Phuket: snorkeling or Phang Nga bay?

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#1
Atlanta
514 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
We are wait listed for the tour to Phang Nga bay despite the fact that we were on line choosing excursions when they opened! Regent and CC advises not to worry that wait lists usually clear. However, Regent suggested I choose a back up just in case. The tour that interests us the most is snorkeling at Phi Phi island. This includes seeing some karst formations, nopparattara, and Koh Koh island. There is a cost to this excursion. So, what is your advice? Skip Phang Nga or hold out for it? Thanks!
#2
18 Posts
Joined Jan 2014
I've been to phi phi island and it's absolutely beautiful! Although I've not been to phang nga bay I'm guessing it's much the same.
If I was you I'd keep phang nga bay on wait and also book phi phi as a back up and then if phang bay trip becomes available nearer the time (which is likely) you can cancel the phi phi excursion.
Another alternative if the phi phi trip costs is to look at alternative similar trips over the net that are based from Thailand agents as they will be much more cheaper and don't be afraid to negotiate prices with them.
Hope this helps.
Have a great trip to magical Thailand!
#3
Atlanta
5,672 Posts
Joined Jun 2004
Hi Jennifer & Georges; Happy New Year!

We thoroughly enjoyed our private Phuket snorkeling trip (about $50pp) plus transfer while we were on the Voyager in December 2012. Alas, about two months prior to our Voyager (Mumbai to Bali cruise) Regent canceled the Phi Phi Island snorkeling trip so (along with eight other cruise critics) organized our own Phuket (Andy's scuba diving) snorkeling trip. If your first choice Phang Nga Bay does not clear WL, we strongly recommend snorkeling in Phuket (esp Phi Phi Island (The Beach movie location)). Some nice snorkeling/sea life pix below (post #280 )

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...keling&page=14
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Colonelretwes@yahoo.com
#4
Atlanta
514 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Thanks Wes and genes 007! We will have considerable OBC so we're hoping we can use that for snorkeling....otherwise, doing a private tour sounds great. Wes, happy new year to you and Ida! Pretty cold today in ATL.....6 degrees!
#5
Toronto
204 Posts
Joined Sep 2011
We were recently on the Phang Nga excursion after the waitlist cleared a couple of weeks before boarding.

Pluses:

The scenery is really spectacular, especially for us, having never been to that part of the world before.

The Muslim fishing village was really interesting, however we had very little time there and didn't see much of it.

Minuses:

The bus ride is long and hot. Some of the buses had less than ideal A/C, so if you can, pick a seat on the left side to avoid the sun for the whole trip.

The hotel they used for the restroom stop and the lunch was a bit of a dump. It did seem to be the only choice in the area however, so they picked the best they could.

Some buses were delayed, resulting in a very late and cold lunch. There were 11 buses from the ship, all very full. Those of us on the first buses to leave (or with Andretti-style drivers) were grateful we didn't have to skip the rubber plantation. The main issue is the Phuket city traffic.

Friends took the snorkeling tour and thought it was great, but they did mention the equipment provided was "gross", and wished they had brought their own.
#6
Newport Beach, CA
1,143 Posts
Joined Apr 2005
We did this cruise two years ago….

Avoid the Phaung bay at all costs…it was the worst tour we have takes on two Regent cruises.

2 hour bus ride to small boat…one hour boring boat ride… one and one half hour interesting boat ride and stop on floating island, one hour boring boat ride back to dock. Horrible lunch with bad bathrooms. very brief stop at Elephant camp. Two hour bus ride back to port. Several buses broke down. We had to take on many passengers which made for a cramped uncomfortable ride back to the boat.
Greatly overrated.
#7
Atlanta
514 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
Good information! Snorkeling is sounding better and better! I had searched the forum and so many people described Phang Nga as a must see. The only negative was the bus ride. From pictures, it looks like there are similar rock formations around Phi Phi island (including the "dragon's back").

Any other comments before I remove our names from the wait list?

Thank you! Jennifer
#10
521 Posts
Joined May 2006
WE vote for snorkeling! You will see lots of formations on the way to PhiPhi plus the snorkeling is great fun. Simply buy a cheap snorkel set and use it. Go to Walmart or someplace similar and throw it away after.

Also let 'them' take your photo! When you are done, you will have a marvelous cheap souvenir with a memorable photo!!! Folks are not pushy on PhiPhi

WE love the snorkeling there. Plus as you travel to the spot with the boat you will see how people live! Do look out the windows of your transport! Thailand is an amazing place!!
#11
Atlanta
514 Posts
Joined Nov 2006
We were cleared for the excursion to Phang Nga so we're in a dilemma! I think since there may be some likelihood of the snorkeling excursion being cancelled, we'll keep Phang Nga on the books and decide when we're there if we are leaning towards a relaxing snorkel or a long, hot bus ride!
#12
1,131 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
We paid Regent for the Phi Phi snorkeling tour last month. We thought it was pretty bad. The rough ride out to the islands was like riding a bucking bronco with salty water being thrown in your face. We were all laughing because it was so unexpected and we were wet but it was a hot day so the water was actually refreshing. We couldn't see much because we were flying through the water and we just passed rock formations anyway. I'm not sure what route the person took who could see how people live.

We stopped at two islands and both were pretty sad. They were soooo crowded that you couldn't even put down a towel to relax. That didn't really matter because we were only there for about half an hour. The many, many speed boats backed up to the beach and were anchored side by side. There was a little roped off area where you could swim and not be in the way of the boats that were coming and going with their passengers.

I will say that the view from the two islands we went to was very, very pretty. The water was a beautiful blue. In taking pictures, I had to aim high to avoid all the watercraft that were next to the beach. On the day that we went, the islands were absolutely overrun with people. I've never seen anything like it anywhere in the world. The restrooms were in crummy condition and didn't have paper.

We went around the back of Phi Phi island to snorkel. Our guide threw bread in the water to try to attract any fish in the area. That's really a no-no if you are a conscientious snorkler. We didn't think the fish that came around were particularly special.

All that said, we probably did have a better time than those who went on the Phang Nga tour. People we talked to said it was too hot to be in those boats for the length of time that they were out there.

I wonder if something was going on the day we went out to Phi Phi. I have never seen so many people standing on a beach as that day. Nor have I seen so many boats anchored side by side. It was like a parking lot.

Hope your day is better than ours was if you select Phi Phi snorkeling. Reading others' experiences tells me that our day was not the norm.
#13
521 Posts
Joined May 2006
Hi
We took a private operator and went to a different island and then motored past the formations. This is not snorkeling paradise like some are accustomed to;rather it is a tropical island with warm water and the chance to experience something different. It is a way to do have some fun. We are 72 and 84 and did cuz we could easily do it. There was always a kind hearted local who helped us if we needed help. We were alone on our side of the island.

Remember if a cruise ship goes there it is no longer undiscovered!
#14
Potomac, MD USA
58 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Our advice,skip both and do a private tour by cab and go to Tiger Kingdom. It is a once in a lifetime experience. You can snorkel anytime, anywhere.
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Jody