Thailand has a lot to offer to all the nature, booze, glamour, adventure, etc lovers. Basically, Every tourist and traveler can find something or other that might interest him or her. It’s normal if you are confused between where to go in Thailand, to make most out of your trip, to see something different, beautiful. But one must research carefully to reach places which really might interest him or her. For eg: For some, an overcrowded beach is happening, for some a serene beach with not so many tourists, for some, a place with a party vibe, for some adrenaline/water sports is the main factor, for some a place with exquisite seafood delicacies, for some a place with peace and spectacular sunset views with a beer in hand. I cant cater all these above types of people in just a single blog. But I will try to help some of them with sharing tips and tricks of where to go in Thailand for what, how to go, why to go there.
Let’s talk a little about Thailand and islands in this blog. No one could deny the fact that Thailand every year have a great footfall of travelers from all walks of life. Be it families, couples, solo travelers, friends, etc. Though Thailand has a lot to offer, what most of the people think is Thailand is all about Bangkok, Phuket, Phi Phi, Krabi, and how can we forget PATTAYA, Lol. Check out a little more about these places in next section.
Let me brief you a little about the places above
- Bangkok: A city full of technology, pagoda, massage parlors, famous fashion labels, tuk-tuks, malls, etc. Basically more of a metro city which has very less to offer to nature lovers.
- Phuket: We know Phuket for beaches, tiger kingdom, several museums, etc. Of course, how can we forget Bangla street? A one of its kind place which comes to life when the sun sets. I must say, folks who are reading this and know Phuket, this place doesn’t need any introduction. For those who don’t know, they can surely visit this place if buzz words like go-go bars, discos, nightclubs, pole dance excite you. Also, have destinations for a family like a tiger kingdom
Been there, did that 🙂
- Krabi and Phi-Phi: I must say they are very beautiful islands. BUT we people have over-crowded them. I will say if someone is looking for lone time and silence. Believe me, it’s hard to find(Maybe it’s a personal opinion). No doubt that beauty here everywhere in Thailand is in abundance. But I compare places in terms of cleanliness, managed tourism, not so crowded. That’s mostly in the hands of fellow travelers going there to keep it clean and preserve the beauty.
Been there as well, but if I compare it with the other two gems(Koh Tao, Koh Phangan) they still has less footfall and hence in better shape than them.
- Pattaya: Do I really need to mention it? 🙂 Anyways every place in this world has something or other to offer. So be Pattaya. Haven’t been there, so you can google some more about Pattaya.
But when I started researching about places in Thailand where to go, I have always wanted to arrive at places less crowded or offering something different than rest. So, you can’t always adhere to the fact about less crowded places as most of the good places are decently crowded due to this exponentially growing population. But we can always look for a place which allows you to move and breath easily.
So, I landed up a blog explaining a couple of unheard(for me at least) Koh’s (Island in Thai) while doing my research. Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao. Though Koh Samui is biggest of all, then Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are the smallest.
I will share a bit about which all islands we have chosen and why first, then later in this post will also share tips and tricks to travel well and save money while you are in Thailand
We started our Thai excursion trip right from Koh Tao. You can do this in the last even, totally up to you. BUT we wanted to do Scuba in the very beginning of our trip.
Koh Tao is the place to be if you want to do Scuba in Thailand. This island is particularly a very small island of all (Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Phi Phi). But people do arrive in this heavenly island for doing various kinds of Scuba courses from fun dives, open water, free diving, etc. So, we also added this to our itinerary just for witnessing the underwater beauty of this island. Also, we have chosen Big Blue Diving school for doing our try or fun dives whatsoever you may call them. But more important than that is how good your Scuba mentor is, how comfortable can he make nonswimmers at the very first scuba experience. This guy Tom (https://www.facebook.com/tom.schluessler) is a real gem of a person, tried his level best making it a cakewalk for us. Also, he recommended us to visit a super cool ladyboy cabaret show nearby, which sound skeptical for a moment if we start judging it by name. BUT just give it a visit, I am sure you gonna love that. Super entertaining it is. Below is a glimpse of the same show. Queen’s Cabaret is the place.
What not to miss in Koh Tao:
Where to stay
In Koh Tao, if you do scuba from a big and reputed diving school they will offer you free stay on the days of dives. Otherwise, also you can look for some nice and affordable stay on Airbnb.
Where to eat
Su Chilli, is a great option for Thai, Asian, vegan food. We stopped there more than a couple of times. During prime hours of the day, you might have to wait for quite some time. But I must say it is definitely worth it in terms of food as well as service. We tried Pad thai noodles, mango sticky rice, and some local beer.
Koh Phangan: Not that famous like Bangkok or Phuket. But some of you who have already researched a bit about Thailand have read about this party island. They have a party in some or other part of the island every day. Some of the famous ones are Full moon party, Half moon party, Jungle experience party and so on. We went there for full moon party and surely I won’t hesitate a bit in making a statement like it is overrated. BUT the island is definitely beautiful, you can judge it yourself, have a look at the pictures below and for seeing full moon pictures you can just google it, you will find millions. It’s just we don’t prefer carrying a phone to that place so we don’t have any pictures.
What not to miss in Koh Phangan
Well if you don’t go with much of expectations, Full moon and Jungle experience parties are definitely worth a visit. Apart from that don’t forget to rent a bike and get lost in streets of Koh Phangan, Spend an evening at Amsterdam bar, Enjoy the sunset. Last but not the least there are millions of massage parlors around the country BUT, most of them are targetting a different kind of crowds. If you want to visit a REAL, AUTHENTIC Thai massage Pure Relax is the place to go.
Where to stay
Now if you come to booking a stay in Koh Phangan during the full moon season. There will be a couple of things you will notice :
- You have to book for a minimum of 3-4 days. Be it hostel or hotel or Airbnb
- Rooms price skyrocket during the season, I would prefer to book months in advance. As if you will try on the day of the party you will end up paying somewhere around 1000-1500 baht for a 200-300 Baht worth property.
- Also, Initially we thought it’s better to take a room around the beach where the party happens(Had Rin Beach), but a lot of burglaries happen during that night is what we read on some blogs. So we went for little farther. But what we noticed is, you will get a per person cab running from every corner of the island to beach for almost the same amount. So, what I would prefer is go for an affordable, reasonable and livable accommodation anywhere on the island. As the stay we went for is not even worth the half of what we paid.
Important Tip for enjoying full moon party
So, a lot of people gather on this beach on every full moon right from the afternoon. So, what options in drinks we have over there are several kinds of buckets. Red bull with whiskey or vodka, etc !! I will say have those buckets if you want to, but firstly read lines below. Maybe some of you know that Red Bull is a Thai product, the red bull has some substances which are banned in other countries but are allowed in Thailand. That is what Thai red bull tastes bit different and most importantly works but differently. It contains Ephedra, so what it does when you have a cocktail with red bull and whiskey/vodka/rum is that you will not realize that how much alcohol you are pouring inside until you pass out. So what it does it, it suppresses all those factors or indicators which can tell you to stop or lower your speed of consuming alcohol. So, when around 9-10 party is about to get hot and happening you will lie on one those stinky mattresses or with mouth open on the beach sand. So, drink your way. Be it beer, whiskey, rum or whatever it is.
What to eat
KhunPen is a restaurant where you should definitely go if you want to have authentic food with apt spices. I visited this place for most of my meals during my stay on this island, We so loved the food as well as hospitality. During prime hours of the day, you might have to wait for quite some time. But I must say it is definitely worth it in terms of food as well as service.
Points to remember while you are planning your travel in Koh Tao and Koh Phangan
- Always choose the busiest airports in the country if you want a really cheap ticket. So Bangkok is the busiest in Thailand. Flying in and out of Bangkok can save you a lot if compared to landing directly in Phuket, Surat Thani, Koh Samui. So, remember it’s the golden rule to fly in and out from busiest airports to save money. This way you could travel big cities as well, though big cities don’t excite me much, they are definitely worth a visit or maybe half a day. In fact this is what we did.
- Reached Bangkok early in the morning.
- Kept our bags and freshened up at a cheap room we booked near Railway station.
- Left room for breakfast and city tour.
- Came back to the room to take little rest and get ready for the train in the evening from Hua Lamphong railways station right there in front of our hotel.
- If you are flying it from Bangkok, you will definitely gonna book your travel from Bangkok to reach one of those islands. So whatever you choose, try to make a combination of train and ferry. Try to book them separately.
- Firstly trains in Thailand are pretty good, in fact, better infrastructure than Indian long route trains, you must give them a try. But the fact arises how to book them. So, for checking out the schedules and timetables a must visit site ishttps://12go.asia/enBUT DON’T BOOK IT FROM HERE. Because they charge huge commissions on tickets, almost equivalent to the ticket price. Now govt have a rule in Thailand that they don’t allow booking your train journeys more than 60 days in advance and their govt railway site is not that user-friendly. So whathttps://12go.asia/en will do is, take your money and take your request any number of days in advance making you believe that you will be able to book them more than 60 days in advance here BUT no. They will collect details and money and apply for a ticket on your behalf once they window is open and you have to collect it from their office once you are in Thailand. Instead, buy from govt site. Also, there is some policy like you can buy 60 days in advance for a long journey and 30 days in advance for shorter journeys. In that case instead of waiting for last 30 days of your travel. Book for some stops ahead of your actual destination, cost different will be very less. But you can get an assured confirmed ticket this way. For reaching Koh Tao, we boarded a train from Bangkok to Chumphon (booked till Lang Suan for booking it 60 days in advance) and then a Lomprayah ferry.This train is equivalent to 2AC OR above class in Indian railways, but much cleaner and bigger seats costing somewhere about 20-22$ for 10-13 hours journey.
- Choosing ferry is difficult in Thailand when you have a lot of options. But always choose them carefully as they are not like busses that you can manage in anything like seasickness can be a problem for most of the people when a journey is 4-5 hours or more. Choose the cleanest and most comfortable ones, there are high chances that you won’t get a seat if you board it in the last place and thus have to stand. So, in that case, it matters. Lomprayah is our choice and we are lucky we made this choice. We tried a couple of other cheap ones as well. But they aren’t actually worth it at all. The price difference isn’t huge though.