Thai Island Life
Jerri explains the features of many of Thailand's
Todd: So I’m here in Bangkok with
Jerri and she is Thai. And, Jerri, I thought we would
talk about Thai islands.
Jerri: Of course.
Todd: So there are some major islands.
Can you first talk about the major resort islands in
Jerri: Yes. So as most of you know,
Thailand is probably visited because of its islands. So
the most well-known ones would be Phuket and Koh Samui,
which are both down South in Surat Thani. And yeah, I
think those are like the main destinations. They have
changed quite a lot since the last 10 years. It’s quite
developed, so it’s an island where, you know, if you
really want like a very nice resort and have like a
convenient place, like malls are everywhere. There’s
also like international schools so a lot of people now
move to live at Phuket or Koh Samui. It’s like a little
Bangkok but by the beach.
Todd: Oh, really? Wow. And Phuket
really developed quickly after the terrible tsunami,
right? So it’s really rebounded and now it’s quite
Jerri: Yes, yes, yes. Correct, yeah.
Todd: Okay. So both Samui and Phuket
are the more traditional maybe tourist package islands.
Todd: Are there some smaller islands
or less known islands that you would recommend?
Jerri: Yes. We have a lot of islands
in Thailand. Just near Koh Samui, you have Koh Phangan,
which is also known for its full moon party. That is the high season, but Koh Phangan is actually really
nice apart from the full moon. If you visit the other
less well-known beaches, Hat Rin, which is where the
full moon party happens. There’s a lot of hidden beaches
that is very quiet, very relaxed, and it’s not as
developed as Koh Samui so you still feel that island
lifestyle. There’s a lot of small businesses, local
Todd: Oh, that sounds nice. You know,
I actually have not been to Koh Phangan but I’ve been to
Koh Tao. And that’s the diving island, correct?
Jerri: Yes, yes, yes.
Todd: Yeah. Can you talk about that?
Jerri: Yes, of course. So Koh Tao is
known for its crystal clear water and corals for diving,
so a lot of people go there to get their diving
certificate. That’s actually the best place to do it.
And you can spend like three days there, do the course,
and then the island itself is also quite remote. So
there’s a few stores, not as much as in Koh Phangan. But
yeah, it’s nice and quiet, and…
Todd: Oh, that’s beautiful. There’s
some other ones too, right? So there’s Koh Chang. Can
you talk about that?
Jerri: Yes. Koh Chang is closer to
Bangkok so you can drive there. It takes about five
hours. It’s in Trat Province. Koh Chang is a big, big
island. And yeah, some people like it, some people
don’t, because it’s less vibrant, I would say,
compared to like Koh Samui or Phuket. But there’s a lot
of big resorts there and the beach is also really
Todd: Yeah, I have to confess.
It’s my favorite island by far.
Jerri: Yeah, yeah.
Todd: So I first went there 25 years
ago and it was really quiet then. I mean, incredibly
quiet. And the movie came out, The Beach.
Todd: I remember when I saw that
movie, I’m like, “Oh, that’s Koh Chang.” There was
nothing to do on the island, and so that’s… It’s
beautiful. It’s a natural park, correct?
Jerri: Yes, yes. Correct, yeah.
Todd: There’s another little one near
Bangkok called Koh Samet, correct?
Jerri: Right. Yes, yes. That’s a very
popular one, especially for Thais to go during the
weekend. It’s like a two-hour drive from Bangkok, in
Chonburi Province. All you do is you drive there and
then you take a quick boat, about 30 minutes. It’s also
a national park so there’s entrance fee, but it’s really
nice. The beaches are smaller but there’s like different
beaches and a recommended activity would be just to rent
a bike and then drive around the island. Takes about
like a half a day but all the beaches have their own
unique character, which is nice to see.
Todd: Oh, that’s so awesome. Actually,
when I was there years ago, I don’t think they had the
road around the island.
Todd: But I remember they had… It was
just amazing, beautiful beaches.
Todd: So there’s two more that are
quite famous or one that’s very famous, and that’s Koh
Phi Phi. That’s way down in the South. And there’s also
Koh Lanta which is not too far away, I think, as well.
So can you talk about those?
Jerri: Yes. These two I haven’t
visited. I don’t remember visiting them but I know a lot
of people go there for its clear water. And Koh Phi Phi,
I believe, has the well-known sand in the middle of the
ocean that you can walk across one island to the other,
and it’s known for taking a boat and the water is very
clear. And Koh Lanta… Yeah, Koh Lanta, I think it’s also
known for the same reason as Koh Phi Phi, for its
crystal clear water and there’s beautiful resorts there,
Todd: Great. Okay, so I’m going to put
you on the spot. If you had to choose one island to
visit, recommend one place, where would you go?
Jerri: Koh Phangan.
Todd: Koh Phangan!
Jerri: Without thinking, yes.
Todd: Really? And why?
Jerri: It’s always… It’s a place that
feels like home to me because my mom is there, as well.
So we know the locals, which makes a difference.
And also, I think the island hasn’t – you know, it’s not
developed but there’s also like things to see and you
really feel like you’re on holiday, really feel like
you’re going on an adventure.
Todd: Oh, man. I think I want to go
there right now.
Todd: I’m serious. I have a week and I’m like, “I’m going to go an island!”
Samui and Phuket are tourist package islands.
A tourist package will take tourists to important places on a schedule. Notice the following:
- The tourist package included all the major
- John didn't like his tourist package because
the tour bus always left too early in the
That is the high season.
High season is the busiest season for a tourist destination. Notice the following:
- When my friend went skiing, he tried to avoid
the high season.
- Summer is high season at the beach.
It’s less vibrant.
If a location is less vibrant, it doesn't have a lot of interesting activities. Notice the following:
- During the winter, the town around the resort becomes less vibrant.
- He didn't want to go to northern Alaska
because the small towns are less vibrant than
the big city.
have to confess
Yes, I have to confess.
When you say you have to confess, you realize what you say might offend or surprise someone. Notice the following:
- I have to confess. I forgot to put salt in the
- He had to confess to his daughter that he
didn't like the stew she made.
My favorite island by far.
When you say something is by far, it's the greatest or best. Notice the following:
- That chocolate cake was by far the best I've ever
- The lion in the zoo roared the loudest by far.
We know the locals.
The locals are people who have lived somewhere for a long time. Notice the following:
- When Jane travels to other countries, she
likes to taste all the food the locals make.
- The locals always talk about their cows.
have to confess • by far • the locals
Jerri shares shopping options in Bangkok.
More ways to get around in Bangkok.
Getting around in Bangkok.
Problems facing Thailand's islands.
The wonderful features of Thailand's islands.
About the Teacher / Creator
Hello, and welcome to elllo. My name is Todd Beuckens. I've been an ESL teacher for 25 years. I created elllo to provide teachers and students free audio lessons and learning materials not usually found in commercial textbooks.
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