I'm a 21 year old who has been working a hectic job for the past 6 months to fund a 6 month trip to SEA, my first travelling experience. I'm travelling solo and am a very outgoing person. I'm not planning on taking photos with tigers, paying for tours in large package groups etc.
I haven't really made a whole host of plans other than which months I plan on spending where; last two weeks in Jan in Thailand, Feb in Laos starting at Vientiane and heading roughly South, March in Cambodia entering NE and leaving SE, April travelling North through Vietnam, May in Bali, and June in Southern Thailand in the beautiful islands such as Ko Phi Phi and Koh Phan Ngan.
I'm very lucky in the sense that I am on my own so can change my plans easily, and have a long time to travel, but my question really is what would you do with your first two or three weeks if you were me? I am flying into Bangkok and will spend some time there, and would like to be at the Thailand-Laos border at Vientiane by the first few days in February. I have the option of, when I have had enough of Bangkok, just travelling north up Route 2 and stopping at some places on the way, but is there anywhere that would be worth the extra effort that you would recommend?
#1 bd7391 has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 18
The more obvious option would be to visit Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya while you are still in the greater Bangkok area. They are relatively close and easy to reach, and are interesting places to visit. After that, you could head up Route 2 as you mention with stops in places like Khorat or Khon Kaen or Udo(r)n. Places like Khorat or Khon Kaen or Udo(r)n aren't on the tourist trail, but they have a solid infrastructure and you'd be experiencing normal modern Thai life there.
Alternatively, you might consider heading halfway north first and visiting Phitsanulok and Sukhothai first. From there, you could catch a bus to Udo(r)n and then up towards the Friendship Bridge I in Nong Khai and into Laos. Either way, I'd recommend saving some time for Nong Khai too before you cross into Laos. I really like it there.
Good idea by exacto, the trip to Khorat and/or Khon Kaen are definitely worth it! And if you stop at these places you won't have to be on a bus for a 12h ride up north. You'll see at least a bit of regular Thai life without tourism.
If you intend to go to Khorat, try to hitchhike from there to Khon Kaen or Udon Thani. Just get to the northern petrol station and ask it to people who are driving up north, an experience I loved doing before!
big point from above: take some time in Nong Khai (most people skip it and go directly to Laos) cause it's a lovely town and worth staying a few days and it'll hit you up right away into Laos afterwords.
Do you feel it is safe to hitchhike solo as a 21 year old man? Obviously id use my initiative but I hadnt considered hitchhiking before.
#4 bd7391 has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 18
"Do you feel it is safe to hitchhike solo as a 21 year old man? Obviously id use my initiative but I hadnt considered hitchhiking before."
I wouldn't do it myself and I am a big mean looking SOB with a little military training thrown in. Think about it a minute. You may be hitchhiking through some remote back area with everything you own and all alone! You may not think you are wealthy but compared so some local Thais you may be a mobile ATM. Desperate people may resort to desperate measures! They are are still looking for Jim Thompson and after leaving his bungalow for a short stroll was never heard of again!
Local transportation is cheap in Thailand. If you must resort to hitchhiking to get to different places you ought to stay for a shorter amount of time making more cash available to spend.
Remember to sort out your visas before you start buying plane tickets. From Thailand you can easily use cheap transportation for Laos, Cambodia and flights to Vietnam are not that expensive. Maybe consider round trip plane ticket to Bangkok. For Bali possibly RT to Denpasar and return to BKK might be cheaper than two one way flights from your home country. Two one way flights often cost more than a round trip. Just do the math.
#5 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
"...21 year old who has been working a hectic job for six months..."
Hope you have an in demand skill that will allow you to up and quit work for so long and be easily re-hired. Some people in your age group may find it difficult to get another job in this economy after a long absence. Maybe a shorter holiday will allow you to stay in better places and have more fun too. Plus your company may allow you to leave for a month and hire you back.
Just a thought from an old fart.
#6 sirhalberd has been a member since 30/12/2007. Posts: 295
I never planned to hitchhike and have plenty of cash to not worry about it, it was just my sense of adventure battling with common sense that made me ask.
Im very lucky in that i'll be returning to begin a medicine degree, hence coming home in the summer... i do appreciate the comment though 'old fart" haha, you speak the truth for many my age.
#7 bd7391 has been a member since 15/10/2012. Posts: 18