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1st time in Thailand - your opinion, please ? Thanks

  • sarven

    Joined Travelfish
    29th May, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Hello,

    We will visit Thailand from 15 aug until 02 sept.
    Thanks to Travelfish and a few guidebooks, we made the following arrangements :

    Arrive in Bangkok on 15 aug
    Stay in Bangkok for 3 nights (15, 16, 17)
    Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai on 18 aug
    Stay in Chiang Mai for 3 nights (18, 19, 20)
    Fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket on 21 aug
    Stay in Phuket for 3 nights (21, 22, 23)
    Go from Phuket to Ko Lanta on 24 aug
    Stay in Ko Lanta for 2 nights (24, 25)
    Go from Ko Lanta to Krabi on 26 aug
    Stay in Krabi for 3 nights (26, 27, 28)
    Fly from Krabi to Bangkok on 29 aug => we will go directly to Pak Chong (without spending time in Bangkok)
    Stay in Pak Chong for 2 nights (29, 30) => On the 30, we will make a full day tour of Khao Yai National Park
    Go from Pak Chong to Ayutthaya on 31 aug => we will make a full day tour of Ayutthaya, and for the night go to Bangkok
    Stay in Bangkok for 2 nights (31 aug, 1st sep)
    Fly back home => that's too early !

    I would like to ask your opinions, your tips please, if possible about the following :

    Phuket : We stay in southern Phuket, near Nai Harn beach. The guest house offers a pick-up service from the airport for 850 baht. Even for my hometown (Istanbul) this sound horribly expensive, but I understand in Phuket transportation is a tourist trap. Your toughts about the price ?

    Phuket : Patong, or even Karon does not sound like our style. Except Nai Harn that we have chosen, we were also interested in Kata, Kamala and Surin beaches. Is any one of these 3 worth visiting, instead of spending more time in Nai Harn ? If yes, do you recommend Nai Harn => Phuket Town => beach songthaew route, or do you recommend hiring a motorbike ?

    Phuket : How can we visit Ko Yao islands ? I have found some info but do not know if they apply to rainy season as well.

    Phuket => Ko Lanta : For the rainy season, do we still have 2 options, bus/car vs. boat/ferry ? Which one do you recommend ?

    Ko Lanta => Krabi : Same question, for the rainy season, do we still have 2 options, bus/car vs. boat/ferry ? Which one do you recommend ?

    Krabi : We will stay in Krabi Town because we would like to make day-trips to Ko Phi Phi and Railay. Any recommendations ?

    Pak Chong/Khao Yai National Park : The morning after our full day tour, before going to Ayutthaya, does anyone recommend spending an hour or so in the elephant center ? This one sounds ethically responsible.

    Thanks for your help.

    We are not very flexible flight-wise and accomodation-wise because we had to choose some pre-paid non-refundable options to save money, but independently of our questions, if anyone would like to give us other tips, share with us their opinions please, we are still very interested and will really appreciate that.

    Have a nice day.
    Sarven & Esra from Istanbul, Turkey

    #1 Posted: 9/8/2012 - 02:52

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  • mikethediver

    Click here to learn more about mikethediver
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 205
    Total reviews: 3

    Hi,
    Regarding your 850 Baht taxi ride to Nai Harn. This sounds very reasonable for Phuket !!! Yes you are right, in Phuket transportation is a tourist trap (read rip off. Tuks Tuks drivers are just licensed thieves!) There are not nearly enough metered taxis. 5 years ago it cost 500 Baht from the airport to Kata, so I don't suppose the price you've been quoted is too bad.

    You could try getting the airport bus to Phuket town (pay inside the airport terminal) for a couple of hundred Baht & then get a local bus to Nai Han, but local buses stop at 6pm and the Phuket bus station is now not near the local bus station, so all in all I'd go for the taxi!

    Try Rawai beach for BBQ food.
    Mike

    #2 Posted: 9/8/2012 - 17:54

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    It's way too busy for my tastes. But it seems like you have alredy done your homework and know what you want.

    #3 Posted: 9/8/2012 - 21:19

  • Captain_Bob

    Click here to learn more about Captain_Bob
    Joined Travelfish
    27th May, 2006
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 1592

    Phuket-Lanta and Lanta- Krabi will be by road (taxi,minivan) with two short vehicle ferries from the mainland to Lanta which operate all day until 10pm. The longer seasonal ferry to/from Lanta only operates Nov-April.

    Instead of Krabi town as a base for trips to Phi Phi and Railay, you might consider Ao Nang which is closer and has it's own beach, whereas Krabi town sits up a muddy river estuary.

    #4 Posted: 9/8/2012 - 22:23

  • sarven

    Joined Travelfish
    29th May, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Thanks to you all, very appreciated

    @ Mike :
    OK thanks, it looks like we have to take it on the chin, and will pay the taxi than
    Rawai seems (on Google Maps) just 10 minutes walk from Nai Harn, do you know if the road is safe for walking ?

    @ MADMAC :
    Yes we know, as it's our 1st time, the schedule is a bit too intense. The annual leave dates fixed by our employers did not permit to organize a longer, more relaxed trip.
    This way we hope to discover what will please us more, to learn on which activities we should focus next time.

    @ Captain Bob :
    Thanks for Phuket => Ko Lanta => Krabi tips.
    Haha for Ao Nang, I'll just paste here the first paragraph from Travelfish :
    We've never been great wraps on Ao Nang. There is nothing particularly Thai about it, and the beach is pretty ordinary. The town is itself is full of tailor shops, travel agents, a scattering of girlie bars and really bad Italian restaurants. Sounds tempting?
    Just kidding. We'll do some more research. Thanks for the tip.

    Does anyone has some info on Phuket => Ko Yao islands tour ?
    Or on the elephant research center near Pak Chong / Khao Yai National Park ?
    Thanks and bye

    #5 Posted: 10/8/2012 - 02:38

  • mikethediver

    Click here to learn more about mikethediver
    Joined Travelfish
    23rd March, 2008
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 205
    Total reviews: 3

    hi,
    Yes walking is safe, normal common sense rules apply as with any tourist destination. There have been incidents of drive by bag snatching but these are fairly small and opportunist and mostly centered around Patong. Just use your common sense.

    With the exception (in my opinion and experience) of HCMC Asia is a very safe place!

    #6 Posted: 10/8/2012 - 03:12

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Salem Sarven. Have a great trip. Let us know how it goes.

    #7 Posted: 10/8/2012 - 04:35

  • sarven

    Joined Travelfish
    29th May, 2012
    Posts: 3

    @ Mike :
    Thanks, I was more concerned with sideways than thefts, but still good to know.

    @ MADMAC :
    If we had to target a specific area and spend more time there, what would you recommend ?

    Thanks again

    #8 Posted: 11/8/2012 - 11:28

  • altmtl

    Click here to learn more about altmtl
    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Location Earth
    Posts: 826
    Total reviews: 5

    I think it's too rushed and planned also.

    #9 Posted: 11/8/2012 - 21:28

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
    24th July, 2012
    Posts: 2148
    Total reviews: 11

    Ridiculously fast itinery. You won't have much chance to do anything much apart from packing/unpacking.

    "Except Nai Harn that we have chosen, we were also interested in Kata, Kamala and Surin beaches"

    Why? they are just beaches, nothing much of interest.

    Pick either Phuket or Krabi, but don't do both in a rushed way. If you don't want mega touristy pick Krabi.

    The thing is with Phuket/Krabi it's the attractions that you visit on day tours that make it fun, not the actual areas close to the hotels.

    "We've never been great wraps on Ao Nang. There is nothing particularly Thai about it, and the beach is pretty ordinary. The town is itself is full of tailor shops, travel agents, a scattering of girlie bars and really bad Italian restaurants. Sounds tempting"

    Actually there's a good Italian restaurant there in the heart of town and it's a good base to explore Krabi. It's much quiter than the main beaches of Phuket. krabi Town has much better Thai food that's for sure but Ao Nang has much better hotels and closer access to beaches. Better off staying in Ao Nang and spending a day in Krabi Town. Only costs 50 baht 1 way via songthaew which runs down the main road and does pick ups - white utes and they honk the horn to let people know they are coming. There's a decent clothes shop in town plus a really good bag/leather shop towards the river and the local restaurants served good Thai food.

    #10 Posted: 12/8/2012 - 08:00

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6293
    Total reviews: 10

    Sarven, I'm the wrong guy to ask because I don't like the ocean or beaches, and obviously that's a point of focus for you.

    #11 Posted: 15/8/2012 - 22:13

  • Evidently

    Joined Travelfish
    15th August, 2012
    Posts: 3

    Taking a day trip to Koh Phi Phi is probably a waste of time. I've been twice, and both times the ferry was late and it trip is long enough that you don't have time to really enjoy the island before the last ferry leaves. That said, I have been twice, so the scenery is obviously beautiful. If you do get there, Anna's Restaurant has the best massaman curry I've had in Thailand.

    Instead of the day trip to Phi Phi, I would recommend a day trip by longtail ride to Raily. There isn't much to do there, but the scenery is beautiful, and seeing as how your itinerary seems packed, a day of sitting on the beach might be a nice change of pace.

    As should seem obvious because of "Ko", Lanta is an island, so you will have to get a ferry to get to Krabi. The trip that we took in the opposite direction took the entire day because we were transferred from transport to transport, with sometimes hours wait in between. Just be prepared to be very, very patient and brings lots of good things to read.

    Final note: Phuket is my least favorite place in Thailand. I've only spent 4 months in the country, but Phuket is expensive, crowded, the hotels are dirty, and the beach is like any you could find in the world (read: packed with European and Australian tourists and people trying to sell you things). Even though you are not flexible with your accommodations, I would seriously reconsider spending so much time there.

    Good luck and enjoy your trip!

    #12 Posted: 15/8/2012 - 22:14

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