Gadabout's Corner

Bird of passage

Category: Thailand (Page 1 of 2)

KOH PHANGAN: An Island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Phangan is one of the most popular islands in Thailand. Not only because it houses the world’s famous party but also because of what it has to offer naturally. It’s a place for all preferences. There’s something for everyone.

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It’s very close to Koh Samui and they share similar features, especially the weather and transportation.

You could check out my previous post about Koh Samui here.

Top Beaches in Koh Phangan
  • Mae Haad Beach
  • Koh Ma
  • Chaloklum Bay
  • Thong Nai Pan
  • Haad Thong Reng
  • Haad Nam Tok
  • Haad Rin
  • Baan Tai

The sand bar of Mae Haad Beach links the main island with Ma Island.

 

The clear water in the area of Koh Ma.

 

The beach by the main pier at Thong Sala in Koh Phangan is a great place to relax after the journey or before saying goodbye to this island.

 

Baan Tai Beach taken with an analog camera; Minolta A3

 

 The finest sand of Baan Tai Beach

This amazing sunset was shot at Baan Tai Beach area in front of our resort.

Top Waterfalls in Phangan
  • Paradise Waterfall
  • Thaan Prawet Waterfall
  • Thaan Sadet Waterfall
  • Thaan Praphad Waterfall
  • Phaeng Waterfall

Phaeng Waterfall

Activities that You Should Try While in Phangan
  • Full Moon Party at Haad Rin
  • Wakeboarding at Wake Up! Wakeboarding
  • Wipeout at the Challenge Koh Phangan
  • Daytime party at Slip N Fly
  • Kiteboarding with Breeze Kiteboarding

 

 

These things make Koh Phangan so special and I can confidently say that you’ll never get enough of this island.

Please click here to read the full article.

 

 

 

 

 

KOH SAMUI: An Island in the Gulf of Thailand

Koh Samui is one of the very famous islands, mainly because there is everything for everyone. Samui is Thailand’s second largest island and it houses all the good things, from lit parties to buddhist temples and fishing village. It can be a bit confusing, so let us help you through it.

 

When to go?

Samui features a tropical climate so it’s pretty humid and warm all year round with the average temperature of 28 degree Celsius. The driest months with least rainfall would be February to April, whereas months with heaviest rainfall are September to November. Though, the rest of the year, some rain is expected.

 

How to get there?

1. Plane

There is an airport in Koh Samui (USM) in which you could fly directly from Bangkok, other domestic cities and from few other countries as well. There are also few airports nearby, like the ones in Chumpon and Surat Thani.

2. Ferries

  • Seatran Ferry
    • Donsak – Nathon
  • Raja Ferry
    • Donsak – Lipa Noi

There are 2 ferry services from Surat Thani to Koh Samui, which both of them operate hourly from 5 a.m. – 7 p.m. and journeys are about 1 hour 30 minutes. Ferry is good for those who are connecting from closer towns or for those with vehicles.

Seatran Ferry takes you between Donsak pier in Surat Thani and Nathon pier in Koh Samui. Meanwhile, Raja Ferry Port takes you between Donsak pier and Lipa Noi pier in Koh Samui.

3. High Speed Catamaran

                                                        Lomprayah’s High Speed Catamaran

Lomprayah is a company that operates High Speed Catamaran between many tourist destinations, including Samui Island. The service of Lomprayah includes all transits like airport transfer, buses, trains and piers. They offer many routes and tours to choose from as well.

Lomprayah also offers free transfers and pick-ups between your hotels and the piers for those who book the ticket through their official website; www.lomprayah.com. This kind service is only for those in Koh Samui.

 

How to get around?

1. Airport Transfer

There are several van services that take you and other passengers to hotels and they are always there for all flights.

2. Public Buses

Buses in Koh Samui are red pick-ups with specific route labeled. These local buses costs around 20 baht to 100 baht, depending on the distance. However, they do charge a bit more during the night hours. Remember to check the price with the driver before you hop on.

3. Songthaews (Taxis)

These Taxis look pretty much the same as local buses but they have no sign of their specific routes. These Songthaews have no fixed price and they don’t work with metres, so you’ll have to negotiate with the driver before you hop on. This could be a cheaper alternative if you have a lot of companies.

5. NaviGo Samui

This is a mobile Taxi application, just like Uber. It’s a cheaper alternative as fares are metered. It’s a very convenience option for those with Internet data.

6. Motorbikes

You can rent motorbikes with many rental providers and it shouldn’t cost you more than 200 baht for a day. To rent one, the provider will usually take your passport as the deposit. There are many gas stations and shops that sell gasoline by bottles around the island.

7. Bicycles

They are few bicycle rental places in Samui and there are even areas where there is proper bicycle lane.

8. Cars

If you are traveling in a big group or with family and you plan to go around the island a lot, then you might want to consider car rental. They are many providers, including Avis. Fares should be around 1,300 baht to 1,500 for a day. Again, they might take your passport as the deposit.

 

Where to go?

  • Chaweng Beach
    • Green Mango Street
    • Paris Follies Cabaret
    • Ark Bar Beach Resort
    • Football Golf Club
    • Aquapark
    • Wat Khao Hua Jook Temple
    • Central Festival
    • Chaweng Night Market
  • Lamai Beach
    • Grandmother and Grandfather Rock (Hin Ta and Hin Yai)
    • Thong Takian Beach (Silver Beach)
      • Snorkeling
  • Mae Nam Beach
    • Pink Elephant Samui Water Park
  • Bo Phut Beach
    • Wat Phra Yai Temple (Big Buddha Temple)
    • Lad Koh Viewpoint
    • Fisherman’s Village Walking Street
    • Coco Tams
  • Laem Set Beach
  • Taling Ngam Beach
  • Hin Lad Waterfall
  • Na Muang Waterfalls

The most popular beach of Samui is definitely Chaweng Beach. Apart from great sand range, it’s also the house of all big parties and nightclubs, especially at Green Mango Street. You might also want to check out Paris Follies Cabaret.

The most famous bar is also here; the Ark Bar Beach Resort. You don’t have to stay here to enjoy the best party on the island. This is the place if you want to chill and drink around pool table with your mates. You can even arrange your own tournament. But when you are ready, the beach dance floor is all yours. They even have the fire dance show!

 

If you are up for some fun, you might want to spend your time at Football Golf Club. Here, you don’t use club to hit the ball, you just kick it. It’s really simple and good for everyone. But, if you want to stay on the beach and surrounded by warm water then you might like Aquapark. There are massive inflatables, which are not only great for kids.

However, if you want a little bit of culture, you might want to visit Wat Khao Hua Jook Temple. The pagoda stands tall and elegant. This place also offers a great view of the beach.

But if the heat becomes too much and you want to be inside an air-conditioned shopping complex, then you could spend few hours shopping or eating at Central Festival Koh Samui. However, if you are looking for cheaper and great food then Chaweng Night Market is a place for you. There are street foods, drinks and souvenirs.

At Lamai Beach, there are also many bars and nightclubs but what makes Lamai famous are two genital-shaped rocks; Hin Ta and Hin Yai. These rocks form a small and transparent pool in the middle.

Within the area of Lamai, there is a small beach; Thong Takian Beach. It’s not very known, so there is not many people here. This is a golden secret location as you can bring your own snorkeling equipments and explore! There are also few scuba diving centres.

Mae Nam Beach is the quieter beach in Samui, so a walk along the beach is just amazing. Personally, I think this is the cleanest beach in Samui. In the area, there is Pink Elephant Samui Water Park. Again, it’s great for kids and for those who just want to drink beers and relax in an adult-only Jacuzzi area.

At Bo Phut Beach, there is Wat Phra Yai Temple, which is a place you shouldn’t miss. There is a massive buddha that can be seen from many viewpoints, but at this temple, by the Buddha, you can witness some great view as well.

However, for me the best viewpoint in Samui is the Lad Koh Viewpoint. This is because there are short trekking routes taking you from the road to the rocky curves and formations that you could carefully explore. It looks really good!

If you’re up for a more relaxed night out, Bo Phut is the place as there is the Fisherman’s Village. Here, you could spend your night walking around, getting some drinks and absorb evidences of fishermen’s life. The most amazing beach bar right by the village is the Coco Tams. It’s an easy-going place with tents, pillows, swings and beanbags for you to sit and relax. They also have shisha.

Leam Set Beach is one of the smaller beaches with little people. It has white sand area, but the water can be a bit tricky to swim as only 100 metres out in the water, there is a shallow coral reef. So, if you are not an expert or if you are with small kids, I’d suggest some sort of feet protection so you don’t cut yourself while swimming or snorkeling.

Taling Ngam Beach is another option for those who really want to relax. It’s about an hour by car away from other main beaches like Chaweng. Here, you can see more traditional houses and less luxurious resorts.

If you feel like switching into soaking up the fresh water, then there are 2 waterfalls in Samui for you. Firstly, Hin Lad Waterfall offers a small jungle trail and refreshing pool to sink in. It’s so much fun to explore the area and visit the Hin Lad Temple. Along the way, there are pretty walking paths.

The other bigger waterfall is Na Muang Falls. It’s massive! You’ll enjoy swimming, hiking, picnicking and seeing some animals as well.

 

 

 

 

 

Top 5 Attractions in MAE HONG SON

Mae Hong Son is a province up in the North of Thailand, known to have thousands and thousands of curves climbing up the mountain. It’s a bit colder up North on these mountains, which is good for when the heat becomes too much.

  Tribal kids

Top 5 Places to Visit in Mae Hong Son

    Tribal sisters

  1. Pai
  2. Tham Lot Cave
  3. Huay Nam Dang National Park
  4. Ban Rak Thai Village
  5. Pang Ung Reservoir

MHS is not a popular destination but there are many tourists and people are falling in love with it. The reason is because Mae Hong Son houses such an amazing place like Pai, which people think it’s another big city in Thailand. It isn’t. It’s just a small fun town hiding in between the valley.

I. What to do in Pai?

  • Ride the curves
  • Enjoy the Walking Street
    • 6.00 p.m. – 10.00 p.m.
  • Trek the Pai Canyon
  • Cross the Memorial Bridge
  • Relax at Tha Pai Hot Springs

Just within Pai alone, there are already so many things to do and see. Firstly, expert drivers will enjoy the road around Pai, especially bikers as it’s very challenging with all the sharp curves and steep hills. Don’t worry if you can’t drive or if your skill is not there yet, because there are many public transportation services taking you in and out of Pai.

The best street in Pai is the Pai Walking Street because there is everything. There are cheap food, bars, pubs, karaokes, restaurants, cafes, souvenirs shops and more. There are always a lot of people, selling interesting ideas and designs. This is an opportunity for you to absorb the culture, because there is live street music in different languages mainly Thai and English. There are also mini shows of Thai music and dances. It always has a very groovy mood here.

But if you want more excitement, definitely visit the Pai Canyon or Kong Lan. It’s good for trekking as there are narrow and elevated paths of different sizes and heights. There is no actual safety and the time you might end up spending there is around 3 hours so definitely bring a bottle of water. There is a small Pembok Waterfall in the area as well.

If you want a bit of an edgy vibe then check out the Pai Memorial Bridge. You are allowed to explore as much as you want on foot, which is a must as the wooden floorboards with gaps and holes are very interesting and also look great in pictures. There are bamboo rafting services taking you along the river as well.

Lastly for Pai, you should go to Tha Pai Hot Springs and relax there for few hours as there are many ponds filled with natural mineral water. These ponds have different temperatures for all preferences. There are also beautiful walking paths, with views of clear water and trees. However, if you want a bit of privacy, there are several private spas nearby too.

II. Tham Lot Cave

About 20 minutes driving from Pai, there is Tham Lot Cave. It’s a cave system with loads of stalactites and stalagmites in different shapes and forms. They also create rooms and halls for this cave system.

To explore the cave, there are local guides that will take you into the cave using bamboo rafts. You’ll be flowing along Nam Lang River that is filled with schools of Mahseer fish. They genuinely paint the river pitch black. You’ll also be welcomed by the distinct smell of bats and you’ll spot them if you look up to the ceiling of the cave.

The guide will also show you around the cave system and you’ll be able to spot some evidences of settlement like potteries and teakwood coffins in various spots as the cave used to house cave-dwelling prehistoric tribespeople from over thousand years ago.

III. Huay Nam Dang National Park
  • Viewpoints
    • Sea of Fog
    • Doi Chang
    • Doi Kio Lom
  • Waterfalls
    • Huay Nam Dang
    • Mae Yen
  • Hot Springs
    • Pong Dueat Pa Pae

Huay Nam Dang National Park is massive and it lies between 2 provinces; Chiang Mai and MHS. There are several facilities and camping areas throughout the park, including Lom Doi and Hill Pine Camp.

MHS

The best time to visit Huay Nam Dang is during winter as you’ll be able to witness the Frost Flowers and the Sea of Fog during a cold, early dawn. To get the most epic view of the Sea of Fog, you’ll have to be above them, so Doi Chang and Doi Kio Lom are best viewpoints. They are also great to watch the sun rising behind these mountains’ peaks.

Within the area of the park there are several waterfalls, but the one that you shouldn’t miss is the Huay Nam Dang Waterfalls. There are a total of 4 levels, waiting for you to explore.

Mae Yen Waterfalls is also great, especially if you want a bit of adrenalin. Here, you could enjoy a 4 hours of white water rafting, which the starting point is at the Ban Bang Pa Kha and you’ll finish at the Ban Sap Kai.

However, when the weather becomes too cold, you could always stop by the Pong Dueat Pa Pae Hot Springs. There are 4 big pools for you to relax and pamper yourself.

IV. Ban Rak Thai Village (Mae Aw)

Ban Rak Thai Village holds many history. Firstly, it was settled by a Chinese Nationalist, which explains why there are so many evidences of Chinese culture, including the people, architecture and food. There are many tea plantations and various types of Chinese tea for you to try, while relaxing at the lakeside. There are also many local shops that sell dried fruits and wine because there are few breweries in the village.

This village also used to be the controlling point for jade trading and army camp. There are evidences of these history throughout the village, which can be explored by walking as it’s only a tiny village with a lake in the middle. 

There are several homestays and camping areas, with great viewpoints for those who want to spend the night, watching stars and learn more about the Thai – Yunnan culture.

V. Pang Ung Reservoir

Not far from Ban Rak Thai Village, Pang Ung has one of the best campsites in Thailand. It used to be an opium plantation ground of hill tribes, which later turned into a Royal Project aiming to help those people by convincing them to switch to other plantation, like coffee.

The campsite is in the middle of pine forest by the water reservoir. There are many things to do and see here, such as admiring the misty morning, bamboo rafting by the lake, stargazing at night, horse riding, feeding the royal black swans, purchasing local products and trekking to the Nam Yot Cliff.

 

 

 

 

 

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