40yr old M looking to go to Thailand maybe Vietnam from Dec 6 2011 to feb 2012.
Where do I start, what to do, how much money???Iv'e got a budget of about £3000
Im looking to learn a bit of Thai cooking,bit of rock climbing, possibly Vietnam motorbike journey al a Top Gear and a full moon party.
I like a bit of fun (it used to be a lot of fun until real life caught up with me!) but I also like my quiet time, as it's my first time I wouldnt mind hooking up with like minded people when in Thailand, I get a bit restless just sitting on a beach, but i'm sure that i could learn to relax a bit :)
Has anyone got an itinery or suggestions , iv'e got a coupld of months to plan and sort stuff out, but I guess I need some help to get the ball rolling.
Cheers for the advice :)
#1 diaz101 has been a member since 12/10/2011. Posts: 3
I wish I were 40 again! Just keep in mind that many tourists visiting Thailand are also retirees traveling alone. I have come across little old ladies in their eighties traveling in Thailand. At 40 you are still a kid!
If you need a visa or not depends on the passport you are traveling with. Some countries are visa exempt and can simply show up at the Suvarnabhumi Airport and get a stamp in your passport good for 30 days. If you visit another country, like Vietnam, you will get another free 30 days when you FLY back to Thailand. If you want to spend more than 30 days just in Thailand at one time then get a 60 day visa you pay for. Some tourists just work around the free 30 days by planning their visits to other countries and arrival back in Thailand to bring them up to the day they fly home.
For Thailand start in Bangkok. Spend a few days there and take some tours, see the city, experience the nightlife, take in some good Thai meals, etc. For a single male traveler my advice is to get a hotel in the Sukhumvit Road area, not far from the Nana Skytrain. In this area you have hotels in all price ranges, good restaurants, malls, supermarkets, nightlife and street vendors. You also have access to the Skytrain. The Skytrain is an overhead rail service that connects you with many parts of Bangkok. You can also use the Airport Rail Link to connect with the Skytrain to take you to Nana where you can walk to many hotels. No rail service after midnight until 6 a.m.
Is this £3000 after you purchase your plane ticket or is it for everything? Plan a budget out and decide how much per night you want to spend on a hotel. A basic hotel in Thailand with air, hot water, private toilet and TV starts around 600 baht in Bangkok. But you will be in Thailand during high season so expect hotel prices to be inflated a little, especially closer to Christmas and New Years holidays. When you know how much per night you want to spend on a hotel someone can recommend a hotel for you at that price.
If you intend to use a debit or credit card you must first notify your bank that you will be in Thailand. When ATM withdrawals start showing up from overseas your bank may suspect fraud. For THAILAND travelers checks work pretty good! Other countries in Asia they are not as easy to cash but not impossible. There is a fee to cash a travelers check of 33 baht but the fee to take money out of an ATM is 150 baht. With travelers checks only bring the largest denominations you can get. Some banks and many credit unions issue them without any fees. When you take money out of an ATM in Thailand take out the most you can at one time so you do not have big fees for small amounts. Cash also works! Only bring the largest size currencies, free of dirt, tears, not old or crappy looking. Most currencies accepted in Thailand. The rate you get will be better in Thailand than changing money in your country (UK?)
I don't use credit or debit cards in restaurants and stores, for me too much chance of CC fraud. But other tourists use their plastic everywhere they go like they are back home. I prefer to use cash for cheap purchases - works for me for over a dozen years!
This is a start. Some of the other areas you can visit are Chiang Mai to see some of the real Thailand. Beach areas like Phuket and the islands. A quick beach area nearer Bangkok is Pattaya. Pattaya is cheaper than Bangkok for hotels and transportation and has a lot of cheap nightlife. Phuket is the most expensive place to visit for hotel and transportation prices, especially high season. But the beaches at Pattaya are crappier than Phuket.
You have some time to go to plan things out. Being new to Bangkok maybe having a hotel to go to for the first few nights is a good idea, especially in December. Some cheaper places you can discover on your own just walking around. Many cheaper hotels will hold a room for you with an email or even a telephone call once they know you. But expect that over Christmas and New Years you will be charged a party or banquet fee as well as your regular room rate. This is normal every year.
As far as safety goes, Bangkok may be safer than where you come from. But if you allow any guests into your hotel room make sure your passport, cash, jewelry, etc. is locked up. If you use the toilet and leave a "guest" alone with your valuables that guest and valuables may be gone when you come out of the toilet! Even fellow tourists you just meet can rip you off too. Use the security box your hotel provides. Read up on scams in Thailand.
The fantastic sirhalberd gave some great advice as always. For thailand I can only agree with Chiang Mai & maybe further into Pai for a few days, it's amazing. For a great time on the beaches the North & West of Koh Phangan are stunning & cheap, compared to many other islands, there's also the FMP if that's your bag.
But I would defo recommend at least 3 weeks in Vietnam. Don't bother with the Mekong Delta just head for Saigon for a few days madness, then up into the mountains around Dalat. The beach at Nha Trang is fantastic and then there's the little paradise of Hoi An. It also has some great beaches but it's the ancient shop houses and tailors that take the headlines. Hue is a beautiful ancient city, very relaxed with some amazing temples and Hanoi is a wonderful capital. An amazing contrast to the mania of HCMC. If you get a chance, I would recommend Sapa and the villages, it's a bit touristy but definitely worth spending 3 days there. Halong Bay is quite simply stunning. You can scrimp on a trip here but it's not worth it. Above all Vietnam, like much of Thailand is very cheap if you live simply and full of amazing people, stunning scenery and firends you will make for life.
Have a great trip.
I blogged my way round if you're interested.
#3 emblenworldtour has been a member since 13/10/2011. Posts: 3
Thanks very much for the really helpful advice, moneywise I will have about £3k for 2 months, so I should be alright?
I reckon I should start planning the trip :)
Life has been pretty **** lately, so giving up work for a couple of months and seeing a bit of the world is definitely what I need and the couple of posts I have had so far have cemented the idea that there is more to life than commuting and living in a box, even though it is by the sea in England, sometimes I think that there must be more to life and that I should do it while I can as I will regret it later in life.
Who know's what could happen on my trip but it's gotta beat the winter in the UK :)
Thanks again for the advice, and if anybody else has some, please let me know.
#4 diaz101 has been a member since 12/10/2011. Posts: 3
Assuming that your ticket is already paid for it's enough money for 2 months.
And you're definitely right that a change of scenery would do you good. Just be prepared for that feeling of never wanting to leave again. You wouldn't be the first person.....
If I were you I would just start with spending a month in Thailand. Let it all hang out and enjoy life again. Thailand would be perfect for that with the right mix of party, food, scenery, culture and ease of travel. If you enjoy it you can always extend or otherwise skip over to Vietnam to do that bike tour.
That "real" traveling is secondary now for you. Start with the fun stuff you always wanted to do (whether it's girlie bars or rock climbing) and just try to enjoy the trip and your life. Once the ball gets rolling, take it from there. Who knows, you may find a new calling in life.
All the best and have a great trip.
If you want a nice beach with good rock climbing go to Railay in Krabi.
#6 guava_girl has been a member since 21/10/2010. Posts: 252
Thanks for the updates, I am getting very excited :) I am a bit worried about the floods that are happening right now though and feel for the Thai people.
There's so much information out there on the tinterweb that it can get a little overwhelming, perhaps I should just jump right in and not plan too much!
I have read that I shouldn't take a large rucksack, what size is advisable? 40 ltrs or less? I don't suppose that I would need that many clothes...any suggestions?
And it looks like I will be there for christmas and NYE so should i start booking my accommodation now just be be safe?
cheers for the help
#8 diaz101 has been a member since 12/10/2011. Posts: 3