Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page >

Thailand for 12 days in May -- Bangkok + Phuket/Phi Phi or Bangkok + Ko Samui?

Thailand for 12 days in May -- Bangkok + Phuket/Phi Phi or Bangkok + Ko Samui?

Old Feb 16th, 2008, 12:48 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thailand for 12 days in May -- Bangkok + Phuket/Phi Phi or Bangkok + Ko Samui?

Hi,

My husband and I will be going to Thailand for the first time in May for 12 days (12 days of stay, excluding travel) to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. We are so excited

I have been looking around the travel forums, and so many on here seem very knowledgeable. I have a few questions, that I am hoping someone can help out with.

We are wanting to experience the culture and the beach. We are both 27, not into the loud, party beach scene, looking more for the quieter, white sandy beaches but that are not totally isolated. We love walking around the town after dinners and such. I went back and forth trying to decide whether to do Chiang Mai, but I think trying to cover 3 distinct regions (Bangkok, Phuket/Phi Phi, Chiang Mai) might be a bit of a stretch.

So, a few questions.

1) We will be there in the beginning-mid May. I understand that it's hot and humid, but I am most concerned about the beach weather. Now, we are from Seattle So a drizzly and gray weather is *not* what we are looking for on vacation It doesn't sound likely, but I just want to make sure. Periodic downpours would not be so bad, so that would not scare me so much. How is it, really?

2) It sounds like Phuket/Phi Phi have a different weather pattern from Ko Samui. In May, is Ko Samui that much better than Phuket? The one I really want to go to is Phuket/Phi Phi, so I am hoping that that is not the case, but if the weather on Ko Samui will be much better? Would the waters around Phuket/Phi Phi not be that great for snorkling and such in early-mid May?

3) OR is doing Bangkok + Phuket/Phi Phi + Ko Samui advisable for a 12 day trip? Maybe 4 days in Bangkok, 3 days in Ko Samui, and finish off with 5 days in Phuket/Phi Phi? (We are most likely to go to Phi Phi rather than Phuket, but I am keeping our options open).

4) If we stayed on Phi Phi, is there something really great that we would miss out on by not staying in Phuket? Or does Phi Phi fit our bill of quiet, but not completely isolated beaches? (I keep picturing Phuket to be the Thai equivalent of Cancun, Mexico...is that right?)

Sorry so many questions. I have been reading up on so much, but since this is such an unfamiliar area, it's only the last the couple of days that the area names started sticking and clicking with me

Thank you so much in advance. Oh, and thanks to the helpful folks here, I have emailed Tong in hopes that we can score a couple of days of tour in Bangkok -- very excited about this!
tripbugSeattle is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 01:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Statistically, Samui is better in terms of rainfall. http://thailandforvisitors.com/south/phukvsam.html
Though there may be days of rain any time of the year, full days of rain are not the norm even in rainy season. You would be unlucky to get even a few rainy days in a row. More likely that it would be some afternoon/evening showers.

All the beach places that you mention can have the "Cancun" atmosphere. If you don't want that, choose your beach and hotel carefully. In spite of them all being very developed tourist destinations, they all also have some places that are quiet and away from the main tourist strip. In Phuket, steer clear of Patong. In Samui, Chaweng is where to avoid. Phi Phi I haven't been to, but I understand Phi Phi Island Village is lovely and away from it all.

I'd be more inclined to do Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Golden Triangle, and Samui with 12 days than 2 beach locations. But, on the other hand, in the past, we've spent 12 days in Samui and 5 in Bangkok very happily...so, it depends I guess on whether you want more time of just relaxing, or more time sightseeing, or what.




KimJapan is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 02:51 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
With 12 days on the ground, three different locations are perfect. You will be flying into and out of BKK, so I suggest that you have two days in BKK at the beginning and two days on the end.

The weather will be better in Ko Samui. As KJ says, choosing your hotel will determine the level of crowds. Beach hotels are more expensive than BKK or the north.

If you're budget allows, I suggest that instead of Northern Thailand, you consider either Luang Prabang, Laos or the temples of Angkor Wat as your third destination.
Gpanda is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 08:06 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 29,051
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
i think that two locations would be better... days 1/2 are sort of wasted as you will be very tired from the trip and will to adjust to the heat/humidity, which is way different from seattle... so i would suggest this: bkk days 1-3/4, samui for several days, and then a return to bkk for the remainder of your trip and to finish the things you did not see at the beginning of the trip
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 08:49 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,283
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hello, fellow Seattleites! Worry not, no Thailand weather will look like Seattle weather.

Personally, I'd choose two locations, Bangkok and since beach is important to you, choose a beach. The Koh Samui side will have better weather at that time of the year. As Kim says there are very built up areas and quieter areas at all of the islands, so you'll need to choose your resort carefully.

I know you'll have a wonderful time!
Kathie is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 12:09 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,277
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi tripbug, you want culture and the beach? This forum seems to equate culture with history. If you want historical culture then you must spend some time in Bangkok.......but not too much...because, for me Bangkok is a small dose city.

Weather in May is unpredictable for both Samui and Phuket with Samui probably the the best shot for sun. However....check out this site for genuine Phuket weather reports
http://phuket-weather.blogspot.com/2...1_archive.html

For me....Samui is very much the 'poor mans' Andaman!!!! VERY costa del sol feel.....and snorkeling???? Not much here!!!

Rainy season or not...I say go for Phuket, Krabi or Phi Phi.

Photos videos and info here
http://www.leightravelclub.com/thailand.htm
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 08:15 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 105
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LeighTravel- Would you still pick Phuket over Samui in July if traveling with children who want to swim in the ocean? We don't mind if there is a possibility of rain, but more concerned about the rough ocean.
tnnc2 is offline  
Old Feb 16th, 2008, 09:24 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 5,034
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
In rainy season, the beaches in Phuket are often red flagged..no swimming. Every year, several drownings.

For ocean swimming and better chance at good weather, Samui is better in July. Also, Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, Koh Samet.
KimJapan is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2008, 12:28 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,751
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
You have to take 'extreme' care in July swimming around Phuket area, even when there are no red flags you have to be very careful about undercurrents. Every year people ignore the warnings / red flags to their cost. In July Samui for sea swimming would be a good choice, you can take a boat trip to Koh Tao for snorkeling etc. Try a quieter beach area like Bophut. Samui though in July can be packed. If sea swimming is a major part of your vacation enjoyment then choose destination with care.
JamesA is offline  
Old Feb 17th, 2008, 04:28 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1,277
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tnnc2, as has been pointed out by both Kim and James, sea swimming around Phuket in July can be challenging!!
I still prefer it over Samui though because my experience there, is of not so clear water and poor snorkeling.
The OP was asking about May and I still think Phuket area may suit them better.

However, for your situation....July..and with kids...who want to swim in the sea. Then you must choose carefully.
LeighTravelClub is offline  
Old Feb 18th, 2008, 01:31 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 227
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We spent 12 days in Thailand last May! We divided our time between Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Samui--and we only had two incidences with rain the entire trip, but I've heard we were particularly lucky in that regard. We posted an extensive trip report on our travel blog, www.hitherandthither.net.
alovesa is offline  
Old Feb 19th, 2008, 12:42 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you SO much, everyone! I have written down your tips, and will be discussing them with hubby. I will be back later to let you know what we decide on, and of course, probably ask more questions!
tripbugSeattle is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 04:24 PM
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks to everyone who responded, and my obsessive reading up on this board we decided to do the following for our trip.

4 nights/5 days - Bangkok
4 nights/5 days - Phuket (Kata Noi)
4 nights/5 days - Koh Phi Phi

We ended up splurging a bit on the hotels at Phuket and Phi Phi, just in case weather does not cooperate -- we picked rooms that we would not mind being cooped up in for a few hours

I'm also in the process of trying to book us a couple of days of tour w/ Tong's company (sadly, she's not available, but I'm certain that she'll make a good recommendation on her team). I'm thinking about doing the following on the tour:
- The Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew
- Wat Pho
- Flower Market
- Canal Tour

Then on the following day, doing:
- Floating Market
- Fishing Village

I don't know if that is doable, but those are the places of interest to us, so I will have to see if Tong agrees that they will make viable 2-day tour of Bangkok.

I think we will also be doing a John Gray tour in Phuket, as well as possibly a cooking class, and a trip out to Maya Beach during our stay in Phi Phi. Other than those two, the 8 days at the beaches will be mostly dedicated to lounging around the beach and the nearby towns.

If anyone has any must-do's at our three locations, I would love to hear about them!

Also, I keep hearing about these fabulous $10/hr massages... How do you go about looking for those?? I am going to guess that the spa treatments at the hotels will be considerably pricier (although, I haven't checked yet, so maybe I am wrong?). What are some tips on finding good places to get massages?

Thank you!
tripbugSeattle is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 05:02 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,283
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Note that the $10 per hour massages are traditional Thai massage (which is either bliss or hell, depending on how you feel about Thai massage). Wat Po is one place to find this kind of Thai massage. On the beaches, there are often massage people offering massage on the beach. In Bangkok, there are lots of small massge places.

Spa treatments at hotels will be much more (not as much as the US or Europe, but still much more). There are also free-standing spas that offer a variety of spa treatments including various kinds of massage, body scrubs, facials, etc. These free-standing spas are often very good deals, offering great treatments at very reasonable prices.
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 06:05 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you, Kathie!

I have a sneaking suspicion that you are the same Kathie that I met in December at my house...with Cheryl? I just read another post of yours, and you mentioned Cheryl...that, and the fact that you're from Seattle...well, I am pretty sure that I've met you! What a small world this is! (you came to my house for John's retirement dinner?).

"Hi"!
tripbugSeattle is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 06:07 PM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Egads, a Seattle conspiracy is afoot. Hurry Watson.
Gpanda is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 06:11 PM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
LOL, I had a good laugh to myself when I put the two and two together today! Cheryl and Kathie came over to our house around Christmas last year to celebrate the retirement of one of Cheryl and my coworkers (well, I use that loosely, since Cheryl and I work for different teams, but Cheryl is good friends w/ him). Anyway, I knew that they frequented Thailand, and had been meaning to ping them for some tips...when I realized that I had inadvertently done so already!
tripbugSeattle is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 06:52 PM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,283
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
That is so funny! It's a small world.

I'm delighted to give you Thailand travel tips any time! (And did you hear that a California friend is twisting John's arm to go to Cambodia?)
Kathie is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 07:03 PM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
tripbugseattle

Well, you'll have to come to one of the GTG's that Kathie and Cheryl frequent, and you can meet lots more fodorites from this board!

You mention Kata Noi... does this mean you've opted to stay at the KataThani? Great choice! Try a junior suite if you can manage the cost. Enjoy!!!

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Old Mar 11th, 2008, 07:06 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 11,334
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Kathie
Yes, it is a small world. My first (of 6) trip to Australia was a solo journey for 5 weeks. My FIRST day there, I was walking down the street in Cairns and met another solo traveler who happened to be wearing an "Illinois" t-shirt. Since I'm also an Illinoisan, I had to ask. Turns out she was also a teacher, and was from a town about 90 minutes from my town! Small world! We decided to have dinner together that night. We managed to stay in touch for a few years after, but then lost contact when she moved to another state.
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 09:18 AM.