Hey guys, is anyone arriving/around Bangkok around the 8th Jan 09? I am due to arrive for a month from the UK and wondering if any1 is up for a few drinks or something to take the fear of being solo away!
I plan to stay in BKK for a few days before heading down south to the islands on the east and west side of the island..does any1 have similar plans? saying that, im pretty flexible on itenery..
Give me a shout anyway if your around, Katie x
Hi Katie, if you're nervous about being on your own then there are a couple of hostels that are worth knowing about in Southern Thailand. In Koh Phi Phi there's a place called The Rock Backpackers which is one of the most friendly sociable hostels I've stayed in and excellent for meeting people. There's a sort of balcony area outside the main dorm where everyone hangs out so you basically can't stay at The Rock without meeting people.
Also, in Koh Pha Ngan there's a new place called Lazy House Hostel just behind the Drop In Bar on Haad Rin Sunrise Beach. I've never stayed there but I've met the owner and he seems sound. Like I say, it's really close to the Drop In Bar though, so if you're after an early night then it's not the place to stay, but if you're wanting to meet people then it might be an option to look into.
For Bangkok I'm not sure of any hotels/hostels which are good for meeting people, but you can do day tours to Kanchanaburi (Bridge over the River Kwai and the Jeath Museum) and there's also a few other tours you can do which might be a good option for meeting people.
thanks so much for the reply, i have noted the paces down and this Rock hostel you speak of looks exactly what i am looking for.. i know this looks a daft question but, as i have never done the backpacking thing before i am a littl eunsure of staying in dorm rooms..are there facilities to lock away valuables and bags in all hostels? as i notice that some places do not mention this as a facility.
Also, do you happen to know of the cheepest airline to fly to ko samui with from bangkok? thanks in advance
Not all hostels have lockers but at The Rock each dorm bed has its own small locker. The lockers are basically built into the bed behind your head (the width of the bed but really thin) with a metal panel that slides along. It's big enough to fit a wallet and a camera and an iPod and stuff like that in, but you won't be able to fit your bags in it.
I've been going backpacking for years though and I always just leave my backpack in the dorm and I've never had anything stolen from it. Obviously use the locker though for valuables, but general stuff like clothes and stuff are pretty safe to just leave in the dorm. Just to doubly reassure you though, the dorm at The Rock is up quite a few steps so its not somewhere a stranger could just happen to wander into.
Ar, and you need to bring your own padlock for the locker.
For getting to Koh Samui/Koh Pha Ngan, I always prefer getting the coach or train down to Surat Thani and then getting the ferry across to Koh Samui or Koh Pha Ngan. It's a long journey, but if you do it overnight then you're asleep for most of the journey so it's not so bad. I paid 500 baht for a combined coach/ferry ticket to Koh Pha Ngan a few weeks ago which was a total bargain. If you go by train though, the combined price will be more in the region of 900 baht for a second class sleeper ticket in a fan carriage.
If you've got your heart set on flying down though, then I think I heard from someone once that Bangkok Airways has got a monopoly on Samui airport so you might have no option but to fly with them. I'm not too genned up on the prices but I would imagine that if they have got a monopoly then they'll probably take advantage of this and charge a bit more. Like I say though, I'm not certain about this so it might be totally wrong or out-of-date so if you do decide to fly down check it out further before booking up.
Hope this helps, but if there's anything else you need to know just ask.
Ar, and obviously everyone has their own personal opinion, but in general I would say Koh Pha Ngan is a better choice than Koh Samui if you're backpacking. I've only been to Koh Samui once but it seemed to have more tourists (like couples and families and stuff) whereas Koh Pha Ngan seems to have more backpackers. Not that there's anything wrong with catering to tourists but it if you're seeing Thailand as a backpacker, rather than on a package holiday, then I would personally say Koh Pha Ngan is the better option. Admittedly I'm biased though, because Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Phi Phi are my two favourite places in Thailand. And depending on your timescale you might have time to see Samui and Pha Ngan, but if you've only got time for one then my personal recommendation would be for Koh Pha Ngan.
Ar, and obviously on the west side then I obviously think Koh Phi Phi is an excellent choice as well.
aww thanks so much for that, reassures me.. i think that i will be going to Ko samui but only briefly, and will aim to go to phagnan and tao for longer instead..then go down to Krabi and phi phi because i have a flight from Phuket to singapore to make it in time for.. is it easy to get between the east and west coast?
Because im on a pretty short time scale (only 3 weeks in thailand) and want to see a lot (ive done bangkok/up north previously) i am going to head down to Surat Thani by plane (1100 baht bargain) and then get across to the islands by boat i think..is that easy to do once your down there? sorry for all the questions.. the guide books make it sound easy but dont necessary tell you how to go about it do they !
I think that sounds like a good plan and 1100 baht sounds like a bargain for a flight.
Getting from east to west involves a few changes but it's easy enough. From Koh Pha Ngan to Koh Phi Phi last year I bought a combined ticket from the travel office at Chicken Corner in Haad Rin and that was really well organised. Just turned up at the set time and they put you in a taxi to the ferry port, then you get the ferry to Surat Thani, then you get a taxi truck to some cafe where you wait for a couple of hours, then it's a coach across to Krabi ferry port, then finally the ferry across to Koh Phi Phi. It probably sounds like a long complicated journey but it was well organised and there were plenty of Thai people at every step of the journey to make sure everyone got on the right taxi/coach and ended up where they were meant to be.
Having said that, I've never had any problems personally but I know a mate of mine bought a combined ticket once when he was on Koh Tao and got ripped off. He basically got the ferry back to the mainland okay but then no-one would recognise his ticket for the rest of the journey so he had to pay again. In general though, most of the travel agents are totally sound so I think he was just unlucky, and like I say I've never had any trouble from Koh Pha Ngan.
If you were worried though, you can generally buy individual tickets at every step of the way. I did this last year when travelling from Koh Phi Phi to Koh Pha Ngan. I couldn't decide whether to split the journey up with a day in Krabi or whether to do it all in one go, so I just bought a ferry ticket to Krabi, then bought my coach ticket and ferry ticket in Krabi. It's simpler just to buy a combined ticket though, if you definitely know where you want to go.
It's worth mentioning that there's two ferry companies that go across to Koh Samui and Koh Pha Ngan from the mainland. One leaves from Surat Thani ferry port and the other leaves from Don Sak ferry port, which is about 90 minutes drive south of Surat Thani. Both cost about the same but I personally prefer the large ferry that goes from Don Sak as that one has really nice comfortable chairs, rather than hard plastic seats like the seats on the small ferry that goes from Surat Thani! They both get you there though, so either is fine.
There are loads of ferries each day to Samui (see http://www.kohsamui-info.com/transportation/rajaferry.html and http://www.samuiwestcoast.de/samui/samui_transport.htm for timetables) so time-wise you'll have no problem with connections, but I couldn't say exactly what the options are for getting from the airport to the ferry ports. From Surat Thani train station there are desks selling combined coach/ferry tickets to both ferry ports and then onto Samui/Pha Ngan, so it may be similar at the airport but I'm not sure so you'd have to look into that further.
Anyway, sorry I've waffled on a bit. Hope it's some help though.
[ Edit: Edited on Jan 3, 2009, at 1:38 AM by Emmett70 ]
Hi, I'll be arriving on the 10th and spending a couple of days in Bangkok, doing a day trip up to Kanchaburi/Erawan National park, and then I'm island hopping down the andaman coast and hopefully doing a 3 day jungle trip. I haven't backpacked anywhere before either and only have 3 weeks but I plan to see as much as I can in that short time.
Don't worry, there are going to be lots of people travelling alone and I'm sure well both meet people before we even step out ofthe airport. If you want to eet up though, just give me a shout.
cheers for the reply guys..much appreciated!!
Candice i am probably going to be in bangkok still on the 10th..i'm also looking to go to Kanchaburi/Erawan National park before going down to the east and west coasts..so id definatley be up for meeting for a drink if you are around, let me know anyway!