Tips & Tricks to help you plan your next adventure
In may 2013 Sean and I found ourselves with some time off from uni, we booked flights to Phuket, Thailand and left 2 weeks later. Needless to say we did not have a lot of planning time.
The trip was only 10 days long but in this time we visit Koh Tao, Koh Samui (for 1 night only) and Koh Phi Phi.
We flew into Phuket late in the evening and stayed at Naiyang Beach Resort. Decent beach and nice hotel. We didn't get the chance to hang around for long or explore around here as we only stayed here because it was close to the airport and we were flying to Koh Samui early the next morning. When we arrived at Koh Samui we got in a shared van to the wharf and bought a ferry ticket to Koh Tao. The ferry was big, open and quite fast. After leaving Koh Samui it made a stop at Koh Phagnan - (in)famous for its gigantic monthly Full Moon parties - and then on to Koh Tao before going on all the way to Bangkok!
Koh Tao is a tourist friendly island very popular with backpackers for two things really; diving and drinking.
We'd heard about Koh Tao about 4 weeks previously after a friend (ok, it was Sean's Mum) mentioned she had a great time diving and staying there with a company called "Big Blue." Similar to Utila in Honduras, Koh Tao is filled with competitive dive schools that offer free or discounted accommodation if you dive with them.
We arrived at Koh Tao to face the hordes of locals toting signs advertising their respective dive schools at the tourists getting off the ferry. We had already booked some dives and a small cabana with "Big Blue," and it was relatively easy to find their man at the pier, who drove us and our gear to our room at the dive school.
The cabana was small, with only a double bed, side table and bathroom, but it was all we needed! And it was a stones throw from the waters edge. That afternoon we had a walk around the town and booked in for some driving the next morning.
The next morning we dove at Chumpon Pinacle and Green Rock. Both of which were amazing!
Chumpon Pinacle had huge schools of rainbow runners and plenty of pretty soft coral. Apparently they get whale sharks here at some times of the year but we weren't so lucky. At Green Rock we saw plenty of colourful fish including a huge titan triggerfish. I'd have to say, other than the amazing coral and sea life in Thailand, the best part about diving was being able to go down to 30m and still be comfortable in JUST A BIKINI, no wetsuit! It was heaven! The water was around 28 degrees and made diving for long periods of time sustainable... Until our oxygen got low. Sean was seriously sweating at 30m underwater in boardies.
Unfortunately at the end of the 2nd dive my ear began to feel funny and by that afternoon I had a terrible ear ache (this happens a lot when I dive as I have a narrowed ear canal) and was unable to dive the next day. Whilst I hung out on the beach Sean took on his Deep, Wreck and Nitrox diving courses. As part of the course, Sean got to swim through a sunken ship, and came face to face with a giant friendly grouper in a dark narrow corridor!
One of the days on Koh Tao we did a trek to a beach on the other side of the island and got to do some snorkelling. The walk went via an amazing viewpoint overlooking the entire main beach, and was absolutely stunning!!
Whilst we were here the weather was beautiful the whole time (27+ every day).
From Koh Tao we caught a ferry back to Koh Samui.
We can't really comment on Koh Samui as we only spent one night there and left early the next day, however from what we saw it looked nice.
From Koh Samui we flew back to Phuket and jumped on a ferry bound for Koh Phi Phi. Koh Phi Phi was a tiny, picturesque island with crystal blue water and large green cliff faces surrounding the beaches. It was really beautiful!
We stayed at Bayside Resort however this was probably a little too nice for us. Don't get me wrong, the resort was awesome, however in future we'd probably book a hostel on the other side of the island just to save some cash. We never spend much time in our rooms when away. As long as we have a spot to lock up our stuff securely and a clean bed to sleep in, we're pretty easy on the accommodation side. We would rather save the cash we don't spend on a room for other fun things!
On Koh Phi Phi we booked a days boat/snorkelling trip that took us to Monkey Beach, Viking Cave, Maya Bay. There are lots of tours on the island and they all cost roughly the same price. These tours tend to visit the spots at the exact same time so it can mean that the places are very congested (hard to get a nice picture!). We were a little late to arrive at Maya Bay (where Leonardo Dicaprio's film, The Beach is set) and this worked to our advantage as all the other tour groups were leaving when we arrived!
It was really beautiful however we were a little annoyed at the amount of rubbish left behind by the other tour groups and tourists.. Upsetting! We saw a couple of tiny reef sharks swimming around the bay, got some amazing pictures and headed back to Koh Phi Phi Don.
One night in Phi Phi we went out after dinner. At every shop and on every corner you can buy buckets. The buckets come with a can of soft drink or red bull and a small flask of spirits (vodka, bourbon, etc). These make for a serious hangover as there ends up being about 9 standard drinks per bucket, diluted only by one can of soft drink.. Beware, Sean still has no memory of anything that night after 10pm.
Another thing we did whilst on Phi Phi that I highly recommend is walking up to the View Point. It overlooks the 2 bays and is a beautiful view. There is also a bar up there! Bonus.
Before we knew it our time in Thailand had come to an end. We caught a ferry back to Phuket, stopped at a local restaurant for some mango and sticky rice (DELICIOUS) and boarded our plane.
Until next time Thailand, it was fun.
An Aussie who loves travelling, hiking, trail running and pretty much any activity you can do outdoors.