A full day trip at Phi Phi island can cost just 1600 baht vs the brochure's (and hotel's) rate of 2800 baht if you are prepared to shop around along Patong beach. If you book in a group of say 4 and above you can even negotiate for a free upgrade to gold seats at Phuket's famed Fantasea show. Competition is stiff along Patong beach and it's worth your while to bargain before you commit.
1/2 trap 1/2 cool, Skip the dinner, it is just a big buffett. The show does not start until 9pm so get there around 7:30 that will give you plenty of time to walk around the park(shops) and take an elephant ride before the show start. As far as the show goes I am kinda up in the air about it. It starts off very cool with the elephants walking in through the audiance, but turns into a clown/magic act...ok at best.
Unique Suggestions: Make sure to get a picture with the elephants, you don't need to ride them to get a picture taken.
Don`t hasitate to hussle for better deals. Every cruise you book at, what i like to call `agency stalls` you can get discounts. Even if the price is already given in brochures. Once i paid 1600 bahts for the cruise to Phi Phi island and found out that i could save some money if i had bargained for 1300 bahts. Anyway, the price was reasonable according to European nasty and chilly prices.
If you buy tours from offices near the big hotels ask for discounts we a 4in 1 tour for 800bt compared with set rate of 1200bt in the hotel.The night fantasea trip we got free tranfers each way for the standard 1500bt the hotel price was an extra 150bt each way for transfers each.Transfers to the airport were also discounted to 450bt instead of the hotels and big operaters price of 600bt .A lot of the bigger tourist opperations in Phuket are now owned by Russian companies and are tring to push up prices,the small opperators are keen to get your bussiness are trying very hard to survive in the current envioroment
Well, its really not that severe...hehe..but dotted along the island are snake farms which are supposed to be astounding! If you ask, i'm sure a willing tuk-tuk guy will take you into one of them. Here, 1-2 trained guys will do a little something with the snakes, yes it makes an interesting show-for just about 5 of the 15-20mins it lasts, and yes you walk outta there some baht poorer...! Honestly, its worth a skip...nothing spectacular to see...walk on!
Coming from an Asian country and having seen most of these animals before, i feel it was a "trap" to have signed up for this safari tour as i learned nothing much.
What one would do at these places would be to watch animals like elephants, cattles, monkeys perform. Thoguh it might be amusing, i thought my time COULD have been better spent elsewhere.
Unique Suggestions: Maybe, make sure the animals are treated humaely, though i have no idea how this could be done.
Fun Alternatives: I might have gone to see more of the outlying islands like maybe, James Bond Island or those that you have to have a guide kayak you under to get into a cave etc, all the natural wonders...
Check thoroughly the places offered by the travel agent, because certain travel agent do not provide place like Hin Klang in Phi Phi full day trip. Go around to survey if you have time. Get more brouchures to compare the place and price they offered. Different agent provide different places.
Unique Suggestions: See whether the price they offered is worth, they might offer BHT1100 for 6 places (full day) or BHT 1200 (full day) for 7 or 8 places during low season May - Oct.
Unless you have never ride on an elephant or you do not know how does rice come about, I would not recommend the Safari Tour. It is costly and the journey to the Safari was more about an hour from Kamala Bay. This safari is a man-made "farm", they will show you their culture and daily acitivities.
Fun Alternatives: For that amount of money, I would rather have more spa session or have another snorkelling trip...
Please do NOT go here, or in fact to any of the elephant safaris in Phuket. Even though this is something thats usually high on peoples "to do" list, I would urge you to think twice.
Two years ago we went to Siam Safari for our elephant trek and it was great, in fact a highlight of our trip for sure. Back then, someone had suggested we visit Kok Chang instead, but we didnt get there. This time, we organised with our driver Mr. Sydny to take us here. Its only a short 20 minute drive from Patong and the entry fees being reasonable. We paid 1000bt each for a 60 minute trek, or you could pay 800 bt for 40 mins or 600bt for 30 mins.
BUT .... only a few minutes into our trek we felt terribly sick and wanted to get off. The mahout seemed to be treating the elephant sooooo badly, he was constantly hitting him very very hard on the head with his stick, it was gut wrenching and not a pleasant thing to watch thats for sure. The mahout was not extremely friendly and also spoke very little if any english, so for us it was a very long 60 minute trek through the jungle, up and down very steep and muddy tracks. Our elephant constantly wanted to stop and eat, but only once did the mahout allow her to do that, all the other times, she was whacked on the head again.
Ive also been since educated by my friend Tina about not only the cruelty to elephants in these treks, but also the fact that their spine is not designed to withhold the weight of the huge metal chair and then two people sitting atop as well. An elephants spine curves upwards, not downwards like a horses, so it is simply not designed to have heavy things on it, and the elephants eventually end up with severe spinal problems.
Elephants are beautiful gentle giants and even though you may be tempted to do a trek while in Thailand, I would urge you NOT to.
It is very touristic.Nothing more than some signs from the movie 007 - The Man with the Golden Gun.
And the array of shops there will always put high price for tourists.
But this island is always included in your sea-canoeing trip to Phang Nga Bay which is however a very good trip..
Unique Suggestions: Always bargain hard.Ask for cheaper price and if they refuse.Walk away and they will offer u cheaper price.
Not what I expect when I book a day tour to Ko Phi Phi by ferry. I was thinking of the movie, the beach starring Leornardo Di Caprio but may be I was expecting too much. When you reach there, the whole islands are packed to capacity with all sorts of boats and you smell diesels most of the time. The ferry I went on don't have enough seats for everyone and I'm sure not enough life jackets as well. Also because it is a 4 hours return you will not spent quality time on the islands itself.
Unique Suggestions: Pay more and you will have a more enjoyable experience. The islands itself is absolutely beautiful with it's clear water and limestones cliffs, so don't miss it.
Fun Alternatives: Stay the night and you can really enjoy the place when the day trippers and there boats are gone.
Although this tour has some great scenery it was really disappointing to see the desecration of James Bond Island. It was totally ruined by crass commercialisation. It is a tiny island and as you arrive on what would have been a pristine little beach you are confronted by dozens of souvenir stalls which completey overtake any beauty the island had. It was horrible.
The floating village is interesting and the food at the main wharfside restaurant is great but PLEASE TAKE NOTE: as you walk around you will have baby gibbons thrust at you and be asked to take photos for which money will be demanded. This practice is illegal and is destroying an already threatened species. You will be told they are orphans - YES THEY ARE - THEIR MOTHERS KILLED SO THE BABIES CAN BE EXPLOITED IN THE TOURIST TRADE!! From time to time raids occur here to catch these people but it is largely unsuccessful.
DO NOT take photos or pay money.
Unique Suggestions: Please talk to other tourists about the practice mentioned above so that they are aware.
I dont like to say anything bad about a place that is struggling for tourists at the moment, but please dont support the Zoo. It was so cruel to see animals locked in little cages and to be mistreated. I couldnt take photos as we were so disgusted by what we saw. Our children were visibly upset . One way to stop this happening is for people to stop going there.
Unique Suggestions: Make a complaint.
Fun Alternatives: The Gibbon Reabilitation centre.
You can adopt a gibbon for a period of time. We adopted ours for 2 years. They try to put them back in their natural habitat. It is well worth a visit here.
We went to visit Phuket Zoo and I must tell you that it was not fun. There was for examle a bear there that lived in a really small cage. The bear was really fillthy and wet. There were monkeys, elephants and krokodiles that were doing all kinds of trick. I is one of my saddest memories from Thailand.
Taxi drivers near Karon will try and take you to Elephant treking.
From what i saw it was cruel and damn right wrong. Thai workers whipping the elephants, it made me want to go and hit them for doing that!
It is disgusting and in some instances the elephants have been drugged before you ride them.
AVOID DOING THIS
Unique Suggestions: Go to Thai Boxing, avoid the elephant treks
Fun Alternatives: Thai Boxing