Koh Tao is an island in the Gulf of Thailand. Koh Tao means "Turtle Island", named after the island's distinctive turtle shape. The island is quite small and there are only two basic things to do on the island. One is to relax for the island is quite quiet. You can take in the scenery if you wish or just enjoy the sun at any of the particular beaches on the island.
The island is also quite popular with SCUBA divers, there to enjoy the clear waters of the Thai Gulf and observe the various amount of sea life. On a more somber note, the development of tourism has negatively impacted the health of the waters in the vicinity of the island. However, there was a breeding program established in 2004 by the Royal Thai Navy and a coalition of local scuba diving centers, to reintroduced hundreds of juvenile turtles to the island's waters.
Jomtien is located adjacent and south of Pattaya and is actually part of the same municipality. This part of town is along the coast and a little bit less extreme than Pattaya. Jomtien is generally used by families from Bangkok to get away for the weekend or families visiting from abroad. Like Pattaya, there are a lot of beach activities like parasailing, pontoon riding and kite sailing.
Jomtien is separated from Pattaya by a high called Khao Phra Bat that provides a great view of the Pattaya City and its crescent bay and a great place to catch the setting sun. The hill is topped by Wat Khao Phra Bat, a temple and the monument of Kromluang Chomphonkhetudomsak, who is regarded as the founding father of the modern Thai navy.
Koh Samet is an island in the Thai Gulf to the Southeast of Bangkok. Getting there takes about 3.5 hours drive (by bus) from Bangkok to the pier that supports the island in Ban Phe. I took the bus from the Ekamai Bus Terminal on Sukhumvit Road and it really was convenient for the bus company now offers the ferry to Koh Samet in the ticket, which was only 312 baht. The pier for the ferry is immediately across from the Ban Phe Bus Terminal. Very convenient! There are other ferrys to other piers on the island.
The ferry takes you to the Na Dan Pier on the north side of island and you can get a taxi to all parts of the island you may want to stay. The taxis are trucks and the ride can be quite rough, depending on where you stay. I stayed only about 1 kilometer from the pier, in the Had Sai Kaew Beach area. On the weekend, this area was quite crowded but during the week it gets very quiet. I have been to different areas of Koh Samet and the weekend crowds pretty much stick to the beaches with ferrys providing direct access.
If you are familiar with my blog, you know I am going to be showing you the island with photos and videos and I hope you enjoy! I took a hike along the coast to capture as much of Koh Samet as I could. I started in Had Sai Kaew beach then went south to Ao Phai, Ao Tuptim, Ao Choh, Ao Wong Duen, Ao Sangtien, and Ao Lung Dum. I made a side trip to Sunset View Point, which is on the west coast of the island. It was not time for the sun to set but the rocky/craggy coast makes for some good photos (and video!). The YouTube Playlist above is a compilation of my Koh Samet videos!
Pattaya is Thailand’s self-proclaimed “extreme” city. Pattaya is a popular resort town on the North Gulf Coast of Eastern Thailand, approximately 150 km south-east of Bangkok. Pattaya also offers an excellent range of eating choices and a wide variety of things to do and see. Pattaya attracts local Thai and tourists from around the world who are just there with their families for a fun time. Pattaya beach is three kilometers long and runs from north to south following the city contour. The beach is full of life with children playing and many activities like speed boats, parasailing, jet skis; all of which can be rented or contracted at water edge.
When the sun sets over Pattaya the views can be spectacular. One of the best places to enjoy the setting sun in Pattaya is an area they call Buddha Hill. There is a memorial for historical figure for the Thai Navy who's statue over looks the ocean and wonderful views of the setting sun.
As night settles in Pattaya is also famous for its go-go and beer bars, the most famous area for this is The street along the beach - Walking Street.This area comes alive with rock music as the night sets in. People throng the street to experience the night life, which is unique in all respects. There are many beer bars, go-go bars, discotheques around along this street. Some of the beer bars also offer Muay Thai, the Thai Boxing, and snake charming, just to add additional color. If you make to the end of the street (without any prolonged distractions in a go-go bar), it ends at the Bali Hai Pier. The pier offers a quiet walk to wind down after a night of fun AND offers another famous view, the Pattaya Light house, the city sign and a wonderful panorama view of Pattaya nightscape, shown below.
The Island of Koh Larn (also spelled "Lan") sits off the coast of Pattaya, making it easy to get to. The easiest and cheapest way is to go to the Pattaya Pier in Southern Pattaya and take a ferry over to the island. Being away from Pattaya it is a bit more low key but things are stepping up on the island of late. But the Island is still more low key than Pattaya so if you want to get away from the fray you can spend a day on the beaches of Koh Larn.
There are monkeys in a lot of places in Thailand, usually running free but staying close to places people go to get a free ride as much as possible. Whenever i encounter them I like to spend the time to get some good photos. I think they can be very photogenic. Monkeys can also be fascinating to watch, sometimes immensely funny and a few can be scary. While I was taking these photos of a troop of Monkeys on the Island of Koh Larn, a monkey jumped on top my head and I had to show quite a bit of restraint to not reach up and throw him off. I was able to gently coaxed him down and then continued taking my photos.
The Blog List below takes you to my blogs and my photos...
Gulf of Thailand
Great destinations in the Gulf of Thailand area. Click here to view a list of Articles about Destinations in the Thai Gulf.
Islands of the Thai Gulf
Bangkok's 9 Royal Temples
Bangkok Must Sees
Exploring Thailand's Nature
Thailand's Royal Palaces
Thailand and World War 2
Explore Chiang Rai
Explore Chiang Mai