If I dream of you, like I dream of him, or he is as nice as you, what you ask wouldn't be so hard for me to decide.
Don't tell me to choose because I don't know what I should do.
Without you, I'll be lonely but I'll be sad without him. I wish I could keep both of you.
I honestly have to admit that Thailand has so many beautiful islands especially islands in Andaman sea; around Phuket, Krabi and Phang Nga. Many of you may already have a chance to visit and take photos of almost every island. However, there are many people who have to choose and eliminate something, due to time and budget limitation.
And I am certain that every decision, no matter big or small thing, creates discomfort and awkward moment. It's even worse when that decision always remains in your mind.
This review will advise on how to select islands under certain condition. Two islands that I will talk about are ...
- Mu Koh Similan is famous for its clear sea, beautifully delicate sand and the sea's landmark, Sailing Rock, where everyone wish to photograph once in life.
- Koh Mai Ton is a private island where is reputed in freshness and formerly called Honeymoon Private Island. Moreover, it is super popular at this moment.
The aim of this review is not to judge which one is the best, but rather tell story of touring at each island. Also, recommend if it would be suitable with what kind of person. I travel to these 2 islands with Love Andaman, so no worries about service or any differences between each tour agency.
Okay, if you are ready, let's start the journey to find out our love answers. When we can't have both of them, we should select which one.
Start with the first destination, Mu Koh Similan.
Date : Saturday, February 20th, 2016
For this trip, I depart from hotel, in Khao Lak, at 7.15AM by Love Andaman's van picking up at lobby. After that, we go round to pick up other tourists until the van is full. Then we move on to Thap Lamu pier.
Since getting on van till arriving at the pier takes around 30 minutes which uses much less time than a distance from Phuket. It is because distance from hotel in Phuket to Thap Lamu pier takes about 1.30 - 1.45 hours.
At Thap Lamu pier, you'll see a building with huge Love Andaman logo, in picture. Let's go inside.
At this pier, there are tours to 2 main islands; Koh Tachai and Koh Similan. A tour to Mu Koh Surin is also provided but getting on the boat at this pier will take longer time. So, many prefer to get on a boat at another pier instead.
Upon entering, first thing you have to do is looking for registration point of your destination. The sign is not only telling the name but also clearly showing the symbol.
Tachai island is Hairy Leg Mountain crab while Similan is turtle.
Once you get to forefront, staff will ask for your name or booking voucher. Then give you ca wrist band to classify the group.
Today I get tiny black one.
Remark : You will have to give it back at the end of trip in each day. It is not give away. ><
After registration, it's only 8 AM. There's around an hour left before departure. Therefore, I look for activities to do during this time. The first thing I decide to do is ...
Love Andaman offers breakfast which is quite plenty including boiled rice, sandwich, bread, cookie, coffee, soft drink and fruit.
Remark : I didn't take photo of the food since there were lots of people. So, I don't wanna disturb them. Anyway, let me explain that there is an entrance and exit way. Please observe carefully because some don't notice. They walk in the opposite direction and jostle in the middle of the line. - -“
After I get food, I start to find a seat which makes me realize that Love Andaman's pier is quite large. Apart from the building we see at front, they also have small pavilion at the back plus other corners to sit. More importantly, back area, near boarding point, equips with breakfast line and restrooms. So, in case you see front area is crowded, try walk to the back. Sometimes there are less people.
Let's see the food. The taste is quite nice and there are variety of menus. If you have to wake up early and don't have time for breakfast, you can enjoy the meal here.
Oh!.....They put travel sickness tablets together with buffet line. If you have a chance to get seasickness easily, grab one for yourself. Or you can take it on the boat too.
After having breakfast and using toilet, I survey surrounding area and find few nice spots for photographing with souvenir shops. If you have spare time, try walk around.
After an exploration, a guide call "black wrist band" to gather together, so I group with others. Then the guide explain today's itinerary.
The guide's name is "Sprite". He is good looking and friendly plus dark skin, as shown in the picture.
Oops!.....I'm kidding. Unfortunately I'm always shy when seeing handsome guy. So, I didn't take a picture of him. ><
A rough itinerary is as per below;
9.15AM : Depart from Thap Lamu pier.
10.30AM : Arrive at Koh See. Take a rest for an hour.
11.30AM : Dive at Koh Hok.
12.00PM : Have lunch and watch Sailing Rock at Koh Pad.
2.00PM : Depart from Koh Pad for diving at Koh Kao.
3.00PM : Return to Thap Lamu pier.
4.15PM : Arrive at the pier.
After that he brings us to the boat but there are 2 things to do before getting on.
1. Take off our shoes and put in a bucket. These shoes are not going with us. They will be kept at the pier clearly stated boat's name. Since seashore at Similan is quite delicate, walking barefoot is very comfortable. Moreover, the shoes won't bother you while travelling. You can bring shoes, in case you want to, but you need to put them in a bag. Don't wear shoes on the boat.
2. Take photo with a signboard. If you want to have lovely picture as a souvenir, bring on your cool pose.
Now we are on the boat. A captain takes us through the sea for 1.15 hours to Koh See of Mu Koh Similan.
Koh See is the second largest island among Mu Koh Similan. Residence of National Park is available for service.
We have an hour to do whatever we want on the island no matter swimming, diving, sun bathing, taking a nap or resting. Due to hot weather and amount of baggage, I decide to walk around and take photos instead.
I have to admit that the sea is very clear which is extremely impressive.
After an hour, the guide call us to get on boat in order to continue to Koh Hok for diving. Water and soft drink are served on the boat. You can drink unlimited and bring it off the boat.
A journey from Koh See to diving point at Koh Hok is very short. Unfortunately I forget to bring GoPro with me, so I don't have any picture underwater. T____T
According to the itinerary, we have 30 minutes to dive here but current is very strong. We therefore stay only 20 minutes.
Once everyone's on the boat, we move to Koh Pad. It is the biggest island of Mu Koh Similan where holds Sailing Rock.
We have 2 hours at this island with one main activity; having lunch.....LOL
To have lunch on island, for all tours, you will get only one plate for getting food at Similan park. You can take the food as much as you want. It is a basic menu including steamed rice, spaghetti and few main courses. After finish , we drop food scraps and plate at provided area by National Park. This measure is recently determined by National Park in order to control amount of garbage and conserve nature.
Other activities on Koh Pad includes walking around, sunbathing, swimming, diving and watching view at Sailing Rock. If you plan to walk to the rock, make sure to spare time at least 30 minutes; going up 10 minutes, taking photo 10 minutes and returning back 10 minutes. If you have less than 30 minutes, please don't go. Otherwise, the group will have to wait for you like my case. Two Chinese tourists make schedule delay for half an hour. T______T
At this island, I still choose to find a peaceful place to enjoy watching view because it is too sunny. I'am afraid I would melt in the sand. T____T
After our mission at Koh Pad, we move to Koh Kao for diving which is quite impressive point for me. The sea is clear with calm current. More importantly I find strange and bigger fish than other islands I have been.
We enjoy watching stunning creatures under the sea for 30 minutes before the guide call to gather and return to Thap Lamu pier. This time they not only serve soft drinks but also serve small bread and fruits. You can refill energy after using whole of it.
From Koh Kao to Thap Lamu pier takes about 1.20 hours. The boat may bump with strong wave at area nearby the pier but it will be much softer in the middle of the sea.
Upon arriving at the pier, we see plenty of squids on wooden floor........Oops, nope. They are shoes that we take off before getting on boat orderly placed on the floor. They are also separated into each group for ease of finding.
Apart from shoes, the photos we take before departure are printed and put in frame nicely display on table.
And what makes my eyes sparkle is the thing aside.
It is snack! .... LOL. It consists of stir fried noodle, drinks, some sweets and ice-cream. I have to say coconut ice-cream is superb. I want to get few more but it is limited, one each only. So sad. I guess there are lots of tourists today. They may be afraid it won't be enough for everyone. T___T
So, this is the end of Koh Similan trip. I will summarize pros and cons at the end of review, after Koh Mai Ton trip, to clearly compare between these two islands.
Continue with the second destination, Koh Mai Ton.
Date : Monday, February 22nd, 2016
I change accommodation from Khao Lak, Phang-nga to Phuket for ease of travelling. Love Andaman's van pick me up at 9.15AM. (One day prior to both trips, Love Andaman staff calls to confirm time and venue in order to avoid mistakes. Therefore, in case you see strange number calling in the afternoon prior to departure date, please pick up the call.)
I arrive at deep sea port, Laem Panwa, in 20 minutes. The port is hugely different from Thap Lamu pier since it is under management of Customs Department. So, it strictly control on passengers. On that day, there are roughly less than 150 tourists which is very little.
Breakfast line smaller than Thap Lamu too. I assume it is based on portion of tourists. Breakfast includes tea, coffee, soft drink, juice, fruit and cookie.
Today's wrist band is a thick black one.
After spending time at port for 30 minutes, Neo who is today's guide calls us to gather and explain itinerary.
10.15AM : Depart from port.
10.30AM : Arrive at Koh Mai Ton.
10.45AM : Dive to see corals and fish.
11.30AM : Return to Koh Mai Ton for lunch.
1.30PM : Walk to view point
3.45PM : Return back.
4.00PM : Arrive at deep sea port, Laem Panwa.
You can see that the schedule is quite flexible. There is only one diving spot and don't have to get on and off the boat as frequent as previous trip. So, it gives us more time to relax on the island.
Let's start the journey to Koh Mai Ton together!
Koh Mai Ton (means backlog island) is a private island with clear title deed. Decades ago, it once offered accommodation and welcomed lots of foreign tourists, especially Japanese tourists coming for their honeymoon. Accordingly, the island is so-called "Honeymoon Private Island".
Then Koh Mai Ton was changed into another hand and closed as private island. It doesn't open for outsiders. One of the owners is Puri Hiranpruk's family (Thai actor). However, current owner decided to open the island and allow tourists to appreciate the natural beauty again. I have to say the island is still newly fresh and has small number of tourists.
Koh Mai Ton is 9 km. far from Phuket which takes little time on boat. Source of the name "Mai Ton" comes from its shape from bird's-eye view looking like backlog.
Upon arriving at the island, what every boat needs to do is getting in queue to moor due to pier's small size. While waiting, the boat has to stop the engine combining with harsh wave. Person who get seasick easily may have a hard time.
From this view point, you can see waves bump against the pier intensely. So, they build wave front to facilitate in mooring.
For first docking, the guide informs that anyone who want to dive stay on the boat. Others who prefer not to dive can take a rest on the island.
After dropping members, we move to diving point, about 5 minutes. This spot is considered as another attractive location though it is not as beautiful as Koh Kao, Similan. It is still worthwhile to visit.
A reason why this area is still plentiful is because it used to be private island. It has been closed for long time and was also a Marine Animal Conservation like Giant clam. So, many scuba diving schools select this location for diving.
After that, we return to Koh Mai Ton which we have almost 4 hours on the island allowing us to fully relax at one's preference.
In the picture is walkway from the pier. You can see large building. It was an old resort since the island was welcoming tourists at first time. The building runs down a lot, so it is currently under renovation.
We have lunch at the left area. Walk along the way, passing pool, and you will see Love Andaman logo. I arrive before they open buffet line, so I order smoothie for refreshment. The taste is nice. More importantly it is made by our tour guide. I have to say he do almost everything, except sailing. LOL
Apart from smoothie, there are various drinks available plus cookies and breads. Don't worry they will be taken off. According to the picture, I am not the first person. They have refilled 3-4 times already, so stay cool. Grab it whenever you want to eat. They refill unlimited. ^^
While waiting for lunch, I'll bring you guys to explore the beauty of Koh Mai Ton.
For the seashore, I think the sea is clear and the sand is white, clean and delicate. Though it's not equal to Similan and Tachai, still not much different. Also, it is very close to land.
The featured points of this island are its big size and less number of tourists. Therefore, we can easily find private area to relax.
This swing is on the right side of island, opposite to lunch area of Love Andaman. Try this corner, less people. I think it's quite peaceful.
Koh Mai Ton tries to keep concept of private island and want everyone to leave all stresses behind. Like mentioning in the board below.
In case that you want to have a nice and cool shot, I recommend this spot, nearby the pier. This location equips with rocks plus sporadically water splash. Prepare nice posture. I think you'll get splendid shot. It is my most favorite site on this island but unfortunately I didn't take photo at the beginning. I went back after lunch but the current has changed. So, there is no splash anymore. So sad. - -“
Oh......I forget to tell you that sometimes you may face with this kind of wave. So, prepare to get wet, haha.
The island owner also offers other special activities which cost extra charge. From my survey, there are swimming pool and sunbathe corner for watching the sea, like this. There is a board stating where to contact for this service.
Now our lunch is ready. Let's check it out.
The food is continuously refilled, no worries. It consists of salad, steamed rice, 3-4 dishes and spaghetti.
The overall taste is delicious. One menu you can't miss is grilled shrimp and squid!!
Freshly and consistently grill on side. Spicy sauce is superb. If I remember correctly, I eat 3-4 serves.
After main course, dessert is coconut ice-cream with corn. This one is also nice. As usual, used wears have to be kept by yourselves. ^^
After huge main dishes, I end this meal with ice-cream and smoothie, again. I fall asleep until I hear the guide call to gather at view point.
It takes about 10 minutes walk to this view point, not that tired but slightly pant. We walk without guide because the route is easy to walk. Anyway, going with guide, you will have person to take photo for you and explain stories about Koh Mai Ton.
The view point is equipped with Buddha and allows you to see landscape of 3 provinces; Phuket, Phang-nga and Koh PeePee, Krabi province. However, the weather is not very nice today, so I hardly see the view. I'll give you photos of other locations instead.
Finishing from view point, we still have 1.30 hours left. You can do whatever you like. I prefer to lay down listening to weaving sound and watching beautiful sea.
During this time, it shows that Love Andaman guide do exactly everything especially taking photos. I admit he is very good at creating nice posture. He takes photos nonstop though sunlight and sand is super hot. Moreover, he won't stop photographing until you get nice shot. At this point I'm extremely impressed with him. @[email protected]
When it comes to 3.30PM, the guide calls everyone to go back to Laem Panwa and this is the end of Koh Mai Ton trip.
Now I have explained about Koh Similan and Koh Mai Ton trip. It's time to summarize highlights for each island.
Mu Koh Similan Trip
- Suitable with ones who stay at Khao Lak, Phang-nga because it takes shorter time to the pier. For those who stay at Phuket, you can also join the trip but you will be slightly tired from sitting on a car.
- Total time of travelling on boat is 3 hours divided into round trip from land 2.30 hours and moving from one island to another 30 minutes. So, if you don't like to travel on boat for long time, you may feel seasick.
- The sea is crystal clear with refined sand and plentiful marine creatures, especially Koh Kao.
- There are 2 main diving spots plus other islands we stop by. If you like snorkeling, you'll like it.
- Breakfast at the pier and snacks after finishing the trip are abundantly provided and delicious.
- Lunch of every tour agency is the same which is prepared by National Park. The taste and look is simple but eatable.
- Have to get on and off the boat several times since we keep moving. There's not much time to relax. So, this trip is quite tired. Also, not every island has pier causing you to walk from the sea to coast.
- Due to large amount of tourists, finding clear space to take photo is difficult.
- There is not much space to sit beside seashore of Koh Kao and Koh Pad. You need to find a cloth to cover the floor for sitting by the beach. Select an area in shade of trees. For those who prefer to swim, you won't have problem at this point.
- There is Sailing Rock which is a unique landmark suitable for your check-in photo.
Koh Mai Ton Trip
- Suitable for ones who stay at Phuket according to distance to the port.
- Take only 15-20 minutes to travel to the island. However, if you get seasick easily, you may feel unwell while mooring.
- Getting on and off the boat is simple. Don't have to walk from the sea and don't get wet.
- The sea is clear with delicate sand but still less than Similan.
- There is only one diving spot and not as beautiful as Similan. If you are lucky enough, you'll find Clown fish and Giant clam at diving point, in front of island. But if you are extremely lucky, you'll see a crowd of dolphins during the way to island.
- The island is a big one with less amount of tourists. It is also equipped with building to protect tourists from sunlight and rain, providing plenty of space to relax.
- Breakfast at the port is little but lunch provides unlimited grilled shrimp and squid with yummy sauce.
- Since there is one island in this trip, you'll have full time to rest on the island. If you are not that kind of person, you may be bored.
If you love diving, wish to see Sailing Rock once in lifetime, want to touch white refined sand & crystal sea, not require luxurious lunch, not haggle in amount of tourists, can get on and off the boat several times, and can sit on boat for long time, you should select "Similan Islands". You won't be disappointed because there are few islands with this kind of sea and sand left in present.
In case you are too lazy to get on and off the boat several times, get seasick easily, don't like to move a lot, don't like snorkeling, want to relax with eating good food & tasty smoothie, take a nap by peacefully beautiful beach, less tourists, wake up, go to swim, return to eat again, don't like to involve with others, require privacy, I recommend "Mai Ton Island".
If you love Thai sea, sunlight, white sand, clear sea and also like photographing with no condition on time and budget, I recommend both "Similan + Mai Ton". You won't be disappointed because they are magnificent in their own way.
So, this is the end of this review. Should there be any mistakes, I herein apologize. Also, this review is based on personal opinion on that particular day. You may experience different services. If you like my review, please follow or give any suggestions at https://www.facebook.com/amazingcouples.
Thank you for reading till the end. See you next review. May I end with this picture. It would be easy if I ask the guide to take this photo. I rather prefer to take it by myself with self portrait mode. Moreover, I don't have a remote control, so I have to run back and forth plus jumping several times. Super tired.
See you again next time. Goodbye.