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  1. #1
    Cynical Member
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    My month on Koh Phangan (and a few other places)

    My school gave me 6 weeks off this summer, so I boarded a plane to Thailand, grabbed the g/f in Bangers, and went down south for a month of sun. Some of the beaches I had already been to, and there were a few I wanted to check out for the first time.
    Anyway, the first stop was Koh Phangan. We got off the boat and boarded a 4x4 truck headed to Thong Nai Pan Yai. The good news is that they've smoothed out the road to Thong Nai Pan. The bad news is that there are more people there now, and the beach is getting more crowded with boats - it's not like it was 2 years ago when we first went, but it's still great for swimming. We stayed here for about 2 weeks.



    These were 600 a night. Hot water and right on the beach. The restaurant sucks, but walk a few steps behind the resort and there are a few good places, the best being a joint called Som's, which serves the best food on the island.


    Now a few weeks later we went to the beach next to this one, Thong Nai Pan Noi. This beach is a bit smaller, but still great for swimming. The main restaurant here is fantastic, complete with fire shows, and they've got a few bars along the beach that serve up cheap draft beer. This place is a bit more upmarket than its sister beach. There's a huge bungalow operation under construction in the middle of the beach that looks to be completed in about a year, so it's a bit noisy at the moment.


    The town at Noi is okay, especially if you don't want to be ripped off by the high prices the resorts charge at their restaurants. There's one joint that serves up their very own handsome sandwiches:


    We went to Haad Rin once but it's a royal pain to get back. The taxi mafia wanted 800 baht, so we just took a longtail for 1000 instead which made the ride a lot nicer:
    "Fuck off. And take your stupid cult with you."

    -Scarlett Johansson to Tom Cruise

  2. #2
    Cynical Member
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    Next we went to my new favorite beach, Haad Yao. This has been described by people as the "perfect" beach, and.....it is. The swimming is shallow and they've got coral for you snorkelers. It's also a very quiet beach - not too many tourists here and only a handful of bungalow operations. You won't find any longtail or noisy fishing boats here. There's one place that charges 300 baht for a small bungalow right on the beach (they were full though). Walk up the hill and there are a few cheaper restaurants and bars to choose from. This beach is located on the west side of the island, so the sunsets are beautiful. It was also hotter here than the other beaches we visited. We stayed here for a week before moving on, but we'll definitely be back. Anyway, these bungalows were 500 baht a night (Sandy Bay Bungalows).







  3. #3
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    nice pics bud

  4. #4
    I am in Jail

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    Thanks for those nice pics and memories. I spent 3 weeks on that beach in a nice bungalow a couple years ago in low season. Full moon parties can really bring a lot of tossers onto that island.

  5. #5
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    up north around chaloklom is lovely too

  6. #6
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    I decided to check out Koh Tao. I'd never been there before and had heard that it wasn't just for divers - that they had some nice beaches. Well, I was wrong. We went to two different beaches and both of them sucked. The tide doesn't come in until about 6 or 7 in the evening, making swimming very shallow. There are hordes of tourists on this island as well. It's so overcrowded here that we had to search around for an hour just to find accommodation. While we were eating dinner that night there were still people walking around looking for places to stay at about 9 pm. Anyway here are some pics:

    Chalok Baan Kao. This was the view from our tiny bungalow - 400 baht a night. Nice view, but not great for swimming.




    Viewpoint bungalows: these are about 1000 a night. We really wanted to stay here, but the bastards never answer their phone. We went over there and realized that they have 3 phone numbers - but only 1 of them worked. They were booked for the week.


    This bay below viewpoint is the only place that I saw decent swimming:

  7. #7
    I am in Jail

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    I would rate all those islands in the gulf as less attractive beaches than on Andaman side. Samui has some nice ones though...

  8. #8
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    We went over to Sairee beach, the most popular beach. I have no idea why this place is so popular. Sure it's got loads of restaurants and bars, but the beach is ugly. Maybe it was the time of year? I took this shot around 4 pm, and the tide isn't even close to coming in.



    This is around 6 or 7pm:

  9. #9
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    Next we decided to head over Krabi and risk the weather. We stayed on Ao Nang for 3 days, and it rained nonstop for 3 days. The worst luck. So after 3 days we went back over to Samui. I only took 4 pictures whilst on Krabi; here are a few of them. This shot I took an hour before we left to go back to Samui. As luck would have it, the sun came out the day we left. But we had already purchased tickets.


    View of Phi-Phi in the rain:


    We decided to go to Samui and check out Lamai. We hadn't been there in about 2 years. This place has changed dramatically. It reminds me of a mini Pattaya. The strip is lined with girlie bars, dvd stalls, and touts. Yellow taxis are a stain upon the strip, honking their horns at every farang that passes. In other words, it has become shit.
    Hell, it even has it's own version of Pattaya's Walking Street. In a few years no doubt gogos will line this once beautiful place:


    We went down to the beach in hopes of taking a walk but soon realized that wasn't possible. Beach umbrellas, speedboats, jetskis, and touts line this beach today. It seems that Koh Samui's days are over, at least on the eastern side.




    We finally settled on a place in the center of town, a resort that had just opened. Because they had just opened (and weren't completely finished), they offered us a discount: 1300 baht. More than half the price it usually is. It's got a great pool, so we just stayed here for the remaining few days, swimming, reading, and drinking (among other things). Looking back I probably should have gone back to KPG, but really didn't feel up to 2 more boat trips.


    Overall a fantastic trip. Highlight was Haad Yao obviously; I just hope it stays that way for a while. In a few years I'll probably have to go really off the beaten path to find seclusion.

  10. #10
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    Excellent photos. I love these travel threads and this is a fine one. I dove Koh Tao back in '89. Only one building on the island then....

  11. #11
    I am in Jail

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    The problem I have with Samui is that the very small roads cannot accomodate the big increase in growth there. Very congested traffic as a result in places like lamai and Chawaeng.

  12. #12
    lom
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    Them paradises only last for a short time...
    Tomorrow is the grand opening of BigC in Chaweng, look how modern we have become

  13. #13
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    awesome pics mate - thanks!

  14. #14
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    Thanks for the pics, especially Haad Yao. Not there for ten years. Lamai snaps -- what a tragedy. The beach used to be lovely.

  15. #15
    gos
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    Thanks for great pictures, Koh Phangnan has been added to my list of places to see when I retire to Thailand next year

  16. #16
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    The beach on Lamai looks quite good from the pics actually!

    Agree with Haad Yao. Haad Salad, the next bay round is also very nice, as is Bottle Beach (Haad Kuat) on the north coast and Haad Yuan on the east, just round the headland from Haad Rin. Haad Yuan's starting to become more busy with the boat traffic though so not sure how long it's got left...


    I hear you can still go remote, untouched and rustic further round the east coast though. Not yet managed to go though.

  17. #17
    bkkmadness
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    Chalok Baan Kao. This was the view from our tiny bungalow - 400 baht a night. Nice view, but not great for swimming.
    I always end up staying at that bay. You must have been in sunrise guesthouse on the far left, nice guys that run that place, one Burmese and one Chinese I think.

    I always take a 5 min walk over to Rocky Bay for a bit snorkelling. Rarely fail to see sharks there once you get out to the right depth.

  18. #18
    If It's Hot, It's Here
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    I gotta make it down the south once in my life.
    Great stuff, cheers.

  19. #19
    Newbie insomnia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by durianfan View Post






    This strip looks new DurianFan, I was there last summer and don't remember an "official" walking street. Maybe some smart bar owners got together and put up a sign. Then again I never made it too far past Suitcase Dave's bar (near the Lamai Boxing Stadium)

    Great pics BTW

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