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Thailand forum

Bangkok and islands - 3 weeks

Posted by saxomophone on 20/12/2010 at 15:08

Hi everyone

I'm heading to Thailand for three weeks from February 16 2011 (followed by one week in Hong Kong) with my boyfriend.

We fly in to Bangkok and plan to stay for 4-5 full days before taking an overnight train south to Surat Thani as the beginning of a trip to the south coast, the islands and then back to BKK.

I was in BKK briefly in 2009 as part of a big backpacking trip in South East Asia, and in Koh Samui/Ko Tao earlier this year for a wedding so I have some limited experience in Thailand. I've got a few questions of you to inform our decisions on our itinerary.

1. Any recommendations for a good day trip (possibly overnight) from BKK? We are both pretty much open to anything when travelling - from hiking/outdoor adventures, obvious tourist sites, if special (temples etc). I don't really need a big drawcard feature to go somewhere - I'm open to anyone convincing me that somewhere is special. People, food and atmosphere are the things that draw me to places and keep me there.

2. Has anyone ever hired bicycles in BKK and cycled "out of town" into suburbia (or the country)? Anywhere you would recommend/any tips?

3. After Surat Thani, we are still a bit stumped as to where to go first. AT this stage we know we want to go to the Similans and that is it. Everything else is up for grabs as long as it gets us back to BKK in time. We would have about 14 days. What do you recommend?

I've been thinking that we head to Krabi and/or Trang for a few days (I've heard Krabi is actually a pretty interesting, relaxed town with a good mix of people and great food), then north west to Phang Nga province as a launching point to the Similans. We want a good 4-5 days on the Similans. I'm really interested in Ko Kradan and Ko Phra Thong too but this may be packing in too much?

4. I think we will probably fly back to BKK from Phuket . Is Phuket accessible direct from, say, the Similans or must we go back to the mainland first?

5. As I said, we are really open to going anywhere in the south, as long as we get to the Similans. So we are open to any recommendations on interesting places on the mainland in the south in Krabi, Trang or Phang Nga provinces, from beachy places to mountains, riverside villages, lakes, you name it.

Sorry to be a bit vague. I don't want to come across as lazily looking for you guys to plan my holiday, it's just that the best places I've been were on the random recommendation of fellow travellers who have fallen in love with a place. Of course, I'll be doing more research of my own too.

#1 saxomophone has been a member since 13/1/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by busylizzy on 20/12/2010 at 15:58

For a daytrip out of Bkk, I would really suggest Amphawa if you can manage it over a weekend. Some info here: and I have posted quite a bit about it in the past. Just do a search in the forum on Amphawa and you should find them.

I would recommend staying the night - there are places to stay right on the canal. Amphawa was one of my favourite little discoveries!

#2 busylizzy has been a member since 31/12/2007. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 2,152
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Posted by Tilapia on 20/12/2010 at 19:51

2. Has anyone ever hired bicycles in BKK and cycled "out of town" into suburbia (or the country)? Anywhere you would recommend/any tips?

Yes, though I brought my own bike. Depending on where you're staying, it can be a long way "out of town." I would recommend that you rent a bike and ride across the river to the Wong Wian Yai train station in Thonburi. From there you and your bike can get onto the single-line train that runs between Thonburi and Mahachai. From Mahachai you can cross the Chin River by ferry to Ban Laem, and then ride to where the Amphawa Floating Market is and check it out the next morning. It would be about 35-40 km through the areas where salt is farmed. Very nice ride! Mahachai is superb for seafood. The train ride is fun, interesting, and cheap (10 baht + around 50 baht for the bike).

You can just go back the same way when return to Bankgok, or you could continue riding to Ratchaburi and then put your bike onto the train and ride back to Bangkok. Or, you could take the train back to Ban Laem, cross on the ferry again (3 baht?), and then take the train from Mahachai back to Thonburi.

Check this route out on Google Maps or Google Earth. You'll see that it's a very straightforward trip, flat, and quite interesting.

Honest ... riding out of the city is not too much fun. It can be okay if you have a GPS, but it's much better to take the train to the outskirts of town and then ride from there.

Have fun.

#3 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by melbournetraveller on 21/12/2010 at 11:58

Definitely worth going to kanchanaburi! Catch the train from thonburi station (it comes relatively often) for 100b. It takes about 2.5 hours. In kanchanaburi it's easiest to do a tour to see everything because its pretty spread out but erawan falls should be at the top of your list of things to see! I would have loved to spend a day there swimming in all the falls bur unfortunately only had about 3 hours. If you stay the night and want somewhere cheap, vn guesthouse is the best! Rooms start at about 250b and were more than comfortable for 3 nights ( we only planned to stay 1). You can also rent bikes for 50b a day and take them out as many times as you want- we rode to a monkey school and kao poon caves which are out of town and provide a spectacular view of the mountains and local life.

#4 melbournetraveller has been a member since 16/9/2010. Posts: 4
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Posted by jai4 on 23/12/2010 at 13:47

melbourne traveller - is vn guesthouse anywhere near the river? a quiet place? that's what I am looking for. Have decided to head straight out of Bangkok to kanchanaburi. then am interested to watch the other posts in this thread. Thanks, jai

#5 jai4 has been a member since 23/12/2010. Posts: 1

Posted by danceswithrose on 23/12/2010 at 18:24

I've been down south to Phuket then went to Ranong and Koh Phayam, then travelled 26 hours up to Nong Khai . I was going to go to Laos but Nong Khai has something special you can't quite put your finger on. There is an amazing concrete statue park to visit here, why it isn't more well known I'll never known. Gi-normous statues of dragons, buddha's animals, deities of the size you couldn't imagine. If you can do it - make an effort to go North, people are more friendly and there's something different here. No annoying touts either! Mut Mee Guesthouse is a good place to stay.

#6 danceswithrose has been a member since 12/10/2010. Posts: 20
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Posted by saxomophone on 7/1/2011 at 12:59

Hello again and happy new year.

Thanks so much for the useful info. We are definitely keen to get on bikes and cycle out to Amphawa for the night and markets the next day.

We have settled on an overnight train to Surat Thani from BKK, then a bus to Khao Lak , a one nighter in KL, then boat to Similans for three days. After returning to Khao Lak, we have 10 days before we have to be back at BKK.

We are very keen to see Ko Kradan for a two or three days before heading to Trang for the night and flying back to BKK.

What would you suggest between Khao Lak and Kradan for 5-6 days?

We are torn between Krabi /Railay etc, Phi Phi and Lanta. I assume we can get to somewhere like Phi Phi the same day we leave Khao Lak (bus to Krabi then ferry/boat to Phi Phi). How could we then get to Ko Kradan fairly quickly (from either Phi Phi or Lanta)?

I know Phi Phi cops a lot of flack from the "20 years ago/ it's not authentic" squad who in many ways are probably right, but despite the tacky main areas (which I would largely avoid) it looks like a pretty special place, with a mix of seclusion and convenience that we would welcome after the Robinson Crusoe experience on the Similans.

#7 saxomophone has been a member since 13/1/2009. Posts: 13

Posted by johnysmith on 7/1/2011 at 16:17

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#8 johnysmith has been a member since 7/1/2011. Posts: 1

Posted by LeChron on 9/1/2011 at 03:56

A great place to go for a day trip or over night trip from Bangkok is the ancient city Ayutthaya, its around an hour and a half by coach, its a breathtaking place with a wide a selection of ruins and temples, I would defo recommend it if your into that sort of thing!

enjoy your trip

Don LeChron ; )

#9 LeChron has been a member since 7/1/2011. Location: United Kingdom. Posts: 45
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