THAILAND

 

October 2004 - Cambodia & Thailand

March 2009 - Bangkok & the islands
photos

 

Introduction

I reached Thailand for a short vacation from 9 to 25 May 1999, the idea was to reach a sea place  to do life beach and some dives, considering that I had been to Phuket a pair of years ago this time I chose Ko Samui. 

Ko Samui

To arrive

As usual I booked only the intercontinental flight, once arrived to Bangkok I passed to the national flights terminal and I took the first flight to Samui, the only company that effects this route (approximately a flight each hour) it is the Bangkok Airways. In comparison to the average of the prices of Thailand the ticket is a little bit expansive (3180 Thb), however the service is excellent, before the flight passengers can wait in a room with Business Class services. 

After 1,5  hour I landed to Samui airport, the first impression has been of a "wildest" place as I expected compared for example to Phuket; after spending some days however I learned to appreciate this situation. 

Between the 2 most famous places: Chaweng and Lamai I chose the first one, mainly because it is the more equipped, for night life and for the beach considering that in the other places because of the little depth of water it is almost impossible to swim. 

Chaweng Mapchaweng_map.jpg (62282 byte)

Lodging 

There are accommodations for all the tastes, from the hut to 5 star hotels; besides May it is considered low season therefore some good accommodations can be found to little price. 

Traveling alone I chose the Samui Country Resort where a nice bungalow was 300 Thb. 

What to do 

The beach is decidedly nice, besides usual aquatic activities you can have very relaxing massages for 200 Thb, there are also many sellers with every kind of merchandise but they are not harassing like in other places;

the island is relatively small, with a one day excursion it's possible to see all the most important things, I chose a jeep-tour that done a circuit inside the forest with standstill on top of the tallest hill of the island and to the Hin Lad falls to arrive to the temple of the big Buddha at the end of the day.

The evening along the principal road there are stands with every kind of merchandise but the prices are less convenient than Bangkok, as for the food there are restaurants for all the tastes: from the Mexican to the Korean, I preferred the good local kitchen above all for the fish and the shellfishes . After dinner varied pubs are found where you can have a drink or playing to billiards, there are also 2 discos: the Saint Fe and the Reggae Pub. 

Diving 

I immediately start with saying that I remained a little bit disappointed considering that I expected a better visibility. On the island quite a lot diving center are found, I chose the 2 big ones: Easy Diver and SIDS, between two what has made me the better impression was the first one. Average for 2 immersions with the complete rental of the equipment, the food and the transport from/to the hotel I spent 65 $; besides to the arrival in the airport and in varied points in the village good discounts can be withdrawn for varied activities diving included. 

Sail Rock is perhaps the most famous point in the zone where there is the possibility to make the most interesting meetings, I was not very lucky because the visibility was bad. 

 

In the Marin Park the depth is not excessive (max 18 mt), therefore corals are essentially observed, I liked quite a lot the passages in burrows (also because it was the first time).

Dive sites map

 

Ko Phangan

Unfortunately for lack of time I have not succeeded in going, persons that I meet on the place referred that it is a little bit an alternative between Ko Samui and Ko Tao. At the end of each month (approximately) in concomitance with the days of full moon, holds on the Haad Rin beach the Full Moon Party, a rave party where "everything is allowed", it is very famous between the backpackers in fact all those that I met foresaw to go there. 

Full Moon Party: tips and schedules

 

Ko Tao

It is one of the most famous places in Thailand for divers, on the island are found so much diving center with competitive prices that quite a lot persons go there to follow courses for all the levels. Daily excursions arrives from Samui or for the one that wants to stay some day the ferry (around 3 hours) or fast boat (1 hour) can be used. 

Except a resort (that I didn't see), Ko Tao offers spartan accommodations and the electricity for the fan or the a/c and the light generally worked only since 6 pm to 6 am. It is normally worthwhile to lodge with the agency with which you have the intention to dive, the middle price for one dive it is 800-1000 Thb, with following discounts for more diving. 

I lodged to the Crystal Dive resort next to the dock, it has made a good impression to me either for the lodging either as diving center. I had 6 dives (between which mine first nighttime) for a total of 3750 Thb. 

Between the points where I dived (those marked in red in the chart) those that I liked more was the n 1 for the big sighted fishes even if the place was decidedly overcrowded , the n 7 where I saw coral of all the forms and the n 9 for good visibility; in the point n 2 I made the nighttime dive: exciting more than other because it was the first time. 

 

1

Hin Pee Vee

18-24m

Big fish

dive_sites_2.jpg (8009 byte)

2

White Rock

10-20m

turtles

3

Chumpon Pinnacle

18-38m

Big fish

4

Twin Peaks

8-18m

Trigger fish city

5

Green Rock

16-20m

Swim thru's

6

Nang Yuan Pinnacle

22-12m

caves

7

Japanese Garden

10m

Coral garden

8

Nang Yuan Bay one

7m

Hard coral

9

Mango Bay

6-12m

coral

10

Lighthouse

10-20m

Unusual fish

11

Hin Wong Pinnacle

16-30m

Big fish

12

Hin Wong Bay

6-12m

coral

13

Laem Thian

16-20m

More caves

14

Aow Tanote

8-10m

Coral

15

Aow Leuk

8-16m

Coral

16

Shark Island

10-22m

Everything!

17

Big Buddha

10-12m

Coral

18

Southwest Pinnacle

18-24m

Sharks

19

Three Rocks

10-12m

Coral

20

Sail Rock

10-40m

Big fish



To Ko Tao I saw wonderful sunsets:

tramonto.JPG (19922 byte) tramonto1.JPG (35342 byte) tramonto2.JPG (35420 byte)

 

After 10 days of sun and sea I moved to Bagkok for the last days of vacation, to reach it I chose the combination ferry-train via Chumpon to avoid to return to Ko Samui. 

 

Bangkok

Considering that in the precedent trip I already visited the city this time was almost exclusively devoted to the shopping, Bangkok is also without doubt a mecca for the shopping, besides the markets scattered for the city where to acquire souvenir and imitate goods as clocks or clothes also in the commercial centers excellent acquisitions can be made, between these, those more convenient seemed  me those to Silom Road (in the PatPong zone). 

Lodging 

For the lodging this time I chose the backpackers district,  the zone of Khao San Road, in fact along the principal road, guest house can be found for all the tastes and the pockets. 

Transport  

To move around the city I used almost exclusively the public transport, the net of the buses is a little bit complicated to interpret but very convenient, the Chao Phraya River Express (the river bus) it is very useful above all to avoid the traffic jam, also the taxi is however very convenient. 

 

Links

Ko Samui1

Ko Samui2

Ko Phangan

 

Copyright 1999 Giuseppe Ruperto. All rights reserved.