4 friends (2 M - 2 F), 2 weeks in Thailand beg of March - we are planning to spend 2 days in Bangkok, then move north to Chiang Rai and around Chiang Mai. (what do u think? nice?)
Where would you go then south if you had only 1 week and had to choose between either east or west coast?
I heard west (Phuket, Krabi etc) is more beautiful but more crowded and package holidays whereas east Kho Samui etc is more for backpackers but sceneries are "less" attractive.
We are backpacking and would like to stay a bit away from crowds and don't care much about partying (full moon) but also we don't want to stay in a resort. Ideally looking for nice beaches and nature. We also know that 1 week is not a lot so it could be difficult to go to island that are very far away but if you think it is possible we would consider. I mean, if you only had 1 week, where would you go? what should not be missed?
thanks a lot! Erik
#1 oberik has been a member since 22/2/2011. Posts: 6
koh samui gets a lot of package tourists, lots.
koh pha ngan has more of a backpacker crowd.
IMO western tourists are tourists regardless of their choice of bag or budget.
Koh Chang has nice beaches and jungle as does Ko Kood. This area is nicer than Samui/Pha Ngan IMO. You can fly to trat or bus it to the ferry.
Chiang Mai has lots of tourists, whereas Rai is much smaller but with a lot less to do.
I'd skip Rai and book a trek that goes to Mae Hong Son.
#2 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
Hey Krabi man! Thanks for your prompt reply!
We read a lot of nice things about Mae Hong Son but we decided not to go because we do not want to take another flight and going by bus takes quite long both ways given that we only have 5 full days. Do you think it is better to concentrate 5 days in Chiang Mai and around or better to mix (2 Rai and around - 3 Mai and around)?
We have decided to concentrate on the south-west coast. Also Air Asia seems to be the only one that flies direct from Chiang Mai to the south (without stopping in Bangkok). The problem is that they fly only to Phuket . We would land in Phuket on the 18th night... we then have 6 and half days to sort out. where would you go from there? We are thinking about leaving on the 25th from Krabi (to Bangkok)... We said: Phuket, Ko phi phi and Krabi. I read some of your previous posts and from what you say Krabi should not be missed!
Thanks for your help!
#3 oberik has been a member since 22/2/2011. Posts: 6
skip Rai, just book a tour/trek from chiang mai
phuket-pp-krabi are good.
kata beach phuket is nice.
pp is nice away from the grossly overdeveloped ton sai where the pier is.
#4 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
-first of all march is not the greatest time to be in northern Thailand, most of the farmers burn their fields that create a ton of haze, coupled with some super hot temps = not such a great experience. check out more info on weather in Thailand (on travelfish) http://www.travelfish.org/weather/thailand/march
I am going to spell out an itinerary that I would go on with your given time and preferences that include temples and beaches (minus the north)....
-personally id go to the following for temples...Ayutthaya; just a few hours north of Bangkok on 3 class train (about $1). Amazing temples here all over the place, Some really nice places to stay there too.
Then hop a train down to... Phetburi : southeast of bangkok about 2-3 hour train ride (from bangkok). Phetburi has some fantastic hill top temples where you will probably be the only westerner walking around them, a great night market for good eats and a nice place to stay at the base of said temples.
-Grab another train continuing south and get off at Pranburi (1-2 hour ride from phetburi). I would stay here: http://www.bluebeachresort.net/ this is where you will see your first beach (likely you will be the only ones on this beach). it is beautiful, expansive, and all yours...no joke. use some kayaks and go over to the monkey island. hang for a while. Also visit the nearby park: khao sam roi yot nat park.
-grab yet another train continuing south to Prachup Khiri Khan (train travel is the 2nd best way to move around in Thailand, bike touring is the first in my opinion). Fantastic town right on the water, great seafood. and its crowning gem...an amazing wat on top of a huge "stand alone" hill right on the water...can see for miles and miles in every direction. (this is one of my top 3 places in Thailand)
-yes another train south (all of these trains you can just "catch", don't worry about that)
to surat thani (not the coolest town) but you will catch a mini van to krabi town. Everyone heads straight to the beaches here, but the town is fantastic, great night market and a ton off great places to stay. Catch a songthaew (pickup truck bus thingy) over to ao nang, and then a longtail to west railay beach, accommodation is everywhere (hat rin is cheaper, and east railay is good to, all within walking distance). You will be here in the low season which is good, high season is **** here (too many "travelers" sneering at you because you are ruining their sough after "Leonardo beach movie experience". Try deep water soloing...
-catch a ferry to either phi phi or phuket (stay in old town phuket when you go, the beaches are nice but crowded and you will see tons of overweight men with their thai "girlfriends" in tow...
-fly back to bangkok from phuket and then home!
-another note...only take 35 liter OR SMALLER backpacks, you don't need much in thailand, and if you need it you can buy it there for less than you would pay anywhere else...except for sunblock...expensive in thailand.
upon arrival to Thailand
-from the airport catch a taxi to banglamphu (an area in bangkok) and go to soi rambutri should be around 400 b there you can stay at....
-New Siam II guesthouse...close to the ferry to get all over bangkok, its clean, cheap, has a pool, tons of travel agents to help you out, best coffee around the corner at Rickys coffee house, and quiet...you will probably be seriously jet-lagged and will need sleep
so there you go....a little of everything
Phetchaburi is worth a look for a couple of hours but don't think it's worth staying there. The main attraction is Palace Hill/Khao Wang where a previous king used to have a residence. Hill is full of monkeys.
The beach area at Pak Nam pran near Pranburi is scenic but there isnt much to do. Nice place to drive around but i wouldnt want to be there without a car.
"(hat rin is cheaper, and east railay is good to, "
hat rin is on Koh Pha Ngan. You mean Ao Ton Sai (different to the one on Phi Phi)
"stay in old town phuket when you go, the beaches are nice but crowded and you will see tons of overweight men with their thai "girlfriends" in tow..."
Phuket Town is rather dull.
Much better to stay at Kata or Karon beaches.
Most of the overweight people including women are just fat european families.
"-another note...only take 35 liter OR SMALLER backpacks, you don't need much in thailand, and if you need it you can buy it there for less than you would pay anywhere else...except for sunblock...expensive in thailand."
Sunblock is the same price in thailand as western countries. Easy to buy it there.
"New Siam II guesthouse"
Bathrooms are too small to swing a cat and the pool also is very small right in front of the restaurant area and check in counter. Strange place to put it.
"Ayutthaya; just a few hours north of Bangkok on 3 class train (about $1). Amazing temples here all over the place,"
The ruins there are rather dull and a waste of time. The Kymer ruins in Issan are much better.
Better off doing some temples in Bangkok and going a sidetrip to Kanchanaburi which is a much nicer place than Ayuthaya.
About 50km from Kanchanaburi is the Erawan waterfall which is the best in Thailand. 7 levels of falls where you can swim. Best to walk up to levels 4 and 5 and swim there. You can either book a tour from Bangkok that includes the falls or train it to kanch and organise a trip from there or hire a car.
#6 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
On another note...of all the places I have been to in Thailand... crowded, exotic, hidden, or "miss named" I have really liked. Thailand is a fantastic country with tons to offer.
Basically it is hard to go to someplace that is boring or sucks...it all depends on you. We are all different people with different tastes/likes/dislikes. I got married on an island in Thailand, that same island my friends went to and did not like it at all...and thats where my wife and I chose to get married!. What I am trying to say is a place can only reflect whats in you... If you go with an open heart, respect to the local people, a willingness to connect and an open mind, you should have a great time wherever you go. If you go with a huge ego, something to prove, or "know everything about thailand attitude" e.g obtuse personality...chances are you will have a not-so-fun time. i've spent a few months in Bangkok alone and I LOVE that city.
Ive heard quite a few people saying that Thailand is "crowded" and "Touristy" and "discovered", asked where they went....Phuket, Ko Samui, Hua Hin, Ko Phangan's hat rin beach...hmmm those places can be that way. Its like visiting the US only once, and only going to Ney York and going home to tell everyone that "yea....the states suck, just a big city there"
My wife and I are returning this April for our 5th trip to Thailand, bringing bikes and heading down the eastern gulf coast (probably our favorite place there). We can go anywhere in the world right now...and thats where we are going.
So Oberik...take all my advise and others with a grain of salt. all those places I mentioned are my favorite places I have been to in that country, they may not be everyones, but I believe them to be a good start and introduction to Thailand.
My advice is pretty good. No need for salt. With only 2 weeks you dont have a lot of time to stuff around. Having said that even the 2nd and 3rd best choices are still ok. I'd say 95%+ of tourists to thailand have a good time.
#8 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
"Basically it is hard to go to someplace that is boring or sucks...it all depends on you. We are all different people with different tastes/likes/dislikes"
I havent met anymore who likes Surat or Khorat.
Every country has boring cities.
#9 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
Hello Raynorcz! Thanks a lot for your suggestions! very helpful!
Unfortunately as prices were going up, yesterday night we decided the following itinerary and booked the following flights:
2.5 days in Bangkok
Flight from Bangkok - Chiang Rai (1.5 days)
Bus from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai (visiting Chiang Mai and trekking around) 3.5 days
Flight from Chiang Mai - Phuket - probably 1 day in Phuket
then ferry to Ko Phi Phi Don (1-2 days including PP Leh)
then ferry to Krabi 2-3 days then returning to Bangkok from Krabi.
Any advice for these destinations?
Thanks a lot!
(And thanks also to Krabiman).
#10 oberik has been a member since 22/2/2011. Posts: 6
That's a lot of packing and unpacking. Take some vitamins to keep you going. Not much downtime there.
6 destinations in 2 weeks is a lot.
My next trip is 3 weeks and im only doing 4 destinations.
#11 Krabiman has been a member since 2/1/2011. Posts: 223
Koh Lanta, Koh Ngai, Koh Bulon Leh- my favorite islands, next to each other, perfect for short hols and absolutely stunning. Would not go North at all - as beautiful as it is , 2 weeks too little time.
I agree with Thailand Diaries... I would choose the North or the South. Both are beautiful and deserve more than one week. Right now, the South has perfect weather.. as does the North. However, this time of year, the North will be quite brown. I would take the two weeks to find your favorite island in the South of Thailand. Happy hunting!
#13 laurenladky has been a member since 27/1/2011. Posts: 32