Thailand or Chuuk?

Apr 2nd, 2006, 02:17 PM
  #1  
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Thailand or Chuuk?

I'm new to Fodor's and am really excited to have help planning our latest trip. We love to scuba dive and explore new countries. We will be traveling July 22 - August 6 and were originally wanting to go to Phuket and other Thai destinations. I'm a bit worried about going there during that time because of the rainfall averages. Anyone have any thoughts? Our alternative is Chuuk/Palau (I know - very different trips). Also - other than Bangkok, are there other "don't miss" places? We love nature and animal experiences over city stuff. Thanks for the help!
Libby7 is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 05:12 PM
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many travellers like chiang mai and chiang rai areas in northern thailand for its more leisurely pace and hills and trees....
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 06:44 PM
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People go to Phuket for the beaches. There are certainly other beach areas in Thailand that don't have as much rain at that time of the year. If you want more nature experiences, you'd probably prefer Northern Thailand. You can visit one of the elephant conservation camps there.

Decide what kind of vacation you want - that will guide you in deciding where to go.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 08:20 PM
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Yeah, for Scuba diving that time of year, you mike look into Koh Tao and the other gulf islands. I think they get better weather in July than the Andamam isles.
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2006, 11:40 PM
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The best weather in Thailand beachwise at that time of year would be found on the Gulf coast - take a look at the islands of Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao. If you want to scuba dive - Ko Tao is the best place in Thailand to be at that time of year. Phuket waters will have poor visibility by then. To get to Ko Tao you can either take a coach or train down from Bangkok to Chumphon and then get the catamaran over or fly to Ko Samui and get the catamaran from Bophut Pier to Ko Tao. There is a wide range of accommodation in Ko Tao but you will not find 5* luxury resorts. Some of it cannot be booked in advance either (on the cheaper side) - take a look at sawadee.com for places you can book in advance.

Another alternative is Ko Chang and coastline from Hua Hin down towards Chumphon where you catch the boat to Ko Tao. Not sure about diving in those places though. (tbh, you will find better diving I think in Chuuk so if the holiday is mostly about the diving then Thailand is not the best place to go.)

For the nature/animal experiences part of your trip, take a look at Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son. You can take 3 day, 2 night treks out of both of these places if you really want to get out of the cities. As Kathie has mentioned, from Chiang Mai you can travel to Lampang to the Elephant Conservation Centre. You can do a 1 or 3 day training course on being a mahout here which I think sounds fab - KimJapan did this recently so you may want to find her trip report.

Hope this helps
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Bella_Bluebell is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 06:08 AM
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If you like wreck diving, nothing beats Chuuk. We went there in Feb05 and it was great diving!! They have like 70 downed Japanese boats and planes in the lagoon in a variety of depths. The Fujikara Maru (I think it was) even has 4 Zero fighters in it's cargo hold that you can sit in! There are so many things to see down there. The best thing is that there aren't that many tourists and it's such a unique thing to do. (Interesting fact: their currency is the US Dollar.) That said, I wouldn't consider Chuuk for a beach vacation, there are only 2 hotels with no 5 star to choose from, the only real restaurants are at the hotels and there's not a whole lot to do other than diving/boating and seeing WWII sites.

If interested, consider Continental Airlines Island Hopper fare which allows you to go between islands. (Continental is the only airline servicing Chuuk and it was only about 2 times/wk.) I haven't been to Palau or Yap but you may want to check out Yap as I read they have good reef diving and people are still very "native" (like wearing loincloths).

I'm pretty much over Phuket because it's so popular and everyone has been there.

Another diving destination that's gaining popularity is Vietnam.
nagiffag is offline  
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