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Help needed - itinerary planning headache!

  • alexlazarus

    Joined Travelfish
    18th February, 2008
    Posts: 30

    Hi All,

    This is hte last post o our upcoming trip to Thailand. After looking at lots of different ideas i think we have settled on something of a plan:
    26th /27th December - Bangkok
    28th to 1st Jan - up to and around Kanchanaburi
    1st - travel down to Pattaya
    ?
    ?
    ?
    7th to 11th - Ko Kood

    We would really like to 'do' the beach from pattaya onwards, but dont know where to go! I have found a great littel place on Ko Chang, but that only has availability for the 5th and 6th. What would people suggest for the other 3 days? I was thinking Ko Samet, but reviews are mixed and i would like easy travelling (ideally island hopping!)

    All suggestions hugely appreciated

    Alex

    #1 Posted: 10/11/2008 - 16:33

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  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Hi Alex,

    If you are arriving on the 26th, try to have a place reserved.

    Kanchanaburi and it's surrounding area is very nice. Excellent, in fact. I was there at the exact same time two years ago. If you plan on going to Sangkhlaburi for New Year, make sure you have a place reserved well in advance. It will be PACKED with Thai tourists, and prices skyrocket. A tent will run you about B200. Great place, though. Worth checking out.

    Mixed reviews about Koh Samet? But no mixed reviews about Pattaya? Unless you have a very good reason to go to Pattaya, avoid the place completely and spend more time somewhere nice like around Trat Province (Koh Chang, Koh Kut, Koh Mak, Koh Wai, or somewhere along the coast. Pattaya simply cannot be compared to places like Koh Samet or anywhere in and around Trat .

    Koh Chang has hundreds of places to stay, and only a fraction of them are on the internet. More are opening every week.

    #2 Posted: 11/11/2008 - 00:51

  • alexlazarus

    Joined Travelfish
    18th February, 2008
    Posts: 30

    Hi Tilapia,

    Thanks for your response.

    We have a place booked in Bangkok for those 2 days - after taking the advice onthis site, i've tried to get something reserved in each place so that we have something to fall back on! We're not going at the right time of year to wing it really, however much i'd love to. Much flexibility built in though!

    We hadn't planned on going up to Sangkhlaburi, but after reading the info on it, it definately seems worth it. What itinerary would you suggest for that area? If we leave Bangkok on the 28th and want to be down by the islands by the 1st or 2nd (will buses / trains / boats go on New Years Day?)

    Pattaya was only going ot be an overnight stop, as it was handy...

    Thanks again

    #3 Posted: 11/11/2008 - 01:39

  • ChangFai

    Click here to learn more about ChangFai
    Joined Travelfish
    10th April, 2007
    Location Thailand
    Posts: 139

    Alex
    Do NOT let Tilapia put you off Pattaya !

    But I warn you Pattaya on Jan 1st. will be very busy , and expect the main roads to be gridlocked .

    If you are overnighting , then try and book first . You will find a place , but it might take a lot of searching .

    #4 Posted: 11/11/2008 - 10:45

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    You're right ChangFai. It's better for people to develop their own opinions on places. I, for one, love Bangkok while others hate it. So, I'll rephrase my response ...

    Alex, I think that going on to Trat would be a better option than stopping in Pattaya. Trat will be far less crowded, much quieter, and you'll have a better chance of finding a nice spot to stay in.

    Also, I think that the trip to Sangkhlaburi from Kanchanaburi is around 3 1/2 - 4 hours. If you're pressed for time, you may not want to spend another 8 hours, or so, on the road. There's plenty to do in and around Kanchanaburi to keep your occupied. You may want to use that time to head towards Koh Chang and spend a bit more time around there.

    Cheers

    #5 Posted: 11/11/2008 - 22:33

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
    Total reviews: 2

    I agree Pattya will be VERY crowded and full of people who may not fit your idea of good vacation companions... I can't stand it. I would avoid it like the plague...
    I think going along further to Trat is a great idea... What method are you using to get to Kanchanaburi from BKK? I always take the bus from the Southern Bus Station, it is pretty easy and cheap. No too uncomfortable...

    #6 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 15:29

  • alexlazarus

    Joined Travelfish
    18th February, 2008
    Posts: 30

    Thanks again for your replies. It hadn't really occurred to me that Pattaya would be so full - stupid of me really!

    Alisonmillikin - thanks for you reply. We were hoping to travel via Ayyathaya - maybe stopping the night there, or going up to Lopburi and staying there the first night before heading over to Kanchanaburi . From reading this site that seems fairly easy - would you agree? What is the best way to do this?

    Would it be possible to travel straight from Kanchanaburi to Trat (via Bangkok)on the 1st do you think? I dont know if/how buses and trains run on holidays there...

    Thanks again for all your help everyone!

    #7 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 15:42

  • alisonmilli-
    ken

    Joined Travelfish
    10th December, 2006
    Posts: 70
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    Glad you are thinking about Ayuttaya, I love it it is great. I would defintely spend the night there. Usually I head there in the morning, so I have time in the afternoon to start exploring with a tuk tuk, then stay the night, and have a boat trip in the morning before heading back to BKK in the late afternoon. It is only 1 hour from BKK to Ayuttaya and you can easily take a bus from Northern Bus Station (near Mo Chit BTS station). If you wanted to go from Ayuttaya straight to Kanchnaburi, I think you can. (I haven't done it tho) If you are heading via BKK note that the bus to Kanchnaburi goes from different bus station (Southern) than the Ayuttaya one (Northern).
    If you are using the buses to get around , the Trat bus and the ones going to Ko Samet and that area all go from the Ekkamai Bus Station which is handily located a few steps from the Ekkamai BTS stop.

    #8 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 15:53

  • Tilapia

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    Alex,

    Yes, you can get to Trat on Jan. 1st. via Bangkok. I think that the fastest and easiest way to do this is to take the bus back to the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Dtai Mai), taxi to the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai), then bus to Trat . Depending on which bus you get onto, you may have to change buses in either Chonburi or Chanthaburi. If you do, you'll be directly to the right bus by the people at the station or the driver or porter on your bus.

    The trip from Bangkok to Trat usually takes around 6 hours. You'll be spending most of the day on the road if you're coming from Kanchanaburi , but you'll be rewarded when you walk into the Trat night market for dinner.

    If you are going to go to Ayuthaya or Lopburi AFTER you visit Kanchanaburi , you can get a bus to Trat from the Northern Bus Terminal (Morchit), as well.

    Also, if you are going to Ayuthaya from Bangkok, I would suggest that you take the train. It's very cheap and avoids the gridlock traffic, so it can be a bit faster (depending on the time of day when you go.) You'll ride in a 3rd Class car and the trip will take about an hour.

    Lopburi is also an interesting spot. Not as many impressive temples, and it's a bit further from Bangkok, but it's got a great old market and the surrounding countryside is really nice, particularly towards Ban Mi.

    So you know, Kanchanaburi is also a very popular destination, especially during the holiday season. You may want to get an early start, or try and get a reservation somewhere ahead of time. Most of the guest houses are clustered along the river north of the older part of town (where there are a few old floating places, as well.) If you take the train there, you will be in easy walking distance to most of the guest houses. If you take the bus, you'll be a good hike away.

    #9 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 19:28

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    And, yes, you can get to Kanchanaburi from Ayuthaya and/or Lopburi without going back into Bangkok. The trip takes about 4 hours, but is probably preferable to going back into the city. Via Bangkok will probably take just as long, anyway. You will have to go via Suphanburi.

    Kanchanaburi To/From Ayutthaya

    Kan'buri - Suphanburi (bus no. 411)
    Suphanburi - Ayutthaya (bus no. 703)
    Time: 4 hr.
    Buses Depart - Every hour

    Kanchanaburi To/From Lopburi
    Kan'buri - Suphanburi (bus no. 411)
    Suphanburi - Lopburi (bus no. 653)
    Time: 5 hrs.
    Buses Depart - Every Hour

    Hope this helps. Have fun, and don't sweat the transport thing. It's easy, frequent, and cheap. Also, I found that the folks at the K'buri train station were a wealth of info w.r.t. timetables, scheduling, and the like.

    #10 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 19:36

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  • alexlazarus

    Joined Travelfish
    18th February, 2008
    Posts: 30

    Tilapia - thank you so much for all that information, very helpful indeed!

    I was planning on having a reservation for Kanchan, particualrly as it was over NYE (and my birthday!) and i didn't want to be stomping around town too much.

    I've had a look at the bus information, and just wanted to check your advice. Rather than lose a whole day travelling down to Trat , would you advise taking the overnight bus? There seems to be buses leaving until 11.30pm, which should have us into Trat at about 5 am - a bit of early breakfast and then travel straight to the pier for the 9.30am ferry over to Ko Maak? IS this advisable / safe?

    We will be spending a bit of time in Trat on the way back as we are flying home from there (via Bangkok obvously!)

    #11 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 20:06

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Hi Alex,

    That's a judgement call that you'll have to make. Keep it in mind. I wouldn't be concerned about it right now. I like overnight travel but don't always sleep well, which can make the following day a bit on the sour side. If you sleep well on buses, go for it and save yourself some time.

    The trip from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok takes less than 90 minutes. If you leave K'buri by 6:00-7:00 and head straight to Ekamai when you get to the S. terminal, you will probably be in Trat by around 3:00 pm. This leaves you plenty of time to get to the pier and over to Koh Chang if you want.

    There are buses to the pier at Laem Ngop from the Trat bus station. From Trat , there are songthaews (the two bench pick-up trucks) going to Laem Ngop. They leave from near the corner of Sukhumvit and Rhak Muang, or one street closer to the main market) when they are full. Shouldn't cost much more than B20-B30.

    Trat Guest House is a nice little spot.

    #12 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 21:50

  • Tilapia

    Click here to learn more about Tilapia
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    Sorry ... I missed this ...

    Last time I went to Koh Mak there was only one ferry that left at 3:00 pm. If you hump it from K'buri, you can make it in one day, but you have to leave early.

    The boat ride to Koh Mak is great, especially in the afternoon as you will catch the start of the sunset. The trip takes about 2 1/2 hours unless you take a fast boat. I recommend the slow one, though.

    Have a good time.

    #13 Posted: 12/11/2008 - 21:52

  • ChangFai

    Click here to learn more about ChangFai
    Joined Travelfish
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    Location Thailand
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    ""I agree Pattya will be VERY crowded and full of people who may not fit your idea of good vacation companions... I can't stand it. I would avoid it like the plague...""

    Alison , Once again you show your ignorance of Pattaya .

    The reason I mentioned it would be busy and roads gridlocked , is because of the amount of Thai Tourists in Pattaya during New Year and it being a holiday in Thailand .

    Unless it was Thai Nationals that you were referring to ?

    #14 Posted: 13/11/2008 - 11:10

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