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Christmas & New Year - North or South?

  • Diamond_Dog

    Joined Travelfish
    28th June, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Hi everyone, long-time lurker first-time poster here.

    My girlfriend and I are planning our first trip to Thailand; 30 days from mid-December to mid-January. After much research (largely based around this wonderful site - obsequiousness over!) we aim to split our trip between the North and South, based primarily around Pai and Ko Phangan respectively.

    Our primary concern is the best place to spend Christmas and New Year? We're leaning more towards Pai, as I've heard that the weather down South can be a little stormy in December, and so hope that if we leave it 'til last things may have improved somewhat. Also, we figure that even if we miss the New Year's festivities, we can catch the Full Moon Party in January.

    However, if anyone could provide a counter-argument as to why Ko Phangan would be the better choice for the festival period then please let us know!

    Also, any recommendations of places to stay would be most welcome. We are both 23, with a daily food/accommodation budget of around £25 (each). We are equally at home chilling or partying, but most of all like beautiful scenery and meeting interesting people,(and a place that would provide a fun and welcoming atmosphere).

    This has started to sound a bit like a lonely hearts' ad, so I'll leave it there...

    Thanks for any help!

    Tom

    #1 Posted: 28/6/2008 - 02:54

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  • somtam2000

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    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7074
    Total reviews: 24
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    At least 113

    Hi Tom,

    Welcome to Travelfish -- glad you've found the site helpful.

    I'd second your leaning towards Pai, for a couple of reasons.

    a) Pai in December is beautiful -- terrific climate, not too dry, not too wet.

    b) Both Pai and Ko Pha Ngan are certainly on the backpacker highway, but Pai should be a little less crowded. I'd expect KPN to be packed to the absolute rafters over the silly season.

    c) Party wise, as you say you'll be able to catch the FMP in Jan.

    Accommodation wise, I'm assuming you've already taken a look at the accommodation listings for each place?

    #2 Posted: 28/6/2008 - 09:18

  • Diamond_Dog

    Joined Travelfish
    28th June, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Hi Somtam,
    Thanks for the advice; I needed the wisdom of an experienced traveller to confirm or question my choice! As for accommodation, I have of course completely ransacked your guesthouse reviews; I guess my request was made in the hope that someone could make a personal recommendation regarding a place with a good atmosphere around the festive season.

    I'm hoping to extend my stay abroad for two weeks so that I can visit northern Laos, but that will only be possible if I can find a cheaper airfare. My 30-day stay in Thailand is based on a £1,000 airfare, which is the cheapest I can find for December, even after having checked kayak, cheaptickets, Ethiad and Eva Air! The only cheap fares (around £400) were for the summer period. Could anyone shed any light on this?

    Thanks again for the help,

    Tom

    #3 Posted: 28/6/2008 - 18:01

  • somtam2000

    admin
    Click here to learn more about somtam2000
    Joined Travelfish
    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
    Posts: 7074
    Total reviews: 24
    Places visited:
    At least 113

    Have you looked into Emirates? the flights through Dubai tend to be the cheapest...

    Also try flying out of europe from odd ports -- eg grab a cheapie to say somewhere in Scandi and then get a Finair flight across -- or Rome and greab Alitalia (if they're still flying) they're sometimes cheaper -- but probably not hundreds of pounds cheaper...

    #4 Posted: 29/6/2008 - 08:57

  • SBE

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    Location Global Village
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    The cheapest flights to Europe at my travel agency in BKK usually seem to be Kuwait Airways. They don't get rave reviews from anyone I've spoken to who's used them though. Another one that was cheaper than most is SriLankan Airlines. Sorry I haven't tried them either. Often the connection times for the cheapest flights were horrible....flight times much longer than slightly more expensive airlines and I think that's why I didn't use those two.

    I've a feeling Royal Jordanian isn't too bad though. Check that one out.

    Also I've got airberlin in my bookmarks for some reason.
    http://www.airberlin.com/site/start.php?LANG=eng&all=1

    They appear to do london standstead-BKK flights via Munich so I assume it's a budget airline. Unfortunately I can't seem to get a price off them right now for some reason but it might be worth having a look at that too.

    Finally, consider not flying direct to BKK. eg It might be cheaper to go to KL and get a budget airline flight to BKK from there. (Plus Air Asia has a Vientiane-KL route with could come in handy for your Laos sidetrip on the way back)

    #5 Posted: 29/6/2008 - 19:52

  • SBE

    Click here to learn more about SBE
    Joined Travelfish
    14th April, 2008
    Location Global Village
    Posts: 1951
    Total reviews: 5
    Places visited:
    At least 2

    PS. Two more cheap airlines that I forgot to mention. Aeroflot and Gulf Air.

    If you speak French try this site.

    http://www.nouvelles-frontieres.fr/billets_d_avion_vols/

    Saw a return London BKK flight corresponding to your approximate dates for 673 euros (about 535 quid) on there just now. Aeroflot via Moscow but the flight times look reasonable. Next cheapest was Gulf air @ over 1000 euros.

    #6 Posted: 30/6/2008 - 00:38

  • Diamond_Dog

    Joined Travelfish
    28th June, 2008
    Posts: 3

    Wow, what can I say? Thanks for the very comprehensive help; I'm going to check them out and let y'all know how I get on.

    Thanks again!

    #7 Posted: 1/7/2008 - 05:12

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