Hey guys we need some help,
My girlfriend and I are travelling to Thailand and will be landing in Bangkok on the 26th at night. We are flying straight to Phuket the next morning and then going to Krabi. Then we will be flying to Chiang Mai on the 30th and spending a few days there. The plan was to go from Chiang Mai to Bangkok by train and rest in Bangkok for a day and then go on to Siem Reap via the Poipet crossing. So I guess here are the questions:
1. Will a train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok (overnighter) be a bad idea in terms of safety and delay?
2. Should we just avoid Bangkok completely? (seems like we should just avoid Bangkok now)
3. What is another way from Chiang Mai to the Poipet crossing? or specifically Aranyaprathet.
Thanks guys for all your help. We would prefer not to fly because of budget constraints, and would like to experience the overnighter train and border crossing.
#1 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
#2 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
Oh man...I guess there's not editing function. I guess what the main point of my questions are...how do I get from Chiang Mai to the border of Camobdia? Namely Aranyaprathet. I am cancelling Bangkok out of the trip, unless going from Chiang Mai to Bangkok on train is still relatively safe. Please give me any advice you can give!
#3 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
If you want to go from CM to Aran quickly, you might be able to fly from CM to Khorat (Nakhon Ratchasima), then to go Aran by bus.
Or, you could take the train south to Ayuthaya, then bus to Prachinburi, and get the train to Aran from there.
Or you could go by bus from CM to Phitsanulok, then to Khon Kaen, then Sa Kaeo, then Aran. There may even be buses to the border from KK, but they'd probably stop in Sa Kaeo (or Khorat or both) anyway.
There are lots of ways to go. You could town-hop. Check out a map and connect the dots. The buses go everywhere, sometimes quickly, and sometimes not so quickly. It all depends on how much time you have and how adventerous you're feeling.
Thanks for the info! We're looking to do it pretty quickly. What's the fastest route in terms of making one overnight stop and then moving on? I'm not really sure how quickly the busses and trains move.
#5 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
Someone may have something better than this, but I'd say take the overnight train from CM (17:50 pm) to Ayuthaya (arrive around 5:10 am), then bus from there. You'd probably be at the border by noon at the latest.
hmm sounds good. hopefully the situation in northern Thailand is ok when I go to chiang mai so i can actually make it to siem reap by land...man this situation just keeps getting worse and worse.
#7 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
If you count the amount of money that you'll pay for train and busses I'd even go for a plain if you don't have the time and fly straight into siem reap or phom penh. unless you really want to travel on the train in 3th class non sleeper.
checkout asian airlines like airasia, PMTair. they are really cheap and you can find really good deals as well.
If you got loads of time I would do it like Tilapia says and go for town hoping so you'll see a lot more of the local culture instead of going to tourist places like chiang mai.
anyway, hope you'll work it out.
i mean price and time aren't the issue. i'm really just worried about safety.
#9 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
A lot of advice will be a bit dependent on what happens today -- especially in Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
That aside, I talked to a friend in Chiang Mai who has done this trip and he said:
"Quickest is to fly: Chiang Mai-Bangkok- Siem Reap . The quickest overland route is the night bus from Chiang Mai to Surin then get a taxi to the border at Chong Sa Ngum, then a bus or share taxi from Anlong Veng to Siem Reap. The Surin to Siem Reap leg takes about 3 hours and the most difficult bit is finding a cab in Surin!"
Thanks a lot for the advice somtam. I think I will opt out of flying from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then Siem Reap. I would like to make it to Aranyaprathet to go through the Poipet Crossing. What is the best place to stop on an overnight train from Chiang Mai (in terms of things to do, and quickness to get to Aranyaprathet)? The original plan was to go to Bangkok, but of course we are looking for alternatives now.
#11 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
Woops actually seems like Poipet crossing must be really out of the way if Bangkok isn't a destination.
Here is a change in my question:
What's the best destination between Chiang Mai and Siem reap to do an overnight stop in terms of things to see and do and then quickness and easiness to get to an easy border crossing to Siem Reap?
#12 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
I'd go to Phimai near Nakhon Ratchasima - it is sort of on the way, but you'd need to do it all by bus -- not train. Phimai has some excellent guesthouses and ruins and from Khorat (Nakhon Ratchasima) you can get a bus to Aran.
are there overnight busses? and what are the overnight busses like? thanks for all your help somtam.
#14 canta_mezzo has been a member since 21/4/2010. Posts: 10
Ya, if you're interested in Khmer architecture (and who isn't???), then Phimai is a must-stop place. The temple is older than Angkor, and was the prototype for the style of architecture that was used on the main temple complex near Siem Reap.
It's also a pleasant, quiet, small town with, as Somtam says, some nice guest houses. I stayed in a lovely old teak home turned guest house when I was there. Phimai is about one hour north of Khorat by bus.
Overnight buses aren't great, but they aren't always awful either. Pick up some gravol and knock yourself out for the trip. There are usually a couple of bathroom/noodle breaks ... mostly for the driver, I think.