I just recently graduated in August and am planning a 3 week (maybe a little more) trip to Thailand starting at the end of November. I plan to backpack and I really want to get a good amount of climbing in. But in between I would also like to enjoy the beautiful beaches, take a boat tour of an island, ride elephants, snorkel, stay in a bungalow on the beach, and really anything else. I'm pretty easy going and don't need set plans but mostly I need help with planning where to go! When I start doing research then I can't decide because I want to do it all! Ideally, I would like to start in Bangkok for a day, and then spend a week each on 3 to 4 different islands. I'm finding it really hard to pick which ones to go to and what order to do them in. Also, I have my flight to Bangkok but I don't know where to leave from! Is it better to just go back to Bangkok? Does anyone have any advice on where to end so I can have my itinerary and then start planning everything else in the middle, which should be the fun part!
#1 cameoalexa has been a member since 24/8/2012. Posts: 7
If climbing is your thing, slick to the Andaman Sea side -- perhaps base yourself in Railay Beach near Krabi plus there are plenty of islands nearby, both in Krabi province and out from Trang town further south.
Some islands covered here (story a little dated, see this link for more Andaman coverage)
I was thinking Krabi too. Seems to have most of what you're looking for. But one day in Bangkok? It's the heart of the country and it's where more than ten percent of the population resides. It is the example of contemporary Thai urban society and it's steeped in history. Hard to imagine coming to Thailand for the first time and only spending one day in Bangkok, unless you just hate cities.
#3 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Thanks so much for the feedback. I will definitely have to look at staying in Bangkok for more than one night, I guess I just don't know how much tourist stuff there is to do there and how long it would take.
What is the best way to get from island to island? And the best way to get from Bangkok to the islands? And which one has an airport that I could leave from!
#4 cameoalexa has been a member since 24/8/2012. Posts: 7
Check with the airline once you book your flight south to determine which airport.
As for Bangkok, you could easily spend all three weeks there and still find plenty to see and do. The place is HUGE.
#5 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Tigerliine ferries can get you from island to island cheaply. There is also the speedboat option and whichever hotel/guesthouse you're staying at can help you book this.
Sounds like Krabi might be a great place to start - seems to hit on what you're looking for. Phuket and Krabi both have international airports but I believe Phuket has more direct connections. I had to connect in BKK to get to Cambodia from Krabi.
Oh - there is lots to do in Bangkok! Give it more than a day.
Okay, I'm convinced. For Bangkok I was thinking hang out for the first day there and do stuff (have to figure out what), then the second day take the Khao Yai National Park tour (looked cool online, thoughts?) Then, start in Krabi . Ideally, I would love to go in a big circle: Krabi to Ko Lanta to Koh Phi Phi to Phuket and then fly back to Bangkok for a day or 2 so I can do a little shopping and not worry about carrying it around the whole time! It might be easier to just leave from Phuket or maybe just do all of Bangkok at the end, I don't know! I figured it was about 4 days in each place. Is that too much moving around or do you think that would be doable and allow me to still enjoy my time there. Any that I should skip, any I can't miss, any that I'm missing out on. Ah, I thought 3 weeks was a long time but now it doesn't seem like nearly enough time!
Thanks so much for all of your help!!
#7 cameoalexa has been a member since 24/8/2012. Posts: 7
I would do Bangkok in the beginning, because the flight over will likely make you not want to fly again right away.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
As far as Bangkok goes, I am now kicking myself for not spending a couple of weeks there on my last visits there. The recent blog entries by David Luekens (and others, of course) have really opened my eyes, in particular the Thonburi area. https://www.travelfish.org/blogs/thailand/category/bangkok/
My next trip I will happily spend a few weeks there!
Bangkok has something for everyone - unless you just hate cities.
#10 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I love Bangkok, used to live and work there and it feels like home every time I go back, but the constant noise, crowds, traffic jams and air pollution get to me after about a week and I find myself itching to get out and go somewhere where I can just kick back and relax.
Like any big new city, it can be quite stressful trying to find your way about at first in Bangkok, especially if you're very tired and jet lagged. Definitely think it's a good idea to leave shopping till the end of your trip, otherwise you'll have to either leave it in storage somewhere or carry it about with you.
As it's your first time in Thailand, I'd advise leaving Bangkok for the end rather than the beginning of your trip. You'll be more used to Thailand so you'll find it easier to get around and will be less likely to fall prey to any scam artists targeting tired and confused newly arrived tourists.
The only problem with this plan is that once you're in the islands you'll quite likely find it too hard to leave the beach and go back to Bangkok before you really have to. But hey, it's your holiday and Thailand is a great place to be flexible, it's very very easy to wing it there. If you want to explore Bangkok a bit more then do so, if you'd prefer to stay put, that's fine too. You'll already have had a glimpse of the city when you arrive so you'll be better able to figure out whether you want to or not than you can now.
I think I definitely want to save Bangkok for the end of my trip so I can do some shopping and site seeing. I will stay there a couple of days and thanks so much for all of the advice and blogs, I am finding so much stuff. But the majority of my trip I really want to be on a beach and climb and explore, all the other stuff I said in my first post. I've been looking for places to stay on all of these islands and really can't decide. I'm willing to pay a little extra for a nice room that is worth it, but not the whole time, I wanna be in a really budget friendly place half the time and a little nicer the other half. If I am gonna stay in a nicer place on these islands any suggestions on which ones are worth it? There are so many options from what I have seen!!
Thanks so much for all of the advice, can't tell you how much I appreciate it and how much farther I have gotten on my planning since my first post!
#12 cameoalexa has been a member since 24/8/2012. Posts: 7
"But in between I would also like to enjoy the beautiful beaches, take a boat tour of an island, ride elephants, snorkel, stay in a bungalow on the beach, and really anything else."
You can do all of that on Koh Chang - the word for elephant in Thai is Chang.
#13 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148