- Discover The Islands
Phuket has some wonderful big beaches with warm, green waters. Patong beach and Karon Beach are two of the best but they are full of tourists and the people that prey on them, ie aggressive vendors that want to get you in to their stores. The Royal Palm Resort in Patong is a good place to stay, and was actually the first hotel to open after the Tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. The Beshert hostel in Karon is very good value.
There is very good diving in Phuket, try do a live aboard so you can get out to the surrounding islands. There's also good snorkelling along the west coast. Phuket town is actually a much nicer place to stay, although it is inland a bit.
Ko Phi Phi Don is a must, it is breathtakingly beautiful. Diving is also fantastic here. The blockbuster movie, The Beach, was filmed on Ko Phi Phi Leh which is just off Ko Phi Phi Don. You can get a short boat trip over there.
Koh Samui is a large island south of the mainland. It is beautiful, although very developed in terms of hotels and bars aimed at tourists. Lamai and Chaweng are two of the liveliest places as well as two of the best beaches. The nightlife is crazy in Chaweng. It's great fun although the ladies might not enjoy the local girls trying to tempt their men into the local bars, just ignore them. Chaweng is a good place to catch a Muay Thai fight as they are quite regular.
Be aware of getting mugged or drugged here. There have been murders of western women so do not walk alone at night. The most danger you will face, however, is on the roads. Koh Samui has the highest death rate on the roads in Thailand, and many times it's tourists that end up killed after crashing their mopeds, so be careful. Get the Ferry from Surat Thani on the mainland.
It's quite a beautiful island but most travellers come here for the famous full moon parties. Head to Hat Rin for a night of wild, unreserved partying. Again be careful in the town as it can be dangerous.
Phuket International Airport is situated in the north of the island. There are some international flights in the high season but most flights come from within Thailand.
There are shuttle buses to Patong Beach and buses to Phuket Town. Taxis cost around 650 baht.
Taxis and Tuk Tuks are the best way of getting around. The Tuk Tukshere are bigger than in Bangkok. Try to get a metered taxi.
Ko Samui Airport is mainly used by Bangkok Airports and can be expensive to fly into. Most flights came from Bangkok.
Many people get a bus/ferry combo from Surat Thani. The ferry usually takes around 90 minutes.
Make sure you negotiate as taxi drivers will try and give you a fixed price.
Renting a car or motorbike is a fantastic way to get around the island. Be careful especially on the bikes as the roads can be dangerous. Make sure you check your car or bike for any damage before you leave.
Ko Pha Ngan
You can get a ferry from Ko Samui or Surat Thani.
Most people rent a motorbike or scooter. It’s the best way of getting around the island. There is a big chance you will get scammed in some way, usually by being charged for repairs that you did not cause, or overcharged for damages you did cause. Seeing as they ask for your passport before rental you will not have much of a choice. Take pictures of the bike before you take it and try to give them a photocopy of your passport rather than the original.
If you don’t want to rent a motorbike you can take taxi, which are called Songthaews here. Make sure to negotiate the price.