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Pls help to choose one out of two alternatives (peak season)

Seattle, Washington
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522 posts
57 reviews
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Pls help to choose one out of two alternatives (peak season)


I thought I have final plan for 9 days in Thailand during peak season:

3 nights in Khao Sok (Dec 27-30) 2 nights in Phuket for NYE celebration, then stay in Railay jan 1st - Jan 5th.

We'll be arriving from Singapore and after staying in Thailand will head to Seattle with more than half day in Bangkok and almost day layover in Seoul - so it will be not fast and easy way back.

The reason I peaked Railay as the last portion as I though it would be the most relaxing and most scenic one (I'd like to leave the best for the end).

I didn't know much about Khao Sok, but then I discovered that place and it also looks very interesting and very scenic, but I have heard warnings from several tour operators and accommodation owners that Dec 27-30 is not the best time to visit Khao Sok because park will be full of partying local people, so it won't be as quiet and serene as it could be and they advised to visit it after Jan 2nd.

So now I'm thinking maybe I should listen to advise from Khao Sok experts and stay at Railay first (Dec 27th - Dec30 or 31st), then relocate to Phuket for a couple of days and leave Khao Sok as the last portion of my trip.

Do you think Khao Sok can beat Railay in terms of scenery and relaxation? I really would like to save the best for the last portion of my trip.

I still have flexibility to rearrange my hotel bookings, so both options should be available.


Poulton Le Fylde...
Destination Expert
for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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39,737 posts
96 reviews
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1. Re: Pls help to choose one out of two alternatives (peak season)

Khao Sok and Railay are chalk and cheese.

Khao Sok is one of the largest National parks in Thailand comprising thousands of acres of rain forest, much of it inaccessible and at its Eastern end the Ratchaprapha Dam, Thailand's biggest civil engineering project, and the awesome Cheow Lan Lake created when flooding the valleys. The resultant limestone outcrops and islands are now home to many forms and varieties of wildlife and the lake is teeming with fish.

Railay is an idyllic beach with fabulous picture postcard views best seen when the day trippers arriving mainly from Ao Nang have departed.

At the time of year you are considering there is likely to be many day trippers. Not having visited Khao Sok between Xmas and New Year I find it strange that " the park will be full of partying local people" as although Thais tend to celebrate New Year, Xmas remains largely a lower key festival for visitors with most businesses remaining open and therefore people working during that period. Perhaps a post on the Khao Sok forum might get some responses from visitors who have stayed there over the festive period.

Khao Sok is enjoyed at any time with walks, rides on the river (or elephants) and/or the lake so is likely to be less relaxing than Railay.

Seattle, Washington
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522 posts
57 reviews
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2. Re: Pls help to choose one out of two alternatives (peak season)

I was also surprised to hear that comment about partying local people, but that's what I heard from 4 different people representing different companies - that it will be loud, busy on the lake with music and karaoke.

I understand Khao Sok and Railay are very different, and I think I'll like them both, and I understand it's hard to answer my question.

Maybe I'll stick to my original plan and take one day Lake tour on Dec 28th (which will be Fri), assuming most people (if those warnings are true) will start to show up for Sat-Sun-NYE.

By relaxing I mean not staying at the beach whole day - I usually like to be at the beach early morning and evening / sunset, and take some activities during the day, and I plan to follow the same plan in Railay, because it will be extremely busy during midday, I rather mean having enjoyable time, see great scenery, see the best and go against the crowds. We are in a pretty good physical shape so activities during the day don't ruin relaxation rather add to it :)

3. Re: Pls help to choose one out of two alternatives (peak season)

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