Two lads from Durham and Sunderland, September 2012 will be travelling the route 66 across America then onto Thailand for 3 months. America we have pretty much got sorted but any help, advice and info for travelling the islands in thailand would be much appreciated. We have healthy budgets but still want the hostel/guesthouse experiance. We will be arriving in Thailand mid october 2012 to mid Jan - so full moon partys are a must.
Also anyone else planning on Thailand in a years time feel free to meet up with us, the more the better.
Hi it really depends on what kind of thing you're interested in and what you want to do and see while you're there. Try reading the Thailand guide on this website, check out Seat61 to look at transport options, browse hostelbookers to look up some accommodation and just read about a bit so that you know what you want to do.
I went to Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam this summer and I loved it. In Thailand I went to Bangkok (wasn't a fan, it's just a standard big city where everyone tries to con you), Kanchanaburi (one of my favourite places of the whole trip if you're interested in history, and it's not as busy as other places we went), Chiang Mai (brilliant for activities, zip lining, white water rafting-unreal, elephant riding, trekking etc) then I went to Koh Tao which was alright but personally I didn't think it was anything special and unless you're going diving (maybe an option if you have the time and money) there's literally nothing to do. I went snorkelling and having snorkelled around the world I had high hopes but was very very disappointed. Because of that we went to Koh Phangan as a last minute thing but it was at the end of our trip and we just wanted to relax so we found a nice resort with a private beach and we were the only people on it for 3 days - paradise. If you want to know more about any of these places just let me know. Ps. I'm from Newcastle.
#2 Nixxypie has been a member since 27/4/2011. Posts: 55
Start with a visit to a local library and check out some travel guides. Plan your moves ahead of time but don't be real anal about it and plan out every single day, hour by hour. Playing it by ear also can prove interesting.
You will have to research your visa requirements. Many travelers with long holidays to Thailand break up their trip with visits to nearby countries. Coordinate your visits to other countries with your visa limitations. Cambodia, Laos and Malaysia can be visited overland.
Don't skip Bangkok it is worth a look. A round trip ticket to Bangkok might be cheaper than 2 one way flights. Local flights and other transportation between nearby countries are pretty cheap. If you do fly home from Bangkok spend the last night or two in that city. That way you can buy last minute souvenirs and not have to worry about a connecting flight being late and you lose your ride home.
If you do visit other countries near Thailand you will have to research those visa requirements out too. For Thailand wait until you get there to change any currency over to Thai baht for the best rate. If you use a credit or debit card notify your bank ahead of time. That way when your bank gets withdrawal requests from foreign countries they don't first suspect fraud.
Any trip is what you make of it. Some negative people find everything wrong where they visit and other tourists don't ever want to go home again! Have a sense of humor but read up on scams and customs ahead of time. You can pick up a cheap English - Thai phrasebook in Thailand. Learning how to say "hello" and "thank you" goes a long way.
In Thailand there are cheap hotels and guest houses that are about the same price as hostels but you don't have to share a toilet with 30 other people! Once you leave Bangkok there are not a lot of hostels available.
If you are in Thailand during December/January expect hotels to be higher priced and be more fully booked during those holidays. Don't waste all of your time only at beach areas. Try to fit northern Thailand into your trip.
#3 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
No zips lines on Koh Tao, apparently. How disappointing.
Great advice from sirhalberd on sorting out your visa plans ahead of time. You can either get a 60-day tourist visa ahead of time, or get a 30-day visa exemption on arrival. With that, you'll need to pop over to Cambodia or Laos for a trip and to get a new visa exemption. Cambodia and Angkor Wat are worth the trip, and most folks really like Laos too, particularly Luang Prabang in the north or Pakse in the south. Just remember that if you cross back into Thailand by land, you'll only get a 15-day visa exemption, so you'll need to do some maths and some planning to avoid getting caught short.
I agree with Nixxy that Kanchanaburi and Chiang Mai are great spots, as are so many other destinations in Thailand. Nong Khai is one of my personal favorites and a great stopover on the way to Vientiane and Laos. I agree more with sirhalberd, however, about Bangkok. It is definitely worth a look - temples, museums, etc. as well as a great place to party. Tom Robbins called Bangkok "Asia's G-spot" in his book "Fierce Invalids Home from Hot Climates", and he is right. The book should be required reading for anyone wanting to visit Bangkok.
Not much reason to stay in hostels in Thailand unless you really want to, since the two of you travelling together will find a room with bath pretty much for the same price as two dorm beds almost anywhere you travel.
I'm excited about your trek across Route 66 too. I've done at least part of that route several times and really enjoy that drive. There's heaps to see and do along the way, particularly in the small towns. Have a great time. Cheers.
There is a ton of information right here on travelfish (a quick search will help you find it) concerning the islands, and lots of guys who know the deal concerning the island / beach scene. If you guys want to really get off the beaten path, though, then let me know here and I'll give a trip route where you will likely be the only anglo tourists on it that is both interesting and fun (if challenging in some ways).
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hey if you want to experience the best bits of Thailand including full moon parties, exploring off the beaten track areas and seeing the main sights then you could look at doing a tour. One like this http://www.realgap.co.uk/thailand-experience has adventure and volunteer options as well as taking you to Bangkok and rural Thailand, hope that helps!
#6 cat290 has been a member since 28/9/2011. Posts: 1
Thanks so much for the advice, really appreciate. We are really excited about it and will let you know how it all goes next year. We are pretty excited about route 66 too. It's a once in a lifetime trip for us so we are going to make the most of it.