Once upon a time it was a magical dream land…
After visiting Bangkok, the shore of the sea was a real blessing. Paradise, in its mellow shape with palm trees, fine sand, crystal water and multicolored fish, is here to the smallest….
Thailand consists of large or small islands, some with lots of tourists or some less popular. The most famous area is in the Phuket region. There are also wonderful places, but we stayed out of the crowd and I did well when I chose the Gulf of Thailand.
As a local tradition, full moon parties are held to mark the event. Unfortunately, we did not succeed in this trip, but I recommend you come when the astronomical full moon phenomenon happens, as the parties spice up.
A particularity of the tropical islands is the permanent presence of Gekko lizards which enter even in the hotel rooms. It is quite difficult to catch them, they are very fast, so it is advisable to keep the door room always closed because the noise made at night by these lizards can be really unpleasant if it has chosen you as a sleeping partner.
The Islands can be visited either individually by renting a car or scooter, or organized – on day trips. If you are comfortable, you can choose a taxi at any time, but always ask how much it costs to where you want and negotiate with them. Eventually, you can ask at the hotel’s reception about how much the road costs up to the place you want to visit. In any case, do not give the amount they ask for, but deduct from it at least 30%. Taxis can be easily recognized because they are designed to take around 5-6 people.
Let’s not forget, in Thailand, driving is on the other side than Europe, so it’s on the left side of the road. Scooters can be rented out in many places, the price seems universal (250 Baht per day / scooter) and I recommend you have a copy of your passport with you for renting as not to leave your passport in unknown hands. Take a picture of the moped when it’s received because it is also practiced in this corner of the world that the tourist is tricked. It is also very important to check that you have insurance on the scooter, that raises the price a bit, but it is very useful.
Day trips, guided tours and boat tours can be negotiated, as is the case in this country, especially if there are at least two people. Prices range from 1500-1800 Baht. Almost in all trips of this type there were people who were injured in corals, in water, and the guides had a first aid kit on the boat and treated the wounds with the utmost attention. I recommend water shoes to prevent injuries.
1. Koh Phangan
The trip from Bangkok had the following itinerary with AirAsia at a price of EUR 100 / person:
- Don Mueang Airport (from the hotel to the airport we reached with Uber);
- flight for about an hour;
- minibus transfer for almost 2 hours;
- ferryboat one hour to Thongsala, the capital of the island.
From the quay where the ferryboat leaves you, a taxi is required to go to the accommodation. Some resorts offer a free transfer from the ferry or airport to the accommodation.
Do not be afraid of this travelling, there is also a more expensive version (about 200 EUR / person)- a direct Bangkok-Ko Samui flight that saves the minibus, ferry and its hours.
After the frentic Bangkok, from the moment I set foot on this island, nature did not stop to amazed. A small paradise with tropical vegetation, with zen people and clear water.
The coolest accommodation can only be at the bungalow on the beach. I stayed at Sea Flower resort. It was one of tens, maybe hundreds of options on booking. I had an absolutely splendid tropical garden, the sunsets comforted me daily. To get to the beach you walked 20 meters from the bed to the sand, the staff was welcoming. Disadvantages have been that the hotel was not located in an urban area, but that meant quietness; we had to take a taxi to the nearby towns, and the food at the resort was not great.
The western part of the island is the most beautiful, you can admire spectacular sunsets and the sand is fine.
The scenic beaches are in the west and north, northeast: Haad Salad, Haad Son, Haad Thong Lang, Bottle Beach or Haad Khuat, Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi. In the south of the island, it is worth visiting Haad Rin Nai and Haad Rin Nok.
You can also visit the waterfalls in the center of the island, the temples in the west, Thongsala.
2. Koh Tao
From Koh Phangan I visited via speedboat (day trip) Koh Tao, which is a jewel. Snorkeling can be done in the most spectacular areas, locals know where to take you. For those who want to rest, marine life can be admired even in the womb of the boat, for translucent water allows the eye to enjoy all the mysteries of the ocean.
The one-day tour cost approximately EUR 45/person and included transport from the resort, a small breakfast, boat transport, a stop or two snorkeling (excursion included snorkeling equipment – mask and tube), lunch, drinks on boat – water, Cola, Sprite, Fanta.
3. Ang Thong National Marine Park
The Ang Thong Archipelago consists of 42 very close islands that offer incredible scenery. Excursion to this place requires a minimum of physical condition, meaning that to enjoy the spectacular view, you have to climb several floors of steep stairs. I recommend closed shoes, comfortable and not flip-flops.
After a prior negotiation, the cost of the tour was 50 EUR / person and included a stop at snorkeling (not as spectacular as in Koh Tao), the panorama admired at Lake Smarald, kayaking for about an hour, a fishing village and visit another paradise island for post-dinner siesta.
4. Koh Samui
Compared to the younger sister, this island seems to have eaten a little better, and it seemed to me somewhat less personal. But that’s just a subjective opinion and should be treated as such. Accommodation was also at the bungalow, on the beach, at Promtsuk Buri resort.
On the island one can visit: Buddha Temple – Wat Phra Yai, Hin Tao and Hin Yai (Grandfather and Grandma), Na Muang Waterfall, Southern Island Butterfly Farm, Wat Khunaram Memorial Monument, Wat Plai Leam – Temple goddess of compassion.
Apart from what I wrote, one can visit the zoo or the Monkey Business park where monkeys are trained to harvest coconut trees and elephants carry people, but I do not recommend this experience for animal lovers. Personally, I was not even able to look at these animals as they are extremely stressed, therefore I recommend to think twice if it is worthwhile to support financially this activity .
In order to be truly happy tourists, I recommend to book rooms with air conditioning. At the airport, buy a local phone card with number that offers unlimited internet access.
What to take with you in Thailand
Local sun cream is expensive and can contain substances that bleach the skin. Take yours!
Spray insect repellent for skin and/or anti-mosquito devices (the ones which you plug). These small insects can cause various diseases, including dengue fever, so it’s no joke.
Medical insurance – medical services may be expensive if there’s no insurance.
Camera – d’oh!
Appropriate clothes to visit the temples, which should be thin and cover the body sufficient.
Raincoat – I didn’t use mine, because it’s very warm and I dried myself quickly.
Water shoes to protect against possible injuries (coral encounters may be unpleasant to the skin)
Useful medicines: antihistamines (eg Claritine), stomach problems (Scobutil, Furazolidon), rehydration salts, antispastic (NoSpa), antifungal cream (Clotrimazole), anti-inflammatory (Ketonal). Details about health and vaccination (which I did not consider necessary): Lonely Planet.
A useful and beautiful word in Thai – thank you: kopunka, with emphasis on the final a.
Bangkok-Koh Samui, AirAsia: 107 Euro / person
Accommodation: 20 – 24 Euro / room / night
Ferry boat between islands: 17 Euro / person.