GETTING FROM LUANG PRABANG TO PHU QUOC – THE FAST AND CHEAP WAY

Getting from Luang Prabang to Phu Quoc can be a bit of a hustle. It’s pretty impossible to find direct flights from anywhere in Laos to the Vietnamese island, and traveling by bus or any other transportation by land can be a nightmare to say the least.

If you’ve ever travelled in Southeast Asia you would know that domestic flights with some of the budget airlines like Air Asia, Vietnam Airlines and Cebu Pacific can be just as cheap as taking the bus or train if you just do your research and look for the cheapest days to travel. With that in mind, you can still travel internationally by flight on a budget, if you don’t mind spending a few hours on airports waiting for connecting flights.

This is how we saved a lot of money flying from Luang Prabang in Laos, to the island Phu Quoc in Vietnam!

We looked up the cheapest flight out of Luang Prabang, to anywhere in Vietnam. It’s usually really cheap to fly to between big airports, so we weren’t that surprised when we found that the cheapest flight out of Luang Prabang was to Hanoi in Vietnam. Before we booked the ticket, we looked up the price of a domestic flight between Haoin and Phu Quoc with a budget airline, and needless to say, it was pretty cheap.

If we would’ve booked a joint ticket with both flights included we would’ve paid around 500 USD for the both of us. But by booking two separate flights (and spending the night on the airport in Hanoi) we only paid 300 USD in total. The first flight was the international flight, so it was a little bit more expensive but we paid around 200 USD for the both of us. The domestic flight between Hanoi and Phu Quic was pretty cheap, and we only paid 100 USD for the both of us. So by booking our own connecting flights we saved 200 USD.

Another thing we did to save even more money, was to book the latest flight possible out of Luang Prabang, and then the earliest flight from Hanoi to Phu Quoc. We then spent the night on the airport and saved the money we would of paid for a hostel that night.

So here is a roundup on what to think about when booking flights!

  1. Compare the costs of booking joint tickets and booking your own connecting flights. It’s usually much more cheap to book your own connections. Just make sure you have at least 3 hours between the flights.
  2. If your traveling internationally, look up the cheapest flight to anywhere in the country your going to and then connect with a domestic flight.
  3. We always use Skyscanner when searching for flights, it’s a really good website that compares the price between different airlines (including all the budget ones in Southeast Asia)
  4. Lookup the different holidays and special events in the country you’re going to. The airfare can double up if you choose to travel on the wrong day.

DISCOVER LUANG PRABANG – HIDDEN GEMS AND STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW

Hello guys, I hope you’re having a wonderful day so far!

We are in Vietnam at the moment, but since I never found time to write about our time in Laos, I thought I’d do that now. Better late than never right?

Initially we were supposed to start our trip to Laos by taking the cruise down the Mekong river, and then stay in Luang Prabang for about 4-5 days before moving on down south. But as you know, things doesn’t always go as planned. As soon as we got to Luang Prabang we new that there was something special about the place, and by our second day there we had totally fallen involve with the place. So instead of staying for 4-5 days, we actually ended up staying there for 2 weeks.

We are the kind of travellers who enjoy finding places a little bit off the beaten path, finding hidden gems and not going where everybody else is going. We actually try to avoid the most touristy places, and try to find the more calm and laid back ones instead. Don’t get me wrong, it can be awesome spending time in a big and loud city with lots of people, but generally we love the more laid back places, preferably tropical island.

Luang Prabang is one of those places which has a little bit of both. We had been traveling alone for a few weeks and were pretty keen on meeting some new friends and spend a few days with other fun people. The city is quite big, but not overly developed. For example, it gets pitch black during the night because there basically no streetlights it the whole city (only on the really big roads). There are lots of amazing restaurants and bars but everything closes by 10:00-11:30 pm.

We started off our stay at a hostel called Villa Suan Maak. The place is owned by a a really nice german guy Martin, they serve great food (including german food) and has reasonably priced rooms with breakfast included. Our first night there we met two people who we ended up traveling with for a few days. Some of the nicest and funniest people we have ever met.

After a few days we ended up (as I explained) extending our trip so we had to with hostels to one just down the road. The second hostel we stayed at was called Mano Guesthouse, really affordable privat rooms, breakfast included in the price and amazing staff. We really enjoyed our time there!

Now to some of our favourite places and hidden gems in the city!

Kuang Si Falls

Our absolute favourite place we went to in Luang Prabang has to be Kuang Si Falls. It is the most beautiful place, one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. It’s not only the waterfall itself, it’s the beautiful surrounding nature, the way the waterfalls are formed and just everything about the place. There’s a big hike up along the waterfall, and it’s a pretty good hike considering the waterfall is huge. The waterfall consists of multiple smaller falls leading up to the big one, and then you can continue to hike up the biggest one and there you will find not only a beautiful view, but you can hike even further in to the jungle and find some amazing freshwater caves.

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La Pistoche

As some of you might already know, Laos doesn’t really have any beaches, which can be a real bummer considering it gets pretty hot during the day and you really start craving a nice and cooling swim in the ocean. But Luang Prabang do on the other hand, have one of the best public pools I’ve ever been to. Located right in the middle of the city, but yet quite hidden, you can find an awesome and cill hangout for the day. We actually spent three full days there in total. They have one bigger pool and then some smaller ones for the kids with lots of slides and other fun stuff. Even though you might think it’s going to be really crowded, it’s really not. It’s a really chill and quiet place with awesome tanning beds, tropical music playing all day long, good food and cheap drinks. They have a nice system going on where you pay 80.000 kip when you get there, which includes the 30.000 kip entrance fee, and the rest of the money they keep as a deposit. When you get there you’re given a plastic tag with a personal number on it, and when you order food and drinks you just show your tag, they keep a tab of everything you get, and they take the money from the deposit later when you leave. So you don’t have to carry around your wallet which is awesome.

Utopia

If you’re the kind of person that like to just get a few drinks in a really chill bar without it being too loud and crazy, Utopia is the place for you. I still can’t believe that place even existed, it was so insanely beautiful. It was like this beautiful garden, with lots of plants and trees, and pretty little lights hanging from everywhere and it was just unbelievable. They have pretty cheap drinks if you go there during happy hour and the food was really good. If you’re going to have a night out with your friend, I suggest you start the nigh off here with a few drinks and just enjoying the surroundings (including the awesome view of the river).

Sakura

When you’ve spent some time at Utopia and feel like you’re ready to move on to a more upbeat place, Sakura is usually the place that people go. It’s one of those outside clubs that’s trying to mimic the “full moon party” theme a little bit, with the music, the buckets and crazy partying. The whole area had kind of like a jungle theme going on. It’s a pretty cool place if you’re looking for a good time, loud music, cheap drinks and some crazy people. We spent one night there and we had a really good time!

“The bowling alley”

In Luang Prabang, all the bars and restaurants have to close around 10:30-11:30 pm due to local regulations. It can be pretty annoying if your having an awesome time and you want to continue partying for a while, but you know what, the night actually doesn’t have to end here. We learned by coincidence from a local that there is a so called “bowling alley”, where everybody goes when the bars closes. It sounded kind of sketchy at first, but then we met a Canadian couple who went the night before and absolutely loved it.

The bowling alley turned out to be this awesome place where you can do 10 pin bowling, archery, drink beer and just hang out with your friends. We had so much fun that night, and the whole thing was so surreal. Everything in the whole city closes, and everybody moves on to this random bowling alley to continue the party. And it’s one of those places that apparently everybody knows about, but nobody talks about it. If you want to go, just approach a tuktuk driver and say there word “bowling”, and he will know exactly where to take you. Oh, and it’s open until around 3-4 am!

Nightmarket

One can not go to Asia without spending too much time walking down endless night markets and eating way too much delicious streetfood. The night market in Laos is a pretty big one, the only difference from the one in Laos to the ones in Thailand for example, is that there are less food stalls and more jewellery and clothing stalls. Which is fine, it’s always nice strolling around finding beautiful stuff that you can’t buy considering the limited room in your backpack. But the food that we did find, was delicious!

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Things you should know before going:

  1. You can use three different currencies in the country, Kip, Baht and USD.
  2. When travelling within the main city of Luang Prabang with tuktuk, don’t pay more than 10.000 Kip per person.
  3. It gets really cold at night and early in the morning sometimes so be sure to bring a sweater and some longer pants to keep warm during that time.
  4. Here are some useful phrases in Lao that can be good to know: Hello – Sabaidi, Thank you – Khob Chai.
  5. Luang Prabang has a Vietnamese embassy where you can get your Vietnamese visa.
  6. If you’re from Scandinavia you get a free stay in Laos for 14 days, you don’t have to apply for a visa or anything. you just have to get stamped in, and be ut of the country within 14 days.
  7. There are roosters everywhere in Laos, so be prepared to get woken up really early.
  8. Transportation is not as good as the other neighbouring countries, so you might want to plan a route a little bit ahead to be able to look up transportation possibilities.

 

 

LUXURY CRUISE DOWN THE MEKONG RIVER IN LAOS – SHOMPOO CRUISES – VILLAGE, CAVE AND WHISKEY

When looking into ways of traveling down the Mekong river, you quickly learn that the famous slow boat ride is a bit of a risk. An overbooked, crowded and uncomfortable boat ride where people in some cases have ended up without seats. We weren’t really that intrigued by the thought of having to stand up on a boat for 6-7 hours per day for two days, so we started looking for different alternatives. That’w when we found Shompoo Cruises.

Shampoo Cruises takes you on a more “luxurious” cruise down the river. You get your own tour guide for the stops you make along the way visiting villages and caves, you get free food and a lot more space on the boat. We booked the “premium” package which meant that during the overnight stay in Pakbeng we stayed at a more luxurious hotel right by the river with dinner and breakfast included in the price. The premium package costs about 225 USD per person, so it’s a little bit more pricy than the slow boat, but it’s so worth it. All the entrance fees at the stops you make are also included in the price, you also get free coffee, tea, drinking water and fruit during the cruise.

If you’re taking the down river cruise as we did, and you’re crossing the border over from northern Thailand, the company actually helps you cross. When we arrived to the border there was someone waiting for us on the “Thailand side”, and she then guided us all the way over to Laos. If you’ve never crossed a border before, or if you’re unsure about how to fill out the visa forms, it’s good to have someone there helping you out.

The first day of the cruise looked something like this. The boat left around 9 am, and by 11.45 am we were served a lovely lunch buffet with all sorts of different dishes including chicken, fish, springrolls, vegetables and rice. At 1 pm, we reached our first stop for the day, a beautiful traditional lao village. We got a guided tour around the village and our guide told us so much about the history of the Lao people. There were cute kids running around everywhere and they followed us around the entire time. The people were so nice and ew had a lovely time.

 

Around 4 pm we reached Pakbeng and everyone was dropped of at their hotel. Which hotel you get dropped of at depends on what type of cruise you book, we booked the “premium” one so we stayed at Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge. At 7.30 am the next morning, after having a lovely breakfast, we got picked up by the cruise company and were transferred back to the boat. By 8-8.30 am we were back on the river. And by 11.45 am we got served another lovely lunch.

Around 1 pm, we stopped by the famous Pak Ou caves, or the 4000 buddha caves as they are called. Just as the day before, the guide showed us around and told us about the history of the caves. We explored the caves for about 1 hour, and after that we got back on the boat and headed for our next destination.

Around 3 pm we stopped at yet another village, but this particular villige was known for their making of rice whiskey. The guide told us about the process, we got to taste the different whiskeys (some bottles had snakes and scorpions in them), and we got to meat the locals.

You arrive in Luang Prabang around 4 pm, and I have to tell you, it’s pretty hard getting off the boat. After the first day the boat starts to feel like home, you get to know the other guests and after a while you become really good friends. We had such a great time, even though we where the youngest people on the boat. We can’t recommend this cruise enough. Although it is on the pricy side, it’s really worth every penny considering the good service, the free food, you get to visit all these beautiful historic places and you will have an absolute wonderful time.

Our favourite was the stop at the first village, we just fell involve with the kids. They were all running around, laughing and playing. Some of them were a little bit shy, which made them even cuter. We just loved it there!

 

THE EASIEST WAY TO GET TO LAOS FROM THE NORTH OF THAILAND – CHIANG MAI TO HUAY XAI BORDER CROSSING

Hello again guys, we hope you’re ready for some more great travel tips!

At the moment we are spending some time in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang in Laos. Since Laos is one of the popular destinations for backpackers traveling through Asia, we thought we would share some tips on how to get here. One of the most popular backpacking routes is to cross the boarder in to Laos from the north of Thailand in Chiang Khong over to Huay Xai, and that is exactly what we did.

As mentioned, we were traveling to Laos from one of our favourite cities in Thailand, Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is situated in the northern part of Thailand, about 6 hour away from the Lao border. The easiest way to get there, is to take one of the so called “Green Buses” over to Chiang Kong, the city right by the border. We booked our tickets online on a website called 12.go.Asia, which is one of the best websites to be familiar with when traveling through Asia. You can book everything from bus tickets to plane tickets online, and it works pretty much all over southeast Asia.

The “Green Bus” left from the busterminal 3 in Chiang Mai around 8.00 am and arrived in Chiang Kong around 2 pm, which means roughly 6 hours of traveling. The bus ride went smoothly, although it might be good to know that the road might be tough for people with motion sickness, so it might be good to bring some motion sickness pills just in case.

Since the bus arrives in Chiang Khong in the afternoon, it might be a good idea to spend one night in Chiang Khong and cross the border early in the morning the next day. The border opens at 6.00 am, and the mandatory shuttle bus across the friendship bridge starts at 7.3o am. If you’re taking a boat down the river, the slow boat sometimes leaves as late as 11.30 am so you should have plenty of time to cross. We stayed at Day Waterfront Hotel, and we couldn’t recommend them enough. They give you all the paperwork you need to fill out for the visa application, and they explain how everything works by the border, and they even order you a tuktuk for the next morning so you basically don’t need to worry about anything. The owners speak really good english as well, and they were so sweet and caring.

A good tip to make the crossing as smooth as possible is to fill out all your visa forms before arriving at the border to save some time. You also have to bring a passport photo for the visa application, but if you forgot to bring one, you can make a copy of your passport by the border for 1 USD. The cost of the visa depends on where you’re from, but usually it’s around 30-35 USD, but it’s a little more expensive for some. You can pay the visa fee in USD, Lao KIP and Thai Bhat.

Something we didn’t know before making the trip over to Laos, was that during 2018 most of the countries in Scandinavia and a couple of other countries get free 14 day visas. We were only going to stay for two weeks anyway, so we actually got in for free which was a nice surprise. Apparently the tourism in Laos has gone down a bit the past couple of years, so they changed the visa rules to get more people to consider adding Laos to their travel route.

If you’re going to the the slow boat down the river, be prepared to spend many hours on an overbooked and crowded boat. Apparently they try to jam as many people as possible on the boat to make as much money as possible, and sometimes people end up having to stand up without a seat for 6-7 hours. Oh, and the so called “seats” on the boat are old uncomfortable carseats, from what we heard. Luckily we heard about this while we were in Chiang Mai, so we actually booked a more “luxurious” version of the cruise with a company called Shompoo Cruises, but there is a separate blogpost coming up about the whole cruise experience, so I don’t want to spoil anything just yet.

I hope this answered some of you questions about the border crossing from northern Thailand to Laos. But if you have any more questions, just write a comment below or send us an email and we will be happy to help you out with more information!

Picture of the beautiful sunrise view from our hotel balcony in Chiang Khong!

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ZIP-LINING ADVENTURE THROUGH THE JUNGLE IN CHIANG MAI – FLIGHT OF THE GIBBON

Yesterday we had one of the best days of our Asia trip so far. We did something we had been looking forward to for months and months. We finally got to experience zip-lining through the jungle with Flight of the Gibbon. It truly is one of the most amazing things we’ve ever done, and we will remember this day for the rest of our lives. This is something everyone needs to do at least once in their life. But maybe not if you’re afraid of heights since it all takes place pretty high up amongst the treetops.

The amazing day started by us getting picked up by Flight of the Gibbon by our hotel at around noon. We the tour called “The sunset Gibbon”, which is why we got picket up so late. There is a “Sunrise Gibbon” package as well, and if you choose that one you will get picked upp at your hotel at around 6:30 a.m. After getting picked up, we traveled about 1.5 hours up the mountains and into the jungle.

Once we arrived they briefed us about all the security rules, about what to do and not to do in the jungle and so on. We were assigned 2 “sky rangers” who were our guides throughout the entire afternoon. Through the entire zip-line experience there was always one guide on each plattform. One sending us off, and the other one receiving us on the other side. They communicated with each other constantly through walkie talkies, to ensure that no accidents would occur. We were in tje jungle for about 3-4 hours and I have to say, we did not feel unsafe at all, at any point what so ever.

There were some rules we had to follow throughout the entire day. 1: You should not run or jump on or off the platforms. 2: You were not allowed to handle your security lines/ropes. Only the rangers were allowed to handle the ropes to ensure your safety. 3: When going down a zip-line, it was not allowed to touch the cable with the risk of getting stuck between the cable and the pulley. 4: When approaching the next platform and you heard them yell (Legs up), you had to lift your legs up as high as you could. Everything felt incredibly safe and you always felt well taken care of.

The entire course took a little more than 2 hours to get through and it was 2 hours with a constant adrenaline rush. You can not describe the feelings that run through your body when you swing freely among the tree tops in a beautiful jungle in Thailand, how can you? There were different types of zip-lines during the course. There were ones where you went by yourself, there were places where you went 2 people together, one where you got hooked up on back and without anything to hold on to, you where supposed to just jump off of the platform, sort of like a bungeejump (incredibly scary but everyone’s favorite in our group). There were also places where you were hoisted down to a platform underneath.

After 2 hours in the jungle we had one of the best dinners we have had so far in Thailand. We sat down a large long table, and they put out all of these different delicious dishes. There was chicken curry, brown rice, vegetables, mushrooms, fried chicken, fruit and more. While we ate there were two people playing traditional music in the background, and it was just the most amazing dinner experience. We became such good friends in our group that we met up later in the evening for food and drinks.

Over all, I can only describe the experience as one of the most amazing things I’ve done in my life. I can not recommend Flight Of The Gibbon enough. If you are ever in Chiang Mai, this is a must!

 

Here is our blog from the day. We only make swedish videos at the moment, but we don’t talk much in this particular video so you should still watch it just to get an idea of the whole experience. Hope you enjoy it!

 

 

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THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE YOUR BACKPACKING TRIP THROUGH SOUTHEAST ASIA

Making the decision to travel is the best thing I’ve ever done. I already felt the first day of our great adventure that I was so happy and that the backpacking life suited me perfectly. I love to experience new things, new places, new cultures and to meet new people.

Are you also thinking about backpacking in Asia? Or anyplace else in the world for that matter. Here are some tips to help you along the way and to help you with your preparations.

1. Do not over plan things! The worst thing you can do as a backpacker is to plan your trip too much. You will meet so many lovely people along the way who share cool and beautiful places they’ve been to. We never plan more than a week ahead just to not be to held back by set dates and destinations. Create an approximate route with which countries you want to visit, but do not plan too much for each country. Be spontaneous!

2. Do not pack too much! There is nothing worse than having to carry around a heavy backpack for several months. You do not need a lot of things and you can make do with a minimalistic wardrobe. You can wash your clothes in the sink and there are laundry places everywhere that will wash your stuff for almost no money at all.

3. Here are a few things we would survive without: An extension cord with multiple outlets, antibacterial wipes, our own toilet paper in the bag we bring on our day trips (also the bag we use as a carry-on), mosquito repellent, a ticket case where we can keep all of our important papers and documents in one place, motion sickness pills!

4. Save money by booking rooms with fan only and without AC. We’ve done excellent without AC and we’re really saving a lot of money skipping it. You get used to the heat quickly and it is always cooler in the evenings and nights.

5. If you are traveling for a long time and don’t have a tight scedual, I would really recommend you to skip the airplane rides and travel by bus and train instead. It takes longer but it’s so much cheaper. We usually travel with night buses and night trains, which allows you to sleep all the way and also save you money by not having to pay for a hotel for one night. It’s worked great for us so far, and you won’t believe how easy it is to find good transportation options between all the locations in Southeast Asia.

6. Calculate an approximate budget before you leave so that you know how much money you can spend. It’s good to have an idea of how much you can spend everyday on food, drinks, hotels/hostels and so on!

7. Follow different travel blogs and travel vloggers on YouTube to get as much tips as you can. It’s also a great way to find new destinations!

8. Bring a small bag to take on day trips, preferably a backpack as it is more ergonomic and easier to carry.

9. A waterproof bag or so-called “wet bag” is a must, especially if you are going to travel between the islands of Asia. Whether you travel on water or just walk around and encounter a sudden rainfall, it’s nice to have all your electronics in a waterproof bag. Then you do not have to worry about things being water-damaged.

10. Leave the hair dryer and hair straightener at home, it is too hot to want to use and the hair does whatever it wants anyway because of the humid climate.

11. Always read about the place you are going to and the places to visit. You are in another culture and some things that are completely acceptable at home are not as acceptable here. For example, you have to wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees when visiting religious temples and places. Sometimes they let turists with tank tops and shorts in anyway because they don’t want to be rude and tell you that you’re dressed wrong. But it’s incredibly insulting. Always research the places you visit so you can present yourself in the most acceptable and respectful way possible!

12. Do not go on elephant rides. If you do, you’re supporting one of the worst forms of animal abuse. If you want to see the elephants, please visit an elephant sanctuary instead, where there’s no form of abuse going on towards the animals.

13. If someone “bows” to you, put the palms together and bend their heads, do it back to them show respect to the person doing it to you.

14. Do not worry!

15. And as always, if you have any more questions, just leave a comment below!

STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING KOH TAO, THAILAND – BACKPACKING

Hi guys!

We are currently in the city of Ayutthaya, a few hours north of Bangkok, after spending a couple of weeks on the islands Koh Tao and Koh Phangan. I thought I would review the islands a bit and tell you guys more about what we did, give you tips on what to do, what to think about and other good stuff about the location. I will start with a post about Koh Tao and then follow up with Koh Phangan.

Koh Tao, to explain Koh Tao with a few words, I’d say that it can only be described as a true diving paradise. Koh Tao apparently means Turtle Island, from what the locals told us. You can barely walk 5 minutes without seeing either a dive school or a dive shop. It’s an island with a real island vibe, it’s cozy, calm and everything rolls at its own pace. Of course there is some partying and other stuff going on, but mainly around Siree Beach, and only during the evenings/nights. If you’re celebrating New Year’s Eve on Koh Tao, Siree Beach is the place to be. Let’s just say, it was quite the party.

Accommodation

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We stayed at a place called Koh Tao Royal Resort, very close to Mae Head Pier. It’s the pier you will arrive at by boat. We stayed in a giant cozy bungalow and the hotel was right by a picturesque little beach. However, I have to point out that the beach had such a position in relation to the island that it was only sunny there later in the afternoon. So if you are looking for a hotel right by the beach, and want to lay in the sun just outside the hotel all day, then this is not the place for you. However, the island is very small and it’s easy to get around to other beaches.

 

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The bungalow we stayed in had a private bathroom, hot water shower, a fridge, fan (not AC but we have managed without AC the whole trip so far), mosquito nets and free wi-fi. You also get both shower towels and beach towels for free. The bungalow also had a very spacious balcony with outdoor furniture and a hammock. If you want to sit outside in the evenings, I recommend wearing mosquito repellent because there are a lot of mosquitoes in Thailand during the evenings.

The bungalow cost us around 35 USD per night.

Transportation

You get anywhere on the island by taxi, tuktuk, scooter and by just walking. Taxi drivers are everywhere so you won’t have any trouble getting a ride if you need it. Something to think about is to always research the taxi fares on the internet, they will overcharge you if you’re not careful. Always check the fares online, bargain their prices, be determined and if they do not agree with your price, just proceed to the next taxi. Because, as I said, there are plenty of taxi drivers everywhere.

When we travel around islands, we usually never travel by taxi or tuktuk. We love to hire scooters and to be able to explore on our own. If you’re like us and you love to explore, renting a scooter is a must. Costs usually range from 250-300 Baht per day. In some places you can also add full insurance on the scooter, which means that you won’t have to pay extra for scratches or other damages. If you decide to rent a scooter on Koh Tao, we recommend Oli’s Motorbike Rentals. NEVER leave your passport as a deposit if you are renting, check for places that accepts a copy of the passport together with a cash deposit. Oli’s takes passport-copies and a deposit of 3000 Baht which we got back as soon as we returned the scooter. No problems what so ever.

You can get to the island by ferry from Chumphon. We came from Bangkok and bought a joint ticket with a bus ticket and ferry ticket through the company Lomprayah. You can buy tickets online through a website called ferrysamui.com. Highly recommended, everything went very smoothly. We took a bus for about 6-7 hours from Bangkok down to Chumphon where we then took a ferry to the island which took about 1.5-2 hours. Bangkok to Koh Tao by bus and ferry cost us about 30 USD per person.

Beaches

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We explored a lot around the island while we were there but on our “beach days” we spent most of our time on Siree Beach. As I mentioned before, there is quite a lot of partying going on there in the evenings but nothing at all during the daytime. Other nice beaches are Freedom Beach and Shark Bay but they are quite difficult to reach without a scooter. Siree Beach is more easily accessible and we walked there from Mae Head in about 20 minutes.

Food/Drinks

There is an incredible variety of restaurants on the island. There is everything from Thai food to Swedish food. Generally, all food we ate was good and none of us got sick or anything on the island. To save money I would recommend you to eat the local foods. It is usually more expensive at places on the beach. We usually eat away from the beach and then move down to the ocean in time for the sunset. And look for bars that have happy hour, places often have a “buy one get one free” thing going on a couple of hours in the afternoon/evening or just a discount on the drinks. 

Things you need to do/see

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Rent a scooter and go to the south part of the island. There is so many beautiful places to see. Go down to Freedom Beach and follow the signs to John Suwan Viewpoint. It’s a bit of a hike to get up to it, and it may get a little rough at times, but it was one of the most beautiful views I have ever seen. Just remember to wear comfortable shoes and to bring lots of water. And don’t forget the sunscreen!  

 

Good to know

1. You can buy sim cards for your phone at 7/11 for about 400 Baht and get unlimited data usage. 

2. You can not flush toilet-paper down the toilets in Thailand.

3. Bring your own toilet paper in the bag you carry with you during the day. A lot of places don’t have toilet-paper in their bathrooms, and in some places they charge you for it.

4. Many places like restaurants, small shops and hotels will ask you to take your shoes off before you enter.

5. If you go to Koh Tao to get your diving licens, look for dive schools that offer accommodation as well!

6. There are 7/11 stores everywhere that are open 24 hours a day. So you don’t have to worry, they have everything!

7. Learn a few simple phrases in Thai like Hello and Thank you. It is very appreciated by the locals.

8. Pack an extension cord with multiple outlets. Often the hotel rooms have just one outlet, especially the bungalows.

9. If you need to get skincare products or shower products, look for the word WHITENING on the packaging. A lot of skincare stuff contains bleach in Asia.

10. There are ATMs everywhere on the island, so do not worry about not getting cash.

And as always, if you have any more questions, just comment down below!