Ko Tao???

Jan 8th, 2009, 06:34 PM
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Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 50
Ko Tao???

Hey Guys:

I've never been to Asia before and I just booked a trip from New York to Bangkok. I'll be going for a week in March. I land on Saturday at about midnight and I leave the following Saturday in the afternoon.

Here is my question: I really want to see the islands and the island I most want to see is Ko Tao. Should I try to get there directly from Bangkok? According to my guide book, it would require a train/boat ride.

I also want to see Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui, but I always gravitate to smaller islands. I'll sort of be backpacking, so I should be fairly mobile. I don't even know if I'll book a hotel in advance because, according to the New York Times, Thailand is empty this season.

The main problem is my plane flights - I only have a week and I can't extend my trip.

Any suggestions?
UniversalExports is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 06:54 PM
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IMO for a week long trip from NY you will loose too much time travelling to and from Koh Tao to enjoy yourself. If you want to do an island and you only have limited time I think Koh Samui or Phuket(Phangan) will be a better option since you can fly there directly but these are not "small" islands.
Hanuman is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 07:15 PM
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hanuman lives there so he is an authority if you did not know...

another option might be koh chang

samui is expensive to get to and taking the train and then boat and then taxi would be a long trip....you can fly but i think it is the most expensive of the islands to get to because the airline owns the airport...bangkok air.....thai air flies there too...

there are other small islands...

what's special about this one for you? maybe we can suggest an alternative with the same exposures
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 8th, 2009, 07:39 PM
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The first, big, question is: are you a scuba diver? If not, then there are other islands that may be more suitable, since Koh Tao is almost exclusively for divers. And, as others have pointed out, it takes a while to get there. Of course, I'm making my fourth trip there at the end of this month, to dive, so it's not that hard: just a one hour flight and a two hour boat ride - the next day. It's hard to fly in and make one of the regular boats to Koh Tao on the same day.

Other islands you might consider are Koh Samet or Koh Chang - or one of the smaller islands around Koh Chang.

Also, March is not really the low season for most destinations. And there are few places anymore in Thailand that are deserted at any time of year.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 02:23 AM
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Agree Ko Tao is mainly for divers, and getting to and from the mainland by boat is time consuming.

Ko Samet is pleasant. If it had been my first beach in Asia i would have loved it. But I had been to other places I preferred by then that you just couldn't do in a week!I still enjoyed it and it is very easy to get to by bus from BKK. It has plenty of restaurants and cheapish places to stay if you're on a budget, and during the week shouldn't be too busy.


afterall is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Thanks for all the input so far. Yes, I am a diver, so that is part of my inspiration for going there.

The reason for my visit is that I have a buddy who is traveling around the world and we agreed to meet in Thailand in March. My own personal predilection is to go to go an island other than spending the time in a city (although I am sure Bangkok is beautiful!).

Also, in the interest of full disclosure, I've wanted to see Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui ever since reading The Beach. The vibe I'm getting though is that I should try to spend my time on Ko Samui and maybe take day trips to the other islands. Or am I still mistaken?

(I will also be there at the wrong time for the Full Moon Party.)
UniversalExports is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 05:29 PM
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Ahh, see what happens when you don't give us all the information?

Yes, you probably should go to Koh Tao, although at that time of year, the Similans are also good - better most would say. But if you want to see Samui, then Koh Tao is certainly good enough.

What I would suggest is that you do an overnight trip to Koh Tao early in your stay on Samui - that is, you take the morning boat from Samui to Koh Tao, stay the night there, and come back the afternoon of the next day. That will allow you to get 5 or 6 dives in around Koh Tao. It might be best to make your dive arrangements beforehand, either before you get to Thailand or first thing when you arrive in Samui. If you've made your arrangements before you arrive in Samui, you can plan on just one night there before you go to Koh Tao. Otherwise I would allow a full day in Samui.

The boats between Koh Tao and Samui stop at Phangan, so you can easily stop for a night or two there on your way back. You can then spend the remaining time on Samui. The one thing I wouldn't miss while on Samui is the day trip to Angthong. Given your penchant for small islands, you may also be interested in a night or two on Koh Taen.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Jan 9th, 2009, 11:53 PM
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I think if your inspiration for going to Samui is the beach, you are going to be quite shocked. It is very developed now.

I would stay on Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Tao if you go down there - or Ko Taen as Michael suggests. We preferred KPG - but only away from Haad Rin beach (where the full moon parties are held, i'm too old for that!). We stayed on Thong Nai Pan Bay at Baan Panburi and it was beautiful.

Ko Tao changed a lot between my visits in 99 and 06 but is still the best place to base yourself if you are going to dive. I wouldn't recommend the resort we stayed in in Ko Tao in 06 - terrible place!!but Michael I am sure or JamesA can suggest a good place to stay in Ko Tao. It used to be the case that if you were diving you would get cheaper hotel rates at accommodation linked to or owned by the dive company - not sure if this is still the case. If it is, better to get the name of a reputable dive company and then see what accommodation they offer.
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 11:22 AM
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Thanks for all the info! I really appreciate it.
UniversalExports is offline  
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