Hey guys..... 4 of us are planning to land at BKK on 6th April and our return flights are on 17th April. This being our first visit to SE Asia, we were hoping to catch a glimpse of the mountains and valleys in the north (Chiang Mai and Pai) and hit Krabi (the islands and beaches) in Thailand and to visit the highly recommended Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
I know its a short trip but thats all the time we'ave got!! Taking a flight during the trip would be difficult for us but in case of no other option we can consider it.
Please help us plan an iteniary. 10 days is not enough for a laid back trip but we don't wanna have a touch and go kinda trip either so in case we need to drop a place which one should it be??
So all all you guys out there please help the novice here!!!!!
#1 scoobydo has been a member since 1/2/2012. Posts: 2
Don't do it, far too much in ten days!!
Cut Angkor Wat for sure, do it another time. It requires 4 days minimum so would not be feasible on top of the rest you mention.
The remainder is doable (assuming no time in BKK - if so, then one of either the North or South with BKK would be enough), but an internal flight or two would greatly help.
#2 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
I disagree with China, you can do Angkor in 2 days. Most people do either 1 or 3 days, hence the reason they sell the tickets for those durations. There's a big loop and a small loop, and if you really were short on time, you can only do the small loop which consists of Angkor Wat itself and a few surrounding temples. The big loop goes further afield. If this is your dream trip, don't scratch Angkor. It's amazing, one of the most incredible things I've seen in SE Asia.
Everyone here usually says slow down and enjoy getting to know each place, but you seem aware that's not possible on your schedule. My advice to you is don't spend more than 6 hours in BKK. If you must, see the grand palace and a few things around that area, but if you skipped BKK altogether you won't regret it. Overnight bus to Chiang Mai is ok because you'll be sleeping for some of it, but you might want to consider flying. You won't feel worn out after your flight like you will from a bus, and sleeping off your jetlag isn't an option. Timecrunch dude!
Pai is 3 hours from CM, and very popular with tourists both domestic and foreign. It's a fun place, but it's a completely fabricated tourist town. If you had to skip something, I'd say explore CM some more. There are plenty of mountain getaways that aren't overrun with rasta impostas, and you may just find yourself stuck in CM enjoying the city.
Krabi is awesome, you'll love that. You're going to have to fly here from CM. It's way too far to even dream about any other way. The main attractions here are the limestone cliffs, not the sand. There's some decent stretches, but not the postcard you may have in mind. I'm assuming you're thinking Railay/Tonsai/Ao Nang, of which I'd recommend Tonsai. Very chilled and cheap. Plenty of activities to partake in, such as rock climbing, kayaking, day trips by longtail boat, and hiking around in the jungle. Hope that helps! Anything else, feel free to ask away.
#3 whardy has been a member since 14/11/2011. Posts: 66
Scooby it would really help people here give you better advice if you said what you like, you don't like, and why you wanted to go to those specific places.
IF you really want to go to all three of these places - you got to fly. The overnight bus sucks, and sucks a lot if you are taking it right after a long international flight.
I agree with China. Cut Cambodia and go back when you have more time.
Frankly, I would pick one place, and that would be it for me. The whole point of a vacation is to get a rest, which isn't what you'll be doing racing around SEA.
I am afraid you got caught up in the trap of telling the guy what your preferences are. They might match his, given that he already planned these locations (except you aren't interested in Pai much), but they might not. He didn't give very good background info.
For example, were you advising me, I have ZERO inclination to go see Angkor Wat. It holds not allure for me whatsoever. So I would definitely recommend cutting it.
Bangkok is a ton of fun. A very cosmopolitan place with something for virtually every taste. In and around the city there is just about every kind of human interest you could engage in (dancing, shooting, zoos, palaces, museums, etc. etc. etc). I would have said cut Pai and Angkor and spend about a week exploring Bangkok. It is quitessentially Thai and much of Thailand is now urban. 10% of the population lives there.
I think he will like Krabi too - since he indicates a desire to hit the beach. But again, if you were advising me, I don't like the ocean, so saying "Krabi is awsome, you'll love that" - well probably, but everyone isn't going to love it.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
hey guys.... as suggested by Madmac here are some details which may help u guide me better:
1. We wanna a chilled out relaxing vacation soacking in nature and enjoying adventure activities (rock climbing, snorkelling, scuba diving and the likes)
2. As Songkran is gonna be during our trip we wud wanna experience it at the best possible palce and also esplore the local culture during the trip
3. I have been told that Angkor Wat is something outta this world and is not to be missed hence it figures on my list as i dunno when i'm gonna do SE Asia again.
based on the above i zeroed in on my destinations 1. Chiang Mai / Pai (for Songkran and the hippie and behomian appeal of Pai) 2. Krabi (for chilling on the beach, snorkelling, rock climbing etc.) 3. Angkor Wat (well... cuz its Angkor Wat)
My plans are open to any suggested change except for the dates (6 Apr - 16 Apr) so please feel free to overhaul the whole trip also my notions abt a place are based on hear say so feel free to correct them as well.
Thax a ton guys!!!
#5 scoobydo has been a member since 1/2/2012. Posts: 2
If you really want to go to all three of these places you will have to fly to each one. It's just too far. That pretty much lops off three days out of your 10 for transit (getting to the airport, through security, boarding, flying, arriving, clearing customs, taxi to hotel). That leaves you with seven full days plus the partials of the transits days. One day to see Angkor Wat, three on the beach, three in Pai .
You don't have time to explore local culture. Songkran will be celebrated in every city in Thailand - the world's biggest squirt gun fight. It seems like everyone is drunk. It's all but unavoidable unless you stay in the hotel anyway. You'll probably board the plane in wet clothes. Besides eating Thai food, that's about the only real cultural exposure you will get. You're not staying anywhere long enough to meet people who could give you that cultural exposure.
You might consider staying in Bangkok at Khao San road (hippie like freak show appeal - doesn't work for me, but obviously it does for some people) instead of Pai and hit Ayuhdaya instead of Angkor Wat. This would really cut down on your travel time - but obviously Ayuhdaya is a weak cousin to Angkor Wat.
There is no doubt that if you want to do all three, your schedule will be hectic.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The first time I came to Vietnam was on holiday, some years back, when I got made redundant and made the snap decision to join my brother on his backpacking adventure for a few weeks. Unfortunately I had to get back to the UK for a wedding so had to leave him in HCMC and was gutted that I couldn't go on Angkor with him. It took a good few years but I made it back there in 2009. It hadn't changed (well, not so you'd notice). Excuse the story but my point is, as amazing as places are, you can come back. You might not think you ever will - I didn't - but you can.
That said, I'm usually not anti the 'fitting it all into 10 days' approach - after all, in reality most people have to so why not - but your itinerary really is a tough one to do. Madmac says you're wasting 3 days just on travel - it's really going to be nearly 4 days, unless you get a flight straight from Bangkok to CM when you land and then work it so you fly Siem Reap to Bangkok to directly meet your return flight and skip Bangkok completely.
I'm still not too sure why CM is so high on your agenda. As previously said, Songkran's everywhere and whilst it's fun in CM (as I recall) the photos I've seen of Bangkok look pretty crazy too! It sounds like apart from that you're just going for the vibe in Pai - but remember that's 4 hours or whatever on from CM so you're losing even more time from travelling and there are plenty of chilled out places down south.
Maybe you could tick off your wish list (without Angkor) with a stop in Bangkok, with side trips to Ayuhdaya and Kanchanaburi if you fancy it, then down to Krabi for rest and adventure.
Just so you know, Songkran isn't just one day. It falls on a Monday I think, and pretty much begins on the Friday before. Getting anywhere could pose a real challenge for you as the entire country is going to be on the move during those days, and for a day or two after. If you want to spend Songkran in Pai and then get back to Bangkok for your flight home, you better make your travel plans now otherwise you could be stuck in Chiangmai as your homeward bound flight is taking off.
With that in mind, it's safe to stay that the typical tourist destinations (Pai, Krabi, Phuket, Samui, Kanchanaburi, Koh Chang, etc.) are all going to be packed at that time. I wouldn't stray to far from Bangkok during the last 4 or 5 days.
If Angkor is really high on your list, why not consider making a loop (one way or the other) that takes in Bangkok, Angkor, and one of the islands around Trat (Koh Chang, Koh Mak, Koh Wai, etc.) which are all pretty much on the Cambodian border. Or even one of the Cambodian islands or beaches. They are bound to be less busy than the Thai locations. You could easily do this in 10 days without taking any flights, though I may consider a flight back to Bangkok from Siem Reap if Angkor is last on your schedule.
With so many people on the move, and transport options being limited, you might find it both a struggle, and very stressful, trying to cover such long distances (Pai, Chiangmai, Krabi) on your relaxing vacation. Madmac is right about this.
I'm no prude, but after day three I'm just worn out. It's brutal.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Scooby, from the information you've given, you have a decent itinerary. You'll be a bit tired in spots and definitely so on the plane ride home, but if you can handle the travel, go for it. I'm assuming you're a young'un like myself, and aren't daunted by the prospect of cramming it in. From the activities you've described, you have picked some great locations. Angkor is out of the way for you, but if you really want to see it and it's been recommended, check it out. Just be fully aware that things may go awry and you may have to audible your plan because of travel difficulties or fatigue. Know what you can cut out of your trip. That being said, have fun!
#11 whardy has been a member since 14/11/2011. Posts: 66
"Just be fully aware that things may go awry and you may have to audible your plan because of travel difficulties or fatigue."
That is brilliant. Great verbiage. Too funny.
#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Helpful addition to the topic Mac. I'm sure the OP appreciates it. This will be the one and only time I feed the troll. I'm here to help, and I intend to do that as best I can regardless of any negativity from you or anyone else.
#13 whardy has been a member since 14/11/2011. Posts: 66
No I'm serious. I thought that was a really funny way to phrase it. Although I'm not too sure how many non-American football fans would get it.
#14 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
There are some nice posts in this topic that already have answered a lot of my questions, but there is still one more thing I would like to ask you guys.
I am also going to SEA (primarily to Thailand) for 20 full days which I of course like to get the most out of. Last year I visited Thailand and did BKK and some of the island down south.
This time I would like to go over to Laos then Cambo and I am really interested in knowing where the mayor airports are as i would like to fly. I am thinking of starting off in Bangkok then go to Chiang Mai>Luang Prabang(L)>Siam Reap(C)>Krabi(T) and work my way up from there via Hua Hin and finally back to Bangkok. Can this route be traveled by plane you think?
#15 luger54 has been a member since 7/2/2012. Posts: 1
Just over a year ago anway you could do LP-SR as a direct flight with Vietnam Airlines. LP is a stop on the Hanoi-SR flight (and vice versa).
#17 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
Skip Angkor an spend it all in northern Thailand. Pai isn't worth going out of the way to but if you ride to Mae hong son for instance, you pass through it and though it has tourists (not all western and not all hippies), it's not the same as koh San road. Its not at all worth it as a destination. Angkor over pai lol any day. But tbe north in general is great. Or spend five days in Chiang Mai and five days in koh Tao or one island in the south to get a nice balance that's speedy but not too rushed.
#20 mnemeth has been a member since 11/1/2012. Posts: 18