I really want to go to the islands in southern Thailand (would prefer other girls to join me but not much luck so far :-() and having never done this alone before I REALLY need some help/advice. I know there's a ton of info out there but I'm overwhelmed!!!
Travel time Late Sept/Early Oct. How much should I expect to pay for the following:
1. bus from bangkok to Koh Samui or flight or train ?
2. beach huts in Koh samui or Koh pangan (on beach, clean bed, clean bathroom and hammock and SAFE)
3. massages on beach OR a cheap spa with the works (i.e. mind body soul)
4. cooking classes
5. bicycle rental
6. any other expenses I should be aware of
Does the weather allow for some gorgeous sunsets during this period?
Is there any CHEAP shopping in Bangkok? how safe is it?
Where does one put their passports/money etc.(lockers anywhere) when out partying or exploring etc.
My flight with Bangkok airways only cost me 1620THB, so Bangkok airways can be really cheap if you check the internet deals... but the best deals have the worst flight times. We paid 600THB for a bungalow on the northern end of Lammai, and it was clean and the people were friendly. The day we left someone had their wallet stolen though. Massages on the beach were all around 500THB to 600THB.
Have fun on your own! I was solop most of my time in Thailand anad it was worth it! You can meet heaps of people when you're out there... and you don't have to change your plans for anyone!
A bus to Koh Samui can be as cheap as 400 Baht. Don't expect a comfortable ride though. One thing to avoid is taking a bus that leasves from Khao Sarn Road (if you stay in this area). They are called VIP buses but are basically a rip off. You just go directly to the bus terminal and go from there.
There are "real" VIP buses available that I took before for 700 Baht one way which had lots of leg space and you could nearly le like in a bed in the seats. Ask for these.
A flight will be definitely more than 1700 Baht. The normal rate is about 3300 Baht for one way. Sp expect about 7000 Baht for 2 ways.
Remember though: The bus ride will cut 2 days from your trip (going down Samui will take a long time and after that you will be tired as hell). You will also have to take a ferry when you arrive which takes even more time. The plane brings you to samui in 1 hour and you land in the mddle of the island.
A bungalow in samui can go from 250 Baht to a several thousand baht depending on the area.
Chaweng is where all the action is but its expensive, too. There are some cheaper ones left but they are not ver nice and sometimes a bt dirty, too.
Good ebaches to check out are Bophut and Maenam. They are a bit less touristy but still just a 5-10 minutes ride away from Chaweng Beach.
A massage on the beach wil only cost about 300 Baht for an hour. If you want a real Spa you can pay up to 1500-2000 Baht for a full treatment. It is worth it though.
Cooking classes i Cant help with. Not sure how much they are. The ones offered at the hotels will be expensive for sure setting you back several thousand baht. Not sure where else courses are offered.
Bicycle Rental will be close to nthing. Dont worry about that.
Cheap shopping in Bangkok can be foubd on the weekend market. But even in the city center you can get god deals. just stay away of all thdesigner boutiques. At Siam Square for example you can find many small local shops that offer very well priced clothing and other things.
Pratunam is another cheap area for cheap clothes. Its close to Siam Square and many ocal factories have their outlets there. You get everything from t-shirts, pants, shirts, shoes, etc.
Bangkok is a safe city. Don't worry too much about this.
If you stay at the hotel, im sure they will have a safe deposit bx for you to use. Otherwise get one of those bags you can wrap arounf your body and keep with you all the time and put your money and passport in there at all times.
1. Bus from Bangkok to Koh Samui or flight or train?
You can fly direct to Samui from Bkk.
Bangkok Air owns the airport on Samui and the normal return fair is over 5000 baht. There are discounts to be had. There are about 10 flights a day.
Be warned that there is an airport charge on leaving the island of about 400baht in cash. (There is also a charge when going home from Bkk International of 500baht)
I think you can also get a round ticket that includes Phuket.
You can get to Surrathani by air, bus or TRAIN! Then you take the ferry to Koh Samui. The train is a comfortable overnight sleeper and I’ve heard only good things about it... Buses are cheap but not the most enjoyable form of transport. The flight to Surrathani is considerably less than the direct flight.
I can’t give you any prices but there is a Thai railway web site. Check other airlines than Bkk Air to Surrathani.
2. Beach huts in Koh Samui or Koh pangan (on beach, clean bed, clean bathroom and hammock and SAFE)
If you are sensible most places are safe in Thailand. Try to find a lock-up or safe for your valuables. Others have recommended suitable places to stay.
3. Massages on beach OR a cheap spa with the works (i.e. mind body soul)
Most places even on the beach have a pricelist displayed…don’t worry too much…you can only be over charged a dollar or so anyway.
4. Cooking classes
Your hotel or any nearby travel agent will point you in the right direction on that one….aren’t you just the busy one!?!?!
5. Bicycle rental
Beware of traffic on Samui; it has the highest accident rate of Thailand. You can hire mountain bikes; again the hotel should help you there. A motor-bike is usually about 150 to 300 baht a day. I would suggest that you only get one if you are a competent rider…always wear a hat and take great care whether on a bike or motorbike.Check the bike over, brakes etc before you go off.
6. Any other expenses I should be aware of
The airport “fees”.
Ferry and taxi/bahtbus fares from airport or ferry nothing more than a couple of hundred baht.
Does the weather allow for some gorgeous sunsets during this period?Yes
is there any CHEAP shopping in Bangkok? How safe is it?
Yes….pretty safe. Take a meter taxi rather than a tuk-tuk, you’ll find with the meter on you’ll pay less than the tuk-tuks.Tuk-tuks will always try to take you to somewhere where they can get a commision, just say no or get out and hop into another cab.
Where does one put their passports/money etc. (lockers anywhere) when out partying or exploring etc.
You are required by law to carry ID (i.e. passport) in Thailand, but that is seldom enforced. Most hotels will have safety boxes either in reception or your room. In general they are trustworthy. I’ve never heard of anyone loosing stuff from a hotel safe in Thailand.