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Views on Phimai Festival - itinerary help needed

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Hello

    I feel a bit like a kid with all the sweeties! We're going to Thailand and I love it there (been many times to many places - it's my childhood nostalgic holiday place!) and there's just so many places I want to go - some I knew about some I've stumbled across on the internet whilst looking for things this time round. But I'm worried we're going to try and do too much and metaphorically make ourselves sick on too many sweets.

    So some itinerary help is needed please!

    Having read about Phimai Festival (found it when looking for info on Loi Krathong - sp?)it looks like quite a spectacle and since we spent most of our time in Thailand on beaches and drinking and eating...something 'cultural' would be nice too! But of those that have been - is it worth it? Should we go?

    This is what I'd ideally like to do in Thailand - the order is up for grabs though.

    1. Visit friends in Phuket and drag them to Khao Lak, then do some diving in the Similans.

    2. Go to Koh Chang/Koh Maak (heard lots of good things) for some proper chilled out R&R escapism.

    3. Do some shopping (don't mind if its Bangkok or Phuket)

    4. Celebrate Loi Krathong

    5. Do 'something cultural' - maybe Sukhothai or Phimai Festival?

    Dates we're in Thailand: arrive bangkok 6.30pm 1st November. Leave bangkok 2pm 16th November.

    Any thoughts/suggestions, ways to get an itinerary to work without being overcrowded and somewhat ridiculous to achieve?!

    Thanks, Ruth

    #1 Posted: 30/9/2009 - 22:07

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  • somtam2000

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    Hi Ruth,

    My main suggestion would be to drop Ko Chang and Ko Maak and swap them for the other KoChang and Ko Phayam (neither are covered on Travelfish unfortunately) but they're both just a couple of hours north of Khao Lak, are totally chilled out places, and fit better into the direction of your trip. as if you go to the islands you mention you're going to lose almost two days in travel...

    The most popular spot in all of Thailand for Loi Krathong is Sukhothai, but i'd imagine they'll be a nice celebration in Phimai too (basically anywhere with water is good), so I'd combine LK with your culture jaunt to either Phimai or Sukhothai.

    Shopping, well, Bangkok is where it is at!

    You're fitting a lot in, but with the island change, should be fine.

    More questions, ask away!

    #2 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 09:24

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Thank you, that's helpful.

    My only problem is, when I google KoChang all I get is the main one that we were originally thinking of going to.

    I have heard about the 'other' Ko Chang but never had much information. Could you point me at some webpages that have info on the KoChang you recommend?

    I'm liking the idea of Sukhothai or Phimai for Loi Krathong...might look into this some more.

    #3 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 16:02

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    I've been looking into the other Koh Chang (found it when I put in 'Andaman') and it looks good. The only thing there seems to be a total lack of information about is how to get there from Bangkok. It seems the only option is a bus which takes 10 hours and doesn't sound great at all! There does seem to be an airport but I can't find any flights that go there - does anyone know?

    #4 Posted: 1/10/2009 - 23:45

  • somtam2000

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    I thought you'd be travelling there after Khao Lak, in which case it is just a bus for a couple of hours north to Ranong from where the boat goes.

    I thought your trip order was something like:
    Phuket->Khao Lak->Ko Chang/Maak->Bangkok->Phimai/Sukhothai - that was why I suggested swapping the islands -- if that isn't the route your doing, my advice may not have been so useful! What order of places are you planning on travelling?

    #5 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 07:29

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Hi

    sorry, I think I was probably unclear.

    We hadn't planned a definite itinerary - so where to go first. But I think I was thinking of going to the Koh Chang in the East of Thailand first then on to Phuket and Khao Lak .

    Were you thinking we'd go to Koh Chang Andaman after Khao Lak and then go back to Phuket to fly to Bangkok?

    Thanks,

    Ruth

    #6 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 16:22

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Oh but I was also thinking of going to Koh Chang (East Thailand) after Khao Lak and then to go Phimai after Koh Chang - on the map they didn't seem that far away (Koh Chang and Phimai) but when I looked at the train routes and roads I realised it would be quicker to go back to Bangkok and then to Phimai than to try and get to Phimai from Trat.

    It's all very up in the air right now! All I know is we're going!

    #7 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 16:26

  • Tilapia

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    Hi Ruth,

    Trat to Nakhon Ratchasima will take you around 8 hours, then another hour to get to Phimai from the NR bus terminal. Add-in any waits at bus stations for bus transfers. There will probably be 3 (Chanthaburi, Sa Kaew, and NR) but if you begin in the morning all your waits should be short. Basically, getting there will probably take a whole day.

    Trat to Bangkok will take you about 4-5 hours, and then it is about another 4 hours, or so, to get to NR ... then yet another hour to get to Phimai. Plus, you have to take into consideration the traffic going into Bangkok, then the trip from Ekamai (Eastern Bus Terminal) to Morchit (Northern Bus Terminal), then the ubiquitous traffic/gridlock getting out of town, all of which will probably add considerable time onto your trip.

    Even if you take the train out of Bangkok, assuming you get a late morning or early afternoon departure time, you still won't get into NR until 5 hours later. You can see the train schedule here ... http://www.railway.co.th/English/Time_HTML.asp

    So, in a nutshell, unless you really want to go back to Bangkok, you'll probably be better off going straight to Phimai from from Trat. You won't have to go through Bangkok, and it's a very nice trip between Trat/Chanthaburi and Sa Kaew, and then another nice trip over the mountains between Sa Kaew and NR.

    Good luck.

    #8 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 23:07

  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Thanks, that's really handy to know - nowhere really explained it like that so that's helpful.

    I am wondering if it wouldn't be simpler to get a taxi or something to take us from Trat to Phimai - would this shorten the travel times? I'm thinking it'll definitely be easier not having to change buses - but will it cost a lot? I'm assuming if we did this that I should book the taxi or limo or whatever in advance because probably taxis don't take too kindly to being asked to do this trip on the spot!

    What do you think?

    You know what, the more I think about where to go and what to do, the more confused I get! My head hurts from trying to work out the best options both in terms of travelling (and time spent travelling) and in what we want to get out of the trip!

    #9 Posted: 2/10/2009 - 23:15

  • Tilapia

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    Getting a minivan or a cab would definitely be simpler and faster (probably by a few hours, at least), but it would also be a heck of a lot more expensive. Unless you're going to be splitting the cost between a number of people, or if you don't mind forking out, going by bus will be a lot less expensive.

    It's not difficult to ride the buses in the first place. The bus stations are user-friendly. Even when there are no signs, all you need to do is tell someone the name of the place where you are going and you'll be taken (sometimes by the hand) straight to the bus you'll be wanting. Changing buses is a breeze. Did you not use the buses much during your previous visits?

    If you do want to book a taxi or minivan, you can always do it through your guest house owner. Besides getting there faster, there are other advantages such as having the ability to stop whenever and wherever you like ... for photos, rest stops, food, etc.

    My head hurts from trying to work out the best options both in terms of travelling (and time spent travelling) and in what we want to get out of the trip!

    That's no way to start a holiday. I (like most people on this forum) might suggest that you don't try to plan your entire trip down to the day. You might be better off just dealing with your arrival, visit with your friends, and departure. Wing it for the part in between. Maybe you'll do what you want/planned, or maybe (probably) you'll find something better to do along the way?

    For example, you might want to consider going to an island near Phuket for your island-fix. That way you could skip going to Trat and you could go straight to NR and Phimai from Bangkok on the train. Trat and Koh Chang are kind of out of the way and you'll be burning up a lot of your very short time getting there and away.

    Sukhothai is just as easy to get to, and has more to see. Phimai is a very small town and it will probably be booked-out during the festival. I loved Phimai, and thought the temple there was terrific (it is a very important temple w.r.t. Khmer architecture and history), but Sukhothai has a lot more to offer both in the historical area and in the town itself.

    Anyway, give your temples a rub, take a deep breath, pour yourself a drink. You're going back to your nostalgic holiday place and should be excited, not frustrated.

    Good luck.

    #10 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 02:30

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  • RuthJ

    Joined Travelfish
    9th September, 2009
    Posts: 18

    Hi

    I think you're right. We don't normally plan where we're going when we go to Thailand - we just turn up and see what we fancy. I was getting a bit stressed out because the flights (to Phuket ) seemed to be getting more expensive. Maybe I should just book the flights to Phuket and worry about the rest when we get there.

    I am thinking Koh Chang (Gulf of Thailand) is probably a bit out of the way for where we're going.

    Maybe we'll go to Sukhothai for Loi Krathong instead and then spend the rest of the time near Phuket.

    Thanks for all your advice.

    #11 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 16:00

  • Tilapia

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    There are some great islands in the Phuket area. You could probably do a lot of what you want to do around there without spending too much of your precious time going from Point A to Point B.

    #12 Posted: 3/10/2009 - 23:35

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