Hello! I'm a budget traveler coming to Thailand for the first time this January. I'm on a tight budget on a 4 month trip with friends. I was wondering specific s on how to get to koh phangan via train. Where should I go to purchase the most affordable transit?
I'm trying to book time at ang thong national park, how do I pay for my bungalow stays? the website confused me on how to pay for reservations...
When traveling to the national park, what is the cheapest way to get there without a pre packaged tour from koh phangan?
And finally, can anyone recomend some islands/beaches that are good scenery/hiking/kayaking away from tourism and resort development? I'm really interested in home stays, and other off the beaten path travel.
Thank you thank you,
From the confused and overwhelmed american girl
#1 melmariet has been a member since 10/4/2009. Posts: 22
Well, first and foremost, you cannot go to Thailand as a tourist for four months. The maximum permitted stay is 90 days. For that, you need to apply for a 60 day tourist visa before you arrive in Thailand and then about a week before it's due to expire, extend it by a further 30 days. You can download the application form from here: http://www.thaiconsulnewyork.com/english/visatype.php
If you don't apply for the visa, you'll only be permitted to remain in the country for 30 days provided you arrive by air. If you arrive via a land border, then you'll only be permitted to stay for 15 days.
If you propose to visit another country such as Cambodia for example, you'll need either a double, or a triple entry option to your 60 tourist visa. This is because the visa expires as soon as you leave the country. With a double or triple entry permit, you can return to Thailand and the 60 days will remain in force.
Check out the Travelfist trip planner for ideas on what to do and where to go: http://www.travelfish.org/trip_planner/
Wikitravel also has a good article on travel in Thailand: http://wikitravel.org/en/Thailand
#4 Xircal has been a member since 24/12/2012. Posts: 95
Update to my previous post.
Although you'll still have to apply for a 60 tourist visa if you want to stay for more than 30 days in Thailand, there's a possibility that you can extend it for up to one year according to the Phuket immigration site. See: http://www.phuketimmigration.go.th/visa/visa-en.php
The other rules I mentioned such as double or triple permits still applies though.
One other thing worth mentioning if you happen to go to Phuket is that you might notice an immigration office on the beach road in Patong. Here's the Google Street View of that office: http://goo.gl/maps/Dmsyo
If you zoom in on the white notice, you'll see this: "Visa extension, Re-entry permit, Notify of staying longer than 90 days". This might give you the impression that you can extend your visa here instead of having to go all the way into Phuket Town.
Unfortunately though, that's not the case and this office only handles Non-immigrant visas. I made that mistake myself the first time I wanted to extend my own tourist visa and had only two days left before it expired at the time, so I was in a bit of panic that day.
#5 Xircal has been a member since 24/12/2012. Posts: 95
I suppose I need to specify that I will be leaving Thailand before my 30 day visa is up. I'll be moving on to Laos, Cambodia and then Vietnam before flying out of bangkok. I was hoping for specific answers... Mostly about ang thong park.
#6 melmariet has been a member since 10/4/2009. Posts: 22
For information on Bangkok to the islands, see this story. bus basically you need a train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then a ferry to Ko Pha Ngan (perhaps via Ko Samui depending on times etc).
Train tickets can be purchased at the train station in Bangkok (ideally go a day or so before intended departure) or via a travel agent in Bangkok for a small surcharge.
Ang Thong National Marine Park is easily visited from Ko Samui - see this story for more information, including prices of accommodation - the need to book in advance would really depend on the time of year you are going. The tours most frequently go from Samui -- not Ko Pha Ngan as Samui is closer to the NMP. I'm not sure of the practicalities of getting there without taking a tour boat sorry.
For off the beaten track islands in Thailand, the following two stories should be of interest:
Thai islands to lose yourself on
Thai islands for nature lovers
Hope that helps.
Thank you so much somtam, that was just what I was looking for.
#8 melmariet has been a member since 10/4/2009. Posts: 22