Hey there! I’m planning on working and hanging in the Gulf of Thailand for about a week before heading up to Chiang Mai. Any tips/preferences between Koh Samui, Koh Tao, and Koh Phangan? Would love any and all recs!
It depends what you are looking for. I can speak mostly about Koh Samui which is where I stayed the most. It is the biggest island of the 3, easy access because of the airport (you most probably have to go through it to go to the other 2). Internet access in the island was very good and accommodations too. It is a really nice island and big, so you can explore for a bit and you also have a bit of everything (shops, restaurants, hotels, hostels, bars, nightclubs, etc). On the other hand I liked more the views from the other 2 (although Koh Samui has really nice places too), and if you like diving you will probably enjoy more Koh Tao and Koh Pagnan.
Hope it helps.
Thanks so much, @Yako! I’m leaning towards Koh Phagnan, possibly staying on Hat Thian – since we are heading to Chiang Mai after, I figure a week of beachy seclusion (with wifi!) might be the way to go. I’ll report back!
I am on Koh Tao for a few days, picked mostly at random.
desert island experience (no aircon, no hot water in most low end rooms).
Great diving of course.
Laid back life.
pros are pros once you forget the tourists.
not much nightlife outside of parties
On day 4 of a 9-days “vacation”, I think next time I’ll probably will stay longer on another island, and make the trip to Koh Tao to stay 3 or 4 days.
PS : if you’re planning to take the hi speed catamaran to the islands, pray you make the trip on a calm day. I took it with 1.5m of waves, and there was one long hour of deadly silence on the boat, interrupted by the glorious sounds of wastebags being filled.
I went to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan just a month ago.
Koh Tao is very small and very pretty, but pretty much focused on diving and beach side parties, plus a few (nice) hilltop view bars.
Koh Pha-ngan is much larger, meaning you need a motorbike to get around, which to me was half the fun. Ko Phangan has about a dozen different areas, with each a different atmosphere. I would recommend this island over Koh Tao as it offers a lot more choice, without the shirtless American retirees of Koh Samui walking around. Ko Phangan is very quiet when there is no Full Moon - most bars are empty and thus nightlife goers concentrate at one or two venues on the beach.
The West and North side of Phangan are quiet, ideal for couples, with separate beach resorts with coast view restaurants in between. The South East (Haad Rin) is the shady, decadent Full Moon party village that you may wanna visit if you’re feeling bored or isolated at night. Pretty deserted outside of the monthly Full Moon period. Note: the road there is famous for traffic accidents most nights, including a ‘Hill of Tears’. I personally did not get into any accident - just drive slow.
On the South shore, Ban Tai is a central village between the shore and the main south road with a 7/11 and some coffee bars, where you could get a bungalow. The most beautiful area, but also upmarket tourist focused, is Thong Nai up in the north east. That said, all of the shores are beautiful.
The North also has a few nice and quiet villages, including a fishers village (Chaloklum) with some bars.
Perhaps you should just book a hostel or bungalow for a few days, get a bike (Kate’s is an honest rental shop near the pier) and explore the island before you settle at any particular place.
How good or bad is the internet actually on Kho Phangan and/or Kho Tao. Kho Phangan seems a bit cheaper than Kho Samui and perhaps a good place to work as it comes with less distraction and better beaches. So just curious to hear what people’s experiences have been with the wifi connection on those two islands vs. Kho Samui. Thanks!
how was the internet there?
I’m here now. Most of wifi is crap but a few places have high speed. It is probably best to get a hotspot because 4G is pretty cheap here. Koh Tao is nice island though. Can get around everywhere without a scooter.
Didn’t get an email that you replied, so replying a half year late…
I used 3G / 4G mobile internet successfully in all of Thailand. Just get one of those Tourist 3G SIM cards and put it in your phone. They sell them at every 7 Eleven.