So I got my flight booked, I arrive in Bangkok on the 17th of August and will be there for 37 days. Going solo and it will be my first trip like this (to be honest, never really been outside of Canada). I just wanted to get some time suggestions based on what I currently have planned.
Bangkok - 4 days
From here I wanted to go north and see Chiang Mai. From the north I plan on going into Cambodia. I want to keep this second between 6-10 days max.
Kanchanaburi - ?
Sukothai - ?
Chiang Mai - 2 days
Chiang Rai - ?
Homestay - ?
If I can I'd rather just go straight from the north to Siem Riep instead of going back to Bangkok and then over from there.
Siem Riep - 3/4 days
Phnom Penh - 2/3 days
Sihanoukville - 7/10 days
Now, if anyone is wondering why I plan on spending this much time in Cambodia it is mainly due to their fairly lax drug laws. I have a medicinal marijuana license in Canada and going that long without smoking would suck. I'm going to stay as far as possible from the stuff in Thailand because the possible jail time isn't worth it. But I've heard that Cambodia is basically a pot smokers paradise so I'll spend a couple weeks there.
After my time in Cambodia I want to see the south of Thailand for rest of the trip.
Ko Chang - 1/2 days
Pattaya - 2/3 days
Hua Hin - ?
Chumphon - ?
Ko Phangan - 1/2 days (not going for the full moon party or anything)
Ko Samui - 1/2 days
Surat Thani - ?
This is what I got so far but I'm very open to suggestions (length of time in each place, places to go or not go, etc.). I want to do a bit of everything. I want to party a bit but I'm looking for a more relaxing trip. I also want to see quite a few historical sites as well. Also based on the time of year, places to avoid or go to due to the monsoon season (I know to expect a lot of rain at times but I'll try to keep to the parts that aren't hit as hard that time of year).
#1 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32
Oh and one other thing. I plan on going with $4,000CDN, that should be more than enough for the trip correct? I've heard many people state about $30/day but would that include the price of the odd trek every couple days? I know food will be a bit more expensive for me because I'll be sticking to western food as much as I can (not a fan of spicy food, sea food or curries).
#2 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32
#3 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32
A lot of movement here. Remmember, every time you move from one place to another, you eat time. Time going to and from bus, plane or train stations. Time on transport (which will be longer than anticipated). Time waiting for the plane, train, bus. Time finding and checking into a new hotel. There is also the secondary consideration of expense. Cambodia looks OK. You're hitting the places you want, there are only three...
Thailand, though, you're all over the map. Why change beach locations every couple of days? Each time you do this you are eating the better part of a day.
30 dollars a day means eating local. Western food, where it's available (most of the places you are planning on) is considerably more costly. Plan for at least 50 bucks a day to be on the safe side. Backpackers travelling on 30 bucks a day are doing so trying to save money. They are willing to eat whatever food, sleep in whatever place - all so long as it's cheap. And that is enough money to live, but you aren't living fat by any means.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Sayadian should be able to give you some good advice on the logistics of smoking pot in Cambodia...
#5 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 740
I would cut Pattaya, Hua Hin and Samui from your list. Too built up (at least the first and the last) and nothing much to see in terms of Thai culture. Hua Hin is supposed to be pretty lackluster. Phetchaburi town, on the other hand, is interesting and worth a day or two, as is Kaeng Krachan National Park, which you can visit from Phetchaburi.
And why not try one place that's off the beaten path in Thailand? I recommend Nakhon Si Thammarat and specifically Ban Khiriwong Village on the edge of Khao Luang National Park. Travelfish has got a pretty good page on Nakhon Si.
I don't get the impression he's much of a cultural tourist kind of guy. Leans more towards the beach / party tourist type who likes history and historical sites.
#7 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Another dope head. Stay home.
#8 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
MADMAC, ya you're pretty much right. I'm more of a history guy than a cultural guy. I might do what Greg said and add Nakhol Si Thammarat to the trip. Like I said in the first post, I'm open to suggestions. Never done a trip like this let alone doing it solo so looking for whatever information and opinions I can get.
#9 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32
It's easy. Have a rough plan and if you follow it, great. And if you don't, no sweat. The thing about being here is the pace of life - which is chilled. You'll like that.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Getting from the north of Thailand to Cambodia will be a bit of a stretch - a fairly costly plane ride or several days on the road. Have you considered just flying up to Chiang Mai from BKK, ignoring Chiang Rai and just working your way overland back down to BKK to see the sites you have laid out? It'll be easier to get over to Cambodia then . . .
. . . spending a few days in SR and PP I'd go down to Kampot before heading over to Sihanoukville . A good 3 nights there and you've got the Rusty Keyhole for some fantastic ribs, rent a motorbike to go up to the Bokor Hill Station for some history and stay on the north end of town up on the west bank of the river to 'relax' with the fellow young 'laid back' travelers. After that head over to Sihanoukville before you head over to Ko Chang.
Ko Chang is a bit large and if you're going to the trouble of getting there I don't think you should just stay for one or two full days. As you are just finishing up with beaches in Sihanoukville you may as well get all the way over to an island that you're keen to really relax into like Madmac says. If you don't have to go to the other side of the Gulf to save time and such you can bounce around Ko Wai, Ko Maak and Ko Kut and there are plenty of different beaches around Ko Chang.
'Sayadian should be able to give you some good advice on the logistics of smoking pot in Cambodia...'
It may surprise you but I can't stand the stuff. Even the smell makes me retch.
I have seen a lot of people smoking though. What I've seen looks poor quality. I was told they dry it in the sun which is a no-no.
You can buy it most places. They will probably come to you if you stay where there are backpackers. The attitude by the authorities is slowly changing and becoming more anti-drugs and that includes weed. You should either smoke it in your room or ask if it is OK in a restaurant or guesthouse. Unless it specifically caters for backpackers the answer is likely to be no but there are places where they won't mind. If you do it in Thailand you are leaving yourself open to a hefty bribe-really hefty. I know of people having to part with $2or 3 thousand!
#12 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Just wanted to add that you could aim to cross the Thai/Cambodian border at Chong Jom or Chong Sa Ngam for Anlong Veng which is pretty near Seam Reap. Get the bus from Chiang Mai to Korat (11 hours) then train to Surin (a chance to see a bit of Isan whilst it's green) then bus down to the border ( approx 2 hours). This would save going all the way down to Aranyprathet.
I got to disagree with Caseyprich about Kampot. It sure is relaxing-you can sit and read a paperback outside a restaurant all day and go to bed at 8pm if you like that sort of thing otherwise you could hit Sihanoukville and eat seafood barbeque on the beach for $3 washed down with beer at 75 cents a glass and of course it's easy to buy weed there. Nightlife goes on until the early hours if you feel inclined. Save yourself the hassle of getting up Bokor, get the DVD of City of Ghosts and see it on a really good film set in Cambodia.
If you like a wild mountain try Kirirom with lakes and fir forests-it's spectacular. To get there drop off at Kirirom market on the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville bus run and negotiate with a motodop to take you.
#13 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I don't know how you can downplay a relax and friendly river-side town with a comment like that. I'll give you credit and say maybe it is just me coming from Shanghai and so I can enjoy it a little more - but I think you misrepresent the place.
The DVD - really? I mean . . . really. As I don't have personal experience of Sihanoukville I won't comment - but many of the people I've talked to told me to avoid it for the main reason that everything is for sale there.
Your budget should be way more than enough.
Keep an eye on the weather. That's peak rainy season on and around Koh Chang, as well as S. Cambodia. Could make it tough to keep a j burning.
Not all Thai food is spicy.
Keep your papers dry.
"...but many of the people I've talked to told me to avoid it for the main reason that everything is for sale there."
Everything is for sale everywhere in SEA.
#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I didn't dispute that Kampot is relaxed and friendly, I agree but that is nothing exceptional in Cambodia. You could just as well say the same of Koh Kong or Stung Treng or Ban Lung. None of which you've recommended. The countryside is pretty-as is much of Cambodia. As far as Bokor is concerned I've offered up what I think is a much better alternative. Kirirom is exceptionally beautiful and is easily accessible.
I have nothing against people going to Kampot to relax, it's a relaxing place as is any of the others I've mentioned. What I can't understand is this reverential attitude to the place by some people. One person's relaxed atmosphere is another person's boredom. Let's be honest, Kampot has one street of restaurants/cafes on an estuary. People sit around in rattan chairs drinking latte and reading. That's it. I can't understand this attitude that 'cool' people go to Kampot whilst 'the rabble' hit Sihanoukville . So I'm just saying it as it is. If you like drinking latte in the sun with your novel and going to bed at 8p.m. Kampot is the place for you. If you like a beach scene with a choice of nightlife, Sihanoukville is the place. There are plenty of relaxing places nearby too. Waterfalls, quiet beaches in the National Park etc.
#17 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I didn't recommend Stung Treng or Ban Lung as they weren't nearly on the travel path, while Kampot can easily be a stop off between PP and SV. I think if the OP has 7-10 days planned for SV they could find a couple night stay at Kampot's Bodhi Villa to put them together with fellow 'laid-back' travelers and with the Rusty Keyhole pretty renowned for Western food in Cambodia there seems no reason to give it a miss. Anyway, I recommended Bokor not as a wild mountain, but for the history of the area (though being washed over currently with construction).
Madmac - as far as the 'for sale' comment, I was also referring back to altmtl's post about cambodian touts and tuk-tuk drivers - one of many sources that have told me SV can get a little grating. As I said though, only what others have told me, sure I'd have liked the place if I'd had time in my schedule to check it out, but as it was Kampot was the best place I stopped in Cambodia.
(altmtl's post http://www.travelfish.org/board/post/cambodia/21371_what-i-don-t-like-about-cambodia---)
Ok, so reworked first part of trip.
Bangkok 17/08-21/08 - Already found and booked a hotel, I arrive at 930PM on the 17th and don't really feel like having to find one at that time of night. Have a couple tours in mind. River Kwai + Tiger Temple (I know a lot of people are against it but it will be the only chance in my life to get that close to a tiger), a city/temple/grand palace tour, Ayuthaya by River Sun Cruise, and a canals tour. I want to see the water markets as well.
~Overnight train to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai - 3 days
~Bus to Sukhothai
Sukhothai - 1/2 days
~Bus to Bangkok
~Bangkok to Siem Reap
Siem Reap - 3 Days - Angkor Wat
~Boat to Phnom Penh
Phnom Penh - 3 Days - Killing fields, etc.
~Bus to Sihanoukville
Sihanoukville - 7 Days - Going to island hop a bit as well
~Bus back to Thailand (though still considering adding a day or two in Kep or Kampot as well)
That is as far as I've gotten so far. The rest of the trip I want to spend in the south. Probably island hopping and relaxing on the beach. This a better pace than what I originally planned?
#19 Arikara1985 has been a member since 14/2/2013. Posts: 32