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20 days: advice on how to spend?

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    We have 21 "useable" days to spend in Thailand after days in transit to/from Thailand are accounted for.

    How does this sound:

    -Bangkok -2 days (Sat/Sun)(Grand Palace, Chatuchak,
    Suan Lum night bazar)
    -Kanchanaburi -2 days (Mon/Tue)(Mon early train to
    Kan.; back to BKK Tue afternoon to catch night
    train to CM)
    -Chiang Mai + surrounds -8 days (Wed-Tue)(fly CM-BKK-
    Krabi)
    -Krabi/Koh Lanta/Koh Jum -8 days (Wed-Wed)
    -Bangkok-1 day (Thur)(fly Krabi back to BKK Thur AM)

    By Chiang Mai + surrounds I mean Chiang Mai, Chiang Dao and possibly Mae Hong Son. Would that be too much? Would we be less rushed to just stick to CM and CD? I wanted to visit MHS and try some light trekking/elephant visits. Can this be done near CM or CD? I read about the Elephant Camp near Chaing Dao.

    Would it be more rewarding to travel farther to MHS?

    Any other advice about our timing our route would be much appreciated!

    Thanks!

    #1 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 00:34

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  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Just noticed it says 20 days in title and 21 days in post.....should read 21 days. I changed it mid way through typing post as travel agent advised me he could fly us home a day later.

    #2 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 00:35

  • Thaiman

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    Joined Travelfish
    12th November, 2008
    Posts: 201

    I'd suggest the 2 days in Kanchanaburi will be a bit short.Be better to spend an extra day there and spend 1 less in Chiang Mai.Even be better to spend a night in Bangkok after returning from Kanchanaburi as I doubt you'll feel much like catching the night train.

    #3 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 03:50

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Well we haven't really budgeted on flying that route BKK to Chiang Mai so I figured thenight train would be the next best option to that I avoid eat up daytime hours in transit. Plus I'd save on hotel fee for that one night if I took the train instead.

    Is the train no good? I"ve only read that it is an option so far, haven't lloked into how *good* of an option it is. Is a sleeper train an option?

    #4 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 04:14

  • Lother

    Joined Travelfish
    12th May, 2006
    Location Earth
    Posts: 214
    Total reviews: 31

    I'd agree that one extra (full) day in Kanchanaburi could be nice. But as far as the trains go, I find them a really fun and comfortable way to travel long distance in Thailand, day or night.

    #5 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 05:31

  • somtam2000

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    21st January, 2004
    Location Indonesia
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    Total reviews: 24
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    At least 113

    Would agree with comments that Kanchanaburi could do with another day. Re tossing up Chiang Dao and Mae Hong Son , it's a difficult call -- to do both with the time you have would do neither justice IMO. Mae Hong Son has cheaper trekking and there are more options -- Chiang Dao tends to be pricier and a little more restrictive in what you can do, but there are far fewer numbers and the overall feel is more unadulterated. If I had to pick, I'd go with Chiang Dao -- mainly because it's a smaller place with far far fewer tourists...but it really depends on what you;re looking for.

    #6 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 07:22

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    So sounds like adding a day to Kanchanaburi is a good idea! Thanks for the suggestion. I didn't realize that there was enough to do there to keep us interested for two full days. I'll have to do more reading.....

    As for Chiang Dao vs. Mae Hong Son....how do the actual towns differ? Different feel? Is one town more $$ than the other when it comes to transport, lodging, eating?

    Also, Chiang Dao is only about an hour from Chiang Mai, what about Mae Hong Son? With only about 7 days maybe it we be more relaxed to do 4 days Chiang Mai, 3 days Chiang Dao ?

    Can anyone who's been to both comment on the increased variety of things to do from MHS vs. CD?

    #7 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 08:25

  • Thaiman

    Click here to learn more about Thaiman
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    Posts: 201

    There are several options for the train and a night sleeper is one of them.Trouble is you miss out on the scenery and it is particulary good after you pass Lampang.Also more expensive and you'd probably want to book in advance.There used to be a day,air conditioned,rapid train but I'm not sure if that still runs.

    #8 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 13:01

  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Night train more expensive? Not sure I understand...more expensive than what? Perhaps you mean the day train?

    I read that the scenery is the best the last few hours of the trip. So if we took the 7:30pm ish train we would stil be able to see some of the great scenery upon waking.

    #9 Posted: 31/12/2008 - 21:01

  • Thaiman

    Click here to learn more about Thaiman
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    Meant the sleeper train is more expensive than just the normal train night train.

    #10 Posted: 1/1/2009 - 03:31

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  • amz155

    Joined Travelfish
    30th August, 2006
    Posts: 111

    Oh, there's a night train that's separate from the night sleeper train? I didn't know that. I guess the difference would be seats that go fully down vs. seats that dont? Do the night trains have seats that recline at least or not at all?

    Also, would it be silly to eliminate Kanchanaburi altogether to add another day or two to the north, in order to do a loop between Chiang Mai and MHS?

    #11 Posted: 5/1/2009 - 05:10

  • somtam2000

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    At least 113

    The trains drag diff carriages -- some have beds, some reclining seats, some hard seats etc -- prices vary accordingly -- see this story for some details on Thailand's train system.

    More time in less places is nearly always a winning solution in my book... so I guess it would depend on what you were planning on doing with the extra days up north.

    #12 Posted: 5/1/2009 - 07:30

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