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Advice on going to Thailand for first time.

  • joeg

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    I am 23 years old and work in Alaska 6 months out of the year. I was looking to explore Thailand after I got done working there as a way to blow off steam. I might go with a friend but without a doubt im going by myself if I have to. I Plan on going in early Oct and I have read thats the "Low time" s i should be able to get decent prices.

    If I budget myself 3000USD how long could i drag out a trip in SEA? It would be awesome if i could spend 6 months there on that amount but not sure if thats possible.

    I am into urban exploration, caving, and muay thai so if anyone can recommend some places in the Bangkok area, id appreciate it. Thanks for your help :)

    #1 Posted: 17/12/2009 - 09:52

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  • Thaiman

    Click here to learn more about Thaiman
    Joined Travelfish
    12th November, 2008
    Posts: 201

    With 3000USD it's impossible to say how long it would last.Depends on your lifestyle.If you stay in good hotels,eat top food,use taxis,drink etc,probably not long at all.On the other hand if you go easy and don't mind slumming it a bit,use public transport,eat street tucker etc it will last a lot longer.Some parts of Bangkok,notably the main tourist areas,are fairly expensive these days compared to the rest of the country.
    I'm not into caving but I believe there are some really good areas.Not sure where though.Plenty of Muay Thai places as well but once again I'm not into it.MADMAC can probably help with that.I'm sure someone will point you in the right direction regardibg caving and Muay Thai.

    #2 Posted: 17/12/2009 - 14:42

  • Thaiman

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    Posts: 201

    Just read your post again and you mention'in the Bangkok area'.No caves there as the whole area is built on a flood plain.Think you probably have to go either north[Chiangmai]or south,Surat Thani area.Perhaps Kanchanaburi.Plenty of Muay Thai places in BKK though.Hope this helps.

    #3 Posted: 17/12/2009 - 14:48

  • exacto

    Joined Travelfish
    12th February, 2006
    Location United States
    Posts: 2410
    Total reviews: 47
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    At least 98

    Joe,

    If your airfare and such wasn't included in the $3000 you mention, then that still only works out to less than 600 baht per day for a six month trip. It is possible to do that, but it would be more of an endurance test than a holiday I think. If you go with a friend you'd cut your accommodation bill in half, which would really help, but if you are on your own that is really a small amount of money for each day.

    What about cutting the time in half? That would give you a good sum of money and a much better chance to blow off the steam like you'd like to do.

    Also, I'm not sure if you planned to spend the entire time in Thailand or not, but I'm not sure you can get a visa for 6 months anymore. You'd need to pop across the border to Laos or Cambodia, and when you got back you'd only get 15 days visa exemption arriving by land. The visa thing can be a bit of a pain but is definitely something you'd want to plan out before you arrive on a long trip. Cheers.

    #4 Posted: 17/12/2009 - 16:51

  • joeg

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    Yeah I had looked into the visa thing and i figured having to renew the visa would help me to visit other places. Im actually up for visiting places other than BKK, I love nature and hiking, caving, muay thai training would just be a perk.


    I am not squeamish or anything. I can live pretty conservatively. all i need is a place to sleep, it can be very basic. Id rather spend my money on sightseeing, food, and other stuff than decent places to stay. I hope i dont sound dirty or anything. Just a place to sleep doesnt have to be that nice to me.

    I have been reading over the postings on here and found it to be quite a wealth of information. I am worried about going up there and it being for too short a time, or too long a time. Id hate to have a return ticket in 3 months and 2 days into the trip be like "this place sucks" Which i doubt would happen, but how much time is too much time you know?

    #5 Posted: 17/12/2009 - 23:16

  • Thaiman

    Click here to learn more about Thaiman
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    Posts: 201

    'how much time is too much time?

    That's a hard one to answer.I guess this is your first time there so it will probably be a bit of a culture shock, especially comming from Alaska.Most people either love it or reckon it sucks.The heat,food noise,amount of people everywhere-all these things are different.Perhaps just get the visa on arrival,this gives you 4 weeks,and then you can have a look around and decide what you want to do.Hope this helps.

    #6 Posted: 18/12/2009 - 03:07

  • ccalvin09

    Joined Travelfish
    27th August, 2009
    Posts: 20

    Hi JoeG,

    I'm with Exacto - i think you should offer yourself the option to depart earlier if you determine 6 months is too long or if you run out of money. It is often more expensive to purchase one way tickets, but in my experience, it is well worth the cost. Plus, if you get a crazy idea to spend a month in Viet Nam and depart from there, you don't have to back track.

    No one on this site thinks you are dirty for sleeping cheap. If you are no fuss, it's a great way to save money, so long as your valuables are safe. Eating street food is also the way to go for day-to-day eats, and then when you want to treat yourself, you can pop into a restaurant. Easy on the beer; it adds up fast.

    Let us know if you need anything else.

    Cheers

    #7 Posted: 18/12/2009 - 07:09

  • joeg

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    Thanks guys. thats what I was wondering. If i should get round trip or not. I might want to check out more than just thailand. I am so excited about going, I wish i was leaving now haha. I had always thought about traveling to SEA but just got a bug up my butt to do so and its a lot more affordable than I thought.


    So if I am no fuss..a term that i rather like by the way :P, What are a few reputable places to lay my head in a central area of Bankok? Also, if i am looking to stretch my dollar when it comes to sleeping even further, is it worth it to go to the outskirts and if so, do you have any good recommendations and prices? Thanks guys. this has been a great resource for traveling abroad!

    #8 Posted: 19/12/2009 - 02:43

  • Thaiman

    Click here to learn more about Thaiman
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    12th November, 2008
    Posts: 201

    Outskirts of Bangkok are not really for the tourist.Very little English spoken,no nightlife for the Westerner and no Western food.At your age you'd probably be looking for somwhere in Khao San Road-cheap accomodation,wesernised and lots of young people.Alternatively if you want to go a bit more upmarket try the Sukhumvit area.Plenty of bars,Western food[plus Thai food of course] and nightlife.

    #9 Posted: 19/12/2009 - 13:24

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    There's a lot of variables here that you haven't addressed. So I'll get down to brass tacks.

    BKK has plenty of Muay Thai options. Just google it up and you'll find places. If you want CHEAP - then I suggest you go to Udon Thani. There is a Muay Thai gym there with a lot of young expat guys fighting out of it. I'll get you the details if you want them. Udon is VERY Isaan.

    Budget - the two things most likely to wreck your budget are booze and women. Both are relatively cheap, but also very plentiful. For a young guy kicking it out here almost irresistable. Neither come for free. If you think you've "got game" and can find it without paying - that's just not very likely. Sex costs money here. That's just the way it is. You could easily (as a young guy) find a real girlfriend, but one way or another that's going to cost. If nookie comes your way she's going to be expecting something in return. Nothing for nothing here.

    Caving - Everyone talks about Tha Khek in Laos, so I guess if I was going to do that activity, that's where I'd start. This is way outside my area of interest though, so I'm not much help.

    Bangkok is a lot of fun, but if you want to hang out where the fun is, you pay for it. Thaiman wrote that the outskirts are not oriented for the foreigner, which is true. But you can have a lot of fun there IF you go native. Just understand that means learning Thai, going to Thai discos with very loud music for entertainment or Karoake bars which are oh so popular and eating crappy Thai food all the time.

    IF you really want to stretch your dollar, then I'd suggest going out to a province and renting an apartment. With TV and AC you can easily find a place in most of the provinces (at least in Isaan where I live) for about 3,000 baht a month or even less (plus electric and water). So for a little over 100 bucks a month that would take care of accomodation - if you aren't moving around. If you want to travel then it's going to cost about three times that if you go cheap.

    If you eat Thai it will be cheap (sometimes good, sometimes not - I am not a huge fan of Thai food). If you want to eat western it will cost you. Normal Thai meal from a street vendor between 20-35 baht. Normal western meal about 200, give or take (I've seen as low as 80 for a burger).

    I would say to live here and have some fun and not be too budget concious you need about 700 USD per month, increasing that based on how much booze and women you intend to indulge in.

    #10 Posted: 19/12/2009 - 22:33

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  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    BTW I would not engage in Muay Thai in a cavalier manner. That is a very tough and very dangerous sport. People are killed in it all the time. With Muay Thai you either do it, or don't do it. Playing around with it is a bad idea.

    #11 Posted: 20/12/2009 - 09:21

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    #12 Posted: 20/12/2009 - 11:00

  • joeg

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    Thanks Madmac. I understand that Muay Thai is a harsh sport. My dads owned a MMA school since I was 2 years old and I understand the brutal training regiment and toll it can take on your body.

    I plan on going with a good friend of mine. Im sure we will party a little bit, but I really want to go native as well. I dont like leaving a huge footprint and im not an obnoxious guy by any means so I think I would be able to be polite and respectful enough to do so.

    I was thinking about an apartment because it would allow us a cheap home base, and we would be able to enjoy a particular area instead of spreading ourselves too thin.

    if I was to try and get an apartment, would i need to sign a lease or would I be able to go month to month? Everywhere Ive seen (granted its just online) wants a 6 month lease.


    If you wouldnt mind, I would love to have more information on the Udon Thani Muay Thai gym and also any resources for apartments in the Isaan area like you had mentioned. That would be a great help to me and I would appreciate your input.

    I am so glad I have found this forum, its very informative and all of you are very helpful and nice! :)

    #13 Posted: 21/12/2009 - 00:47

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    OK Joeg, I'll look into it for you. Give me a few days.

    As for apartments, normally you can sign a three month lease. But if the owner has empty rooms, they will often negotiate something shorter. I did one for two months.

    #14 Posted: 21/12/2009 - 02:12

  • joeg

    Joined Travelfish
    17th December, 2009
    Posts: 9

    I appreciate it. I have tried looking for apartments in that area but could not find anything very informative. Any info that you can send along my way would be awesome.

    #15 Posted: 21/12/2009 - 02:54

  • khunwilko

    Joined Travelfish
    27th January, 2007
    Posts: 560

    If you rent a humble single room in Bkk you can expect to pay 4000 to 8000 baht per month.

    15 to 20k will get you a serviced apt.

    so if you get a reasonable deal you will need $1000 for accommodation - and I think you'll end up paying more.

    Food etc if you eat Thai is very cheap - so how you spend the rest is up to you.

    #16 Posted: 21/12/2009 - 08:33

  • MADMAC

    Joined Travelfish
    6th June, 2009
    Posts: 6376
    Total reviews: 10

    If Udon is anything like Muk, and they are in the same region and not that far apart, so I am assuming they are similar, then 3,000 a month gets you an apartment with AC, cable TV and a bathroom. Then you have to add in another chunk for utilities - and that all comes down to how much you use the AC, as that's the big consumer. So that means at least 20,000, and to be safe I would say plan for around 25,000 for accomodation IF you remain in one location (or maybe two) and IF those locations are in non-tourist places (like Udon or Muk where I live).

    #17 Posted: 21/12/2009 - 10:43

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