Hop to it! One’s never enough, look beyond the horizon and island-hop for a real slice of Thailand
How to hop Join an excursion ~ Most resorts advertise day-trips taking in a selection of islands. Usually taken by traditional longtail boat, they will include a packed lunch and snorkel equipment and will stop at a beach for sunbathers.
Hire a boat ~ You can hire long-tails for a transfer or a day. Ask the skipper to take you to the smaller islands and you might get your own desert island fantasy – just make sure you haggle!
Take a ferry ~ There are modern ferries operating between most major islands – like Koh Samui, Koh Phangnan and Koh Tao, ranging from speedboats to more stately ferries.
Join a Liveaboard ~ Divers wishing to fully experience the world-class diving
Suggest day trips or twin centres combining two or more islands and your client will see so much more
at the Similan and Surin Islands and the Merui Archipelago will need to get on a liveaboard from Phuket or Khao Lak. Packages are offered by UK dive operators.
Sail yourself ~ UK operators which offer charters with or without skippers include Sunsail and The Moorings which both operate from Ao Po Marina in Phuket. www.sunsail.co.uk
Get airborne ~ For a special occasion, suggest chartering a sea-plane to the island of their choice. Destination Air can land at every airport in Thailand and certain sea spots. www.destinationair.com
Where to do it Koh Samui ~ The 42 islands of Ang Thong Marine National Park sit about 90 minutes by boat from Samui. Day- trippers can explore Koh Mae Ko’s lagoon within a mountain by kayak, snorkel at Koh Wao ‘dragon island’ and take in the breathtaking views from Koh Wua Talab. Close-by Koh Tao is a diving mecca
and offers great quad biking between secluded bays, while Koh Pha Ngan, just 30 minutes from Samui, is famous for its beach parties and jungle trekking.
MOVIE MAGIC Hop from Koh Phi Phi to sister island Koh Phi Phi Leh and see the pristine lagoon where Leonardo Di Caprio filmed The Beach. Or try Phang Nga Bay, where Bond film The Man With the Golden Gun was shot – picturesque beaches around the craggy limestone islands.
Koh Chang ~ Koh Chang sits in a 52-strong archipelago. There are plenty of possibilities for away-from-it-all stays on the outlying islands while those most comfortably reached on a day trip are crescent shaped chill-out spot Koh Wai and flat Koh Mak which has coconut and rubber plantations and can be explored by bike. The waters between Koh Chang and
Koh Kood are good for diving and snorkelling.
Trang ~ South of Krabi, up and coming Trang offers transfers to Hat Chao Mai National Park incorporating several nearby islands. Highlights include
“Each Island offers
unique. In Krabi take advantage of the Elephant Hills two-night excursion at the Khao Sok National Park, with canoeing and elephant rides. From Phuket, I'd recommend Phi Phi Island by speedboat, taking in Maya Bay and the crescent beaches of Ton Sai. And from Koh Samui, the Angthong National Marine Park and Koh Mae's emerald lake in a mountain."
JAN STANBURY TRAVEL CONSULTANT, COURTNEY WORLD TRAVEL, TEWKESBURY
Koh Muk, with its ‘Emerald Cave’ tunnel to a sea lagoon and Koh Kradan’s sweeping beach.
Top combos Put your clients in the heart of an exciting resort, but close to a chilled- out secluded retreat. Try these twins: • Pattaya and Koh Samet • Krabi and Koh Lanta • Phuket and Koh Phi Phi and Koh Yao • Samui and Koh Tao or Koh Pha Ngan • Trat and Koh Chang • Khao Lak and the Similan Islands • Koh Chang and Koh Kood
Off the beaten track ~ Tarutao National Park is comprised of 61 protected islands, some just inhabited by crab-eating monkeys, or Koh Lipe, popular with backpackers for it laid- back nightlife.
Left: Phi Phi Leh's famous Maya Bay Above from top: Long tail boats pull up in Koh Tao; luxury Koh Phangnan resort Santhiya has its own speed boat
Thailand Guide 2011 07
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