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Smog in the North of Thailand

  • PadThai

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Hi,

    last week I booked a flight to Thailand from the last week of February to mid March (3 weeks).
    Yesterday I found out (through a topic on this forum) that during this period there have been serious problems with smog in the north of Thailand during the past few years.
    Since I was planning on going from Bangkok to the north (Chiang Rai-Mai) and later on to the south, I was wondering if anyone here had been in the north during this period who can tell me if it's really a bad idea to go there (I've read about dangers for your health etc.).

    An alternative route I was thinking about is: Bangkok - Ayutthaya, Khao Yai - Siem Reap (Angkor Wat) - south of Thailand (Phuket), but I'm not sure is this is doable/bad idea. Can anyone advise me on this route?

    Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 8/1/2013 - 13:26

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  • somtam2000

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    We ran a few stories on the haze in northern Thailand in 2012 here in particular the March 8 story may be of interest.

    Each year it varies, but March tends to get the worst of it. Would I not go to the area because of it? Probably not, unless it was really really bad -- a few years ago it was hideously bad in Luang Prabang in Laos -- but it does vary every year. Keep an eye on the news...

    I guess you could hedge your bets and go north first (so in Feb) and hit the islands for March...

    Regarding your alternative route -- Phuket is a LONG way from Siem Reap -- if you're already in Cambodia, perhaps one of the Cambodian islands... here are two stories we ran on them last year:

    The best islands in Cambodia
    Great places to stay on the Cambodian islands

    If however you decide to stick with Phuket, I'd fly as otherwise it is the best part of a day and a half overland between the two.

    Cheers

    #2 Posted: 8/1/2013 - 20:16

  • PadThai

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Hi,

    thanks for the stories. Doesn't make it easy to decide though...

    I've been thinking about other options during the past 24h, and since it's my first time in SEA (and the choice of Thailand was basicly based on the "comfort" of staying in one country), I think Cambodia would be a good idea as well.

    How about: Bangkok-Ayutthaya-Khao Yai, back to Bangkok to hop on a plane to Phnom Penh - Cambodian Island - Siem Reap . Would this be reasonable for 3 weeks? Anyone who can suggest the minimum amount of days I need to count for these locations?

    I've read about a very recent new bus transfer between Siem Reap and Bangkok (only one bus): http://bangkokpost.com/breakingnews/326227/thailand-to-launch-bus-routes-to-cambodia would anyone know if there's already a website that has more information on this transfer?

    Thanks again and sorry for changing topic...

    #3 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 12:50

  • somtam2000

    admin
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    Those buses have been announced but as of yet are not running yet -- one of our Cambodia-based writers is trying to do a story on it and finding details rather "sketchy"!

    Re the alternative route, it is a good one. What you could do is go from Khao Yai to Nakhon Ratchasima from where you can get a bus to Aranyaprathet (for the border crossing to Cambodia at Poipet) -- this will be quicker than going back to Bangkok and a good deal cheaper than flying. So I'd suggest a slight reordering and this rough timetime

    Bangkok (2 days)
    Ayutthaya (2 days)
    Khao Yai (3 days)
    Overland to Siem Reap (1 day)
    Siem Reap / Angkor (3 days)
    Phnom Penh (2 days)
    Sihanoukville (1 day)
    Some Cambodian island (4-5 days)
    Overland back to Phnom Penh & evening flight back to Bangkok (1 day)
    Depart

    That's a bit rough and I've left some wiggle room for transport etc.

    For Khao Yai National Park here is some more reading :
    Khao Yai Farm & Wine trail
    How to do Khao Yai

    Cheers

    #4 Posted: 9/1/2013 - 19:49

  • PadThai

    Joined Travelfish
    8th January, 2013
    Posts: 5

    Hi,

    thanks for the advice, sounds like a pretty good route!
    I was wondering though, why wouldn't you go straight from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville? I've read about a nightbus between these to cities. That way I can visit Phnom Penh during the few days before my flight back to Bangkok.

    The islands you would go to, are they near Sihanoukville, or do I have to travel a few hours to get there?

    Bye!

    #5 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 12:58

  • altmtl

    Click here to learn more about altmtl
    Joined Travelfish
    18th May, 2009
    Location Earth
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    I guess my timing will be good... Heading north thailand around Feb. 11th - Nan, Chiang Rai and Tha Ton then south March 1st to Cambodia & the islands... think I'll create another thread re my plan.

    #6 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 18:38

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6039
    Total reviews: 10

    Is this related to the burn season? I mean, Chiang Rai is too small to have a problem with auto exhaust created smog. Funny but out here in Muk I never even notice the burn season, though the fields are burned.

    #7 Posted: 10/1/2013 - 20:50

  • somtam2000

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    @Padthai That's first I've heard of a nightbus from Siem Reap to Sihanoukville! Will look into that -- personally I wouldn't travel by bus at night in Cambodia due to road safety issues.

    The islands are all a few hours boat ride from Sihanoukville.

    @Madmac, yes burn season.

    #8 Posted: 12/1/2013 - 23:38

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