I'm hoping someone can help... we're doing the early planning for a trip to Thailand in very early 2011 and I'd like some advice.
Our (my husb and I) plan is to fly into Bangkok, and then fly directly to Chiang Mai for a week or so in Chiang Mai (though are open to Rai) and Chiang Dao. Then we plan on traveling back to Bangkok to meet up with my Mum and brother (18) for about 4 days in Bangkok, and then on to Kanchanaburi . So far so good. After a few days in Kanchanaburi we would like to move on to the island part of the trip.
The question is... which island is easiest accessed from Kanchanaburi? I can see where is geographically close, but I realise that doesn't necessarily mean that there is public transport (or cabs) available. We're quite happy to 'rough it' on transport but my mum is another story - she'll need to be at least moderately comfortable (i.e. air con)!
Our final part of the trip will be going back to Koh Mak, which we loved last time, and possibly checking out Koh Wai or Ko Kam.
Thank you in advance for all your help!
#1 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
Oh - and I realise that a few days in each place isn't enough to properly see them... but I suspect the chaos of Bangkok will get to my mum after a few days! We'll spend as long as we want/need in Kanchanaburi and then will move on to the islands.
#2 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
Hi Jess and Scott,
You have almost the same itinerary as me and my husband! We also fly to BKK and directly to Chiang May, then go back to BKK by nighttrain after 8 days and we'll spend 4 days in BKK. Then we head to Ayutthaya for just a day and go by bus from there to Kanchanaburi . We've decided to head for Koh Chang after 5 days Kanchanaburi (River Kwai Jungle Rafts). Then we travel back to Bangkok, get on the afternoon plane and arrive at Trat an hour later. Pick the last ferry and be in time for dinner on Koh Chang.
It'll be a long travelling day but I thought it was the best option.
We leave in four weeks (Feb 5), so in March I can tell you if it really ís the best option or something not to be recommended.
In your case: As you're planning to end your trip at Koh Mak, you'l be just a short boattrip away...
Hi Dutchgirl - how funny, our itineraries are practically identical!
We went to Koh Chang in our last trip (March/April of 2009) and although we had a good time we'd rather revisit Koh Mak. We travelled there overland from Siem Reap though (a taxi, tuk tuk, 2 buses and a ferry...) and it was exhausting - you've definitely made the right decision to fly! Hmmm... we hadn't actually considered that option for BKK - Trat (not sure why?), thanks for the reminder!
We'll definitely be keen to read how it works out for you. We were looking at the River Kwai Jungle Rafts too... how funny! Have you planned where you're staying in Chiang Mai, or are you planning on 'winging it'? We stayed at Baan Rim Nam on Koh Chang and it was gorgeous - we ended up extending our stay by a few days. It's not on the beach but it sits over the estuary that feeds into the sea (it about 2 min walk to the beach through some palm trees). The sunsets are glorious -the most beautiful I've seen.
Thanks for your post! We look forward to reading about your adventures and taking notes!
#4 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
Hi Jess, It is an easy 2 hr minivan from Kanchanburi to BKK airport. We then grabbed a cheap air asia flight south. You could fly to Krabi then 2 hr minivan to Koh Lanta. Or fly BKK-Hat Yai as we did then speedboat to Koh Lipe. hope that helps.By the way when you fly to Trat for Chang,Mak Kut or Wai Bangkok Airways has the monopoly on this route same as BKK-Samui.This meant we paid quite a deal more than a similar length flight through Air Asia or Nok Air elsewhere who we found to be both fine to use.Hope that helps
Easiest islands to acces - Samui snf Phuket because you can fly right on to them from Bangkok. No ferries needed after the flight like a lot of other islands.
Without flying, easiest would be Ko Samet, going back thru Bangkok. Pretty handy because it is on the way to Mak/Whai/Kut. Plus it's a nice island.
Wow, Jess and Scott, are you my secret twin sister (or brother), or what? You're not gonna believe it, but I've booked at Baan Rim Nam for our last 5 nights! Only our first night we have to stay somewhere else,(Blue Lagoon, just a mile away).
What did you do on Koh Chang? We want to go kayakking and do a trek in the jungle, maybe cookingclass and of course lots of snorkeling and sunbathing(boattrip to Koh Mak etc).
In Chiang Mai I booked the first 2 nights at Awanahouse. I would have liked the Gap's house, but you can't book ahead. After two days Chiang Mai we take our rented pickup truck and drive the Loop: Doi Inthanon -Mae Chaem (overnight stay) - Mae Hong Son (maybe one night) - Soppong/Pang Mapha (stay at Cavelodge 2/3 nights) - Pai - CM. In CM we stay another one or two nights somewhere (hope Gap!).
In Bangkok we stay at Lamphu Treehouse, nice, rather cheap, quiet, with pool and not too far from the river, Khao San and the Grand Palace.
It's true that Bangkok Air has the monopoly on flying to Trat. But, they often have nice deals. I paid 1300 Bht per one way ticket (excl taxes). You have to look on their site and try daily. It happened a few times that I saw the 1300 Bht deal, got trough the whole bookingprocess and in the end it says there's some problem. Then you try again and the prices are up, twice at much. But after about 10 days I got the tickets for this price.
The downsite is that you can't just grab a flight, you have to plan and book ahead. First I didn't want to plan anything, just be free as a bird, but in the end I rather have the transport and accomodation I like most and just when I want it. Our trip is too short to bother much about that.
Have fun arranging your trip, I sure let you know how our trip was! Just four more weeks!!!
Thank you everyone for your replies! Swag, we're now looking into Koh Lanta, thanks for the tip! And Tezza the idea of 'just' a flight (no more travel) is very appealing... but I'm not sure if Phuket or Samui would be our cup of tea. I'm looking into Samet though... but Lanta or Koh Mak are far is looking more likely at this point.
Dutchgirl that's hilarious!!!
On Koh Chang we went swimming (ok), lazed around reading/fishing/drinking at Baan Rim Nam (you can fish right off the outdoor area) and borrowed Ian and Mam's kayak and did a trip out to the closest island (heaps of fun but very hard work!). We also hired a scooter (Mam can organise for one to be dropped off to you) and visited the nearby waterfall. It was small but the little pool it feeds is deep, dark and very cold - great for swimming and there were some crazy ppl diving. We did a trip up to White Sands for ice creams and people watching but to be honest we found the closer beach (Klong Prao) to be a lot nicer. We extended our stay because we loved BRN and because we made friends with another couple staying there, and were invited to their traditional Thai wedding on the island. Um, what else? If you walk down the path to the beach, turn left and keep walking for a few hundred metres you'll come across some bungalows and a cool bar and restaurant - it's a good place to chill out and watch the sunset, and there were often football games on the sand. I think they organise diving trips as well.
Thanks for the tip about cheap prices to Trat, that will make a big difference if we can get one of those. Did you use Bangkok Air's website or one of the webjet/cheap flights ones? I definitely like the idea of hiring a pickup in Chiang Mai too - that way we're a bit more free with movement. Food for thought!
#8 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34
Oh, I nearly forgot! There are restaurants on the other side of the estuary from BRN, and they will send boys over in gondolas to pick you up for dinner! Is lovely!
#9 JessandScott has been a member since 7/12/2008. Posts: 34