The Thailand Trifecta

Thailand’s island trifecta of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, and Koh Samui are probably some of the most popular places in Thailand. Three islands so close in proximity yet so different in personality. We spent 4 days on Koh Tao, 4 days on Koh Phangan, and 3 days on Koh Samui. We would have loved to have stayed on Koh Tao longer as it is one of our Favourite Places but for this leg of the trip we were on a tour with LBW Travel.

Koh Tao

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The smallest of the three islands, Koh Tao could be considered the super relaxed, little brother that everyone likes.

Most backpackers flock here for the diving or relaxed island vibe after a few days on its much rowdier brother Koh Pha-Ngan. It’s possibly the cheapest place in the world to get your PADI certifications.

Things To Do (Other than Diving):

  • Booze Cruise
  • Koh Tao Pub Crawl
  • Snorkeling
  • Rent a Motorbike
  • Relax on the Beach
  • Day Trip to Koh Nang Yuan Island

Nightlife:

  • Koh Tao Pub Crawl
  • Nightly fire shows at beach bars along Sairee Beach
  • Queen’s Cabaret (Lady Boy Cabaret)

Best Time to Visit:

  • Between February and May
  • June is the start of the rainy season which means the island is quieter but the diving conditions are not the best. You can still get really nice sunny days where you can enjoy lounging on the beach but down pours can come at anytime.

Our Recommended Dive Company:

  • Ban’s Diving Resort
    • Dive and stay packages are available. The first time I stayed here my accommodation was nearly free because I was doing my Open Water Course.
    • On site restaurant with the option to have your food and drinks charged to the room, as well as all dives and equipment charges. This makes everything hassle free and more relaxing which is how we like it while diving. It’s our version of a yoga retreat.
    • Rooms range for Basic Fan rooms to Air Conditioned Suites so its perfect for any budget.
    • Great, friendly staff, guides and instructors
    • Open Water Courses have photos and a video of their time diving available for purchase. A great souvenir if you ask me.
    • Dive Master and Instructor Programs available as well as plenty of other specialty courses.

 

Koh Pha Ngan

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Famous for its Full Moon Party… Black Moon Party… Jungle Party… Half Moon Party… just parties in general, Koh Pha-Ngan is the rowdy, charismatic, middle child of the Thailand Trifecta.

Every month thousands of people flock to Koh Pha-Ngan to party under the full moon on Haadrin Beach until the sun comes up, some even manage to keep the party going long afterwards at the after party (its whereabouts unknown to us as we made it to sunrise and then called it a night). Some would think the after party would be the following night but as everyone knows an after party happens after the original party, thus taking place morning after the Full Moon Party. It really makes me wonder whats the longest someone has gone without falling asleep or passing out. Got any stories? We’d love it hear it in the comments below!

Things To Do (Other than party):

  • Muay Thai Classes
  • Watch real Muay Thai fights at Kobra Stadium
  • Day Trip to Bottle Beach
  • See Haadrin Beach during the day
  • Water World
  • The Challenge Phangan (Wipeout Course)
  • Check out the Night Market
  • Slip N Fly
  • Shop for Full Moon Attire in Haad Rin

Nightlife:

  • Full Moon Party & After Party
  • Black Moon Party
  • Half Moon Party
  • Jungle Party
  • And probably countless other parties; it is a party island after all. Most people don’t come here for anything else.
  • Amsterdam Bar
  • The Dome

Best Time to Visit:

  • February-May
  • Rainy season starts in June

Where we stayed:

  • Lime and Soda 
    • Full Moon packages available
    • Great beach front location. When the tide is out you can walk for ages towards the sea.
    • Pool (there was no better feeling then jumping in when returning from the Full Moon Party at 7am)
    • Restaurant, but it’s not cheap and they don’t really do authentic Thai
    • Private Bungalows (We were part of an LBW tour during this part of our trip so it was nice to have a room to ourselves but if you’re travelling solo a hostel would probably be a better option as that is what we would have done had we not already been part of a group)
    • Transfers to and from Haadrin and surrounding areas.

Koh Samui

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The largest of the three islands comes across as the upper class, yet bohemian big sister that likes the finer things in life.

Koh Samui is packed full of beach front resorts and designer shops, the food is expensive, the drinks are expensive and the majority of the Traveller population are families or older folk; not exactly a backpackers ideal location.

Things to do:

  • Big Buddha Temple
  • Wat Plai Laem
  • Ang Thong National Marine Park
  • Thai Cooking Classes
  • Muay Thai Classes
  • Snorkeling
  • Diving
  • Quad Biking Tours
  • Bungy Jumping
  • Paint-Balling
  • Escape Room
  • Nam Tok Na Muang (Waterfall)

Nightlife:

  • Ark Bar
    • A great beach bar that’s perfect for a relaxed, chill night or a good place to start the night.
    • Nightly fire shows
  • Bar Ice
  • Nightly fire shows at Bars along Chaweng Beach
  • Chawang Beach has a number of bars and night clubs, so you won’t struggle for a place to go.

Best Time To Go:

  • February – May
  • We were here in June and it was quite quiet compared to when I was there the first time. This time around a lot of the beach front bars and restaurants were closed up and there were not as many fire shows as before. In May during my previous visit it was much busier, the beaches were busy, the bars were busy.
  • So the best time to go really depends on what you prefer; Quiet and low-key or Busy and bustling.
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