I've spent some time reading this forum and I finally decided to register and post my itinerary for a trip I am taking this fall to Thailand. I hope I can get some good suggestions/advice from you fine folks here :)
First, some basic facts: Travelling with my GF, we are both Canadian 30-somethings and it's our first time in Thailand. We're both looking to have a "comfortable" holiday, i.e. we are not backpackers.
Here's what I have so far:
Sept. 26th: Midnight arrival at BKK (any suggestions for a good neighborhood with a good selection of 4-star hotels?)
Sept. 27th: Bangkok
Sept. 28th: Bangkok
Sept. 29th: Travel to Siem Reap , Cambodia (to visit Angkor Wat)
-- OK even after doing a bit of research, I'm still lost on this one! Air travel (BKK to REP) seems unreasonably expensive, is there a reliable & simple way to do this overland? the whole "get off the bus and walk your luggage across the border then get on a different bus" sounds a bit anxiety-provoking to me -- sorry for being such a spoiled Westerner.
-- also, should i bother with a company like GAP Adventures or Intrepid Tours for the Angkor Wat tour?
Sept. 30th: Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Oct 1st: Siem Reap/Angkor Wat
Oct 2nd: Morning: Leave Siem Reap for Bangkok. Evening: catch the "night train" from Bangkok to Chiang Mai (is it ok for light sleepers?)
Oct 3rd: train arrives in CM in morning; check-in to Chiang Mai guesthouse
Oct 4th: Chiang Mai
Oct 5th: Chiang Mai
Oct 6th: Chiang Mai
Oct 7th: Chiang Mai
Oct 8th: FLY from Chiang Mai to Krabi
-- based on our research, Krabi seemed to be a good place to relax and end our trip; thoughts?
Oct 9th: Krabi
Oct 10th: Krabi
Oct 11th: Krabi
Oct 12th: check-out of our Krabi resort, fly to DMK or BKK, and stay at a hotel near BKK airport for the night
Oct 13th morning: fly back home from BKK
Any suggestions/tips/warnings are appreciated!
(I would appreciate any hotel/guesthouse reco's too, although I certainly plan on looking through the reviews posted here on Travelfish as well)
Looks like a pretty decent itinerary for a short vacation period style trip. Not too rushed and taking into account travel time and seeing good locations.
Sukhumvit is a good area in Bangkok for accommodation.
Bangkok to Siem Reap you either have to suck up the extra cost for plane or do it overland. No matter what form of overland you will have to stop and carry luggage across border then change to another vehicle. Your options are bus, train or taxi to the border and then bus or taxi to Siem Reap. Cheapest would be by bus which probably works out around $15, taxi most expensive around $100 but this may require haggling and will require switching taxis at border. Aranyaprathet wikitravel page has good information on ways to do this journey and how to avoid the scams this border is known for.
In Siem Reap don't bother with a tour. Walk around town(shouldn't have to walk far...) and find a tuk tuk driver to take you around temple to temple. At a couple temples like Angkor Wat you can get a guide to show you around(not sure on cost).
Overnight train to Chiang Mai would probably be a good experience. Might have a little trouble sleeping, earplugs and maybe a sleeping pill(if you do that) might be a good idea if you are worried about it.
Thanks, I'm definitely going to rejig my schedule to take advantage of AirAsia flights from BKK to REP! Even without the promo pricing, it's US$140 return, which is very reasonable.
Looks like we will do: Bangkok -> Chiang Mai -> Siem Reap -> Krabi.
And thanks for the tip regarding Sukhumvit, Geer1...
Question for you all: My GF is interested in Sukhothai, but I'm not sure how I can integrate that into my itin since it's not really located in any of the regions we are visiting. Any suggestions?
You could do Sukhothai but to do so I would recommend adding a day or two to your schedule in order to keep things from getting rushed. You could squeeze it in without doing so but I am not sure if it would really be worth it(I never went there though so not sure).
To get to Sukhothai go there by bus on either your way to Chiang Mai or on your way back to Bangkok. From what I have seen you will want a full day to look around then can travel the rest of the way the next day. You could then take night train for reverse trip(Chiang Mai to Bangkok or vice versa) which would give you a different experience while keeping costs lower.
http://sukhothaiwintour.com/schedule.html has bus schedules to and from Sukhothai for both Chiang Mai and Bangkok fyi.
My main critique is that you are sticking too much to the very very well-trodden tourist trail and you might get the feeling that the entire region is over-developed and not much different from touristy places elsewhere in the world -except for the food, of course, which is unreal. You don't have to be a backpacker to get off the tourist path. There is a good chance that it could be very rainy in Krabi (and maybe everywhere) at that time of the year. Instead of flying all the way down south from Chiang Mai, why not take a bus up to Soppong and hang out in the mountainous region near the Burmese border? Check this place out: http://cavelodge.com/