I'll be back in Bangkok for work Jan 18 - 27th. After that I'm free and I may go down the Mekong and see a bit of Cambodia or go up to Chang Rai.
The boyfriend will fly over around Feb 9 and can stay through the 21st. Full Moon is Feb 18th (I think.)
I've never been to the beaches - he's been to Phuket and loved it. We've got about 2 weeks to play with, and there's so much info out there that I'm a bit frustrated. I'm also not sure that we can 'wing it' well enough, but maybe we can. Would like something relaxing, crazy fresh seafood, moderately priced, but to see as much as we can. Not backpackers - also would like to stay in the $50-$70 a night range (or less even). Definitely want to be within range of the full moon party although beyond Thai Redbull, we won't be 'partaking'. Boyfriend is a DJ, but he also likes his sleep and his massages, if you can imagine.
So far I've gathered that Koh Phangan may be a must - Had Yuan? As well as Krabi - Ko Tao - Ko pha ngan - Phi Phi/Laem Tong
What we need is a 10 day to 2 week complete iten. with hotel suggestions - happy to move around and explore as well as spending multiple days in one place to soak it all up. We'd like to assault our senses with Thai awesomeness - not farang b.s.
All suggestions and paths are very much encouraged.
PLEASE HELP. - M
There are so many choices! Each Island has it's own flavor and each beach area a little different feel. I'd start by taking some time looking at travelfish.org they have good concise info about most places in Thailand, take a look at the article titled "What's the Best Island In Thailand?". (I ended up going to an Island I'd never heard of on their recommendation and loved it.) If you have the time, hit a party-hearty place like Koh Phan Ngan and then some where more quiet and local oriented like Koh Yao Noi.
I found Krabi to be a good base for Island hopping, you can catch ferries to most of the Andaman Islands from there. It is also a nice little low key town to spend a few days in - make sure to eat at the night market down by the river - and there are some fun day trips from there.
Since you don't have much time I'd skip Koh Tao unless you want some cheap scuba diving. I stayed in a dive dive, but heard from a few people that Sariee Beach Cottages was a nice place to stay. There is great seafood grilled at tons of places up and down the beach each night - I like the one next to Seashell Divers on Sariee Beach.
Phi Phi Island is really beautiful. Rent a kayak or hire a boat & driver for the day to get to some of the more secluded beaches. Eat at the little place near the Reggae Bar called Mango or Papaya (sorry, can't remember the name, but it's a fruit! Ask for the place where the cats like to sit in the fridge...) If you dive, there is some very nice diving around Phi Phi.
Go with Blue View Divers!
But if you want to get away from "farang BS" you will need to get far, far away from places like most of the ones you & I have mentioned above...
If it was me i would spend a few days on phi phi (the town is horible but the beaches are the best i have seen in the south) railay for a few days(stay on east of island its cheaper but west has rly nice beach) from railay maybe do day trip to ao nang but it really is not all that. koh lanta also has pretty nice beach and the sunsets are best I have seen in asia. Me and my girlfriend are currently in Koh chang and here is beautiful as well but as it is on the eastern gulf it takes 24 hours to travel over from southern thailand.
As for full moon it really depends on your persona preference. We (and the people we met found) that if your 18 and want 24 hour parties for the 5-7 days your there then stasy by haad rin. if you just want to party on evenings but still sleep and have nice chilled resort then stay a little bit away. we were in Baan Kai about 5 min drive from the pier and we had amazing facilities quitness when we wanted to sleep and also for full moon most resorts do a pick up and drop off service which is pretty good and cheap and runs all night so no matter what time you crack you can get back safe and sound.
we have stayed in a few nice places so if you want any reccommendations just ask, although like i said before each place really is a personal preference.
Hi, I spent 4 months in Thailand as an exchange student and have a lot of Thai friends so I can give u some insight based on my travels. First and foremost, you must visit Koh Phi Phi Leh (Maya bay, movie the beach...) because it is beautiful, but it really is not too relaxing. Koh Phi Phi is farang BS, I must admit. You can't stay on the island itself, instead you stay on a nearby island (Koh Phi Phi Don). There are two ways to get about this: fly to Phuket and then head to the Phi Phi islands OR fly to Krabi and then head to Phi Phi islands. As for Phuket itself, I've never been, but its largely known as a destination for sex tourists (though not as much as pattaya). I stayed at Koh Phi Phi Don via Krabi and the hotel was PP Princess. Price was about 1200 baht a night including breakfast for a group of 4 people combined. Thats about 40 bucks a night.
As for full moon party, its worth a visit it if you've never been. We stayed at the Charm Beach Resort. It's a nice little resort with a pool and stuff and on-site bar/restaurant/etc. It's really relaxing. Bungalows weren't too expensive, probably about 2000 baht a night during full moon season. Keep in mind during full moon, all the resorts have a minimum stay (usually 4-5 nights), so plan accordingly or be willing to shell out a few more. I've heard Koh Phangan itself is a beautiful island, but we were only there for a few days and didn't explore too much. BTW, the night before the actual full moon party is a lot of fun bc its a party atmosphere with less people, try to go then if you can. As for Full Moon party, please be careful, lot of people will offer you drugs. Buying or Selling drugs in Thailand as well as consuming them can carry a penalty of death, so please avoid this! I've heard that many people that offer the drugs get paid by the cops to turn people in, and the Thai police will make you pay ridiculous bribes (read: thousands of dollars), so just don't do it. It's stupid anyway, drugs are bad!
I say the best kept secret of Thailand is Koh Samed, its so close to Bangkok and dominated by Thai vacationers and not as many farang. It is my favorite beach and the most relaxing one, mostly because you don't have to spend so much time traveling to the actual place from Bangkok! Stay at Jep's bungalows (google it). Price was 1,200 or 1,500 baht a night for a room including breakfast on the beach (awesome). The night life is pretty nice or you can do a romantic dinner on the beach at very reasonable prices.
This should give you an idea of beaches in Thailand. They are indeed awesome, but Koh Phi Phi is overrated nonsense, besides Maya Bay, there is nothing too spectacular there that can't be done elsewhere. Enjoy your visit, Thailand is a beautiful country!