Hello fellow Travelfishers.
It is a long time coming but my my 6 week trip to Thailand and Vietnam is just around the corner and despite me wanting to pretty much wing how long we stay in places a few questions are starting to creep into my mind. I am pretty happy with what we will do in Vietnam and many thanks to the posters on here in already helping out vastly with that.
In short; my time will be spent by flying into Bangkok spending 10 days or so North of Bangkok then flying to Hanoi and spending the next 21 days travelling south as far as Hoi An and then skipping between there to HCMC and trying to take in Angkor Wat on the way back to Thailand. I would prefer to spend more time in Cambodia. but I am compromising with my travel partner as she wants to spend the last week on a beach in Thailand. With a bit of luck I can change her mind when over there :oP
Anyway my question is I want to take in the River Kwai/Kanchanaburi area on the way to Chang Mai and surrounding area but I was wondering is it worth doing it as a day trip from Bangkok or part of travelling onwards to Chang Mai?
Secondly what sort or realistic time should I set aside for getting from HCMC to Bangkok via land and spending 2 - 3 days around Angkor Wat
Thirdly, I generally have in my head that I will travel by train/bus most places as it gives a chance to take in the scenery but am I fooling myself with this idea? and should I just fly where possible? Mainly thinking of Hanoi to Hoi An well Da Nang - Da Nang to HCMC and Bangkok to Chang Mai. I seem to remember someone suggesting that the time you spent waiting at airports and flying was almost as long as just getting the train..
any advice much appreciated as always.
#1 Twerto has been a member since 20/11/2011. Posts: 37
1 The area is better with 3 days. Really nice spot.
2 3 days for angkor is the common theme
3 Train/bus will give some scenary but grass/trees out the window isn't that special. A lot of the country side isn't that scenic. The best scenary is around Phang Nga bay area with some fantastic rock formations and beaches and the train doesn't go here. I would say for shorter trips fine but you don't want to spend more than 6 hours on train/bus. It's slow and not that comfortable. Fly the longer connections.
#2 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
"I seem to remember someone suggesting that the time you spent waiting at airports and flying was almost as long as just getting the train.."
Bangkok to CM is 1 hour plus waiting time and taxis total 4 hours max. Think the train would take 10 hours plus waiting time and taxis say 12 hours. Big difference.
#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
"I want to take in the River Kwai/ Kanchanaburi area on the way to Chang Mai and surrounding area but I was wondering is it worth doing it as a day trip from Bangkok or part of travelling onwards to Chang Mai?"
I'd spend at least one night in Kanchanaburi so you're not as rushed-through as the daytrippers I have seen so many of there. They looked miserable. Take time to do a few hours river cruise to some of the cemetaries and war museum, get up to Erawan falls, have a nice riverside sunset dinner near the bridge. In other words, take it easy and enjoy. Then get a bus to Ayuthaya and pick up a night train to Chiang Mai from there.
"what sort or realistic time should I set aside for getting from HCMC to Bangkok via land and spending 2 - 3 days around Angkor Wat"
HCMC-Phnom Penh bus 6 hours, 1-2 days in PP, PP-Siem Reap bus 5 hours, 2-3 days in Angkor, Siem Reap-Bangkok 1 day (shared taxi to border, tuk tuk to bus station, bus Aranya Prathet-Bangkok). All-told about 7 days.
"I generally have in my head that I will travel by train/bus most places as it gives a chance to take in the scenery but am I fooling myself with this idea? and should I just fly where possible?"
That really depends whether time or cost is a priority. Flights are defintely faster than most train/bus journeys, even including time getting to airport, check-in, etc. I flew Hanoi-Danang-NhaTrang-HCMC one trip then backtracked a couple of those legs by bus and there was no comparison - bus/train takes wayy longer. Bangkok-Chiang Mai by train takes 12 hours (daytime Sprinter) or up to 15 hours (sleeper train) and they are often delayed by 1-3 hours or more. Buses BK-CM are quicker, around 10 hours. But with a flight you're actually in the air about 50 minutes and factor in an hour for check-in and an hour for commute to/from airport so easily three times quicker. But it's also at least three times more expensive, dpending on the airline and what kind of deal you can get. Air Asia is cheap if you book well in advance, Vietnam Airlines is not.
Couldn't agree more with the Captain and the legendary Canadian poet. Kanchanaburi is worth more than a day trip if you can afford the time. Also agree with the idea of taking a night train to CM.
Rather than spend time on a beach in Thailand, you may want to consider spending time on one of the Cambodian beaches or islands. You're going to be there anyway and will be forking over for the visa. Check out this article ... http://www.travelfish.org/feature/220
From there it's easy to get back to Thailand and then to Bangkok (ferry from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong , taxi from Koh Kong to the border at Had Lek, Had Lek to Trat by minibus, Trat to Bangkok). The boat trip is beautiful, and Trat is a nice little town that's worthy a night. From Trat it is about a 6 or 7 hour bus ride back to the eastern bus terminal in Bangkok. I believe you can also go straight to the airport.
Thank you for the tips and advice, much appreciated.
#6 Twerto has been a member since 20/11/2011. Posts: 37
I don't understand which kind of question you're asking to people about Travel!
#7 varun9654 has been a member since 19/7/2012. Posts: 6
If you want to spend a week on a beach in Thailand, you should fly down south, as taking bus or a train or a combination can take days off your trip. AirAsia has decent prices and has always been a good experience for me. I would never recommend a bus over a train in Thailand; buses break down and overheat constantly, even the nice AC buses.
The night train from BKK-CM is a decent option; it's fairly comfortable in the "1st class" section and saves money on accommodation. When in Chiang Mai, I would recommend a lovely restaurant called Cha-co; they have great coffee and western-Thai fusion that strikes the perfect balance. (I had the green curry fettuccine and it was divine).
Good luck and enjoy your trip!
#8 Evidently has been a member since 15/8/2012. Posts: 3