Planning my first trip to SEA. Having done Europe for a few weeks and Brazil for 6 months, the logical next stop was SEA. I will be switching jobs and planned about 3 weeks in between where I could make the trip.
I'm hoping to see a lot of the scenery, so day train traveling is a big part of my trip. I'm hoping that I'm not trying to fit too much into this schedule.
I leave the States on Monday 5/28 and Arrive in Singapore (cheapest place to fly into) at 00:30 on Wed. 5/30. I plan on just crashing at the airport for that night (might as well take advantage of the fact it was rated as the best to sleep at..) then fly right out in the morning to BKK.
5/30-6/3 or 4 (5 days) in Bangkok.
Train and ferry down to Ko Phangan for the Full moon party and stay there and Ko Samui from 6/3 or 4 - 6/10 (7 days)
6/10 ferry/train south from Surat Thani, cross into Malaysia and to Khota Baru. Spend the night there then catch the Jungle Train south to Gemas.
From Gemas head south via train to Singapore and spend the last couple days there before flying out on Saturday 6/16
I understand the ending part of my trip has a lot of travel time, but I am looking forward to seeing the landscape via the train, so I'm not viewing a day on a train as a lost day, but instead a day to take in the scenery.
Thanks for any feedback!
#1 tkngl has been a member since 18/4/2012. Posts: 5
Just one of those things I figure I should try and make it to while I'm there and as a young traveler (23) might make for a fun island getaway. Had a blast at Brazil's Carnival, so I wanted to see what all the hype about the FMP was about
#3 tkngl has been a member since 18/4/2012. Posts: 5
If I skip over the FMP, what would you recommend fitting instead? I'm looking to do some relaxing on a beach with some adventure stuff to do on the island and decent nightlife. Any insider tips would be appreciated!
#4 tkngl has been a member since 18/4/2012. Posts: 5
I'm not the best person to ask about "nightlife" I hate the tourist ghettos, BK has a great nightlife, but I'm just not into the FMP, Black Moon Party, Half Moon party stuff - I've done this stuff, but if you're 23 & like crowds of tourists go for it. I just like to be quiet, go to a small local places.
I have to admit, the tourist party scene doesn't work for me either. But I'm 50. Maybe if I were 23 it would be different. You already have similar experiences and enjoyed them, so hitting the FMP makes sense I think. One thing I have learned over 50 years is everyone doesn't like what I like.
Bangkok has nightclubs with 20 something thais in them at RCA and Ratchada. Better than hanging out with foreigners vomiting on beaches. There is little point going to Thailand if you aren't going to experience Thai culture and partying with Thais is part of that. The FMP stuff is just like a big college party on a beach which doesn't represent Thailand at all. It's put on for dumb foreigners. Lots of drug setups, drink spiking, general rorts, theft, some rapes and the odd death. Really dumb parties.
#7 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307
Sounds like the FMP can be skipped and I can get my fill of partying in Bangkok. That will open up nearly a week to add something in. Any suggestions of a good island/beach to head to?
#8 tkngl has been a member since 18/4/2012. Posts: 5
I would still recommend Koh Phangan since you are heading south. I have been there twice and have really enjoyed in much to my initial surprise as I hate the party scene and definitely didn't want to be near the FMP. There are nice beaches, OK areas for snorkelling, and plenty to explore. The FMP is focused in the southern area (Haad Rin); I'd recommend Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi or somewhere along the top northern coast. I particularly liked Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi: it was relatively quiet, a nice beach for swimming and just enough people around so that I didn't feel alone, but didn't feel crowded out either.
It's worth hiring a 4WD to explore the island for a few days - I've posted a few times about this before so have a search. If you do go, maybe just avoid the days of the FMP if you can just to make it a bit easier (and poss cheaper) to get accom.
Alternatively, maybe consider Koh Tao.
"There is little point going to Thailand if you aren't going to experience Thai culture and partying with Thais is part of that."
I have to admit that I am sympathetic to this point of view (and have expressed it here before). If you are coming here to hang on a beach, relax, and just have a hedonistic experience (and there's nothing wrong with that), then perhaps the FMP fits into that scheme. But if you are coming here to experience Thai culture, then hanging with Thai people would seem a logical part of that process. I guess backpackers seek out and hang with other backpackers is because they want some familiarity in an unfamiliar environment and the linguisitcs are also a complicating factor. I shun the expat / tourist scene, but again, I'm not everybody. I will tell you if you go to a Thai club, they will be very welcoming and try to make you feel welcome, in spite of language problems - especially if you do this outside of areas with a lot of tourists.
I have agree with you, MADMAC. Even during my experience at Carnival in Brazil, you are always surrounded by Brazilian culture. Maybe it was incorrect to think of FMP as the same type of experience. It would seem that going to a Thai club would be more of that kind of experience that I found so intoxicating (no pun intended...) while at Carnival.
I'm definitely going to look at my itinerary and see what other experiences to fit in other than the FMP.
#11 tkngl has been a member since 18/4/2012. Posts: 5