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Am I trying to see to many places? Help with fine tuning itinerary needed :)

  • allykat

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 24

    Hi,
    My boyfriend and I are planning to travel to Thailand and Cambodia for just over 3 weeks in late Feb _ early March 2011. We went o Singapore and Thailand early this year and despite the wise advice given on this page , crammed to much in and spent way to much time traveling and way not enough time relaxing :(
    I was hoping to get some advice on my itinerary (which I am going to listen to very attentively this time, lol) from some more experienced travelers.

    So here is what I have planned so far:
    8/2/11 arrive in Bangkok.
    Explore Bangkok for 2 days
    11/2/11 bus to Kanchanaburi
    4 nights in Kanchanaburi
    15/2/11 train from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok, overnight in Bangkok.
    16/2/11 train to Aranya Prathet, then to Siem Reap by taxi.
    6 nights in Siem Reap to explore Angkor and some of the more distant temples.
    22/2/11 bus from Siem Reap to Trat , overnight in Trat.
    23/2/11 Ferry from Trat to Ko Chang .
    6 nights in Ko Chang
    1/3/11 Ferry from Ko Chang to Trat, overnight in Trat
    2/3/11 bus from Trat to Bangkok overnight in Bangkok
    3/3/11 Fly out from Bangkok home to Sydney (well Newcastle actually )

    #1 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 06:34

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  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    After a quick glance and consideration, I would say that your itinerary looks fine, with a good number of nights in each place (esp Siem Reap and Kachanaburi).

    Depending on your budget, you could consider flying from BKK to SR. That'll save you a day of travelling given that you've got a relatively short period of travel. But that's a costly flight....

    I was going to suggest that there may not be a need to overnight in Trat as you could probably catch a bus straight back to Bkk... but personally, I think Trat is quite a nice little town. You have options, anyhow...

    Also - if you find 6 nights on Koh Chang too long, you could consider moving on to Koh Muk for 1-2 nights. It's a much smaller and quieter island though, so depends on what you are looking for.

    #2 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 06:47

  • Tilapia

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    Agree with Lizzy w.r.t. Trat. It IS a great little town that is well-worth a night.

    Also, as much as I enjoy Kanchanaburi and it's lovely surroundings, you might consider hopping on the bus and going to Sangkhlaburi for a night or two, just for something different. Amazing scenery and nowhere near as busy as Kanchanaburi. It's a special place. Much more Burmese than Thai, not many people, and some good places to stay.

    You might also look into staying on Koh Mak, Koh Kut or Koh Wai instead of Koh Chang. Koh Chang, IMHO, really has had its day. Actually, I thought that about 10 years ago.

    #3 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 08:02

  • caseyprich

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    Ko Chang 6 days is a lot for that island - better to hop around to Ko Maak and Ko Wai . If you are looking to be isolated and happy though, I recommend Treehouse/Zion on Longbeach, though they area bit far afield so they make it difficult to check out the rest of the island. If you really want to feel 'tropical island paradise' then Ko Maak and Ko Wai are certainly better options.

    #4 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 09:47

  • caseyprich

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    Oh - and as far as things you regret you didn't do - I really regret not spending more time in Trat - so don't cut that out.

    #5 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 09:48

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    You know, Trat is one of my favorite up-country Thai towns too. Fun day and night markets, lots of good choices on places to stay and eat, several massage places, a few laid-back night spots, and at least one really excellent laundry place.

    Anyway, I like your itinerary. It isn't rushed at all, and sometimes those extra days in places like Kanchanaburi and Siem Reap and Trat are when you give yourself permission to just completely relax and do nothing apart from eat five meals and attend two happy hours.

    We spent a week on Koh Maak back in December and had a wonderful time. But I don't think its beaches can compete with Koh Chang. I hope you have a wonderful time on your trip too. Cheers.

    #6 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 11:37

  • busylizzy

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    Oops - I did mean Koh Maak, not Koh Muk..

    Muk, Maak. Mak. Same, same, but different...!

    #7 Posted: 8/10/2010 - 14:37

  • allykat

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 24

    Thanks for the advice everyone! I appreciate having the chance to get advice from more experienced travelers, as this is only my second trip overseas without my Dad ( who travels to SE Asia birdwatching all the time). Last trip I crammed Singapore, Krabi, Phi Phi, Lanta and Phuket ( the last 4 in 12 days ) in a 2 week holiday, and whilst fun, was not as relaxing as it could have been. So I was determined not to make the same mistake again.

    I was actually considering a couple of the other islands like Koh Maak , but I was worried about trying to cram to many places in. Though the concensus seems to be they are a do-able option and nicer than Koh Chang :)

    Everything I have read about Trat has said it's worth a longer stop than between the bus and ferry, hence I thought we could over night there. Sounds like a cool place to hang out for a day or so.

    I have checked out the prices of the BKK to SR flights and I don't think the budget will quite stretch that far :(

    How long does it take to get out to Sangkhlaburi? It was another place I thought sounded really interesting but had banished from the itinerary due to fear of overplanning.

    Thanks for the advice.

    #8 Posted: 9/10/2010 - 16:46

  • Tilapia

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    It's only 230 km to Sangkhlaburi from Kanchanaburi, but the regular, non-a/c bus takes about 5 hours to make the trip. These buses go 4 times in the morning, as far as I know, between 6:00 am and noon.

    The air-con bus goes every hour from around 7:30 until 4:30 and takes about 4 hours.

    A better option, for less than 50 baht more, is to take a mini-bus. That trip is only 3 1/2 hours, but there are only a few departures per day. You would need to buy your ticket in advance.

    Absolutely beautiful trip to a beautiful place.

    #9 Posted: 9/10/2010 - 21:47

  • allykat

    Joined Travelfish
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    Posts: 24

    Thanks for the info Tilapia. It definitely sounds like a fascinating little town and may very well be making an appearance back on the itinerary :) My Dad has also been there and agrees it is worth the trip. I just have to talk my not so intrepid boyfriend into a bit more exploration lol

    #10 Posted: 10/10/2010 - 11:12

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  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Hi AllyKat,

    If you guys are chefs and are interested in good Thai street food, there is a district that you should consider checking out while you're in Bangkok. Trust me, it would be worth it.

    The area is called Saochingcha, and it is not far from the Royal Palace, Wat Pho, and KSR. Here is a link to info on 18 of the restaurants (if you want to call them restaurants) in the area. There are many more than 18, though, and they range from mind-blowing seafood (Bangkok Seafood) to 100% vegan (Arawy).

    Saochingcha District

    Don't even bother eating around Khao San Road, or at any of the guest houses. Just head straight there. There are some good spots along Thanon Phra Athit, though. This is the street that runs beside the river.

    The area (Saochingcha) itself is worth visiting regardless of the food as it is where Wat Suthat sits. If you're interested in temples and Buddhas, Wat Suthat is a must-see. The temple is gorgeous, and the Buddha image is superb. It's an original from Sukhothai and it's HUGE! There are dozens and dozens of other Buddhas in the surrounding buildings. It's a magical place to be on New Year's Eve, but I guess you will be arriving after that.

    Enjoy.

    #11 Posted: 10/10/2010 - 22:49

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Also, just to add one more thing for you to possibly agonize over, there is an area southwest of Bangkok called Mahachai (Samut Sakhon) that is worth visiting if you are into seafood. The town is reachable from Bangkok by bus from the southern bus terminal (Sai Tai Taling Chan), but the best way to go IMHO is by train.

    There is a single-line railway that links Thonburi (the part of Bangkok west of the Chao Phraya River) to Mahachai. B10 and the train goes frequently. You get dropped off in the centre of the Mahachai market, which is absolutely fantastic for fresh seafood, as well as dried seafood, fresh meats, and Chinese medicine. It's place with narrow streets, cycle rickshaws, and lots of docks from which the boats are constantly coming and going, unloading crabs, fish, shrimp, and just about everything else that comes out of the water in that area. There is an excellent seafood restaurant beside the pedestrian ferry terminal, about a 2 minute walk from the station, where you can sit on the open-walled 2nd. floor and eat seafood straight off the boats and watch the traffic in the river, canal, and at the docks. It's not exactly cheap, but you're definitely getting what you're paying for.

    If you're info seafood, this is a must-see place. I think that the Mahachai fresh seafood market is the largest, or second largest in the country.

    Mahachai - Thonburi Trip

    #12 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 00:27

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    Tilapia,

    Just to confirm, this train to Mahachai leaves from a station near Wong Wian Yai, right? That means we could take the Sky Train across the river to Wong Wiang Yai, and then catch this little 10 baht train down to Mahachai from there.

    I just wanted to distinguish this train station near Wong Wian Yai from the Bangkok Noi station much farther north but still on the Thonburi side of the river.

    I haven't been down that way for ages, and haven't ridden that train since the mid 80's I think. I'm definitely planning to add it to my next trip to Bangers. Thanks. Cheers.

    #13 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 02:23

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    The train leaves Thonburi from the Wong Wian Yai Station ("the big roundabout station"), not the Thonburi Train Station where trains leave for Kanchanaburi. So, yes, different stations, with Thonburi Train Station being quite a bit further north.

    Last week I was looking at Google Maps and noticed that the Skytrain does, indeed, cross the river and there is a Wong Wian Yai stop! I never knew. Wong Wian Yai train station is about 500 m NW of the Wong Wian Yai Skytrain stop.

    Yep ... B10 for the 1 hour ride. It's great. And the seafood at the other end is amazing.

    An excellent day trip.

    #14 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 05:40

  • exacto

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    sign me up! will they let you take your bicycle on that train?

    #15 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 05:47

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Yes, bikes are allowed on the train for an extra B50. A separate ticket is issued for them and you have to show it to the guy punching tickets. There's nowhere to stash them on the train so, basically, they are in everyone's way. The trains are usually busy, too, so the bikes are kind of awkward ... but it's worth it.

    Taking a bike is a great idea. You can go across the Chin River on the pedestrian ferry and tour around Ban Laem, then head south along the river through a couple more nice little villages (didn't see anywhere to stay), until the road kind of dead-ends. But if you keep going you'll end up on the coast and in the salt fields.

    We did this in a bit of a rush as daylight was failing, but we still managed a good 4-hour tour around the area. Loved it! Next time I'll go straight on to Samut Songkram.

    #16 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 07:29

  • busylizzy

    Joined Travelfish
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    Tilapia, your knowledge of this area never ceases to amaze me!

    #17 Posted: 11/10/2010 - 07:36

  • allykat

    Joined Travelfish
    23rd November, 2009
    Posts: 24

    Thanks Heaps Tilapia. Sounds like a fascinating area to explore! After checking out the link we were both salivating at the thought of all that tasty tasty food :)
    I actually work in a thai restaurant back home so my interest is professional as well. I definately think we will be heading out there as soon as we get to Bkk lol.

    #18 Posted: 27/10/2010 - 06:55

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