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3-month SEA itinerary - please critique

  • adaminasia

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 20

    Hi,

    I am taking a 3-month solo trip from September through November to Southeast Asia, leaving in just a few weeks. This is my first time going and I am really excited! Travelfish has been super helpful to see other people's itineraries and learn more about the area, so thanks to this community! I'm hoping for a life changing / building new perspectives type of experience. Not sure whether/if I'll make it back to this region so I've packed in a lot.

    I'd love to get your thoughts on my itinerary below. Would you change how long I'm spending in certain areas? See other areas / do other unique things? Other areas I considered but cut out include Vietnam, Myanmar, Hong Kong/Southern China, and Taiwan - open to figuring out ways to work any of those areas in, but I also didn't want the trip to be too rushed and miss out on being able to really experience the different areas.

    Really appreciate any advice you may be able to provide! Thanks!


    MY 3-MONTH SEA ITINERARY

    Singapore - 11 days (this is for a work function, so I can't go for any less time than 11 days)

    Fly from Singapore -> Yogyyakarta, INDONESIA
    Yogyyakarta - 1 day
    Mount Bromo - 1 day
    Ubud, Bali - 3 days
    Lombok - Rinjani - 3 days, hike
    Gili Islands - 2 days, relax from hike

    Fly from Bali to Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA
    Kuala Lumpur - 2 days
    Cameron Highlands - 3 days, trekking
    Penang - 2 days

    Fly from Penang to Ko Samui (or Surat Thani), then ferry to Koh Tao, THAILAND
    Koh Tao - 4 days, get scuba certified
    Chumphon - 1 day
    Bangkok - 6 days, including day trips to Ayutthaya, Samut Songkhram, and Damnoen Saduak
    Chiang Mai - 15 days, including a 10-day Vipassana beginner meditation course (alternatively, would be open to other locations for beginners, to break-up this and the Kung Fu course I'm taking in Pai)
    Mae Hong Son - 2 days
    Pai - 9 days, including a 7-day Kung Fu course at local martial arts camp (has anyone ever done something like this? is it cool/tough?)
    Chiang Rai - 2 days

    Commute via Mekong river from Chiang Khong, Thailand to Huay Xai , LAOS
    Huay Xai - 1 day
    Gibbon Experience, Huay Xai - 3 days
    Luang Prabang - 4 days
    Vientiane - 2 days

    Fly from Vientiane to Siem Reap, CAMBODIA
    Siem Reap - 4 days, including possible day trip to Battamang
    Phnom Penh - 3 days

    Fly from Phnom Penh to Bangkok and depart for home


    *********************************************************

    Summary:
    Singapore - 11 days
    Indonesia - 10 days
    Malaysia - 7 days
    Thailand - 40 days
    Cambodia - 10 days
    Laos - 8 days
    TOTAL - 86 days

    #1 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 00:14

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  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Muay Thai is the national sport and considered the best form of stand up fighting in the world and you want to do Kung Fu? KF is Chinese. Makes no sense to go to the home of Muay Thai to study KF. Chiang Mai has a number of MT gyms and there are many others around the country.

    Pai is a fake touristy town and 2 nights there was enough for me. The main attraction is Tham Lot which is a big cave about 1 hour north at Soppong.

    A 10 day meditation course seems a strange thing to do also. That's a lot of time being chewed up there.

    Then in other places you are only spending 2 days and rushing around.

    Strange itinery IMO.

    #2 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 09:50

  • DLuek

    TF writer
    Joined Travelfish
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    Quickly in response to Leonard: If you're not interested in an activity, why tell people it's "strange" or 'not worth it'? Examples: Rock climbing in Krabi and meditation retreats in Chiang Mai . Wouldn't it be better to keep quiet about things you're not interested in rather than discouraging people?

    To me, Adam, your itinerary looks tiring... It's doable (well, the Indonesia stretch seems seriously rushed), but you might think about cutting out some places unless you're okay to just barely scratch the surface of them. With this itinerary, you'll be spending A LOT of time on buses/trains. With that said, it's obvious you've put a lot of thought into it and chosen your destinations carefully... But if you're exhausted from the constant travel, will you really enjoy the destinations you've chosen? I'd personally consider cutting out a whole country or two (or even three) and leave yourself more breathing room to stick around longer in places that really strike your fancy.

    I have limited knowledge of Indo and Malaysia, but the other destinations all look good. You will be traveling a well trodden trail -- most of the destinations are very popular -- but they're all worth seeing and they make sense for a first-time trip to the region. The one thing I'd tell you to cut out is Damnoen Saduak, which is a major tourist trap. If you're interested in floating markets, allot the extra day to Samut Songkhram (make sure to plan it so you're there on a weekend) and go to Amphawa and maybe Tha Kha and/or Bang Noi. If you're looking for an alternative day trip out of Bangkok, either Ko Kret or Phra Phradaeng (Bang Kachao), or even Chachoengsao would be a lot better than Damnoen Saduak.

    Oh and definitely do the meditation retreat if it's something you want to do. It will be tough, but surely a great experience. I've heard good things about the retreats at Wat Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai -- certainly very 'foreigner-friendly' at least. Another good choice, which you could easily do as you'll be in the south of Thailand, is Wat Suan Mokkh. Wat Khao Tham on Ko Pha Ngan is also supposed to be good. I did a 10-day retreat at Wat Sanghathan just north of Bangkok... It's an especially good choice if you want to really be immersed in a Thai temple rather than segregated with exclusively other foreigners. I believe there's still an American monk in residence, and he teaches foreigners when they stay, but I was just kind of on my own and surrounded by other Thais a lot of the time too. While you're in Bangkok, you might also see what the Little Bangkok Sangha is up to.

    #3 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 10:57

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    "Adam, your itinerary looks tiring"

    If you're not interested why say it looks tiring?

    "Damnoen Saduak, which is a major tourist trap."

    If you don't like it why say it's a tourist trap?

    "Wouldn't it be better to keep quiet about things you're not interested in rather than discouraging people?"

    hmmm ^^^^

    #4 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:03

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Because the guy asked for opinions and I gave it. I don't know why you're still upset about rock climbing. Seems strange to carry a grudge like that.

    Rushing around for 2 days in places then doing a 10 day course seems unbalanced to me. Holiday time can be precious so I was just
    wondering why do that.

    "please critique"

    ^ that's what he asked for and that's what I did. Apparently only your criticisms are welcome here.


    Anyway, back on topic, this gym might appeal to you:


    http://muay-thai-santai.com/

    #5 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:18

  • chinarocks

    Joined Travelfish
    17th June, 2011
    Posts: 684

    I don't want this thread to wander off-topic as it ain't fair to the OP but Leonard I personally find you one of the most irritiating posters I have ever come across on any website anywhere. You clearly know the places well but your method of communication is laughable, rude and abrupt. You come across as a moody 14 year old most of the time.

    Whatever about getting involved in verbals with the other regulars on here, I have always found DLuek to be one of the most pleasant, mannerly and informed posters (not to mention that he is actually a TF writer). For example, contrast your response with his. For a new poster on here, to hit upon your response as the first response to their very fair question would not encourage them to return in a hurry I don't think.

    OP - some brief comments on your itinerary:

    - Penang: IMO it is one of the most interesting cities in SE Asia. It is filthy but boy is it interesting. Melting pot of cultures, lovely architecture and great hawker food at a couple of cents a pop. Worth more than two days if you can spare it.

    - What you have planned for 8 days in Laos will be very challenging. You are talking big distances here, slow and unreliable transport and 3/4 places that all deserve a good bit of time in their own right. Maybe think about flying from LP to SR (Vietnam Airlines), you will not get bored of LP and its surrounds in 4 or 5 days. While Vientiane is nice it is also eminently missable.

    #6 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:20

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    Calling people 14yos is real mature and your rants with MM are truly "laughable" and immature.

    "to hit upon your response as the first response to their very fair question would not encourage them to return in a hurry I don't think."

    Buddy, this forum is fairly quiet and I'm one of the few people who try to help people. You seem to think your opinion is worth so much more for some reason.

    I give my opinion and it's just one opinion like anyone else.

    #7 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:26

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I don't give a **** to be honest but I post on here quite a bit (although not as much as you) and I fail to see any reason why you would feel the need to mention sex in a thread like this. Me and a bunch of my friends have been through SE Asia and have avoided the pitfalls you mention while picking up some baht-free action along the way.

    As regards the "what's it to you" question, well it's my business as much as yours to post opinions on here and my opinion is that you throw in random comments about the sex industry too much and not enough useful information about what the OPs actually want to hear about regarding itineraries, places of interest and the like.

    I will not be commenting any further on your tirades, as, for a start, it is not very helpful to the OP."

    ^^^ You have a history of dummy spits

    #8 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:31

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    i don't think anyone is objecting to you giving your opinion, Leonard, but rather objecting to the way you do it. you tend to be pretty negative, which is out of step with nearly everyone else on this website and more than a bit of a buzzkill. this is a forum about travel and adventure and it is supposed to be fun. i'd be the first to agree that you've got lots of good information to share, but you often stray into aggressive and even abusive territory. people frequently complain about your posts right in the threads, and i'd be willing to bet that the site admin gets more complaints about you than any other current travelfish member. by the comments in this thread alone, i'm not the only person who objects to the way you conduct yourself. maybe you can just peel it back a bit, still share your useful opinions, but do it in a positive and supportive way like folks have asked. i'll guarantee that people will pay more attention to what you have to say that way too. regards.

    #9 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:45

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Joined Travelfish
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    At least I answered his questions. Your whole post was a negative attack on me.

    BTW I'm a church mouse compared to lots of people on other forums. Have you seen the language and abuse used on Teakdoor? They will eat you alive if you think my words are harsh.

    #10 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 11:57

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  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    i don't think it was negative at all. but it was accurate. negative would have been to try and charaterize you in unflattering terms. i simply described you as the rest of us see you, which is someone with valuable contributions to make but who cannot seem to do so in a positive or productive way. it seems odd that you are so thin-skinned for someone who is so consistently aggressive. you also seem to be holding me to a higher standard than you hold yourself, since your posts #7 and #8 in this thread are nothing but attacks on other posters. be honest with yourself leonard. people don't like you because of how you act, not because of your opinions. you could just as easily share those opinions in a thoughtful way and get people to seriously consider what you have to say. but as it is now, folks just write you off because you are so negative.

    #11 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:02

  • LeonardCohe-
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    Joined Travelfish
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    Another negative post and no help for the OP.

    Lots of folks have thanked me BTW probably more than a 100.

    #12 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:07

  • exacto

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    in response to the second part of your post, which you added after my last post: you are saying your behavior is okay because other people are worse? i don't think that is a reasonable position. plus, i don't care about Teakdoor. but i do care about Travelfish. i've been on here for a long time and had lots of fun. occasionally we do have someone who is consistently objectionable. sometimes they catch on and tone it down and fit right in. other times they keep it up and eventually get themselves banned, as i believe you have done under at least one previous screen name. it would be great if you would tone it down and fit right in, don't you think?

    #13 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:07

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    "ince your posts #7 and #8 in this thread are nothing but attacks on other posters"

    They attacked me and I replied to their attacks and hypocrisy.

    " seems odd that you are so thin-skinned for someone who is so consistently aggressive. "

    Doesn't bother me. You can whinge about me all you like.

    #14 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:10

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    the thread topic has obviously switched from the OP's questions to your behavior, leonard. i'm not the only one complaining about you. and i'm glad that more than 100 people have thanked you for your input. that's the way it is supposed to be. how many have complained about you? is it more than 100 too? why not tone it down and eliminate the complaints and keep on going with the thanks?

    #15 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:10

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

    Joined Travelfish
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    4 responses from you and none on topic.

    "how many have complained about you? is it more than 100 too"

    I have no idea but from readin the forum it's probably 10 or so. But that's the real world. Some people like to complain about something.

    #16 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:13

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    well, back on topic then...

    adam, your itinerary looks rushed to me too but possible. the only part that has me a bit concerned is indonesia. do you really think you can do yogya in just one day? also, how are you getting from yogya to bali? there are direct flights on indonesian air asia and lion air, but otherwise it is a 10-hour bus ride.

    i can't speak to the specific 10-day meditation course in chiang mai, but i know folks who have completed a one-week course at a forest temple just north of Surat Thani. they had a good experience with it, and i imagine you will too. do you have much of a meditation background, or will this be a completely new experience for you?

    by the way, what is your budget for this whirlwind trip?

    finally, be sure to work through your visa strategy ahead of time to make sure you can get visas on arrival (depending on your passport of course) for all the places you plan to visit. you might want to work out long-haul transportation in advance too. you can usually just walk up and get a bus ticket, but flights and overnight trains need to be worked out in advance.

    say hi to jim thompson for me while you're up in the cameron highlands. i thought it was interesting there, and really enjoy a visit to a tea plantation. regards.

    #17 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 12:25

  • SBE

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    @ adaminasia

    One thing that immediately strikes me about your itinerary is that you haven't allowed any time to get between places. Are you planning on using teletransportation like in StarTrek or something?!

    A basic rule of thumb is that every time you move to a different place you're going to lose a day. Even a domestic flight involves packing, getting to the airport, checking in, security checks and hanging around, actual flight time, getting off plane and waiting for luggage, getting into town, finding somewhere to stay etc.

    My advice is to look at your itinerary again and decide exactly which days are going to be travel days. You're almost certainly going to be forced to scratch places off your wish list but a least you'll have a more realistic idea of what's doable.

    #18 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 14:17

  • antoniamitc-
    hell

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    Hi Adaminasia,

    firstly, I think it's great that you're planning a bunch of courses - it's one of those things I'm sure many of us would like to do but somehow never find the time.

    With regards to the rest of your trip, I agree with the other, on-topic posters: it sounds like a lot of rushing about once you add in the travel time. I've never been to either Laos or Cambodia, so I can't offer any advice on there. Malaysia I loved, but I still think you might want to skip it to give yourself some more time in Indonesia or Laos/Cambodia.

    KL is a big city, not that different in feel from Bangkok or Singapore (IMHO) both of which you have a decent amount of time in already, so it probably wouldn't be terrible to miss KL. The Cameron Highlands have their own charm (lovely scenery and some nice walking, but mediocre towns), but the only place on your Malaysia itinerary I'd say is really great is Penang. Because of this, it might be worth flying from Indo straight to Thailand, as much as I hate to admit it.

    Anyway, all our advice is only smoke in the wind (or farts in the wind, in the case of some of the off-topic postings). The most important thing is that you REALLY enjoy your trip, whatever form that trip ends up taking.

    Have a wonderful time.

    #19 Posted: 7/8/2013 - 16:15

  • adaminasia

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 20

    Wow, thanks for all of the responses, really appreciate you taking the time to review my itinerary and provide feedback. In response to some of your questions:

    All:
    --Believe it or not, this itinerary has already been scaled back :) From comments from many of you, seems like it would be worth continuing to scale back - thanks for letting me know. It is a balance between wanting to see a lot but also not rushing through, but it seems like it would make sense to cut more.
    --For budget (Exacto), originally I was thinking of doing $30 a day; I have since relaxed my budget to around $50 per day including internal flights/hotels/food, which will mean saving money some days to afford internal flight on other days. My sense was that flights were relatively (to the USA) inexpensive less than $100, but maybe that is not the case? If I end up spending a little bit on internal flights to see more I am ok with that
    --Re rushing through travel days, from researching and not being there it is hard to know how long it will take to get between places. Thanks for the specific comments on specific areas of the trip that are rushed/travel intensive, as I can look at those spots and make changes (SBE: I will look at which days are going to be "travel" days).
    --QUESTION: If I were going to cut out a country should it be Indonesia? Or Malaysia? Since I'm starting in Singapore it is easy to go from there up through Malaysia to Thailand. On the other hand, I was looking forward to climbing in Indonesia, though I recognize there are probably other mountains to climb in the other countries I'm visiting. Have heard conflicting accounts on Bali. I understand that if I keep in Indonesia I need to allow more time for Java and consider traveling from Java to Bali

    And some specific comments to everyone who has replied...

    Leonard:
    --Good point on Muay Thai. The videos I watched of this sport on Youtube seemed pretty intense. I figured that since I'll be near China, the Kung Fu in Pai is probably much better than anything in the USA (where I live). That said, it could be cool to look into a sport that Thailand is famous for, so will definitely look into that more. Appreciate the rec for http://muay-thai-santai.com/, if there are any others I should check out let me know

    --Re meditation class, I agree it is strange to do, and a lot of time being chewed up going to do that .... but the length of the experience is precisely what makes it interesting to me as I think it would really change my perspective on how I appreciate day-to-day life. I am torn on whether or not to do it. Will continue to think about it.


    DLuek: thanks for the specific recs on meditation, extremely helpful. This will be my first time at a course like this, and looking for one that is more foriegner friendly. Also, I will modify my Bangkok itinerary and day trips based on your thoughts


    China Rocks - I'll see what I can do to add a day or two to Penang. Thanks for advice on Laos/Cambodia, did not realize travel would take so long. I'll consider either adding days or else taking a flight from LP to SR as you suggested


    Exacto: regarding VISAs, my understanding is that for people from the USA I can get a visa on arrival anywhere except Vietnam, which is not currently in my itinerary. Is this wrong? Also, for long-haul transport, since it is suggested to just have a rough itinerary and then extend/shorten different periods of your trip as needed once you are in country, what is the best way to go about thinking through booking long-haul? For instance, is a few days in advance early enough to book? A week? 2 weeks? I am a bit confused now, as other people have suggested that I can just buy those types of tickets the day before, so would love to hear more about that.

    #20 Posted: 8/8/2013 - 14:55

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
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    hey adam,

    yes, as far as i know, US passport holders can get visas on arrival at the countries you've mentioned. sometimes there is no cost, like in thailand, but sometimes there is a $30 or $35 charge like laos and cambodia. they'll often want that payment in us dollars, so it helps to have that on hand, and most times when there is a fee for visa on arrival they'll also want a passport photo. you should be able to get those inexpensively at most photo shops in southeast asia.

    short hops from place to place are easy and don't require advance planning. but for long-haul transport, it depends on the route and the means. for example, you should be able to just turn up and get a long-haul bus. but an overnight sleeper train from bangkok to chiang mai usually requires an advance reservation as the sleeper berths sell out. flights from chiang mai to luang prabang are similar. also, my experience with budget airlines like air asia is that the seats are less expensive when you buy them in advance, unless you get lucky and catch a last-minute discount when they are trying to fill any unsold seats. by not making advance reservations on the long-haul stuff, you add maximum flexibility to your trip, but you risk not getting the flight or train you want - and given how tight your itinerary is, that might be a complication for you.

    i hope that helps. have a wonderful trip.

    #21 Posted: 8/8/2013 - 20:09

  • SBE

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    I'd dump Malaysia for sure but that only gives you an extra week which still might not be enough!

    MAYBE with that extra week you'd have enough time to do your proposed Indonesian itinerary but personally I'd stick to Java and Bali and explore the latter a bit more. There are volcanos to climb on Bali too and there's supposed to be very good snorkelling around Menjangan Island. I definitely wouldn't bother going to the Gilis for just 2 nights. You'll be getting a similar laidback island fix on Ko Tao and you could always do a quick hop over to Ko Phangan if you wanted a change of scenery.

    If I counted right you've planned to spend 39 consecutive days in Thailand. That is not an optimal length of time to stay in the kingdom. You won't be able to take advantage of the free 30 day entry stamp when you fly into Thailand. If you stick to your original plan you'll need to get a 60 day tourist visa prior to entering the country. A proper tourist visa not only costs money, it means you'll have to go and queue at a Thai consulate somewhere (twice) to get it. So unless you buy the visa before leaving home, you'll be wasting a day of your holiday time sorting that out.

    You're flying out of Bangkok at the end of your trip anyway so it might be more sensible to split your time in Thailand into 2 parts. Spend an initial 30 days in Thailand using the free entry stamp you'll get on arrival when you fly in (remember to include day of arrival and departure in those 30 days). Then spend your last week checking out Bangkok and surrounds after you've done Cambodia.... assuming you still have a week left by then!


    Your 8 day Laos itinerary looks over optimistic to me. How are you planning to get from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang ? Most tourists use the overcrowded slow boat which takes 2 days. Luang Prabang to Vientiane is a heck of a long way by road too but Rufus mentioned a new airline the other day which might solve that little problem for you. http://www.flylaocentral.com

    Long distance night buses and trains are a very time and money efficient way of getting around Thailand because you're moving on when you'd normally be asleep and saving the price of night's accommodation as well. Personally I find it easier to sleep on trains than VIP buses. Thai trains are very old and slow and rattle about a lot but at least you get to lie down properly. Depending on how much discomfort and grime you're willing to endure you could fly from Bali to Bangkok, get the night train to Chumphon , and be on Ko Tao by mid morning the next day. The Air Asia flight from Bali arrives at Don Muang airport just after 3pm so you should be able to get to Hualumphong train station by 19.30pm in time to catch the sleeper train to Chumphon. The train usually leaves precisely on time but always arrives in Chumphon late which is a good thing because there's absolutely nothing to do in Chumphon at 3.30am and the ferries don't leave till 7am. You'll get woken up just before you arrive in Chumphon so make sure you're ready to leap off the train at short notice before you go to sleep. Transfer to the pier is included in the price of the ferry ticket and there are people at the station herding tourists onto the right transport. It's all very easy, if a little tiring. If you prefer to break the journey in Bangkok to get a decent night's sleep and a shower before heading south, I'd still recommend travelling overnight because the ferry connections work better. More train info here, including how to book in advance. http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm. You can also prebook the Lomprayah bus/ferry service which leaves from Khao San Road if you prefer. http://www.lomprayah.com/

    There are zillions of travel agents on Ko Tao who should be able to help arrange getting to Chiang Mai if you can't figure that stuff out now. Also plenty of internet access if you want book transport yourself but your credit card or bank may impose security hoops which make that impossible to pay online from outside your home country. Maybe ask your bank what the deal is before leaving home. My bank implemented "enhanced security features" a couple of years ago and since then I haven't been able to use my visa or mastercard for anything except ATM withdrawals. It's a total PITA.

    PS. I've seen extremely fit young men unable to even climb a flight of stairs after doing a week of Muay Thai training. Maybe Kung Fu is easier but sitting on very cramped buses or on the slow boat to Luang Prabang might not feel like fun if every muscle in your body is screaming in agony. Does the Gibbon Experience involve a lot of tree climbing? Maybe do the Kung Fu before the meditation to give your body time to recover before Laos?

    #22 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 11:28

  • mibby30

    Joined Travelfish
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    You might want to check some of the famous foods in South East Asia:
    http://www.squidoo.com/asian-foods-that-i-enjoyed

    #23 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 11:34

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
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    "I figured that since I'll be near China, the Kung Fu in Pai is probably much better than anything in the USA (where I live)."

    This might have been a logical assumption 100 years ago, but globalization has rendered it anachronistic. You will find better Kung Fu instruction in the USA than you will in Thailand.

    When I read your original post, I assumed (incorrectly) that you had a background in the sport and hence you wanted to work on your Kung Fu because that was your background. If you have no pre-existing background nobody can teach you anything meaningful in any martial art (From Kung Fu, to Kenpo Karate, to Tae Kwon Do, to Boxing) in a few days. These are sports which require serious muscle memory and years of training to be reasonably proficient. Pursuing something you are already proficient at while on the road is a great idea. Starting as a beginner - not so much. You need a foundation first. The fighting arts are really not for the dilettante.

    #24 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 13:16

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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

    If you have basic boxing skills a few sessions of muay thai will help you are quite a few defence and attack techniques. It's great for fitness at the very least. MT is one of the best workouts you can get.

    The good thing about training in Thailand is you can just rock up to a gym and organise 1 or 2 sessions on the spot. If you like it you can keep going for a week at a discounted rate.

    You didn't have Koh Lanta on your intinery but it's a good place for Muay Thai. Nice laid back island with good food and the MT gym is good. The owner William is a cool guy and ex world champ. I trained there a few times.

    http://www.lantagym.com/

    "Re meditation class, I agree it is strange to do, and a lot of time being chewed up going to do that .... but the length of the experience is precisely what makes it interesting to me as I think it would really change my perspective on how I appreciate day-to-day life. I am torn on whether or not to do it. Will continue to think about it."

    If that's what you're into go for it but it sounds like you've never done it before and you might not like it that much. You wouldn't want to sign up and pay your money then find after 2 days you're bored with it. Maybe look to see if they have a shorter course to start with.

    #25 Posted: 9/8/2013 - 13:31

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    "If you have basic boxing skills a few sessions of muay thai will help you are quite a few defence and attack techniques. It's great for fitness at the very least. MT is one of the best workouts you can get."

    It isn't the technique that counts Leonard, it's how the good the individual is at applying it. I'm a boxer by background, and trained and fought for a decade. Previous to that I had some Kenpo Karate background. My first year here I sparred some guys at the local MT gym. They both had about a years worth of experience. It was childs play taking them apart, even though they were allowed to use their feet. Their ability to slip, block and parry punches was not strong. They knew how to do it, but they needed a lot more practice to be effective at it. In tight of course I clinched. I didn't have the slightest intention of allowing them to use their elbows. Now a top notch Muay Thai guy with years under his belt would be a much more difficult proposition. No doubt there. But my point is you don't master any of these techniques by spending a couple of days or a couple of weeks in the gym. It's a good workout to be sure, but you don't become good at any physical activity without serious time and effort. Anyone who thinks they are going to come to Thailand for a short amount of time and go home with Muay Thai skills is fooling themselves. They'll learn enough to get themselves hurt.

    #26 Posted: 10/8/2013 - 01:19

  • karibou

    Joined Travelfish
    14th February, 2013
    Posts: 62

    Hi Adam,

    I think it's wonderful that you want to study meditation while in Thailand. As a longtime Vipassana practitioner -- albeit not in Thailand -- I might suggest a shorter course, especially if it's your first experience at a residential retreat that's mostly silent.

    Even 5 days on retreat can be emotionally difficult for first-timers, though usually well worth it for those who stick it out. Many people start with 2 or 5 days and then increase the time over successive retreats to minimize the urge to leave early, missing the "closure" that comes from completing the experience.

    Reducing your retreat from 10 days to 5 or fewer could give you similar benefits while freeing up some precious travel time. What you learn on retreat is meant to stay with you in the outside world, so it could really enhance the rest of your journey!

    #27 Posted: 10/8/2013 - 17:31

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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

    "But my point is you don't master any of these techniques by spending a couple of days or a couple of weeks in the gym. It's a good workout to be sure, but you don't become good at any physical activity without serious time and effort. Anyone who thinks they are going to come to Thailand for a short amount of time and go home with Muay Thai skills is fooling themselves. They'll learn enough to get themselves hurt."

    Who said anything about being a master after 1 week? But you can learn the basics and have some fun.

    #28 Posted: 10/8/2013 - 20:39

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    "Who said anything about being a master after 1 week? But you can learn the basics and have some fun."

    Hey I'm all for it as long as you are realistic about the expectations. And don't fight or spar unless you have real, bonafide experience. I have spent a total of about 15 years of my life seriously training in boxing / martial arts. And I am a competent fighter. And I've broken my nose several times, my ribs once... and plenty of cuts and bruises. I was knocked out once as well.

    #29 Posted: 10/8/2013 - 22:48

  • adaminasia

    Joined Travelfish
    22nd July, 2013
    Posts: 20

    Re meditation, thanks for the advice to look for shorter course. I will consider that.

    Re Kung Fu vs MT, sounds mike MT is the way to go... I have no prior training in martial arts. As Leonard guessed, I don't have aspirations to learn anything really in terms of technique, more just be exposed to something new and different. I would be looking for courses that -- if there was any sparring in the first week -- just paired up beginners like me. I would even be ok not doing any sparing. Obviously when starting anything new, you need to start as a beginner. This would just be a chance to try something a bit different and fun to break up the trip - and get in a good workout. I will keep in mind that some gyms pair up beginners with people who have done the sport longer, and will steer clear of those :) Wouldn't be fun to end up in the hospital :) And if it looks too risky than I can always pass on the experience.

    Adam

    #30 Posted: 11/8/2013 - 19:25

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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

    Have fun. MM is a bit of a drama queen at times. Lots of kids and girls learn muay thai.

    #31 Posted: 11/8/2013 - 23:30

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    "Have fun. MM is a bit of a drama queen at times. Lots of kids and girls learn muay thai."

    I can't be a drama queen, I'm a guy. I could be a drama drag queen, but I don't go that route. You could make the accusation that I am a drama king, but actually I'm not. I really don't like drama in my life very much - I find it irritating. If I were a drama king, I would watch a lot of Thai TV because I would empathize with it. But I don't.

    #32 Posted: 11/8/2013 - 23:50

  • LeonardCohe-
    n1

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

    If you say so.

    #33 Posted: 12/8/2013 - 00:02

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6410
    Total reviews: 10

    Trust me on this one.

    #34 Posted: 12/8/2013 - 00:05

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