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Islands In The Sun TT

Visiting: Thailand
Trip Duration 14 Days
 

Reviews for Islands In The Sun

Travellers were asked to provide a review of the trip, including highlights and tips.

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Islands In The Sun reviews verified by reevooReevoo

14 reviews

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Islands In The SunScores 7.7 out of 10 based on 14 reviews
(8 out of 10)

Erik

Epsom, Surrey
Overall the trip was great, with the tour leader, Natt, outstanding. We enjoyed the itinerary, which was varied and included enough flexibility to allow free time to explore outside of the group. Though the accommodation was pre-booked, generally it seemed that day to day activities were on a more ad-hoc basis which allowed for flexibility. However, there were several activities that were within the plan, like swimming through a cave, a kayak safari through a mangrove swamp and down a gorge, and these were very enjoyable. The only downside was the train journey between Bangkok and the south, plus the return. Travelling one-way by train would have been ok, though 1st class would have been better as we would have been in compartments without the noise, and the extra cost is minimal, but the return would have been better had we flown. A flight would have meant an extra night on the islands, but all our group would have been happy to pay the extra. Another result of the return train journey was that you arrive back in Bangkok, in the morning having had minimal sleep, and can't get into your hotel room for some hours, so can't have a shower or change your clothes that you've slept in. As this is the last day of the tour you want to go out and explore Bangkok. In summary: it's a great trip where you see lots of islands, and mainly not the busy tourist ones, you get to see Bangkok and do sightseeing trips there, the accommodation is fine though not luxurious, and you get a local guide to aid you without it being intrusive.
Confirmed traveller: 01 January 2017
Published on: 20 January 2017
(8 out of 10)

Helen

We joined this tour after completing 10 days of Old Siam and the River Kwai (OS tour). Overall a well paced and varied tour with very contrasting places to stay giving a good overview of the West Coast Islands.
The 2 overnight trains were an experience and easy to manage. Local ferries were a revelation, from the busy larger passenger ships to the smaller longtails.
The accomodation was good, apart from The Emerald Bungalows at Nopparet Beach which were completely unfit for purpose and should not be a part of this tour (Explore are investigating), a real shame as the extensive beach here is beautiful, unspoilt and virtually deserted.
There were some issues with timings and hanging around, and the guide was not aware of local facilities at times, not giving us enough information to manage/ plan ahead where there were no shops or cashpoint etc (also being addressed by Explore).
However we loved seeing the communities, paddy fields and rubber plantations on Koh Yah Noi, contrasting with the more touristy but laid back Koh Lanta. Koh Hai was a little taste of paradise, and the snorkelling trips we took were stunning. A complete contrast and different feel to the north of Thailand, but an excellent way to see both sides.
Confirmed traveller: 27 November 2016
Published on: 23 December 2016
(9 out of 10)

David

Plymouth
Overall a very good tour, but would benefit from a couple of changes. Emerald bungalows are not really fit for purpose, the owner admitted to us that he was not 'ready' for guests and to make amends he gave us 2 free dinners. The bar consisted of lager or sprite and as we were miles from anywhere there was not the option to buy a couple of bottles of wine to have with dinner. The kayaking trip was very good but we were sitting waiting for over 2 hours to be picked up by the company providing the kayaks. Tui, our tour guide, was very good in making sure that all the transfers went very smoothly but lacked local knowledge of the island resorts. Prior to leaving koh lanta she told us we could change money on koh hai which was incorrect luckily we did all have some bhats which meant we could go to places other then our hotel and use debit cards to settle the hotel bill. She also didn't have many ideas on in resort activities. Highlights were rainforest walk and cookery school on koh lanta, emerald cave and the wonderful beach on koh hai. Overnight train journey was far better then we anticipated and certainly an experience although we do question the need to be at the train station 2 to 3 hours prior to departure.
Confirmed traveller: 27 November 2016
Published on: 04 December 2016
(9 out of 10)

Danny

London
Ko Hai was my highlight. Powder sand and house reef which was great to explore. Watch out for small rocks. Water clarity great
Confirmed traveller: 03 April 2016
Published on: 14 April 2016
(6 out of 10)

Roz

London
I had a fantastic time on the trip and met some lovely people in the group. I really enjoyed the trip and there were a number of highlights, but I was disappointed by a number of aspects. This was my fourth holiday with Explore and I didn't think it was up to their normal high standards. I don't think the itinerary was well-thought-out. It seemed to make no sense starting the tour in Bangkok, when we could have easily flown directly to Phuket or taken an internal flight to Trang or Krabi after flying into Bangkok. Explore could easily offer a Bangkok extension for those who would like to see Bangkok at the start or end of the tour. I found it exhausting to get a 12 hour overnight train to Surat Thani a day and a bit after doing a long-haul flight. Following the overnight train, we travelled for another 6+ hours by mini-bus and boat to get to our first island destination. This felt like an unnecessary slog when we could have flown to the South and been on the first Island late the previous evening. 5 of us flew back to Bangkok from Trang at the end of the holiday, as we didn't want to take a 15 hour train journey back to Bangkok when we could fly for 1.5 hours and be there the previous evening. I also felt that given there is so much mass tourism in Thailand, the itinerary could be reviewed to include some more places a bit more off the beaten track. Koh Hai was absolutely stunning with turquoise waters, but sadly some of our other destinations such as Krabi had fallen victim to mass tourism and there was rubbish such as water bottles and plastic which had washed up on the beach. Whilst I'm really happy with basic accommodation I felt that a couple of rooms I stayed in were dirty and below the normal standard of accommodation provided on Explore trips. There was also a lack of consistency in the accommodation provided, as in two destinations I saw by complete chance that other members of the group had been allocated much more modern and cleaner rooms. It was great to see so much but I think we moved around too much - it would have been more enjoyable to take out one of the islands and have 3 nights in each place. Highlights for me were kayaking in Krabi, Thai massages, the sunsets and fire jugglers at Koh Lanta, the amazing dining room with the lanterns at the guest house in Krabi, the boat trip to the Emerald Cave, staying in Koh Hai and the Lady Boy Cabaret in Bangkok.
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 12 March 2016
(8 out of 10)

Craig

Sheffield
The trip was a good way to see some of the lesser known Thai islands. It is slower paced than other Explore holidays we have been on so would suit those wanting relaxation and a beach holiday interspersed with some sight seeing.

Highlights would include the boat trip to Phi Phi and kayaking amongst mangroves in Krabi.

The sleeper train was of a good standard (compared to others we have been on!), but nevertheless would still go armed with wet wipes as there is a full day of onward travel and activities. We would also recommend that you do some research on Bangkok as there is free time here and lots to see and do!
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 12 March 2016
(8 out of 10)

Brian

Birmingham
The 15 hour train journey on the last leg of the trip could do with looking at, just to long.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 06 March 2016
Published on: 07 March 2016
(6 out of 10)

Juliet

Brighton
Last island in Koh Nai and the trip to the Emerald cave and the snorkelling on the same trip.
Prepare for a long and not particularly comfortable train trip to and from Bangkok, unlikely to get much sleep especially if on the top bunk - lights are on all night and the air conditioning can be a bit fierce,
0 of 1 people found this review helpful
Confirmed traveller: 10 January 2016
Published on: 18 January 2016
(7 out of 10)

Jo

London
Loved cycling around the first island. Seeing the elephants and hiking through jungle on last island. Would not recommend accommodation on Krabi. Would upgrade. Resort either side better. Would may be do a trip to Krabi town. Last resort very nice. I had a lovely room. But restaurant found not great. All in all though great adventure. I flew back so only one night on the train. I think train back is far too long followed by flight home. You should look into flights. Also new years eve entertainment was disappointing. Nice venue but no real entertainment for adults just kids. Would liked to have danced on the beach! I imagined it round be amazing. But it was very dull. Also disappointed with age group. I was told Explore was for younger travellers but apart from one they were 50s and 60s. Not really what I was after. Prefer younger crowd 30s and 40s.... that would put me off booking with Explore again.
Confirmed traveller: 03 January 2016
Published on: 05 January 2016
(9 out of 10)

Ian

St Albans
The 5 islands day-trip to Bamboo Island, Koh Phi Phi and the snorkelling was excellent.

This is not a high-energy fortnight though. Towards the end by prepared for a couple of days doing nothing on the beach with a book. Personally I would have swapped an extra day in Ko Lanta instead of Koh Hai.
Confirmed traveller: 14 December 2015
Published on: 15 December 2015