Best islands to visit?
Hi again, you have all been a great help in other questions, I was just wondering if you guys had any faveourite islands?
I’m hoping to do some diving and get my qualification while I’m out there, which island is best for this? Is it easy to just walk up and book or do I need to book in advance?
Hmm, where to start! So many amazing islands to choose from! I suppose best is relative depending on what your tastes are.
Ko Tao is definately one of my favourites, and is regarded as one of the popular diving islands. There are a huge array of good diving operators on pretty much every beach that you can go and get your PADI certificate with, and no you can pretty much just walk in and book for the next day or so. It’s pretty easy going. Prices have shot up in recent years but are still very reasonable by Western standards. If you dive with the same people you are staying with, you may even be able to negotiate a really good deal on your accomodation and a discount on your dive package.
That group of islands (including Samui, Pha Ngan (the full moon party island), etc) get hit by the monsoon roughly around late Sept – Jan, so you may want to go to the Andaman islands during that time as diving can sometimes be affected.
If you do go to the Andaman islands, I would personally avoid Phuket and Phi Phi (the island from the film the Beach, which ruined it for everyone!) as they have become horribly over developed and touristy in recent years since the explosion of package tourists to the region, although there are still one or two nice beaches there, personally I would go to one of the lesser known islands instead. Ko Rok, Ko Ya Noi and Ko Phayam are still pretty nice, and relatively cheap.
I like Koh Samet, which attracts more local tourists than foreign ones. Beautiful little island.
I did my PADI on Koh Tao with Crystal Dive School.
It cost 9000baht but included 4 nights accom in a private bungalow, plus my friend who wasn’t diving got to stay with me for free. The instructors were great and the classes were really small, know a few people who had issues with class sizes being too big with other companies. We ended up staying on because we loved Koh Tao so much, it’s absolutely beautiful and has some
Great bars to hang out in of an evening. Crystal let you stay on with them for 300baht a night if you do a fun dive with them in the day, prices still reasonable even if you don’t dive.
Ps – if you do go to Koh Tao, go to zest cafe in Mae Head -
Best sandwiches in Thailand!