A friend and I are planning about 2 weeks in Cambodia and Thailand next February. We want a combination of culture/history along with some beach time to just relax. We definitely want to see Angkor Wat and probably Phonm Penh but all the options for Thai beaches is overwhelming. Any suggestions? What are must sees in Bangkok?
#1 nofidel7 has been a member since 19/3/2011. Posts: 1
2 weeks huh! Wow, well that is really not a lot of time. If you have the $ I would suggest thinking about flying between some places (airasia.com-budget SE Asia airline). If you are flying in and out of Bangkok, I would suggest defiantly going to Angkor Wat (obviously! its amazing...) and plan on spending a few days here for sure (I would say at least 3 full days for the temples....bike one day, and rent a tuk tuk the other days). As for PP, yes it is interesting to see S-21 (the famous prison from the war) and the killing fields but that is about all PP really has to offer in terms of "must sees". For this reason, I would think about cutting PP out of the mix. You dont want to spend your whole trip in a bus! Cambodia is amazing, you just need more time to see it if you also plan to go to Thailand.
As for places in Thailand, if you are thinking beach then I would concentrate on southern Thailand obviously. When I was there this last time around, I paid about 40$ each way to fly from Bangkok to Krabi . I want to say this would easily be a night trip in a bus, if not longer (bkk to krabi that is). If you are unsure (or if prices are way higher...) I would consider even flying one way and busing back or something. Okay so Krabi, if you are looking for a super laid back, more off the beaten path I would check out Ton Sai beach/Railay Beach. These beaches are connected to the mainland technically, but the only way to get there is by taking a long tail boat from Krabi (from the airport they have a shuttle-do this vs. taxi, its cheaper- to the boat dock. From here you can buy a ticket to take a boat from Krabi to either beach for $5). Ton Sai is cheaper than Railay but not nearly as nice of a beach. You can easily hike between the two beaches, which we did almost every day (also the ATM and hiking -think lagoon- is located in Railay beach). One thing to note- at night, unless you have a flashlight, and even then it is really hard to hike back between the beaches. There is however a boat service, but I hear it is expensive as they make you pay for the whole boat, regardless of how many people are on it (which in most cases is just you....). P.S. when I say hike, I mean it, its not particularly long, but it is grueling in that you have to use ropes at one point and it is a lot of climbing over things...not something I would recommend drunk...
From these beaches (either one..) you can also catch a boat to Ko Phi Phi. This is a much more inhabited island. Defiantly worth checking out for a few nights if you have time. Things will be a bit more expensive and don't plan on staying on the beach if you are on a budget, but all the same a great island to check out. This is where you will find fire dancing every night and buckets everywhere! From here you can take a boat back to Krabi directly (don't have to go through Railay), or to Phucket. I didn't go to Phucket, but I have heard plenty of stories (the prostitution capital of Thailand), so it depends on what you are looking for. I am sure there is a lot of parties here as well and it looks beautiful, so it depends on if you feel up to it or not. I think you won't most likely have time for it anyways if you only plan on 2 weeks total for all you want to see!
As for Bangkok- well its an okay city. I don't want to totally put you off to it as there is a lot of things to see- i.e. markets, china town, temples etc. but it is pretty seedy. The main backpacker area (Khao San Road), is full of westerners with western food, western bars etc. It is okay, but there is also a lot of drugs and prostitution. Don't get me wrong, you are on vacation, but I would be SUPER careful in Bangkok when it comes to having this kind of fun. I have heard that sometimes the ppl selling are actually cops just looking to bust foreigners or basically to make some bribe money. The islands are better for this if you are looking for a little ganga (especially ton sai...just ask small world bar for some cookies :)....). Still remember you are in a foreign country so don't be ridiculous about it and just follow what others are doing.
As for things to see and Bangkok and things to be careful about, I would check out the travelfish page on it as there is so much to see and say about that place. I would recommend maybe 2-3 nights here. That was all I needed, and really if it was between a beach and Bangkok, I would take Thailands beaches ANY DAY over Bkk!
Hope this helps! if you have anymore questions, please ask!!!
I have to advise that you check AirAsia flights now as this is gonna save you both a serious amount of time rather than getting buses/trains everywhere. With regards to Cambodia i would suggest Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, followed by one island in the south. Most of the main islands are easily accessible by flights from Bangkok via either Koh Samui or Phuket.
However, better advice would be to try and plan for more time to be honest.
Safe travels :)