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Thailand forum

Suggested itineraries for first timers?

Posted by jodyj on 4/1/2014 at 09:39

My husband and I are travel writers. We are looking for places to go and stories to write that haven't been done to death, which is difficult since Thailand is such a popular tourist destination.

We are planning to stay three weeks in Thailand, with a side trip to Angkor Wat. Arriving sometime in mid to late January.

Any thoughts, suggestions or suggested itineraries would be appreciated. Also which guidebook would you suggest getting? LP reviews are mixed at best.

We are beyond our backpack/hostel years, but we are not five-star travelers -- somewhere in between. We're not adverse to either luxury or adventure. We have many interests including alternative healing, plants, cooking, indigenous crafts, the mystical and horses. For instance, we wrote an article for the New York Times about the pottery highway in North Carolina, and an article about mezcal for The Los Angeles Times.

Jody Jaffe

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Posted by captainbkk on 7/1/2014 at 05:57

Frankly: if that is all true, then I think any ''travelwriter'' worth his/her salt would know about travelguidebooks and that any such book will have mixed reviews-also Fodor and Conny Nasty. Its far wiser to know what are the main groups that use it for which it is written and know the pro/cons. It also helps to mention if you have even attained that very UnAmerican skill of able to read other language-that is where they produce far better guidebooks.
Angka Watta is not Thai.

#2 captainbkk has been a member since 16/2/2012. Posts: 472

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 7/1/2014 at 06:45

Ko Kood
Khong Chiam
Kampaeng Phet
Nakhon Si Thammarat
Ko Jum

Lots more. Just look at a map and go places u have never heard of !

#3 LeonardCohen1 has been a member since 24/7/2012. Posts: 2,148
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Posted by jodyj on 7/1/2014 at 07:17


No reason to be snarky. A google search will reveal what I said is in fact true.

We are gathering information every way we know how, including posts on boards asking for the kindness of strangers for their suggestions.

Of course Angkor Wat is not Thai, I said side trip to imply this. Sorry that you have to see the negative in people and assume I didn't know it was in Cambodia.

But thank you for taking the time to post to share your knowledge. And Leonard Cohen, thank you for your suggestions.

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Posted by LeonardCohen1 on 7/1/2014 at 07:29

Dont worry about the Capt. He's not all there. His posts r always on another planet.

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Posted by Tilapia on 7/1/2014 at 10:09

Hi Jody,

There's an interesting area between Ubon Ratchathani and Khong Chiam where most of the country's massive gongs and drums are made, mostly along #2222. Not sure if that warrants a special story, but it's an interesting area to visit and relatively off the beaten path. The small town of Khong Chiam is worth going to, gongs and drums or no gongs and drums.

Chiang Khan ... as much as I miss the old, rickety, crumbling Chiang Khan, I can't help but respect how this particular place has been renovated and fixed-up according to some pretty strict parameters. It's not a UNESCO site, but by the way it has had new life breathed into it, you'd swear it was. It is a very rare example of how a place has been made into a major, mostly Thai, tourist draw without succumbing to the awful, gaudy, glass, brass, neon and Westernization that seems to happen in so many other places in the country.

Sangkhlaburi ... it had, I believe, the second longest handmade wooden bridge in the world (I thin the longest is U Bein's Bridge near Mandalay) which connected the town of Sangkhlaburi with the Mon village on the other side of the lake. A large section of the bridge collapsed last July and a new, perhaps even more interesting bridge was built. This one floats. There is also a temple there, Wat Saam Prasob, which is almost completely submerged in the manmade lake for most of the year, but which is sometimes entirely visible during the dry season. It's a very interesting and very beautiful area. The trip there from Kanchanaburi is very scenic.

OTOP ... look into this program, One Tambon One Product, and you can pretty much go anywhere you want in the country and learn about the unique products that each Tambon produces, mostly with products specific to that particular Tambon or region. For example, the village I lived in made soaps and shampoo from kaffir lime, and did a lot of very specialized silk and cotton weaving. OTOP isn't just about producing things. It's more about local entrepreneurship, bringing communities together, and even about maintaining old and/or unique ways of doing/making things ... ceramics, woven grass products, cosmetics, silverware, kanome (sweets), etc. The list is long. If you express interest, I have no doubt that arrangements can be made for you to be taken around to various places to see where and how various things are made.

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Posted by exacto on 7/1/2014 at 15:15

I think Leonard gives an excellent list of places you could visit that are off the beaten path and yet worthy of travel writing. I particularly second his suggestions for Kampaeng Phet, Mukdahan, Nan, and Lampang. I haven't been to Phrae, but hear great things and would love to read your article on that spot.

I love Tilapia's approach of discussing activities as opposed to locations only as ideas for articles. I'd think that would give you some great places to start and that you'd stumble onto other ideas as you go.

The only thing I'd add is the up and coming destinations along the Mekong River corridor in northeast Thailand. They range from small, charming riverside villages up river from Nong Khai all the way down stream and into Laos. This is where lots of travellers are heading these days to catch the flavor of the more traditional Thailand. Plus, if you stop off in Mukdahan, maybe you can interview MADMAC, whose life would make an AMAZING travel story all on its own. Good luck!

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