My friends Sarah and Nydia from Germany came to visit me for a few weeks and we did some short trips to Koh Tao and to Khao Yai.
In the mid of August we went to Koh Tao. Its located in the gulf of Thailand near the quite famous ‘party’ island Koh Phangan.
We took the overnight train from Bangkok to Chumpon and arrived very early in the morning, a Bus ride to the peer was included in the train ticket and afterwards a really fast speed boat took us to the island itself.
I was at several islands in the gulf before and I was not really impressed by Koh Tao. It was a bit too ‘touristy’ for me and also the prices are not really suitable. Luckily we went at the end of the rainy season and we got our little bungalow hut on the east side for 100 baht (~2 Euro). It was called Phuhan-View and it seems to be very unknown.
The little resort has very nice simple huts with a beautiful view and a great restaurant with decent food! Around the resort are also some funny monkeys.
The only annoying thing at the east side is the very rough sea side with a lot of rocks and sharp coral riffs. Great for snorkeling but not really convenient for just relaxing. We rented a motorbike for 200 baht (~4 Euro) and drove around the island.
The main roads are in good condition and its fun to drive around! This sign was giving us laughter for several hours…
The landscapes are pretty awesome and you can catch some great views!
There are different beaches and most of them are filled with a lot of tourists (even in rainy season) but the sand is mostly very clean and the water is perfect for snorkeling and diving. The island is stuffed with diving shops and lots of coral reefs are inviting to watch exotic fishes and sharks. This coastline is called the shark bay.
Away from the peer you can find a lot of places to relax. A great restaurant in town is “Yang” which has a great mix of Thai Food and Western Food. Overall prices are quite high on Koh Tao and it is getting more and more expensive. Meals are around 100 baht but there is very great sea food and also some decent western restaurants with Mexican and Italian food.
We stayed about a week and chose the cheapest ferry for our return to Bangkok. It was just an awesome experience! When we first arrived on this very old cargo ferry it was like a feeling of smuggling a few kilograms of heroin over the border to another country. No lights, men sleeping between big bags of garbage and quite high waves clashing against the ship.
On the top is a little deck for people to sleep. It was actually very comfortable and the wind that blew through the big windows was the best air condition since a long time!
The transfer took about 5-6 hours more than the speedboat but it was a great! We arrived before the sunrise at one of the Chumpon peers in a little fisher village.
From there we took the bus back to Bangkok.
Day trip to Khao Yai
Half year ago I went to Khao Yai Nationalpark and I loved the untouched jungle, the awesome roads and the great waterfalls during rainy season! This time I drove with Sarah by motorbike directly from Bangkok to the National Park. It’s a 2,5 hour ride and once you are a bit outside of Bangkoks metropolitan area your surrounded by awesome landscapes!
The National Park itself is great for a short trip but the increased the entry prices in the last month from 200 baht (which was a lot in my opinion) to 400 baht (for foreigners) and 20 to 40 baht (for Thais). There are great camping places with an amazing atmosphere and wild life.
You can rent a tent for 100 baht (two persons) and equipment like a sleeping bag, pillows, blankets or you can take your own equipment and pay 10-30 baht per person to stay at the camping ground.
Wild life around the camping place has deers, monkeys and porcupines. There are much more animals (bears, elephants, etc) to see if you hike deeper in the woods.
Several hiking routes are leading to breathtaking waterfalls or high’rise viewpoints.
The end of rainy season is a great time to go to Khao Yai. Waterfalls are filled, the temperature is really convenient and you dont see any annoying tourist groups.