My friend and I are soon traveling to Thailand for 3 weeks and are trying to "get off the beaten track" to discover real Thai culture and adventures. Any suggestions on where to go? Were very interested in renting motor bikes but don't have any idea where to go with them! Open to all suggestions and also interested in places with good nightlife. Please help!!!
#1 soontobewrldtrv has been a member since 24/3/2012. Posts: 5
Somtam2000 (the owner of this site) and another guy (Dave Dean) recently did a motorbike trip in the northern area of Thailand that sounded pretty inspirational.
Dave wrote a 4-5 part blog about their travels: http://whatsdavedoing.com/category/travel/thailand/page/3/ (Starting with the entry entitled '... Off on a Summery Holiday....). I can't recall is Somtam did a similar blog here on this site or not, but I could't find it after a quick search.
Getting off the beaten path is VERY easy. There are several reasons why people don't do it much:
1. Language. When you leave the beaten path, it's tough to get by on English, where menus are not written in English, people don't speak English and so forth. That creates a challenge.
2. There aren't very many "amazing sites" to see. If there were, the places would be on the beaten path.
Thai life is routine - just like everywhere else in the world. The routine isn't rdically different from the routine in the US or wherever. People get up, go to work, etc. etc. There are elements of the culture that are most certainly different, and that you'll slowly observe over a period of time (language though will definitely inhibit some of this). You're a little short on time here, but to strike out for parts unknown would still be somewhat of an adventure.
"Open to all suggestions and also interested in places with good nightlife."
Nightlife isthe easiest part, as Thailand does this really well, with this one caveat - Thais love Karaoke. I mean, they love Karaoke. It comes in two types - naughty and just drunk Thais singing. If you don't like Karaoke, then you'll want to stay in the provincial capitals for nightlife and go to clubs in those places. In the smaller locals, most nightlife revolves around Karaoke, but in the provincial capitals there are other clubs and bars are well.
In Mukdahan, where I live, you can rent a motorbike (or scooter) and do everything that you have described above. If you want to come out this way and link up with me, I'll can steer you around as I have lived here for five years. Periodically a Travelfisher will come out here and I have helped orient them.
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks a lot for the insight this helps with travel plans greatly. We actually might get more than three weeks now which is exiting, and are planning to hit the Full Moon Party. Any suggestions about things to see/do in southern Thailand? Looking for a cheep laid back vibe with some good beach parties.
#4 soontobewrldtrv has been a member since 24/3/2012. Posts: 5
I'm only good on beaches and islands.
A lot of the islands are touristy and lacking in Thai culture - I'd say the best off the beaten track islands with a bit of culture (mainly agricultural/fishing village lifestyle - bit hard to find temples, ruins on the islands) are Little Ko Chang Andaman side, Ko Phra Tong, Ko Kho Khao, Ko Yao Yai, Ko Yao Noi, Ko Libong, Ko Siboya, Ko Sukorn, Ko Kood.
Now motorcycles can be taken to these places - the locals usually load via a plank onto the ferry or public longtail taxi. But two places which actually have a vehicle ferry are Yao Yai and Kho Khao. The latter is a very short trip from the mainland.
"--planning to hit the Full Moon Party. Any suggestions about things to see/do in southern Thailand?"
Look, Phangan is a fabulous island with so many beaches I could spend a month there alone ( I have done well over twice that collectively on multiple short visits and haven't stayed at all the ones I've wanted to).
The island is particularly good for motorcyclists experienced at riding super steep, rough dirt roads because this is what you get riding into some of the better east and north coast beaches.
Ko Tao is a great little island very close to Phangan and tends to be lively in town and the Sairee areas.
Elsewhere party style? Um Phi Phi, Ko Lipe, Samui. And of course Phuket - although Patong may be a bit over the top for many.
I can't help with southerland Thailand and beaches and so forth. On that, Tezza is A LOT more experienced than I am. I don't like the ocean and I don't like beaches. I'm an Issan guy.
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I agree with Tezza about Koh Phangan. I am defnitely not into FMP's and in spite of my reluctance of going there the first time, I absolutely loved it. I avoided the popular areas of Had Rin and spent my time up in the northern / north-eastern coasts. Awesome!
I agree with Tezza's comments about motorbiking too.. only recommended in the NE if you are experienced! Those roads up to the NE are rough as guts. Awesome fun in a 4WD though, which you can easily hire.
It is ridiculously easy to get off the beaten track in Thailand. Most tourists are very lazy and do not travel much more than a couple of hundred meters from the beach/the tours. I have managed to get lost in Samui (tourist hotspot) before while randomly driving through the island and little kid would point us out to their parents because of how infrequently they see white faces.
#9 theChosenOne has been a member since 26/3/2012. Posts: 12
"Most tourists are very lazy and do not travel much more than a couple of hundred meters from the beach/the tours."
That's OK, though, if that's what you want to do. The whole point of a vacation is to recharge your batteries, and if being a lazy bum , hanging out at the pool or beach, chillin' getting a massage is what works for you, that's fine. But that isn't what the OP wanted of course.
Personally I would recommend heading north or northeast is you really wanted off the beaten path, but since the OP appears to be interested in the beach scene too, that doesn't really work.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
No, you are absolutely right, I wasn't judging at all. I am going down to Pattaya/koh Lan next weekend and fully intend to stay firmly on the beaten track, drinking beer on the beach with my friends for 3 days and doing nothing adventurous whatsoever.
#11 theChosenOne has been a member since 26/3/2012. Posts: 12
Another question for yall, it would be a big help if it is possible to rent a motorbike in one location and drop it off in another, for example can I rent a motorbike in Bangkok and take it all the way down to Krabi and drop it off there or does it have to go back to the same place I rented it from? Again, thanks for the help!!
#12 soontobewrldtrv has been a member since 24/3/2012. Posts: 5
I personally don't know where you can do that - sort of like a "Hertz rent a bike". Everywhere I know if you rent a bike you have to bring it back to the place where you rented it from.
#13 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957