Hua Hin | Koh Samui | Koh Phangan | Koh Tao | Koh Kood
Hua Hin – Located on the west coast of the Gulf of Siam, just over 2 hours drive south of Bangkok. For years it has been the aspirational centre for affluent Thai families who have holiday homes in the area. Hua Hin is developed with many hotels, villas and in particular high rise condominiums. In many ways it looks more Gold Coast or Miami Beach than Thailand . Clients like the easy road access from Bangkok , the improved restaurant scene and the golfing options . It would not be our version of tropical paradise , but the hotel quality is good and very well priced , especially if you avoid weekends .
Koh Samed is located on the opposite east coast of the Gulf of Siam, 90 minutes south of Bangkok Airport and then a 30 minute speedboat ride. Much less developed than Hua Hin, Samed celebrated its first tarmac road in 2015 ! But the beaches are glorious (see image above), almost Indian Ocean style. It only has 7 hotels , owned by the same family , with 5 geared to the regional market or low cost and the other two , Le Vimarn and particularly Paradee , catering for a more upscale worldwide clientele . The island is lush , wonderfully tropical , with just one area , Sai Kao where you have restaurant options and quite a few tacky bars .
Koh Kood is the furthest south of the Thai islands , almost located on the border with Cambodia . The 5th largest island , but with one of the smallest populations . Stunning beaches , dense forests , waterfalls , little villages and just a few international hotels .As of 2018 it had a police population of three , one hospital with two doctors , one ATM , no 7 Elevens . The most famous is Soneva Kiri , one of the most luxurious resorts in the entire region . With Soneva you usually arrive by charter straight from Bangkok , 90 minutes flight . For other hotels you fly to Trat , one hour and then 45 minutes to ferry point and then 50 minutes ferry to resort . Totally magical , providing shopping and nightlife are not high on your priority .
Generally at their best December to May, although you do not get the seasonal extremes of the islands like Samui and Phuket. In the summer you might have some increased rainfall and humidity, but days without sun are rare. Jellyfish can occasionally be seen in midsummer.
We might not have said this a few years back, but Hua Hin in particular has improved with tourism development. There are now many more restaurant and shopping options, as well as hotel choice. The beaches are good, albeit without the sense of the tropics found in Phuket or Samui. This area has the most Golf Courses in Thailand, so if you want to play a round you have so many options. An interesting tour can be to visit the Hua Hin Winery, just 45 minutes drive inland and you can actually tour the vines on elephants! – and the setting is really quite unique and the red wine surprisingly good.
Koh Samed is tropical, essentially it is beaches and relaxation, with the Sai Keow area having some nightlife and restaurant options. Our two hotels are rated as the best on the island, but there is not a lot of competition.
They can be busy at weekends/public holidays when transfers can take longer.