Phuket to Phi Phi and back troubles

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1. Posted by Frogirl72 (First Time Poster 1 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I am going to be in Thailand for the first time next month with my husband and am really looking forward to it! The last leg of our trip is going to be spent on Ko Phi Phi island. We'll be flying into Phuket from Chiang Mai and are worried about travel to and from the island. We'll be arriving in Phuket at around 1:00 pm so we won't be able to make the 1:30 boat ride to Phi Phi. How long does it take to get from the airport to the docks? Is it possible (and safe/easy) to take a private boat to the island so we don't have to stay in Phuket? If we need to stay in Phuket for a day, what's a nice, non-touristy place to stay for under $150 US dollars? Coming back from the island, we have either a 6:00 pm or a 9:00 pm flight from Phuket to Bangkok. Would taking the 1:30 boat ride give us ample time to get to the airport for the 6:00 flight?

We're also trying to wonder if we have enough time to make Phi Phi--would it be better to spend 3 days in Phi Phi (with all of the travel time) or 5 days in Koh Samui (since we can fly right into it via Bangkok Air)? One of the things we want to do once we hit the beaches is do some scuba diving. I haven't begun looking into Koh Samui so any advice on lodgings/restaurants/things to do would be greatly appreciated.

Option number three is that we have the possibility of staying in either Krabi or Phuket for the 5 days that we're in the South and could take a day trip to Phi Phi if we want.

So, for those keeping score, should we:
Spend 3 days in Phi Phi
Spend 5 days in Koh Samui
Spend 5 days in Krabi
Spend 5 days in Phuket

Thanks so much!!

2. Posted by claireh (Respected Member 318 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

I would recommend to stay on Phi Phi. It is so beautiful there (more so than Samui, and less touristy). Personally, I didn't like Samui too much. Lots of people on package deals making a lot of noise, a lot of sleeze and a lot of western chains and not enough beauty to counteract this. Phi Phi is a lot more friendly and more beautiful. The sea is crystal clear and there are some amazing view points. It is also good to use as a base to explore nearby islands. I haven't done the trip from Phuket to Phi Phi but I'm sure it will be easy enough to get to Phi Phi by private boat, although it may cost a fair amount. I haven't been to Phuket as I've heard too many horrible things (Samui, but worse). Krabi is beautiful. I spent a few days on Tonsai beach recently and it is very relaxing, not busy and good if you enjoy climbing. Krabi and Phi Phi are excellent for diving.

3. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 11y Star this if you like it!

Hello Frogirl

I think u are trying to plan and organise way too much.
Just get to the pier, at a comfortable pace, and take the next boat. If there is no boat, for a couple of hours, there will be someplace to relax and have a coffee.

Cliches about best laid plans apply here. Especially, since things often dont start and finish, when they are scheduled to, in Thailand.

I think u will have no problem with getting accomodation, for less than 150 US dollars, anywhere in Thailand. In fact, if u are willing to spend 150 dollars u will get luxery accomodation.
In Phuket, stay in Phuket town. There is no place in Phuket, which is not touristy, but from the town, u can get to transport to various places easily.