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Samui - Phangan - Tao??

west midlands
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Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi we (hubby & me) have 3 weeks in Thailand in July/August. So far we have almost decided on:

Day 1 - 3 Bangkok

Days 3 - 6 Kanchanburi

Day 7 - Flight Bkk to Samui

Days 7 - 20 ?????????

Day 20 - Flight Samui to BKK

Day 21 - home

So we have nearly 2 weeks to fill up in the middle and dozens on questions! We are both early 40s and like snorkelling, hiking, relaxing & experiencing local culture. We don't want 5 star resorts just a nice beach, sea we can swim in and simple beach accommodation. My other half wants to see Samui (on the recommendation of a friend) but I am concerned that it will be too commercialised in some places. I am quite keen on going to Thong Nai Pan beach in Phangan as it looks and sounds great. Originally I wanted to go to all three islands - as I couldn't choose one:) but I have realised that we would use up valuable holiday time by travelling too much, so I thought we could just do 2. So does anyone have any recomendations - which island/s? How long to see each one,where to stay on Samui? Also I read that there is a ferry direct to Thong Nai Pan beach from Samui, does anyone know how often, where from and how to book this?

Sorry for such a long post but this is our first time to Thailand and I am VERY excited! : )

Ireland
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248 posts
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1. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi Bryony! Having been to Samui + Phangan you could defintely do all 3 of the islands you mentioned in a fortnight. Samui is very commercialised compared to the other 2 islands but we really enjoyed the buzz and nightlife. We stayed on chaweng beach, we are only 25. The recommendation for many from this site for your age group seems to be Fishermans village in the north of Samui. We visited it and it was very nice but too quiet for us honeymooners we liked the wide range of restaurant choices and pubs in chaweng. It is only around 15 minutes from Chaweng in a songthaew (like a taxibus, semi-open with benches, people hop on and hop off). So if you wanted to go into Chaweng for a night out you could no problem.

Fishermans village has views over to Ko Phangan, which is only a 30-45minute ferry ride away. I'm not sure about the ferry to Thong Nai Pan, but if you get the standard ferry which is very cheap (approx £5 return I think), you can then get a songthaew to your chosen beach. Will be a bumpy 30-40 minute ride but it's fun! Phangan is not nearly as developed as Samui but there are a lot of signs that it will head that way in the next number of years.

As for Ko Tao I haven't been, but I know it is to the North West of Phangan with daily ferrys also and again not fair in terms of journey time. I would recommend for you...

7-11th Samui (3nights)

11th - 15th Phangan (3nights)

15-18 Tao (3nights) BEST PLACE TO SNORKLE

18-20 Back to Samui (2nights)

You can get ferry to Samui from Tao. Just an idea I'm very jealous I'd love to go back again!!!

west midlands
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2. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi BazDown. Thanks for your advice. What time of year did you go, I've been reading about the low tides and the fact that you can't swim off some beaches at certain times of year. What's the beach like at Fishermans village?

I seem to have been researching this trip for months but I am still confused! I think the problem is that 3 weeks is just NOT long enough : )

Ireland
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3. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

We were there in October. Fishermans village beach seemed fine. Not clear sand more of a grainy pebbly sand if you know what I mean, but definitely still ok to walk on! Sand on chaweng beach is beautiful, especially in central to southern end! In north chaweng there is a reef around 60 metres out which can make it shallow, but you can still walk 5-10 mins down the beach to find a better spot! Tyr not to worry too much I did before we went and we loved it just go with the flow, don't obsess about decisions I'm sure no matter where you go on Samui or Phangan you will have a great time:)!

Ireland
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4. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Sorry Bryony just to add...if beach is really important to you I would without a doubt go to SOuth Chaweng! The most beautiful beach on the island easily. You are out of the busiest part of the hustle + bustle (which we loved) of chaweng. But plenty of good bars and restaurants within the vicinity to have a great time:)! It might be nice to have a bit of a livelier time in Samui as Phangan and Tao are very quiet!

west midlands
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5. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Ok I'll have a look at it. I must admit I haven't even consided Chaweng - reading about it makes it sound like the Blackpool of Thailand!

Warwick, United...
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6. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Have a look at Maenam beach.Lots of good beach accomodation.Swimmable most of the year.Handy for the ferry or catamaran to Phangan.

Durham UK
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7. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Been to Samui 4 times noe - love Maenam - for the older traveller it has it all - great beach - deep (although not clear) water for swimming - beach bars and restaurants and no hawkers

Chaweng is great beach but hawkers all day every day trying to sell stuff - does my head in

Chong mong (sorry for spelling) is my fav place - near Big Budda - not commercialised and great beach restaurants

Leeds, United...
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8. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi

We are both 40 and have been to Thailand a number of times. We were in Samui, Phangan and Koa Toa last year and we are going back there this year in August as well.

Samui is good for a bit of life and although commercialised, still has a great buzz. I would personally recommend the south beach in Chaweng. The beach is beautiful and away from the crowds. The hotels here are a 10 minute walk from the main drag, but you can jump on one of the local pick-ups for 30 baht a person. 10 minutes might sound like it's an easy walk, but in the heat and humidity it gets a bit warm! There are quieter resorts, but we like a bit of life. We stopped at the First House hotel, which in fine and includes buffet breakfast. Bang Por beach is really quiet, but not great for swimming (although it is idyllic).

In Koh Phangan we stopped at Salad Hut on Salad Beach which really is fantastic. There is more basic (and more exclusive) hotels on the beach, but this place was great value and really chilled out with friendly staff. It's a very small resort and chilling is the main attraction. Snorkelling is good if the tide is in and you can get over the coral reef. It's meant to be better snorkelling round the corner in Koh Ma, but we didn't make it there as it was just great to do nothing much for a few days. We are going back this year, but are also doing Thong Nai Pan beach. I agree it looks great!

We stopped at Sensi Paradise in Koh Toa and loved the island. The snorkelling is amazing and the island of Nang Yuan just off Koh Toa is a must see. Get a long tail boat as soon as you are allowed on the island (limited for daytrippers)and miss most of the day trippers from Samui and Phangan. The hotel is a bit expensive but we really liked it and it's a once a year thing, so hey, what the heck.

You can do all 3 islands easily as it's only 30 mins to Phangan and 1 and a half hours to Koh Toa. I would definitely do all 3 as they all had something different to offer.

The accomodation we stopped at above was mid range i.e not backpacker digs nor five star.

west midlands
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9. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi thanks for your advice. All three do sound great so I think we'll have to try and see all of them, unless we get 'stuck' somewhere that we can't bear to leave! We are hoping to just turn up on the islands and then find somewhere to stay, does anyone know how easy this will be in July/August?

Ireland
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10. Re: Samui - Phangan - Tao??

Hi Bryony don't think that will be too much of a problem, supposedly Thailand is a lot quieter so far this year and that's expected to continue. There are so many hotels on Samui + Phangan you will definitely find somewhere to stay, you just may not get your 1st choice one if it's particularly popular. Still very jealous hope you have an amazing time:)!