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Itinerary Change; Phuket instead of Ko Lanta?

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Feb 18th, 2006, 08:58 AM
  #1
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Itinerary Change; Phuket instead of Ko Lanta?

After much debate, my husband and I have determined it might be better for us to go to Phuket instead of Ko Lanta in early April. So looking for some advice....

We only have 8 nights in Thailand. We want to spend the first 2 nights in BKK and then 4 nights on an island and last 2 back in BKK (already booked into the Pen). This is our 4th trip to Thailand.

To get to Ko Lanta, it's basically a full day trip from Bangkok; leave hotel around 10:30, fly to Krabi, arriving at 2PM and arrive on island around 5pm. Plus airfare is substantially more expensive to fly to Krabi on Thai Airways. We could fly Air Asia, but they only have 1 fight per day arriving in Krabi after 6 PM.

If we fly to Phuket, it's much less expensive (on Air Asia) and we can be at a hotel for a late lunch.

So, is it worth it to go to Phuket? Or should we spend more time, and money, to get to Ko Lanta?

If we go to Phuket, where to go, what to do and where to stay?
I've been put off by the hyper-touristy aspects of what I've read of this island, but I'm sure there are some nice places, right?

Looking for a beach view bungalow or hotel room for under $100 per night. We don't want a mega-resort. I was looking at the Kata Thani, and we can get a Thani wing junior suite for about $105 per night, but I'm concerned about the negative reviews on Tripadvisor and that it's just too big. Also considering the Baan Krating Jungle Beach resort.

Sorry for the rambling nature of this post.

Thanks for any and all advice!
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Feb 18th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Forgot to add the reason why we were considering Ko Lanta. It seemed less touristy, and we were planning on staying at the Narima resort. I liked the Narima because it's a small, family run place with charming a/c bungalows overooking the ocean for $75 a night. They have their own Padi dive center and it just seemed more "personal" than a big corporate resort. www.narima-lanta.com
The problem is, I don't want to lose a day of my already too short vacation just to get there!
So, I'd really like to try to find something like that on Phuket if possible.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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How about Krabi since you would have to fly into there already. We stayed at Rayavadee and couldn't have been happier. Another suggestion would be the Phi Phi Islands. They are amazing and from what I understand, they are recovering from the tsunami. I just read and article about a new resort called Zeavola which is on the other side of Phi Phi Don and was unaffected by the tsunami. It looks really nice.

If you are set on Phuket, what are you interested in doing. Is nightlife a must or just relaxing? We stayed at Banyan Tree with is about 20 minute drive to Patong. We took a taxi in to Patong twice and was a little inconvenient due to the location. Very nice property and our room had it's own pool which was really nice. The beach is very nice here. Banyan Tree is part of a complex called Laguna Phuket which is comprised of a few resorts/shops and you have privledges at all the resorts so you can eat at all the hotels and charge things to you room. This was really nice. We ate dinner at the Sheraton and for the price, we would probably stay here instead of Banyan Tree if we went back. Sorry I'm rambling. Hope this helps and if you have any questions I'd be happy to try to answer them.

One more thing, I we went back to Thailand, we would definatedy go to either Krabi or Phi Phi again over Phuket. Much more beautiful in our opinion.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 10:29 AM
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We liked Krabi more than Phuket. It was much more scenic. Many fewer people. Phuket can seem somewhat overrun, even if you're at a wonderful resort.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 11:28 AM
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Given you are there for 8 nights, as lovely as Ko Lanta is, I don't think it is worth losing a day on your journey down there.

However, I too would stay in Krabi over Phuket. Guenmai posted a list of top hotels, published in a magazine a few months back. I have brought it to the top for you to look at. There were a few in Krabi in the 'small and stylish' category I think which you might like.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 12:11 PM
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Everyone-
Thanks for the replies.

Lisa-Actually, we don't have to fly into Krabi anyway. The reason we were thinking of Phuket was because the flights there are more frequent (many more per day than Krabi) and less expensive. The hotels you mentioned are very nice, but I believe they are out of our budget ($100 per night).
Oh, and we're really not interested in Phuket's "nightlife", we're more interested in a nice beach, a room with a view, snorkeling and some boat day trips.

Gpanda-what makes Krabi more scenic than Phuket?

Bella-Yes, it just seems that getting to Krabi takes too long. On a longer vacation it might be worth it, but not this time.

I think it's interesting that everyone recommends Krabi. This was one of the first locations we were considering, but I can't find an affordable bungalow with a view. Seems like all the resorts there are set back from the beach in a "garden" setting.

Anyone else want to weigh in here?


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Feb 18th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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In truth, both Phuket and Krabi are scenic. Krabi is more scenic because of the limestone formations in the water. They are spectacular. If you look at beach pictures of Krabi, you usually see at least one.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 04:08 PM
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Sounds like you are pretty decided on Phuket. Have you read the comments on Kata Thani on this board - if you do a search, quite a lot come up. I only read one headed up 'Kata Thani' but it looked to be positive comments.

If you decide Kata Thani is not for you (perhaps if it is too big), I am sure someone will be able to point you in the right direction - have you tried posting this query on tripadvisor to see what response you get there? I think there are a few people on that board who actually live in Phuket - so might know of places that will match what you are looking for
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Feb 18th, 2006, 05:05 PM
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Hmmm, it's too bad your not going in late April. Andaman White Beach Resort http://www.andamanwhitebeach.com/ has really good rates starting after April 20. We're spending one night there after Phi Phi to be near the airport and the bungalows look really nice.
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Feb 18th, 2006, 06:09 PM
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LA-That resort does look nice, but alas, is a bit to rich for my budget.

Bella-I've never really checked the tripadvisor boards, but I will. I'm not completely decided on Phuket yet, just leaning that way. Still open to suggestions.

Gpanda-I figure we can do day trips to the karst formations, right?

Anyone else?
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Feb 19th, 2006, 05:21 AM
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LA Fadeaway, Just got back from Andaman White Beach on Phuket and I think you will like it. Just 15 minutes from the airport on a beautiful wide and completely isolated beach with rocks at each end so in addition to a wonderful expansive beach for swimming you have the lovely sound & view of the surf crashing up against the rocks at the ends of the beach. The area used to be a coconut plantation so the surrounding area is lush & green with coco palms. Very low-key low rise villa-style hotel with a lovely pool area. The only negative for those who want to see anything else in Phuket or have any nightlife is that it is very isolated at the north end of the Island and taxis from there are very expensive -- would have cost us at least $40 to get to the Laguna area & much more to get to Patong, Kata, or Karon beach areas. We thought we could make arrangements with a taxi at the airport, but they were even more expensive than the taxi service at the hotel. So we just stayed at the resort & enjoyed it, which was not too difficult! We had thought about going to Mom Tri's boathouse for dinner, but the food (and the sunsets!) at the Andaman White Beach were so fabulous we saw no need. The spa is very plain, and I had one massage which was very mediocre. Tried again and this time I had a woman named Vi (Viparadee) and she was amazing. Had both a Thai message and an aromatherapy massage with oil with her and I can't recommend her highly enough! Magic hands. I have never had better massages, and believe me I have had some great messages in Thailand!
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Feb 19th, 2006, 08:36 AM
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These area are very different.
Koh Lanta is more for if you want a quiet relaxing time and are not bothered about an array of restaurants or big shopping nor need entertainment.

Krabi around Ao nang is scenic but you need to boat to the good beaches unless you choose to stay somewhere like Railay.
Although there are just so many places around Ao Nang one of the old originals, the 'Krabi Resort' has been there years and years and was built when land was cheaper, north end of Ao nang, it's not trendy or hip, it was one of the original accommodations and hence has space and location right at the water.
Phuket has a wide range of beaches, Kata and Karon are good if you want quieter than Patong but still lots of restaurants and easy access to Patong for nightlife, street stalls and shopping and entertainment, there are lots of malls in thecenter of the island, Big C, Lotus etc.
Phi Phi and Koh Yao are more idlyllic islands, Phi Phi expanded rapidly, Koh Yao is very very laid back, apart from eating at alternative resorts you would find little to do at all, but of course for many that's the charm.
Deciding where to stay depends if you just want a quiet beach or you want activities, though there are plenty of trips from Koh Lanta.
The journey from Krabi Airport to Koh Lanta at least gives you the chance to see a bit more of the country.
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Feb 19th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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James-
Thanks for the info.
I think we are considering Phuket mainly for the ease of getting to our destination. As much as I want to go to Ko Lanta, I just don't want to spend the best part of a day getting there.

So, that said, where on Phuket would be a good choice? We're not interested in Patong or that type of place at all. But, we would like to be close enough to a small town so that we aren't confined to a resort (like the Andaman White Beach listed above) for dinner. Besides the Kata Thani what would you recommend?
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Feb 26th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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Just an update-
We did decide on Phuket and after careful consideration chose the Andaman White Beach resort. It's isolatated, but looks lovely and they have a great deal on a Beachfront Villa. We'll just have to rent a scooter or a car for a day or two.
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Feb 27th, 2006, 06:42 AM
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I think you will enjoy Phuket. I just stayed at the Kata Thani and really enjoyed it. I'd go back there in a heartbeat.

You do not need to rent a car or scooter, if you don't feel comfortable driving on the "other side" of the road. There are drivers galore, and they are very reasonable. You will probably find one just outside the hotel, and maybe a very short walk down the street! When we were at the Kata Thani, we found one by walking across the street. He was very reasonable, and he took us all over the west side of the island, and also to the mall in the center. He always waited for us, when we shopped or dined.

Carol
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Feb 27th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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Carol-
I've heard that the taxi drivers outside the Andaman White beach resort are notorious for charging excessive rates. I think because it's so isolated they know you're stuck there.
Do you remember what you paid your driver?
Thanks!
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Feb 27th, 2006, 05:18 PM
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Kristina, Andaman White Beach is in a totally different area than Kata Thani or any of the other Phuket hotels & resorts. Believe me there is NOTHING else nearby & you will not find any taxis or car service except through the hotel. We tried & had no luck.. Unless prices drop drastically in low season,plan to either pay $40+ to go anywhere or rent a car/scooter.
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Feb 27th, 2006, 06:02 PM
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CFW-
Yes, I remember your comments about that from before. I was just wondering what was considered "reasonable" for a car and driver in other areas to use as a comparison with the hotel.
I have emailed them and asked them for their rates.
Do you remember what they wanted for car rentals or for a day with a driver?
Thanks!
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Feb 27th, 2006, 07:23 PM
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Don't know about car rentals, but my guess is that you should check out rates from the airport or through a car rental agency through the web rather than the hotel. Didn't even price out a driver for the day through the hotel, which is what we originally thought we would do, since the prices were so high just for a short distance. Maybe you will have better luck e-mailing the hotel in advance to get a better deal than once you are there when you will really be a "captive audience."
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Feb 28th, 2006, 07:16 AM
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Here's the reply I got from the hotel:

"We do not have a motor scooters, we only have a normal motor bike
at THB300-/day for manual gear and THB400-/day for automatic gear.
For a car with a driver they charge at THB2,000- for 7 hours.

We also have shuttle bus to Phuket Town that take about 40 minutes
from the hotel and shuttle bus to Patong that take about 40 minutes.
Both services is THB375-/way/person. You can check the schedule
with our receptionist upon arrival. If you prefer to walk to the near by
local shops or local restaurant it takes about 15 minutes.

We have diving center service at the hotel and for any excursion you can
contact our receptionist for more details."

So, there you go.
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