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21 Year Old Solo Backpacker Thailand Advice

  • dbryant7

    Joined Travelfish
    27th April, 2010
    Posts: 2

    Hi all,

    Planning a 4 week trip through Thailand from June 9-July 8 this Summer. Flying round trip from LAX-BKK and I am planning on using Bangkok as a hub for traveling to the north and south of Thailand as well as a jumping off point for cheap airfare to Cambodia.

    As of right now, its just me and my pack travelling solo, and I've only booked my airfare - nothing else. What kind of planning do I need to do ahead of time regarding a day-to-day breakdown of what city/region I'll be in and what guesthouse I'll stay in? I plan to stick mostly to the backpacking trail (although I would like to get off the beaten path a bit from time to time).

    My basic itinerary is a few days in Bangkok, overnight train to Chang Mai (use Chang Mai as a hub for seeing the North of the country) and then I'll head back down to Bangkok before getting to the south of the country. Any recommendations about the best places to visit for about a week of R&R on a beautiful beach in the south would be much appreciated.

    After some relaxation down South, I assume I'll retrace my steps to Bangkok before one more roundtrip into Siem Riep to see Angkor Wat and possibly Phnom Penh.

    Broad questions:

    - Do I need to have accommodation booked in every place I intend to visit, or is it doable to simply research a day or two in advance (or even when I arrive) and find a decent, cheap, clean guesthouse?

    - I plan to use the trains extensively to get about the country, especially for longer trips. What is the process for purchasing tickets, and how far in advance do I need to do it (say for Bangkok to Chang Mai)?

    Specific Questions:

    - Any recommendations for a good area in the south? Specific islands or places to stay?

    - Tips on travelling to Cambodia would also be fantastic.

    Thanks in advance for all your help!

    #1 Posted: 27/4/2010 - 08:34

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  • somtam2000

    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7371
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Welcome to Travelfish.

    Generally speaking my advice would be to not overplan.

    Unless you have very specific needs, and as long as you don't mind a bit of door-knocking, it isn't necessary to book in advance. There are a couple of exceptions to this tho - see this story for more info:

    Your planned route is a good one and one lots of others do, so you shouldn't have any probs finding lodging etc,

    On islands, depends on your interests. Here's some material to get you going:
    Which island off Trang
    What is the best island in Thailand
    General islands page

    Hope that helps!

    #2 Posted: 27/4/2010 - 09:29

  • tezza

    Joined Travelfish
    13th April, 2006
    Posts: 1331
    Total reviews: 61

    There are so many great islands in the south that people tend to get overwhelmed sorting WHICH ONE?

    One way to eliminate a whole bunch of them in June-July is on the basis of weather - most of Thailand is in wet season at that time but the southern Gulf islands are usually still pretty dry - their wet season is normally Oct into Jan. Check figures on TRAVELFISH's great interactive weather map.
    So this leaves 3 great islands - Samui, Phangan and Tao. And there are so many diverse beaches on each, particulary Phangan, that I reckon I could spend a whole 2 months on these just moving from beach to beach.

    This doesn't mean other islands are out of the question. Wet season there usually sees plenty enough sunshine for a good beach holiday. This June I'll be in the Andaman for a few weeks - and then over on Phangan and Tao.
    Note the driest island statistically after the southern Gulf ones is the central Gulf's Samet in June/July - the wettest, the eastern Gulf ones (big Chang and neighbours) and the Ranong area's little Chang and Phayam.

    #3 Posted: 28/4/2010 - 18:22

  • rawdirtyhot

    Joined Travelfish
    2nd June, 2010
    Posts: 1

    I was meant to be going to Thailand for a month on the 4th June but booked a connecting flight to Phnom Penh in Cambodia for like £75 coz the trouble in Bangkok is looking pretty grim. Google AirAsia they're dirt cheap and no nasty(and expensive)border crossings

    #4 Posted: 2/6/2010 - 08:01

  • yogakhaolak

    Joined Travelfish
    1st April, 2010
    Posts: 45

    No more trouble in BKK. Besides, the trouble was only in BKK, not in the North or South of Thailand.
    As for the OP's questions, you do not have to pre-book trains. If you arrive the day of you can usually get a ticket for that night as long as it is not a holiday. The same is usually true for buses as well. Also, no need to reserve accomodations. As mentioned before, just be prepared to do a bit of looking around for something suitable. Most places will let you have a look at the room first.
    As Tezza said, it will be monsoon in most of the country so you are better off going to the East islands where monsoon doesnt hit until October. However, the real rain won't start until August so you could go somewhere along the Andaman and still have nice weather. But there is no guarantee of that.

    What sort of tips do you want for travelling to Cambodai? Border travel, or a general where to go once there?

    #5 Posted: 2/6/2010 - 09:46

  • Sophia_India

    Click here to learn more about Sophia_India
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd June, 2010
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 45

    I wouldnt book rooms before you go, just get them as you go along as this allows you to choose a room and have more freedom.

    I recommend Ko Chang and Ko Samet!

    #6 Posted: 2/6/2010 - 18:03

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