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Thailand Islands and Neighboring Country

One of my girlfriends and I are traveling to Thailand for 30 days in May-June, and have a few questions. Based on my research, it seems like the weather will be better in the Gulf of Thailand islands, vs. the western islands (like Phuket or the Krabi area). We're planning on visiting Koh Tao because we want to get scuba certified, and will probably venture out from there.

If we have a week and a half to two weeks to explore the islands/beaches, does it make sense for us to just stay in the gulf and hop around, or should we make the trip over to Phuket and Ko Phi Phi (a friend of mine says we can't miss it)? We are both pretty adventurous and would like to snorkel, kayak, hike, scuba dive, etc. We will definitely go out at night but are not big partiers. We mainly want to see and do as much as possible, but don't want to cause undo stress.

Also, we have 4-7 days that we'd like to use to see a neighboring country. So far I haven't heard anything that definitively pushes me in one direction. Your thoughts?

Posted by
9110 posts

You must have been looking at the vagaries of weather, not climate. At that time of year the climate is the same on both the Gulf and Andaman sides of the peninsula. There will be climatological variations up in the inland provinces. Move around as you wish and take your chances - - weather can be good or bad on either side on any day.

You've got a couple of choices for those other days. Burma can still be a bit dicey, but it's interesting. Laos is pretty scattered for a first-timer, Cambodia would be okay, but it's hard to do much except Phnom Penh and Siem Reap/Angkor in that amount of time - - it'd work for four days, but seven would be too much without going out into the far bush.

My pick would be Vietnam. Hanoi and Hue if you have seven days, just Hanoi and surrounds with four.

Posted by
14905 posts

I flew from Bangkok to Siem Reap to visit Angkor Wat. When I went to Cambodia, Thai Airways had exclusive rights to the route. Very interesting 3 days with cheap private guide and driver. But the flights are expensive.

If you can eke out 6-7 days, I'd head for Vietnam instead. Check out the cheap airlines. Loved the little I saw of it, Saigon, HoiAn (tour from Hue), Mekong Delta. Would go back in a heartbeat.

Posted by
807 posts

i'm going to Thailand and Cambodia in 2 weeks. I use air asia for most of my flights, and 1 from nok air. they're not too expensive, but non-refundable once booked. i'll be in bangkok for 2 days, then siem reap for 3 days, Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai for 4 to 5 days, then Phuket for 4 days, then back to Bangkok for another 2 days before back home. email me after 3/2 and i'll tell you my trip and can save all of my hotel and flight info for you.

Posted by
3103 posts

We've traveled in both Thailand and Vietnam. For this trip, I'd consider spending time in the islands and then flying to Chiang Mai . It's a wonderful smaller city with lots to see and do. A different experience from the islands--you can shop at the night markets, take a cooking classes (I liked Baan Thai Cookery Classes), visit the Elephant Nature Park, and eat wonderful street food. Air Asia as someone else suggested, is a great way to travel. We've stayed in a few different places in Chiang Mai but the Sakorn Residence Hotel is our favorite. We're really partial to Chaing Mai!

With the time you have, I think it might be a little more stressful (but doable) to visit Vietnam. If you decide to do so, you could visit just one region--fly into Danang and visit Hoi An and Hue. A fun thing to do in Hoi An if you have a few days is to get some clothing custom-made. I used Yaly.

Just some things to consider--anything you decide will be great--just don't try to do too much!

Posted by
76 posts

Why not get your certification before the trip so you can focus on diving ? If you need corrective lenses I would recommend visiting a local dive shop and trying on different manufacturer's masks for the best fit and order your own to bring with you.