it would be great to be in the resort at Phangan before sunset. Is that doable?

2. Also, do you know which of the two resorts is better in general? You said Santhiya had a private beach. Is it any good (I read somewhere on a post by you that it was an artificial beach)? Is it better to be on TNPN or on this secluded beach? Any idea about the overall experience (service, comfort, quality, etc.) of Rasananda vs. the other one (I know you have more expert opinion on backpacker bungalows and I am coming to that, but I was wondering if you've heard anything about these resorts from friends or fellow travelers on your several trips)?

3. Now, after reading your blog, I am thinking that we may spend 3 nights in the resort and 2-3 nights in a more backpacker-style bungalow.
3a.) Can you suggest some really nice bungalows on a good beach with beautiful views (preferably perched on a rock like the picture of the rockside bungalow at Mai Pen Rai or right on the beach - but a clean beach - or built up hillsides around a nice beach)? As I mentioned in my previous post, I am looking for suggestions for beautiful, natural, green & picturesque bungalow options that we could move to after our stay in the resort. Which beach would you recommend we stay at after having been at TNPN in the first week of August? We would like something unique / off-the-beaten track.. and it'll be great if you give 3-4 other top recommendations?
3b.) AND a way for us to get from the resort on TNPN to the bungalow?
3C.) Also, I've read that some bungalows don't have electricity at night. Is it going to be very hot in August? Do we need at least a fan and hot water for a shower?

I have read some recommendations on TripAdvisor - Treehouse, Seaview Bungalows, Sunflower Bungalows, Shiralea and Mai Pen Rai… and then there are gorgeous photos on your own blog - Lighthouse Resort, Coco Hut, and some other options on beaches on the east coast like the Sanctuary Resort; Wai Nam Hut; . I am so lost, your suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

4. From your blog, it seems like Leela Beach; Hat Rin East; Than Sadet; Ao Tong Reng; Had Thian (East Coast) and Had Yuan (East Coast) and Mae Had sound like gorgeous beaches - exactly the kinds we'd be interested in. Now, for a first timer with only 2 days to explore the island (as we may spend 2 days just relaxing in the resort).. do you think we can cover all by motorcycle / longtail or should we pick and choose? We would really like to rent a bike to explore at least some part of the island.. which area should that be? And which part do we cover with a longtail? I guess it'll also depend on the area / beach we choose for our bungalow stay.

I know I am asking for too much help on planning my itinerary, so feel free to pick & choose what you'd like to answer. I just think yours is the best resource I've found on the internet for planning an amazing trip to Phangan! Look forward to hearing from you… thanks A LOT in advance!

tezza said...

Aaaargh!! I just spent 20 minutes doing an answer and somehow got signed out - so it didn't publish.
I'll try again tomorrow.

tezza said...

1 Both places only a few minutes apart.
Had Rin Queen leaves Big Buddha near Samui airport at 1300 1600 1830. 30 minutes Had Rin to TNPN.
Lomprayah 1300 1730 from Mae Nam to main Thong Sala pier - 45-60 minutes to TNPN. Has a free shuttle from Samui airport to pool usually.
Seatran also goes from Mae Nam or Bo Phut to Thong Sala - 1330.
Haven't got time for East Coast Ferry which leaves Bo Phut early afternoon and goes to TNPY. Mai Pen Rai website may have times.

2 Haven't heard any reports of either place - Trip Advisor and user reviews on Agoda etc would be the go.
I can't remember Santhiya's beach being substandard and it is only a few minutes to the main beach.
Santhiya certainly has the more exclusive location.

3 Yoy best need a Phangan location to not waste time. Bottle Beach is best beach on Phangan and less than 15 minutes by longtail and bumpy road away from TNPN - Bottle Beach One has beachfront bungalows although nicer ones are behind in a garden setting.

Hat Sadet is even closer - check my pages for high views from Plaas and Eddie's comments on their bungalows. Nothing wrong with Mai Pen Rai of course although their rockside bungalows are not as high.

Most websites indicate electricity supply. If not, email. I don't miss hot water, most budget bungalows don't have it. Lack of a fan is not a biggy to me either. Note a lot of places with generators will run them say 1800 to say 0200 which covers the hottest time of night.

Simrat said...

Hi Tezza. Thanks a lot once again for your detailed response. Quick question - what are the top 2-3 most pristine beaches of Phangan with the whitest, softest and cleanest sands? Trying to decide which beachfront budget bungalow accommodation to pick.. would like something beautiful & natural on a good beach! Thanks for all your advice in helping me plan my trip.

tezza said...

I reckon Bottle Beach wins hands down on pristine plus white sand.
All the other white sand jobs have something against them - eg Had Rin east, can be crowded. Leela, Coral Beach - low tide blues etc.
And some I regard as pristine don't have particularly white sand - eg Had Thian (east coast), Had Wai Nam, Had Thong Wreng.
btw - going away for 6 weeks tomorrow, wont be monitoring this site.

Simrat said...

Thanks a lot, Tezza! You've been a great help. What an amazing Thailand expert you are! Thanks for everything. Can't wait for Phangan! Have a great trip.

Haripreet said...

Hi Tezza,Great blog with super great information. I Am from Singapore and going with my gf and she is from Spain and i know Thailand well though never been to Phi Phi, so decided to take her to Phi Phi for about 5-6 days of relaxation. She has only been to Singapore once, so she doesnt really know the real asia. I want her get a good taste, and want her see the typical thai beach bars on the sand with the cushions and etc. Am thinking staying in-between Tonsai and Loh Dalum as thats where i guess you'll find most of these bar beaches (correct me If im wrong)and also for the shops/markets and bars. (I know shops and markets are limited on Phi Phi). I really wanted to know is it easy to walk over to Long Beach or Ao Toh Koh from Ton Sai Area as the beaches there seem to have better reviews. Alternatively thinking staying on this lower eastern side as its more quieter and better chances of finding a nice hut over looking the sea, but dont want miss out the night fun around tonsai, which would mean walking to Ton Sai area in the evening and then walking back to Long Beach/Ao Toh Koh/Rantee Beach when done 10/11pm ish What would you recommend. We wont be getting overly drunk so it wont be a problem if walking is possible and safe. So Main question is, is it easy getting from the Ao toh Koh/Long beach to Tonsai even at night, is it safe because for her from Europe walking through a jungle in asia in darkness might not sound safe unless i assure her.
Appreciate your response..

Giga Promoters said...

Hi Tezza,

I am going to Thailand for first time in August, can you suggest some good beaches to visit ? We are planning to stay at 2-3 places and explore the nearby islands by day trips. We don't want a crowded place, a place where we can relax whole day long in front of beach and see beautiful sunset. Also, let me know some cheap accommodations, if possible.

Christy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christy said...


In Thailand Nov 1-14. Husband and I can't decide between Koh Jum and Koh Whai or Mak. Our last stay was Samui (Bophut) and Phangan (Bottle Beach). We want more simplicity this time. Priorities: clear water and soft sand beach, great food, options for drinks at night, no partying, day trip snorkling/beaching (we aren't picky snorklers, mainly just like to swim and float).

We would choose beach front fan bungalow over AC. Flashpacker sleeping budget (we prefer to spend our money on food, food, food!) under 700-900 a night?

I have it in my head the east coast is more time consuming to get to given there is no sleeper train option. But I'm worried Koh Jum may not have options for us on the best beach in our price range

Lastly, given our time of travel, should we book ahead? It's just the start of peak season so we were hoping it will still be a little quiet and sneak in with some good bargains.

Thanks in advance. This post is too long!

Louise said...

Hi Tezza,

Great blog. As you will be fresh back from a trip to Malaysia, I thought I'd take advantage of your great expertise...My partner and I have been travelling for eleven months and are fairly exhausted. Flying back to Europe the third week of August and looking for a beach in Malaysia where we can kick back and relax, snorkel, read books, etc. for a couple of weeks before flying out from KL. We are on a pretty tight budget (roughly $10-$20 per night for accommodation) and I was wondering if you could possibly recommend somewhere that might fit the bill....Kapas, Tioman, Perhentians....anywhere else??? Any and all suggestions gratefully received!
Many thanks! Loulou

JParm said...

My Fiancee and I are starting to plan a honeymoon to Thailand. We are traveling from California after our wedding the last couple of weeks in October. We want to relax on a beautiful beach and eat some good food. The mister would probably prefer a little activity too. Where should we go??

tezza said...

Sorry for the delay in answering folks - I just got home from Malaysia, Singapore, Indo.

- it is a major walk from Ao Toh Koh and surrounding beaches into town even during the day. The slopes are super steep and long, a test of even very fit people. Throw in darkness where visibility on the hundreds of steps out of town and across the jungle roots into the east coast bays is poor and I'd suggest don't do it.
From Long Beach into town isn't bad during the day - can be a bit of a test at night. If it has rained (you don't say when you are going) the first/last steep section out of/into Long Beach can be very difficult under foot - as in MUD. The good news is that the longtail taxi boats run across to Long Beach from town well into the early morning hours.
You are right in that the beach bar mats and best shopping is in or near town although come high season some beach mats may appear on Long Beach.

Why not split your 5-6 days with some in town and some at Long Beach or on the east coast?

- for best weather in August look for Samui, Phangan or Tao. For sunsets you need the west coast. That counts Samui out which only has expensive places on the west coast. Look at my Phangan and Tao pages for north west and south west beaches respectively - I also mention some budget accommodation there.

These islands are a bit limited on daytrips - Phangan is the better with trips to Tao, Ang Thong National Marine Park and around Phangan itself.
On Tao you can do an around island trip, visit Koh Nangyuan and probably take a trip to Phangan.

Best daytrips are out of Phuket - if you are prepared to risk wetter weather. Phuket's main beaches are west coast with sunsets if it is not raining (btw partly cloudy conditions can produce great sunsets) but the big 3 beaches Kata Karon and Patong are very touristy even in low season. Check my stuff on the other west coast beaches.

Krabi also has good daytrips, good sunsets at Ao Nang, Ton Sai and West Railay, and very inexpensive accommodation in wet season.

tezza said...

- first half on November is usually before the rush and so prices can be good, crowding lower. I wouln't book ahead.

I'm thinking Whai has most of your asks - clear water and soft sand beach, great food, options for drinks at night, no partying, snorkling/beaching and some good budget accommodation. Daytrips are a bit limited but I suppose you could jump on one of the passing boats and go across to check Mak. Or use the slowboat to the mainland to get across to the pier in south west Chang near Long Beach in the morning and then get picked up on the return afternoon trip.

Jum has the best range of budget accommodation, I like the beaches although they are inferior to Whai - snorkelling is ordinary and daytrips limited.
I don't think access is any easier - no sleeper train goes near Jum (closest to Trang or Surathani) and it's going to take a fair bit of the day to get from those places to Jum.
for the east - note there is a bus leaves the eastern bus terminal real late - arrives in Trat around 0500 so if you can sleep on a bus that could be a non-sunshine-wasting time to access the east.

One other advantage of the east is that the monsoon seems to end earlier there so early November could well be drier.

Mak's beaches are no better than Jum's, the island has less the "tropical paradise" feeling of Whai and poorer snorkelling options. Plenty of budget accommodation, more food options and better exploring possibilities than Whai.

Can you do a tezza and stay in more than one place? Given 14 days I can easily stay at 2 different islands - hell I just got home from a 5 weeker - worked out I stayed at 14 different places on 8 islands and 2 mainland beaches.

- all 3 of your suggestions fit the bill. Having just visited them, I found Kapas the most impressive - best island I've been on in years and with a surprisingly good range of affordable accomodation. Most laid back island and easiest/cheapest access from the mainland too.

But the others are quite good and if you have read my above answers you will probably realise I'd be doing at least 2 or all 3 given your 14 days.
Of course you could simply switch islands in the Perhentians (I did) or beaches on Tioman (which I have done on previous visits). You can walk between all the beaches on Kapas in 25 minutes so switching beaches does not have the same "newness".

I'm working on a Perhentians page right now - should be up in a few days. I'll do a Kapas page after that and then update my Tioman page - maybe they will help make up your mind.

- it is hard to make recommendations for October because all islands are in wet season and occasionally the southern Gulf turns in a shocker so maybe that area is best avoided.
I'd be looking at West Railay for a combination of severely discounted good accommodation there/budget accommodation nearyby, plenty of food options there or nearby - and some activities for the hubby, diving, climbing, kayaking etc.

Simrat said...

Hi Tezza.. just noticed that you are back from your vacation. Hope you had a good time! I've been reading your blog (and have probably memorized the Phangan pages) while you were away. So, I am finally set for my Phangan trip from 26th July. Staying at Santhiya first and then some backpacker-flashpacker beach bungalows. As per your recommendation and having read your trip report, I have settled on Bottle Beach. Have booked Bottle Beach 1 for now because I can't find the email address / website for Bottle Beach 2 or 3. If you have it somewhere, it'll be great help.

I was just wondering - is Bottle Beach very far away / disconnected from the beach parties? It doesn't have to be the full on beach parties at Had Rin, but given that we'd be in secluded Santhiya for the first 3 days, we'd like some late night beach parties to soak in the vibe of Phangan during our budget beach stay. If we can get to/fro Bottle beach to a good party beach, that's super awesome. Then we don't need to worry about anything anymore. Your input would really help!

If not, is it worth considering Had Salad, Had Yuan, Ao Mae Had or Had Yao (west coast) for our stay? We still want a pretty white sand beach though.. I loved the complete package on Than Sadet but none of the bungalows have fans through the night (which I think I'd miss a lot) and hot water. Any nice beachfront bungalows on Had Yuan (east) or surrounding area?

I know I've bothered you too much. Hopefully, this should be the last annoying question coz we'll soon be off for the trip. THANKS A LOT once again!

tezza said...

Santhiya isn't secluded. You should be able to walk into Thong Nai Pan Noi central in less than 5 minutes. Should be some sort of partying going on there.

I don't have contact info for the other places on Bottle Beach. It is secluded and it will be hard to access a beach with a party - but hopefully you will have already partied on TNP Noi. Never know, some of the Bottle Beach guests may start some sort of party.

Had Yuan East has some attractive looking beachfront places but I have never stayed there and can't remember the names.

All the alternatives you mention are worth considering - but I think you have a good combination in Santhiya and Bottle Beach One.

martin said...

Hi Tezza,

I've been studying the Thai weather since back in February when i hurriedly booked to go for 3 weeks with my girlfriend.We are aiming to hit Koh Samui,Tao and Phan Nang, arriving on 23rd Sept and leaving 10th Oct. I understand that it's the start of the wet season, and don't mind the thunderstorms etc. My problem is if my girlfriend doesn't get a good tan, i'll be getting earache all holiday! I'm a bit worried that its going to be regularly overcast. You're weather info is great, can you give me a bit of reassurance re sunbathing. Thanks. Martin

tezza said...

Martin, no-one can say for sure what will happen this year, but going on averages:
- The southern Gulf's wet season is more Oct into January so unless it's early this year I wouldn't be worrying excessively.
Even if it does start early, wet seasons usually ramp up a bit so early on things are not as bad as later. And even in full wet season there is usually enough sunshine to get a tan etc.
I know the southern Gulf turns on a shocker one in 4 or 5 years (and not necessarily on a regular spacing) but if I was going in late Sept early Oct I would not be losing too much sleep.

headji said...

Hey again tezza!

I hope everything is fine over there!

I've booked my next Thailand vacation.
I will be be traveling from 3-18 september.
This is my first trip there in low-season. Looking forward to it.

I also wants as much sunshine as possible as everybody else so hopefully the east coast would be the best this time.

samui, phangang, tao - I could need some advise from you about the route, witch island to visit first and how many days on each?

The national park in samui any good? I also want to be at the full moon party in phangang the 12th as i have never been there before.

Also nice if you could tell me the "must see" on each of those islands.
You know i am into jungle trekking, viewpoints, beaches/snorkeling.

some Accommodation advise? Nice beach/jungle, walkable to the party's?

Looking forward to hear from you!



Tejas Gutka said...

HI Tezza,

Firstly kudos for putting up so much information. You are a great blessing to first timers.

I need some advice from my trip in October. We are 4ppl planning a trip to Bangkok for a week. We were keen on visiting Phi Phi, so needed some advice on place to stay. I know you have detailed it in your blog, but if you can specifically point us to two/three places that in your mind are the best value for money.

Also we were trying to figure out if there is anyway on can travel from Phuket to Phi Phi in the evening?

tezza said...

TJ - I'm a great believer in the sheltered east coast of PP in wet season. But remember you are isolated there.

Best value for money is difficult not knowing what standard you are after. Midrange or better, flashpacker or budget? Please advise.
One thing I've noticed is that in low season the first option tends to discount prices more than others so this may be the way to go even if you are considing flashpacker.

Only way to go Phuket PP in the evening is by speedboat - this would be very expensive and is not a trip I'd do in monsoon season. And I'm a real good swimmer.

tezza said...

HEADJI - stone the crows matey, the reason I do the blog is so I don't have to repeat stuff.

BUT - I realise there is TOO MUCH INFO there, particulary if you are considering more than one island. It becomes a case of OVERLOAD!!
And I realise I must look after my READERS' TRIP REPORTS contributors!

ROUTE - Tao-Phangan-Samui or reverse - doesn't matter which way normally.
Order may depend on timing of FMP.

TIME ON EACH - from your previous visits I think you'd get less value out of touristy Samui - so less time there, roughly equal on Tao/Phangan unless you have lots of time to spare. In that case I'd spend more time on Phangan - it has so many beaches you could spend months and not see them all properly.

ANG THONG MARINE NATIONAL PARK is well worth seeing but is abt 20-30km west of Samui. The waterfalls on Samui are take it or leave it IMHO.

MUST SEES. Too many to list all. But--

SAMUI - hire a moped, go from Lamai up past Chaweng, around the north east corner and across the north coat, calling in at the beaches.
Walk or cycle up to Jungle Club for nice viewpoint over ne coast.

PHANGAN - do the around island trip for beaches and some okay snorkelling. Trek Bottle Beach to Chalok and Than Sadet to Thong Nai Pan. Stay at Leela Beach for short walk to FMP.
TAO - trek town to Tanote, maybe back to town via High Viewpoint and Sairee. Snorkel Hing Wong Bay and Ao Leuk. Do a daytrip to Ko Nanyuan. Stay in the sw bays for shortish trek into town/Sairee for parties.

Carly said...

Hi Tezza, I need some advice on finding a mid-range place on a lovely Malaysian east coast island.

My husband, baby and I are planning to spend a week on a Malaysian island which isn't too built up but relatively straight forward to get to - perhaps Tioman or the Perhentians.

But I'm really struggling to find decent mid-range accommodation and what I have found is booked out..

Last year we stayed on Ko Phangan at Salad beach, which had GREAT mid-range options for a family. Can you suggest any places which are slightly upmarket beach bungalows not within a 'resort'?

We're after:
- bungalow directly on the beach
- snorkelling options
- soft sand for our baby
- bathroom in bungalow
- a large bungalow, which ideally provides a cot and even an extra room for baby to sleep in
- beach where there are a few options for meals


tezza said...

Sorry for the delay Carly, been away from home.
Unfortunately some of your asks cancel out others - I can think of places with bungalows on the beach but don't have other places to eat etc.

Maybe Perhentian Islands Resort would do the job (note lots of their bungalows are not beachfront) - here you would walk to Coral View and neighbours' restaurants across the headland walkway.
I wonder if the more expensive bungalows at Abdul's or neighbours on Perhentian Besar are true midrange because this area has your other asks.
Awana on Besar has some beachfront bungalows definitely midrange - but the beach is not great here. Gets better a short walk away. Plenty of places to eat.

The two most expensive places on the twin beach at Redang are true midrangers and both have some of their bungalows on the beach - lots of places to eat here and the beach itself is great. Redang Laguna is one of these joints - Google will find the other.

Or Paya Beach Resort on Tioman which has some of its bungalows beachfont and 3 or 4 other places to eat nearby.

Sorry I can't help more.

Tony said...

Tezza, I didn't see anything Agn Thong. We'll be in southern Thailand again in Feb/March and never been there, thought we'd drop in. Any recos on tours to the park? Cheers!

tezza said...

Tony, I think there is a small Ang Thong section on the Samui page.

Thing is I haven't visited Ang Thong since '97 or so, so I haven't any up to date info. Can only say the visit is well worth while - make sure you climb the peak to the fabulous lookout on the NP Headquarters island - can't remember the operator I used and there seems to be dozens these days.

I'd wait til I was on Samui (or Phangan) and have a look at the many deals being offered by small trip booking places, travel agents and many accommodation places.

Marco Feliciano said...

hi, im traveling to lombok in a few weeks. i was wondering- when exploring the south coast of lombok is it easier in a car? or a motorcycle? in your post you mentioned something about dirt roads that surfers took to get a view of the surf. i wanted to ask you.- These roads cant be done in a car i presume? Or can they? I guess what Im asking is, what is the best mode of transportation in terms of getting around the best spots in lombok. Basically I just want to see as much of the island as i can. Secondly, I wanted to ask- besides the Full Moon Cafe that you mentioned- do you know of any other layed back lounges around the south lombok area? thank you for you help in advance. Regards

Marco Feliciano said...

hi, im traveling to lombok in a few weeks. i was wondering- when exploring the south coast of lombok is it easier in a car? or a motorcycle? in your post you mentioned something about dirt roads that surfers took to get a view of the surf. i wanted to ask you.- These roads cant be done in a car i presume? Or can they? I guess what Im asking is, what is the best mode of transportation in terms of getting around the best spots in lombok. Basically I just want to see as much of the island as i can. Secondly, I wanted to ask- besides the Full Moon Cafe that you mentioned- do you know of any other layed back lounges around the south lombok area? thank you for you help in advance. Regards

Julie said...

Marco, "easiest" depends on level of skill. A skillful mororcycle rider can get into places a car can't. Lake of skill means risk of falling and hurting yourself or the bike.
So if like me you are not skilled, a car is esiest (I take motorcycles when exploring the local area because I can't afford a car).

I didn't see any roads or tracks a car could not handle in south Lombok - but then I didn't venture into the far west around Desert Point which is supposed to have diabolical roads.

I'm not a lounge/bar person - I'm happy with a budget restaurant which sells a beer or five. Plenty of these around Kuta Lombok - plus a few dedicated bars.
Maybe you could go to LombokLovers forum and ask - Mimpi the convenor lives in Kuta.

tezza said...

OOPS! I accidently logged in with Lady Tezza's ID.
No worries - her message would be the same. Actually she is more cautious than me - decided to swan it by the hotel pool rather than go check Mawun with me.

Marco Feliciano said...

Thank You Tezza

Im not much a bar lounge person either. By lounge, i really meant "lounging" around. I live Jakarta actually, and the point of going to Lombok really is to get away from Bali party atmosphere. Looking for more of a low key experience, and some adventuring. You took a photo of a little warung type thing on a beach, which then you said sadly got pulled down. Those are the types of places we're really looking for quite, cold drink overlooking some scenery. As for your advice for getting around. Im more or less experienced with a motor. I drive to work everyday in Jakarta, and if you've been here- i think you'd understand that you have to be some what comfortable riding. I'm traveling with 4 friends of mine, and i think we've decided that depending on what is activity for that day, we will rent transportation accordingly. Thanks again for your help! big fan of your blog!

Warm Regards
Marco Feliciano

Marco Feliciano said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco Feliciano said...

On a side note. You said that most places can be reached by car. Besides the south west coast- Which im assuming you mean Tanjung Ringgit if im not mistaken. Thanks for the advice. Because these are one of the areas we do plan to try and see. So, thanks for the warning

Marco Feliciano

Kittyfan said...

Hi Tezza,
Love your blog very much. Always full of great info. It's been my island reference/guide for many years now. Thanks!
PLanning my trip this Jan 2012 and starting from Langkawi to Koh Lipe then thinking to go to Koh Muk or Koh Ngai. I'm a fan of the clear bluish/greenish water. May I ask which island is good for swimming? I mean for swimming /not soaking in the sea. I like clean, clam water and not too rocky when I stand in the water. And the place where I don't have to go very far from the beach in order to swim. Any recommendation or suggestion? On Koh Muk, thinking to stay at Sawadee or Natural beach Resort. Which beach is better for swimming?

tezza said...

I think the main beach on Ngai might be slightly better for your asks than Farang (Charlie) beach on Muk.
The latter has more resorts and more boat traffic which gives a higher potential for less clear water. Still a pretty nice beach and I wouldn't hesitate to swim laps there.

Ngai has more chance of the low tide blues but from memory it was not too bad - I swim for fitness.
Note my Ngai page (along with my Kut page) is the oldest non-updated on my site. I wanted to get back there next month but family stuff makes this impossible.

If Natural Beach Resort is the one I label Nature Resort over near the Sivalai - well I'm afraid the low tide blues is a major factor of this lovely spit. Farang Beach is much better for deep water close to shore at all tide.

Kittyfan said...

Thanks Tezza!
I'm thinking to try both of the Islands now. Koh Muk for 3N and Koh Ngai for 4N. Decided to stay at Natural Beach next to the expensive "S" resort. Really hope this is not a mistake chossing here looking for a right beach so that I can swim and enjoy the clear water. Do u remember around there which part of the beach is not rocky and ok for swimming?
As for Koh Ngai, staying at Coco Cottage. How's the beach there. Any comment? As U said in the last comment that Charlie beach maybe ok to swim most of the time- low/high tide. How long it takes to to walk from Coco Cottage to the other side of the beach -Charlie? Thank you again for answering my questions in advance!

tezza said...

I think your idea of spending time on both islands is excellent. That's what I personally would do.

No rocks off Nature Resort. It's a sand spit - so you just get sand. Why not wait 'til higher tide levels to swim? There are 2 high tides in most 24 hour periods - each one about 12.5 hours apart so that the daylight high tide comes roughly one hour later each day.

Charlie Beach would be roughly 20-25 minutes walk away. Many resorts on Muk have bicycles - a 10 minute ride and the hill between is not steep.

Coco Cottage is on the main eastern beach of Ngai with conditions as stated previous answer. Nice place.

Haz said...


I've been trying to plan a trip to Southern Thailand for months. First I thought i had it figured out, Koh Samui to Kao Tao and maybe Phangan. Then some colleagues warned me that around Xmas the diving wouldn't be so good and I should consider the Andaman islands like Phi Phi as their conditions will be better.

Well, Phi Phi is a nightmare trying to choose places during peak season and there are so many mixed reviews of accomo and conditions. Then I ran into some blogs talking about Ko Lipe and now yours.

Can you help me with making some choices so I can make some bookings and get back to dreaming about my time away?

My criteria is simply a clean accomodation, fan at least, separate bathroom, no more than 3 mins to the beach, easy access to nightlife and snorkeling/diving. Ideally, I could find a bungalow on the beach that if I walk 10 mins to my right or left I will either find a bar or a dive shop, or stay put and soak in the sun on a soft sandy beach or swim in blue waters.

I'm happy to pay around US$80 a night for something that checks all those boxes. Ko Lipe is really pulling at me, but I guess Phi Phi may have some hidden gems that won't cost an arm and a leg but still deliver.

Thoughts? And thanks in advance for all you do for us the uninformed!

CEEJ said...

Hi Tezza,

Firstly (and I mimic all of your other fans): THANK YOU so much for your generosity in sharing all of your amazing experiences.

I've been trying to follow you on your blog and on the thorn tree - trying to piece it all together can be a challenge, and now, I don't really have a concrete question, but I'm hoping for a quick consult.

Planning our honeymoon for April 2012. Three weeks. We're looking for a mix of adventure, culture, relaxation. We've done quite a bit of traveling, but this is the first time to Asia. First, I had decided on Indo. Our thoughts on an itinerary:

Yogya (to Borobudur, Prambanan)->Bromo->Ubud->Balangan->Nusa Lembongan->Gilli

But then, reading your blog, I've started wondering if we are missing out on serious beach opportunities with Thailand. Would we be insane to add Thailand? In three weeks: Bangkok, a Thai island (TBD -- Phi Phi or Samui?), then to Bali (eliminating Yogya, Bromo, Gilli). We DON'T want to compromise one country for another or squeeze too much in. 3 wks. Thoughts?

Much appreciated,

tezza said...

No more than 3 minutes from the beach - all places on Lipe.
- places in the higher areas of Ton Sai (Soi Viewpoint) on Lie may be up to 10 minutes from the beach.

Easy access to nightlife.
- Maybe not Sunset or Bila beaches or around Mountain Resort on Lipe.
- Nowhere on the east coast of Phi Phi.

Easy access to snorkelling/diving.
- Some places on the east coast of Phi Phi may take a bit of organising for diving.

Find a bungalow on the beach that if I walk 10 mins to my right or left I will either find a bar or a dive shop, or stay put and soak in the sun on a soft sandy beach or swim in blue waters
- any joint on Lipe's Pattaya, Sanom, Sunrise (including Mountain Resort),Viewpoint beaches.
- the standout on Phi Phi is Long Beach. Okay, it's a 10 minute longtail trip into town but there are bar/restaurants and a dive shop on Long Beach plus snorkelling 50m off the sand.

As for which accommodation, check the places I talk about on my pages. I reckon it may be a case of whatever you can get into.

tezza said...

CEEJ - your question has me perplexed.
Sure you can do both countries and the contrast could be fascinating.
Thai beaches are better than Bali/Gilis.
But you say culture is important. Certainly Bali can give you a decent serve - it's the most culturally intensive place I've been. I'm not into culture but I believe cutting Yogya (I've never been there personally) will reduce your exposure.
Maybe there's enough in Bangkok to substitute for Yogya - certainly the Thai beaches aint big on culture. But neither are the Gilis.
Sorry I can't help more.

Ditto on Phi Phi v Samui.
Both good islands. Samui bigger, has a much bigger range of accommodation and more diverse attractions. Easier to access - can fly right onto the island. Phi Phi more scenically gob-smacking (but Samui aint plain).

Kittyfan said...

Hi Tezza,
Thanks again for your previous answers on Koh Ngai and Koh Muk.
Now, my last doubt and planning:
I'm Flying from Penang to Langkawi on Jan 6 then boat to Koh Lipe then move on to Muk then last to Ngai. I'm not sure if Langkawi is worth spending a full day/Night there before I go to Koh Lipe for 2 days. I've been to Koh Lipe in 2008 but never been to Langkawi before. Since I arrive at LAngkawi at 10:45am and now I have to decide if I stay the day to explore this island or. IF not I will take a boat at 2:30pm to Koh LIpe and spend 3 nights there.
We like beaches (Swimming!), local lives/cultural thing, or walk around, rent a bike to drive around or to eat on the street and hang out at bar for some happy hrs. drinks. Not into crazy noisy water sports...etc. If you are me, what will you do? Worth staying or not? And where will you recommend me to stay? Is it safe to swim in those beaches?
Many thanks again for your comment and suggestions!

Eti l'Yeti said...

Hello Tezza.
My wife and wife and I are going to Phuket at the end of November. We are looking for a quiet place with snorkeling of the beach, what would you recommend please?

tezza said...

Phuket is not known for great snorkelling off the beach but from the number of people I've seen snorkelling there is enough there to keep less demanding snorkellers happy.

One place I've seen a fair few snorkellers seemingly engaged is the southern headland of Kata Noi. This beach is definitely the nicest and quietest of the big 3 and has some real sweet places to stay. You don't mention your budget but if it is not too small I reckon I'd go for the beachside wing of Katathani resort.

Another quiet area which I've seen snorkellers spending time is off the beach at Cape Panwa Resort. I had a quick look - it wasn't great. But it depends what you are used to.

Maybe you could check my PHUKET page about 40% down for the Tri Trang/Tri Tra/Paradise Beach peninsula just south of busy Patong. This is a very nice and very quiet area not too many people know of. I have heard Paradise Beach has okay snorkelling and if you look at the pic of Tri Trang where the very nice Merlin Resort is located you will see part of the bay - this seemed to have lots of rocks and coral patches and I remember thinking it would probably be a pretty interesting place to snorkel.

Now all the other beaches have headlands and my experience is that Thai headlands tend to have some fringing coral growing off the rocks and a few fish hanging around, which is what most snorkellers are looking for - so one of the other quieter beaches like Nai Thon or Kamala could do the job.
One I'd avoid - Mai Khao, the quietest of the lot, is so long you could end up many km from the nearest headland.

Mai Khao starts just north of the airport - just south is Nai Yang. You do have a headland here - plus off the beach is a coral reef which is supposed to be okay. But I understand it's a fair way out, may need a boat to access unless you are a very good swimmer.

Now Ko Raya/Racha is a Phuket island. The coral and fish off the main beach there was the best I've seen in the area. Maybe you could check my page.

Coral Island is similar but I thought the snorkelling far less interesting.

Finally, check the link for JAMIE'S PHUKET BLOG in the link list top right of page. Jamie is a Phuket local and probably has a section on snorkelling. He answers questions too.

Dganitbz said...

Hi Tezza
Need some help ....
We plan to arrive to Kho Lanta from Kho Phi Phi at the end of March,2012 and than continue to Kho Ngai and Kho Kradan
I would like to know if there is any regular cheap transportation between Kho Kradan and Trang Airport : How long does it take and what might be the price?
I would like to fly to Bangkok the same day-Should I book the evening flight or can it be earlier?
Is it easier to arrive to Trang's airport from Kho Ngai?In that case-Is there a regular transportation between Kho Ngai and Kho Kradan?
Thank u so much

Thank you so much

UmtGuez40! said...


Mate, firstly, awesome blog, and I hope that as I write this that you are off surfing and having a grand old time.... !

A quick question, where would you suggest to go for 5 days (Jan 20th - 25th 2012). There is so much information out there that its hard to narrow it down, (obviously in the future ill do a long trip to Thailand) but now, as a first trip away from work in Hong Kong, would appreciate some advice,

looking for: quite chilled out mostly, with 1 nite of drinking (near Phuket, as I can get flights there from HK)

thanks again for all the help and information !!



tezza said...

Bit hard not knowing your budget.
But good ol Phi Phi would do the trick - say 1 or 2 nights in Ton Sai for the heavy drinking, the rest on the laid back east coast.

Or you could stay at one of the quieter joints in the high valley behind Krabi's East Railay.

Ko Racha/Raya is another possibility.

If 5 days is too much for these maybe a night or two on a Phuket beach to start or finish with. Seaside Cottages on Mai Khao near the airport is about as laid back as you can get - or stay at in-between Kamala and hit the bars.

Or you could mix Railay with Ko Jum.
Hell, I hear there is a new high season Phi Phi to Jum ferry, so you could mix those.

Hey, getting overcomplicated!

tezza said...

DGANT - sorry for the delay, been away on family duty.

If you go to the READERS' TRIP REPORT section WONDERINGSTAR has done a great update which includes transport out of Kradan with prices. Now any transfer into Trang from the pier will drop you off at the airport (you may have to pay a bit more). I'd allow 2 hours from leaving the island, but of course ask there to be certain.

I reckon the evening flight will always be safer.

In that Ngai has more midrange places, transport to the airport is probably a bit better from there.

Last I heard there was no regular reliable transport between Kradan and Ngai - Tigerline sometimes bypasses Kradan and the daytrip boats out of Lanta usually run Ngai and then Kradan and at times will fit Muk between the two depending on the time of high tide for the Emerald Cave.
Plenty of charter longtails will do the relatively short trip but could be expensive for a traveller on a budget.
I reckon if you stay on Kradan go direct to the mainland, not via Ngai.

magdaicez said...

Hello Tezza. I believe you can help me to choose the right place to stay.( You already did before:). I will be coming from Bangkok on January. Wanted to spend some time on a very attractive beach but not crowded. Could be tiny and a bit isolated, yet still within reasonable distance to village and gym. My husband insists on thai boxing lessons so I am limited with number of places to stay:(. I was looking for a place like Jum or Lipe but don't know if they have Muay Thai lessons there.Couln't find it through google... We have been to Lanta, Khao Lak and Phangan already. We are rather bugdet travellers, so 1000THB per room is max. Can you recommend some place with very nice beach but also a bloody gym to be reached with bike/motorbike/foot?:) Thank you very much in advance . Magda

tezza said...

Magda, the Muay Thai thing has me beat. It's an area I'm not much interested in so I havent taken too much notice of Muay Thai gyms in my travels.

I'm thinking Krabi town may have it - but the best beaches in that area are crowded that time of year.

Big Ko Chang may - and the place most likely is White Sand Beach township. The enclave of cheapies beachside around RockSand towards the less visited north end of the beach would fit your beach/cheap accomm wants.

If you haven't already done so, maybe a question on Thorn Tree or travelfish will get a solution.
The guy who runs kojumonline usually answers emails and the iamkochang convenor is pretty helpful.

I wonder if any Ko Samet websites have info? You would think Google would find this.

Dganitbz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dganitbz said...

Thank U Tezza!
One more question though...
At first I was sure we R having this Itinerary:
Phi Phi -> Lanta -> Ngai -> Kradan -> Trang (Airport )
Now I am thinking of changing our itinerary to :
Phi Phi -> Jum -> Lanta -> Kradan -> Trang (skipping Ngai)
I just read a bit about Kho Jum and I liked the "atmosphere" there.
Moreover, I wasn’t so sure about Ngai anyway...(just a feeling that I have..)
The thing is,
we really love to swim and snorkel - just like KITTYFUN, We are also a fan of the clear bluish/greenish water.
KITTYFUN described it best as he wrote "I like clean, clam water and not too rocky when I stand in the water. And the place where I don't have to go very far from the beach in order to swim ……mean for swimming /not soaking in the sea"
Anyway-- I am not sure about the quality of the beaches and sea In Jum Isl.(especially at low tide)
What would you recommend?
Thanks again

Dganitbz said...

Hi Tezza!
After reading your reply again I need to make sure I completely understood-
Is it easier/cheaper to join a tour boat/any boat from Ngai to kradan than from Kradan to Ngai?
If our itinerary will include Ngai- I understand the cheapest and easiest way will be in this order:
Lanta(3-4 nights)-> Ngai (3 nights)-> Kradan(3 nights)->Trang
If the tour boats from Lanta always go to Ngai first and than to Kradan(+Muk in between)- I can catch it to go one way to Kradan---- How can I arrange it?
Is it the only way getting from Ngai to Kradan ?
Thanks again

Ashley said...

Hello Tezza! First of all, many thanks on this FABULOUS blog. Your information is so incredibly helpful and I have spent hours going over your blog. Partner and I are taking our first trip to Thailand over Christmas holiday. Flying into Phuket because it was cheapest and had originally planned to do Gulf beaches, specifically Koh Tao because I want to get certified to dive for cheap. Now after reading your blog and many others, it seems that December can be "iffy" for weather/diving conditions in the Gulf. I looked at Camille's blog for our holiday period for the past 4 years and every year but 2008 was decent, though I know that weather on Samui and Tao aren't always the same. Now thinking about diving Similans from Phuket or Khao Lak (more expensive to get certified but better conditions that time of year), then exploring Phi Phi and maybe heading down to Koh Lanta. We only have 2 weeks so don't want to cram too much stuff in. Looking for place to learn to dive, nice & relatively quiet beaches (realising it's peak season there, ha!), lots of hiking (maybe waterfalls even if they aren't spectacular), kayaking, places to bike, hoping to stay in fan bungalows for less than 2000bht/night but again know that prices are higher around Christmas. Also thought about heading to Koh Tao to learn (say 5 days), then head back West since we are flying out of Phuket at the end anyway. Really tempted to do that live-aboard snorkeling trip that you did from Khao Lak! Are we headed in the right direction(s) for what we want to do? I feel like the advantage of going to the Gulf is that it's cheaper, but I will be disappointed if we get lots of rain/wind (I did read somewhere that you hear the most complaints about weather from the Gulf side visitors!).

Many thanks!!

tezza said...

Sorry for the delay folks, been away from home and computers for some days.

- the Gulf tends to throw up a shocker sometime in Oct thru Dec about one in five years but not necessarily on a regular basis.
Who knows what this year will bring? People who want to play it safe will not take the risk.
Certainly it is much easier to access Ko Lak or Phi Phi, both known for their dive schools and sites, from Phuket. Getting to Tao will blow a full day. And Phuket itself has a big dive industry and dives sites both close and further away.

If you can still find a vacancy I reckon Poseidon Bungalows just out of Lak would fit your other asks. But I reckon their liveaboard snorkelling trips around the Similans would already be booked out - they are pretty popular.
Relax Resort on the laid back east coast of Phi Phi is another possibility (no waterfalls on PP though) but you would need to check if they have an affiliated dive school. Phi Phi Hill above Long Beach is another or Viking/Maphrao just to the east. A couple of dive schools on Long Beach.

- Ngai definitely has nicer beaches, water and snorkelling than Jum. Jum is not a snorkelling island. Some parts of Ngai's main eastern beach do get the low tide blues but not as markedly as most of Jum's beaches.
Jum has the better budget traveller atmosphere.

Every time I've caught the Trang Islands daytour boat down from Lanta it has called in at Ngai first. But next stop between Muk and Kradan depends on what time is full tide in the Emerald Cave at Muk - it's hard to get into the cave on some spring (king) high tides.

If the trip goes to Muk before Kradan, simply stay on and go thru the cave, a fabulous experience.
Or you could always charter a longtail between Ngai and Muk although that would not be cheap.

BTW I'm not sure about Tigerline's order of island hopping in this area except Wally told me they sometimes miss Kradan altogether. Maybe I mentioned this above - I've answered lotsa questions on island hopping in this area on several forums recently.

melissa said...

Indonesia or Malaysia???

We are very last-minute planning a trip for two weeks over the Xmas break.

We are interested in deserted beaches, nature, small villages, some culture of course and hiking. My husband would be interested in some climbing, too.

This is a tricky question, but perhaps you can share your insight: would you go to Malaysia or Indonesia with two weeks to spare.

We have been to Thailand several years ago...


Dganitbz said...

Thank you so much for your replies
Your blog is really informative and you sharing your experience and knowledge with us (readers) is awesome

Julie said...

MELISSA - my problem is I have little experience of Indo in that time of year.
I know much of the country is in wet season, but like in Thailand, that is no real barrier to a good holiday. You will get "deserted beaches, nature, small villages, some culture of course and hiking" in the Kuta Lombok area. And East Bali with daytrips to Sideman,maybe Amed and other nearby locations would do it.

The east coast of peninsula Malaysia can satisfy your needs but unfortunately it too is in wet season and apparently that can be full on.

The west coast is in dry season but the holiday islands aren't big on deserted beaches - although they certainly are available on the north coast of Langkawi (where the accommodation tends to be expensive), which come to mention it, has most of your other wants. Maybe even some climbing.
Penang doesn't have the deserted beaches or even particularly nice beaches but does have nature, small villages, some culture and hiking.
I think the other holiday island there is Pangkor - I haven't visited it yet.

tezza said...

OOPS! Signed in with Lady Tezza's ID again.

DGAN, thanks for the thanks.

Ashley said...

Thanks SO much, Tezza! To be honest I don't know how I'd be able to plan our trip without your blog and information.

You were correct about Poseidon Bungalows already being booked. We will skip the Similans this time and now are thinking Khao Sok NP for a night or two.

Will ask this on LP forums as well, but wanted to know who you did your Khao Sok tour with in March? Seems like the type of tour we'd like to do. Do you reckon we need to book in advance if we are there around Dec 20th? I've contacted the popular Limestone Lake Tours, but they are a bit pricey and I get the impression that their guided hike is more of a guided walk - don't think they go up to the viewpoint.

tezza said...

Ashley got a fair bit of good info on Thorn Tree from various posters - other people who are interested in Sok can see the thread here -

Ashley said...

Thanks for following up here, Tezza. Super helpful information! Cheers! :)

Malc said...

Hi Tezza, I'm thinking of visiting an island in Malaysia or Thailand (or both) in July. What's best at that time of year (I like remote lagoons). Thanks, Malcolm

tezza said...

In July all the Thai islands are in wet season except those in the southern Gulf - Samui, Phangan and Tao.

Fortunately the east coast of Malaysia south of the above is also in dry season. We have some very nice islands here - Perhentians, Redang, Kapas, Tioman, Sibu are those I have pages on.

You mention remote lagoons. If you mean a tropical atoll type place with a reef creating a lagoon between the ocean and beach, none of these islands make it. The closest I can think is Hat Salad on Phangan, but that place is kinda popular, not remote.
The channel between the two Perhentians is sheltered and kinda lagoon like.
Plenty of beaches have fringing reefs but these are never exposed as the tide drops, so no real lagoon forms.

magdaicez said...

Hello Tezza,

I was wondering how is big Chang's Little Eden vs Paradise Cottage? Both Lonely Beach and none of them with an direct access to the beach ? You happen to see these places? How far is it to White Sand Beach? I don't mind biking or taxi. thanks Magda

tezza said...

Don't know those places Magda - lots of Lonely Beach joints are up or down lanes off the main road - have the advantage of being closer to the restaurants etc of the "main street."

It's a fair distance to White Sand Beach - I'd say 15-20 minutes on a motorcyle. Road is twisty and steep in parts, fairly busy.

tezza said...

Oh yeah, forgot to add - fairly frequent public songthaews go past for tips to White Sand - say 30 minutes or so for the trip.

Ragga Muffin said...

Hi Tezza.

I really like you blog. You give great insigth into traveling!

So my question to you is sevral. Im going to Bali in mid February. From the 10th ish. Have you been there around the same time? Is it alot of rain, will i have some good days on the beach?

And second: Im traveling solo, and is after a mix between party and relaxation. I whant to meet backpackers but also se the true Bali.. So where should i go? Im thinking of starting in Kuta and expand from there. Im interested in surfing and snorkling to, do you have any suggestions on what I sould check out?

Greeting from Norway
- Ingrid

tezza said...

Ingrid - I have not visited during February, but have in similar wet season January. Got plenty of sun along with some rain.

For party and meeting backpackers Kuta is the go.

For surfing and hanging with surfers see my page on the Bukit peninsula. Nusa Lembongan is another possibility but maybe you could ask a question on the travel forums about how rough the sea can get on the trip out there. Theory suggests that stretch of water is in the lee of mainland Bali for prevailing winds in February, but you never know.

The real Bali is traditional rice-fields plus cultural/artistic stuff - and in low season Ubud will do this well (high season Ubud is getting too crowded to appreciate the full attractions). This is also a good area to meet people, even in low season it won't be dead.

Best snorkelling is supposed to be up in the north-west corner, but this is so far I haven't made it in maybe 20 trips. Best I've seen is on the snorkelling trips out of Nusa Lembongan to the small bays of western Nusa Penida. Best off the beach I've seen is at Padang Bai's Blue Lagoon.
Padangbai is a pretty nice backpackers' destination - like Ubud you can meet people but it is also a nice place to relax.

Tony said...

Hi Tezza,
I have a variation on the best beach questions - we particularly like small bays and coves. We'll be back two weeks on Phangan (Had Yao) and Tao (Cholak Ban) but after that we have three week of footloose and are looking for a few spots with some great coves. We'll definitely head to the Andaman, and possibly Ko Chang. Any suggestions on this vague query?

tezza said...

TONY - I prefer bays and coves to long open featureless beaches too.
Don't have to look far from Chalok and Had Yao.

On Tao, check out, maybe spend a night or two at Mango Bay, Hing Wong Bay, Laem Ting, Lang Kai or the tiny bays in the se of the island.

On Phangan check Had Kruad, Had Tien (west coast one although the east coast Had Tien/Thain is more a smallish bay than a substantial beach) plus Had Thong Reng and Had Wai Nam on the east coast.

The Andaman has many. Some are Ao Siad 2 on little Chang, Aos Poo/Toh Koh/Rantee/Relax Bay and the beach at Viking on Phi Phi, Ting Ray on Jum, Relax Bay on Lanta, the bays at Viewpoint/Sanom and Bila on Lipe.

On big Chang the area around Bai Lan and Cliff Cottages near Bang Bao.

On Ko Samet which is a bit closer to Bangkok, check Ao Nuan.

Now a few of these have no sand, most a beach. But all are fairly small bays/coves. Accommodation ranges from budget to midrange, but some places only have one standard.

Got pix of all these places on the respective pages.

Hooch said...

Pha Ngan - going there in May with the GLW. We're getting on a bit so all night full moon parties and thumpa thumpa are not really our scene but we like a fair variety of restaurants & bars to while away the evenings.

Can you recommend a place on Pha Ngan with access to some cheapie Thai restaurants as well as the odd western place and a few bars - with a reasonable amount of "mid - flashpacker" accom and OK beach?

tezza said...

I think Thong Nai Pan, Hat Salad, Hat Yao (west coast) may tick most of those boxes.

stpfwd said...

Tezza, your a superhero! This blog beats any guidebook hands down! Anyway, going to the Andaman coast in Thailand in Feb for three Weeks.there's about 10 to 12 of us going. after reading your amazing blog the route I thought would b nice is khao sok/ similan/ railay/ phi Phi/ Lanta/ kraden. We are looking for beautiful beaches, good snorkelling and a laid back vibe away from crowds of people. Do you think this is too much to cram in in the Weeks? Also is there any really nice budget places you would recommend on islands mentioned? you're response would be gratefully received and perhaps we can supply you with a trip report when we return! Thanks again, Chris.

Micke1980 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Micke1980 said...

Thanks Tezza for all the wonderful work you have put into this site!! Still, if you have never been to Thailand before in your life it's a lot to try to take in: on tripadvisor, your site and all your wonderful links. I hope it is alright to ask you for advice. Here we go.

We are going on our honeymoon in June and have decided to go to Thailand for the first time. We're planning to stay a few days in Bangkok and maybe do a couple of days in Ankor or Kanchanaburi. Then we're heading down to one of the beaches.

Since it's our honeymoon we're looking for something romantic, rather quiet, powdery white beach, bungalow (or similar) direct on beach, but also clean, whole, comfy and good service which means an upmarket hotel and beach (not luxury). Does anything come to mind?

After some extensive, albeit a bit cursory, reading, I am thinking about the western gulf (less risk of prolonged rain?), and, more specifically, Koh Pha Ngan. The nicest parts do seem a little bit too remote though since we want to get there comfortably. Also, do I need to even think about the low tide/June/east-west coast problem when looking for a hotel?

As you can hear we're not really doing a backpacker's trip so are there perhaps better places for a bit of paradise in June?

Mark Nemeth said...

Tezz you rockstar. I hope someday I can buy you a lot of beers for all your work. I've read it almost in its entirety. You are my favorite island resource.

We are spending 7 nights / 8 days end of February and I'm down to debating this:

Tarutao (2) Adang (1) Bulon (4)


Tarutao (2) Adang (1) Ngai (4)

I was going to try to get Jum/Phang Nga in there but that's just too much transport; I have work in BKK and probably can do that on a different trip. This might be only family trip though.

My wife is attracted to Ngai cause she likes upmarket. I like idea of Bulon because its closer and maybe less dead coral -- forgetting the money, there's something that bugs me about how enclosed a place like CoCo Resort looks....though I know the comfort will make the wife happy. But the winning island is the one with that's most beautiful and has the best beach for our 3 year old to play on and in....and maybe the best food.

Finally, any preference over doing it north to south vs south to north?


tezza said...

This is difficult for me because Ngai is my oldest non-updated page and things could have changed since I visited (I booked a flight Oz into Phuket for April - aim to get back to Ngai then).

Both Ngai and Bulon are nice islands but for your requitements I'd favour Ngai slightly because the beach is nicer, the coral hopefully a bit better (wonderingstar who did me a trip report on Ko Kradan said Bulon is quite disappointing recently whereas Kradan and [hopefully nearby Ngai] didn't seem to have been affected by bleaching etc), there are much better daytrips (can do Kradan and the wonderful Emerald Cave at Ko Muk) and there are some nice midrangers. I personally though Co Co looked sweet.
But look, I don't think it matters which way you go - either place is nice.
Not sure about food but a bigger range of places to eat on Ngai.

I can't think of any advantage of coming or going from north or south.

Dan Nicholson said...

Hi Tezza,

Thanks for the time you've spent putting together this blog, definitely the best I've come across!

We have 5 nights in Tioman in June 2012, and I think we have settled for the Panuba Inn Resort as a good compromise in terms of comfort, good beach, etc. Whilst we're looking for somewhere nice and quiet in the day time, with an almost exclusive beach, we would like to have a bit more choice in the evenings in terms of places to eat and drink.

Which leads me to my point, you mention that you can walk from ABC to Panuba in approx 10 minutes. However, do you think that this walk is possible at night time, for example walking back to Panuba having had dinner and a couple of drinks in ABC? I also believe that ABC will be a good place to head to during the daytime if we're after a better choice of tours/excursions.

Many thanks in advance for any help you can provide.


tezza said...

Dan, I wouldn't hesitate to walk ABC Panuba at night, but I do a lot of bush-walking.
Main problem I see is the STEEPNESS of the climb out of ABC. However it aint a long climb.
But there is a definite need for a good torch.
Daytime is a diddle, apart from the steep pinch.

If you still have doubts - well I personally would not hesitate to stay at ABC Bungalows or Bamboo Hill.

Mark Nemeth said...

Thanks for that Tezza! Great advice.! I'll send in a trip report when I'm back. Cheers.

Dan Nicholson said...

Hi Tezza,

Many thanks for that, we'll have torches because we're climbing Mount Kinabalu the week before.

However, it looks like we may have a problem (and you may wish to put a note on your Tioman page), a recent review on Trip Advisor suggests that half of Panuba Inn including the dive centre has burnt down in quite a bad fire (photos on tripadvisor to back up the review - it looks pretty bad).

I wonder if you could perhaps help suggest another place for us? I've been to all of the 'main' resorts in places such as Phuket, Samui and Phi Phi and have always been disappointed by the ugly buildings, dirty beaches and not-so-clear water (I'm assuming due to sewage, because as soon as you go offshore the water is much clearer). I've chosen Tioman because it is much more out of the way and presumably has much fewer tourists to come and wreck the place. I'm assuming that even the main resorts on Tioman such as ABC are still much more idyllic than those on Koh Samui etc? The thing is we're really having to go out of our way to get to Tioman, and so wherever we end up has to be particularly special as far as I'm concerned to make it worth our while.

My ideal crtieria are: Double room less than 150RM per night, preferably with sea views or a beach front bungalow/chalet. Better-than-average beach at all tides, decent snorkelling oppurtunities, and 1 or 2 different bars/restuarants nearby so that we're not always restricted to the hotel. I thought Panuba fitted this pretty well because we could have trekked over to ABC for eating etc....can you think of anywhere similar that fits those criteria? I also liked the idea of being within walking distance of one of the busier resorts so that we can get access to round island tours and that kind of thing. Juara looks quite idyllic, but I'm slightly apprehensive that we'd be 'stuck' in one place for the whole time. Maybe I'm wrong though!

Apologies if I sound like a spoilt child, just trying to make sure we get this part of the trip 'perfect' as best as possible, and you seem like the person who knows best!

Many thanks again.


tezza said...

Thanks for the update on the fire Dan. I looked at the pix, not good. I notice that the block near the restaurant I stayed in seems still intact. I'll put a note on my Tioman page about the fire.

I've always liked the looks of the better bungalows at ABC Resort and those at adjacent Bamboo Hill. The water there can get a bit shallow at low tide, but you can scramble over the hill for a snorkel in Panuba's bay.
These places are right at the north end of ABC beach so you have easy access to a dozen or so restaurants and a few bars - Nazri's 2 is very close and was good when I stayed there for food. All Bamboo's bungalows are sea view.

You might also check my shots on Melina. From memory it is about 25 minutes walk into Paya or Genting - but the track to Genting is pretty flat. Paya has nice snorkelling off the beach.

clummzie said...

Hi Tezza,

Very informative blog and am starting to base our July-Aug 2012 family holiday (no pressure !!) around some of your findings!

Spending just over 2 weeks in Malaysia of which we're spending the last week in Perhentian Basar.

I'd be interested to hear what you'd recommend for the other (first) week - I was looking at Tioman, Kelek beach but from your comments it (the beach) doesn't sound so great.

Also, the travel from location in week 1 to Perhentian is a consideration. Tioman to Perhentian looks like an internal flight back to KL then onto Khota Bharu as I don't really want to put my 5 year old through a long bus journey when Air Asia flighs are so cheap.

Looking for family friendly, interesting snorkelling off the beach and no party crowd.

Any comments gratefully received.

clummzie said...

Sorry, forgot to say we would consider other islands not just looking at Tioman.

Looking to avoid low tide blues if possible and we're low-mid range accommodation folks.

tezza said...

Yeah, Teket beach is pretty ordinary in most parts.

I agree with hassle of transfer Tioman to Perhentian.

I'd get a return ticket to Kuala Terengganu, go to nearby Pulau Kapas which has all your asks and is the nicest island I've been on in past years and then taxi it up to Kuala Besut for the Perhentians.

Pulau Redang is a bit closer to Perhentians and a bit further from KT (but you can fly onto it with Berjaya Air) - the southern twin beaches on the east coast are chill - as is Berjaya Resort's beach if your budget is pretty good.
Note Khota Bahru is closer to Perhentians so you could fly in to one airport and fly out of the other to minimise backtracking.

On Kapas Qimis where I stayed would do the job - as would just about all the places. Very compact island, easy to walk to good snorkelling.

On Besar the best snorkelling in front of the resorts is around Abdul's. Bubbles is pretty good too.

I mention the 2 resorts in the south-east of Redang on that page - I can't remember the names. Not sure how good snorkellling is off the beach there but the National Park HQ area is a short boat ride away.

clummzie said...

Kapas looks like the best solution for us and fits in perfectly with the logistics of getting to Perhentian later on.

You're a star and thanks very much for your blog and reply as it has genuinely shaped our holiday.

Only 6 months to wait!!

clummzie said...

Kapas looks like the best solution for us and fits in perfectly with the logistics of getting to Perhentian later on.

You're a star and thanks very much for your blog and reply as it has genuinely shaped our holiday.

Only 6 months to wait!!

clummzie said...

Kapas looks like the best solution for us and fits in perfectly with the logistics of getting to Perhentian later on.

You're a star and thanks very much for your blog and reply as it has genuinely shaped our holiday.

Only 6 months to wait!!

Unknown said...

Hey Tezza

First off, brilliant site , I have spent the day browsing through the various pages picked up some great tips.

I guess my main problem is what to do in such a short space of time.

We are going to Bali for about 20 days the last few weeks of March.

Flying over from Dublin (Ireland).

Could you suggest a good place to start the trip. we don't mind going a bit upmarket as it'll probably be the only time we visit Bali. Also if you have a few suggestions of the must see or do spots as we don't mind traveling around a bit.

Also are the Gili's & lombok worth visiting.

I think we are there in the middle of Nyepi this might be a good time to get out to the islands as i heard they don't quiet adhere to the day of silence.

thanks in advance



Julie said...

I reckon a good place to start the trip is Sanur - nice enough beach, a host of places to stay in all price ranges, plenty of shops, restaurants, bars, not too far from the airport and quieter, cleaner than the Kuta strip.

I'd try to stay at one or two other places in Bali over that time frame (which is typical of my length of stay) - Ubud is always good value for artistic stuff, scenery and somewhere in the rice terraces like Sideman is nice (you can get accommodation in the rice fields just outside of Ubud which combines both).

A volcano trip to view (or climb if you are into that) and one of the cultural daytrips like the Monkey Dance are on a lot of people's must sees. Lotsa commercial trips from hotel booking desks combine things - eg Ubud artistic stuff with a volcano trip. Monkey dance and a temple visit.

The Gilis and Lombok are well worth doing if you have the time. Closer Nusa Lembongan is a good Gilis subustitute. If pushed for time you can do Lembongan on commercial daytrips.

Never been in Bali during Nyepi. Nyepi is a Hindu thing - a majority of locals on the Gilis are Muslim so activities should be less interrupted there.

Julie said...

OOPS! tezza here, signed in undet THE BRIDE'S handle. Sorry about that.

Patrick Lacasse said...

Hi Tezza!

Thank you for your awesome blog - It is helping us a lot planning our first trip to Thailand next december. I had a silly question for you. What do people usually use or do to carry their camera when they go to places like Emerald Cave at Muk? Since you have to swim to get to the lagoon, any tips on how to carry a camera? We really want to be able to bring our camera everywhere with us on our 3 week trip to Thailand. Thank you again for your great blog !

dorodancegypsy said...

Hi Tezza,
After reading just about everything else that's available on Koh Lipe and Adang I've come to the conclusion I'll head straight for your blog in the future and not waste my time with other stuff: yours is simply the best! I was highly pleased with Koh Kradan in 2009 (picked it with the help of your blog) - now I'm on my way to Lipe/Adang, and I'm sure I'll love it.
Thanks for all the useful details!!

tezza said...

PATRICK - I've never taken a camera into the cave - but giving it a thought I reckon seal it in a plastic bag, put it on top of my head and slip on one of those elcheapo tight waterproof swim caps the racers and women with great hair wear. Would't work with one of those great big SLRs though.

DOROD - enjoy Lipe. Did you see WONDERINGSTAR'S great update in the TRIP REPORT section?

tezza said...

Oh yeah PATRICK, to explain further, people don't freestyle into the cave. They keep their head out of the water to follow the guide's torch (sure gets dark in there) and mix breast-stroke with tread-water.

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