Me and my girlfriend are arriving for our second visit to Thailand on 30th December at around 7am.
We are looking to head up to Chiang Mai for New Years Eve... so we are a bit short on time. We have thought about heading into bangkok for the day and getting the overnight train to Chiang Mai or simply booking a flight onwards from Bangkok to Chiang Mai a few hours after we land (would book in advance as busy times etc)
We would probably prefer to get the overnight sleeper as we enjoyed this on our last trip as it is very authentic. So would anyone have any thoughts on what we could do in Bangkok for the day with our back packs etc... we have stayed in bangkok before and seen the temples/shopping etc... thinkin more along the line of something relaxing after the flight
Any thoughts wouldbe greatly appreciated.
I'd do 1 night in Bangkok. At 7am you'll be dead tired. Find a hotel near Victory Monument. Nice area and only short can ride to Don Muang airport where Air Asia and Nok fly from. BTW the airport has a 7/11 past security for domestic flights so you can buy some things while you wait. Outside security, prices are much higher for drinks.
I'm with Leonard. The last thing I want to do when I've flown a long haul flight is hang out at an airport and then turn around and jump on another aircraft. Spend 30 hours or so in Bangkok and let your batteries recharge.
Each to their own. I'd rather connect to way more welcoming Chiang Mai pre-NYE and decompress there instead of dealing with intense/impersonal Bangkok after a long-haul flight. It comes down to how efficiently you can connect. Waiting around in any airport for many hours sucks, but if you can get a good connection to Chiang Mai it's worth it. For December-30/31 take any available flight.
Problem is close connections can be risky. Your first flight is late or it takes a while to get thru immigration and you're in trouble. You'd really want a connection where you stay in transit and fly thru on the same airlines. Does Thai offer this? AA and Nok are at a different airport. I've never flown Thai domestically so not sure what connections they have. Spending more than 3 hours in an airport sucks.
As pointed out train will be unlikely unless you can purchase tickets ahead of time. I believe it can be done on Thailand Railways website but not yet(only allowing until end of Oct right now).
Flights to Chiang Mai will most likely be out of Don Meung whereas you are most likely flying into Suvarnabhumi. That means you would want at least 4 hours in between flights(in case first flight is late plus have 1 hr transfer time between airports and time to check in which might take a while since will be a busy time).
Since you are arriving in Bangkok early morning an afternoon flight to Chiang Mai might make sense but I would have to think that is going to be a long draining day of travel depending on where you are flying from.
Thanks for replies guys, yea its a bit of a pickle!
FYI, we are flying from the UK, via Amsterdam with China Airlines. The flight times are pretty good... we only have approx transfer in Amsterdam. approx 15hours total flying so i dont think another flight would be too difficult once we arrive.
As mentioned the problem with booking a connecting flight would be timing. Would want to book one towards late afternoon to be 'safe'.... but then, maybe worth the extra few hours to wait for the overnight sleeper?? We could book the overnight sleeper once they are released. One around 8pm....
Then if we arrive on time we would have 12 hours to wait!! Is there anything anyone could reccomend to do for those 12 hours?
Thinking about this more and knowing where you are coming from now I would recommend flying in the afternoon. Part of this is because of jet lag, if you relax during the day and then take night train/bus you probably are not going to sleep worth crap and will be very tired for news years eve. Also flying is much more comfortable(1 hr flight compared to 12 hrs on train).
A quick check on skyscanner shows Nok Air having tickets for $68 each leaving Don Meung at 2:30 PM Dec. 30th. I would gobble those up if I were you. That should give plenty of time as long as one of your flights isn't horribly late and if your plane is on time gives you a few hours to look around Bangkok, eat lunch etc.
It is a long time but it is better to stay active first day there so you don't take a nap etc. I find if you power through the first day you will be tired enough to sleep that night which will get you on schedule much quicker and reduce jet lag effects. The few hours in between will provide enough time to relax and recover from long flight and the short jog up to Chiang Mai will be a piece of cake, will be nice to know the main part of travel is already done as well.
I learned this after my flight to Bangkok, I ended up laying down for a nap in the early afternoon and then waking up around 8 hrs later and then not being able to sleep all night... Took me a good 3 days to get on schedule. Going home I powered through it and was back on schedule in no time even though it is supposedly harder on the return trip.
I think I would vote for going straight to CM, you can relax there when you arrive. After 15 hours flying, another hour isn't going to have a material effect whatsoever. Seen as the focus of your trip is CM, then I say get there ASAP. You will also sleep much better without the prospect of another flight the following morning.
#13 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
If it were just one more hour, I'd agree with you China. But realistically, it's three at least. He has to plan for baggage retrieval, customs, potential flight details on his departing end, and then the time to board and the time in the air. So it's not one hour. It's three or more when you are dog tired and really just want to have a shower and bed down for a while. I did it before - doing the duffle bag drag coming back from the states because I missed my daughter so much I was willing to suck it up to get home. But it did suck. A lot.
Swimming and exercises like weights has been found to help with jet lag. Hit the hotel have a shower, swim, sauna, gym. Watch some TV afternoon then head out for some dinner and some beers - Saxophone Pub is good. Sleep in til 10am. Pack bags and fly to CM afternoon.
You arrive 7am after a long-haul flight. So avoid changing airports or mucking around with taxis or finding a room for just one night when you're already probably exhausted. Take the next Thai Airways (Thai Smile) or Bangkok Airways flight to Chiang Mai which depart from Suvarnabhumi airport. CM airport to the old city fixed price taxi 120 baht 10 minutes. You can then be settled into a comfy room and able to rest up in preparation for NYE which despite it's relative size does go off in CM. Pre-book a room near Thaphae Gate which is the hub of activity, countdown, fireworks, etc.
There is no reason why it has to be 4 or 5 hours of a wait. A quick scan of Thai Airways shows 9 flights operating between these two cities on 30/12. Even if the OP goes into BKK then he will still have to do some waiting around for luggage etc so that needs to be built into any comparison of options.
If he's flying long haul with Thai Airways then if the long haul flight is delayed they will either wait for him or put him onto the next flight to CM. Hence he can book an option that appears tight for time and if he makes it great but if he doesn't then no sweat, jump on the next one 90 minutes later at no extra cost.
OP - I would definitely go straight to CM!
#18 chinarocks has been a member since 17/6/2011. Posts: 738
Best Thai airways flight would be at 9:20 AM for $102 or 10 AM for $114. Might be worth it if you don't want hassle of switching airports.
If you miss your flight due to other delays that is going to be an issue though unless you happen to be flying Thai airways into Bangkok. If you do happen to miss flight it might be hard to find another flight due to the high demand at that time so myself I would be taking the 10 AM or even a later flight just in case. If you decide to try and make an earlier one make sure insurance covers missed flights like that and know you might end up having to stay in Bangkok or take bus etc.
Even if Thai airways is willing to reimburse him, he's unlikely to just get on the next flight. It will most certainly be booked during that time frame. He might get his money back, but he probably is not flying to Chiang Mai that day.
If he wants to move on same day, best build in some pad time for flight delay or a delay in getting his bags.
Again, many thanks for the replies! Having listened to the advise here, I think that we will book a connecting flight from Suvarnabhumi to CM! I will allow some time for delays etc and worst case we can spend the night in Bangkok!
I am not too worried about jet lag as it wasnt much of an issue for us the last time we arrived in bangkok. I think the best way to overcome it is just to power on through and get an early night!
Appreciate everyones opinion! thanks again!