Koh Samui or Phuket...

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by dkelly1110, Aug 9, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. dkelly1110
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    dkelly1110 Silver Member

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    The age old question....and we have to pick one ...
    Background:
    • Flush with Starwood points and UR (if Hyatt comes into play) but just mid-tier elites with both
    • Staying in Bangkok and Chiang Mai first.
    • 4 nights in either Koh Samui or Phuket
    • About us: Late 20s, from NYC, love food and wine, honeymooned in Bali (StR and FS-Sayan)
    • Looking for a higher-end experience
    Thinking obviously about the W in Koh Samui but think it's suites/villas only = double points?
    I know both places would be great, but if could only choose one ... which, and why?
    Thanks!
     
  2. edekba

    edekba Gold Member

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    Samui; less people. When I was in Phuket it was flush with people. Samui was much much more calm and quiet
     
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  3. hopscotch1
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    hopscotch1 Silver Member

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    I would say Koh Samui for the higher end experience.
     
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  4. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Congratulations on choosing Thailand for a vacation as it is a great destination ... we need more information to respond to your questions, such as:

    - When're you going? And, for how long?
    - How you getting there: coach, business, or first?
    - What's your thing? What would you like to do for fun beside food and wine?
    - Which hotel program are you associated with or have an elite status?

    Cheers! :)
     
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  5. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Yes, the W is only villas (all with private pools) so it is double points. Compare to cash prices for your dates though, it still may work out cheaper depending on how you value the points. If you can make it 5 nights then you'll get the fifth one free to lessen the blow perhaps.
     
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  6. dkelly1110
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    dkelly1110 Silver Member

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    Kalboz, thanks for replying; it seems from reading the Thailand forum that you are one of the experts.

    The trip will be in mid to late March.
    We will be flying first class - via Seoul on Asiana. Using UA's rather generous routing rules, the only flight to pay out of pocket will be from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui (or Phuket as the case may be).
    We enjoy seeing the local sights. We like to snorkel, but are not SCUBA-certified. We would definitely like to take boat tours of the area, seeing all the great islands and vistas that are there to be seen. That being said, getting away from stressful jobs lends itself to a few relaxation days too.

    We have mid-tier status in SPG, Hilton (gold), and Hyatt (thanks MP!). Have a lot of SPG points as well as MR and UR. I am certainly looking into moving some points to Hilton for a 4-night AXON at the Conrad Koh Samui. Using points at the W is borderline good value (rates $800/nt yielding approx. 2 cents value) whereas I think the Conrad presents some excellent value. I have read gleff's trip report at the Conrad, and while he had some good fortune to get upgraded to a 2-BR, I don't think my wife and I will need that large a space. The standard room and theresort seems good in its own right.

    Thanks again!
     
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  7. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    Thank you for the kind words ... it seems like you have done your homework as I like the way you planned this trip:

    Mid to late March the weather including the average rain fall is about the same at both locations. It is a good time to travel to islands of southern Thailand during this period. See Thailand interactive weather map here: http://www.travelfish.org/weather_fish.php

    Flying in and out of Thailand in first class means that you will be well rested and being 20-something, you can withstand frequent intra-Thailand travels like you have planned. So, you should be okay visiting Bangkok - the North - and a southern island destination.

    I like Phuket because of its proximity to visit other well-known places (such as Koh Phi Phi, Krabi area including Koh Lanta, Phang Na or James Bond Island, etc.). But recently there have been many scams and other negative news about maltreatment of tourists. I would skip Phuket until things go back to "normal". Koh Samui on the other hand is awesome but smaller in size with fewer other locations to visit around (Koh Tao, Koh Phangan, etc.)

    Too be honest with you, I haven't stayed at these properties as they are above my budget. However, Gleff's Conrad Koh Samui trip report is a great source of "inside" info. :) Boarding Area also have a good trip report with photos about the W Retreat Koh Samui. Another is Le Meridien Koh Samui.

    To help you prepare further, check out the new thread: Thailand Islands which has a link to what to do in Koh Samui

    Do have fun and write us a trip report! :)
     
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  8. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    I wonder if someone could get the W Retreat to open up C&P - perhaps not because of the all villa rooms.
     
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  9. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I haven't been to Koh Samui yet, but if you go to Phuket don't miss the Phi Phi islands. They are beautiful and well worth the boat ride. Some of the best and freshest seafood I have ever eaten was in one of the many restaurants sitting there on the beach.

    I would highly recommend Phuket FantaSea. The show is great and there are all kinds of great items you can purchase there.

    Patong at night is quite interesting, but I would keep an eye on my valuables.
     
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  10. dkelly1110
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    dkelly1110 Silver Member

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    Great stuff. Thank you.
     
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  11. dkelly1110
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    dkelly1110 Silver Member

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    Just as a final update to this thread...we decided to go with the Conrad in Koh Samui. A 4-night AXON award plus 1 additional night on point-stretchers meant only 185K HHonors points. We are excited for March.
     
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  12. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Seems there is a new SPG hotel opening up in January on Koh Samui. Anyone have any information other than what is posted on the SPG site for it?
     
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  13. Kalboz
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    Kalboz Gold Member

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    It's a luxury collection property, Vana Belle, with scheduled opening of January 20th, 2013: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/luxury/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=3024
     
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  14. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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  15. sellthesedownfalls

    sellthesedownfalls Silver Member

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    I went to Ko Phi Phi via Phuket in November and while diving on Phi Phi was awesome, I felt scammed in Phuket like no other place in Thailand, kind of like Kalboz mentioned earlier (we also did Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and then went south). I had a "taxi" driver straight-up say to me, when I told him his fare was ridiculous, "Well, you can afford it, can't you?" I told him that this attitude only serves to turn tourists away.

    I liked Bangkok, LOVED Chiang Mai, and our experience transiting through Phuket was the only part of the trip that tainted the experience a little bit.

    Have so much fun on your trip! In Bangkok we did a cooking class with Chef Lee at http://www.chefleez.com/ - I cannot recommend it enough :)
     
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  16. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Do you mind sharing your beach in Phuket? If providing feedback its probalby best to identify which sub area it belongs to.

    We just spent a few nights in Kamala beach which is very quiet - took no taxies - and did not feel imposed on by money makers. But we did see other beaches/areas from our bus (to and from our Phi Phi excursion) that clearly were full of hustle... (The Phi Phi excursion was required, but 100% non-intimate, and in no way a snorkeling trip.)
     
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  17. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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  18. sellthesedownfalls

    sellthesedownfalls Silver Member

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    We were basically only transiting through Phuket on our way to Phi Phi, we slept for a few hours at the Westin Siray Bay. When we arrived at the airport terminal, we walked to the sign advertising metered taxis, and were asked constantly where we were going. We talked to one guy who quoted us 600 baht for the ride. I had read that a metered taxi to Rassada pier should cost between 300 and 400 baht, and knew the Westin wasn't much farther, so I wanted a metered taxi and didn't want to negotiate a price.

    We got to the metered taxi stand and the guy running it basically ignored us. There were two meter taxis sitting in front of his stand, but it was obvious they were just there for show. The touts were speaking to each other in Thai and so everyone quoted us the same price. We didn't have a choice, so we went with the guy who said he knew where our hotel was.

    He took us to his Honda Civic (sketchy?) and not two minutes down the road did he pull to the side of the highway and asked for the hotel's phone number, because he had no idea where it was. It was late and frustrating and this dude had basically lied to us and then charged us a lot for a non-licensed taxi.

    Compared to the other airport taxi situations (in Bangkok and in Chiang Mai), Phuket was frustrating and made me feel like I was being taken advantage of because I'm American.
     
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  19. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Sorry.

    I think they might operate on a flat rate system? I recal large boards with posted rates for the various beaches.

    We had our hotel arrange pickup, I thought it was 600 baht but the hotel then claimed it was 700 if one way,or 700 each if round trip. I think the board said 600. But our flight was delayed and I think the taxie waited for us two twice, so the increase would have been given as tip anyway.

    For future visitors here is a post on the prices the board shows:
    http://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/566371-new-taxi-fare-signs-at-phuket-airport/
    It seems like people feel those rates are high, but at a minimum it sets a maximum premium price point...
     
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  20. paladinua

    paladinua Silver Member

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    Forgive asking this if its inappropriate on this thread, but Kalboz seems to be one of the experts here.... The Mrs. and I are heading to Singapore for New Years and thought we'd go to either Pattaya or Koh Samui for a few days (3-7 Jan). Any recommendations? Have Hyatt and Marriott status, could pick up a Hilton card to get status.... We looked at Phuket and Khao Lak (we've stayed at the JW KL twice and loved it each time!), but it looks like January is truly high season and majorly expensive, so we think we've ruled that out.

    Appreciate any help the collective can offer, thanks!!!
     
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  21. eponymous_coward
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    eponymous_coward Gold Member

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    You might want to consider Hua Hin as an alternative to Pattaya- beach town on the mainland like Pattaya (but on the other side of the Gulf), but not as, shall we say, "adult-oriented". (I considered it myself.)

    The time you're discussing IS the high season pretty much everywhere in Thailand. Thailand is to Europe what Hawaii is to the USA around Christmas Time-New Years, plus you have Australians coming on summer break. ;)

    I did see that the Hilton Thank You sale knocks prices down in Bangkok at the Millennium Hilton and the Conrad Ko Samui some. But I think you'll find better deals outside of the major Western chains, like I did (I am staying around the same time of year you are). Try booking.com or other websites rather than chasing shiny cards (though the Conrad Ko Samui DOES look fabulous).
     
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