I have been to Thailand once in my life (my first solo trip) in October of last year. Unfortunately I had to return home early from it due to illness. I got a job upon returning to my country but it's only a 9 month contract which ends in October so I'm thinking of going again on a 6 week trip. Firstly, is 6 months in advance way too early to buy tickets and plan my route? I haven't yet bought tickets, but I'm considering it as right now a return is 594 euro which seems cheap to me. I am a slight addict when it comes to looking up places and reading about them continuously but starting to think 6 months is a bit early for this. Anyway, last time I was in Thailand I got to see BKK for 3 days (made the awful mistake of sticking exclusively to the comfort of khao san) and I got to see Chiang Mai for 7 days and Pai for 3 (terrible weather there though).
I've come up with this route and bear in mind it will be another solo trip so just wondering what more seasoned travellers think of it?
BKK 5 days (see more than khao san!)
Ayuthaya 2 days
Chiang Mai (going back because I loved it) 8/9 days
Fly to phuket
Phuket 3 days
Krabi - 5 days
Phi Phi - 7 days
BKK - 3 days (shopping)
This leaves me with around 7 or 8 days to spare so is there anywhere else interesting I could go along my route? Also, in general, what are peoples opinions on taking extended breaks like this to go travelling? Should I be focusing on becoming qualified in my career (i'm 23) or should I just go for it and do what I want to do?
Cheers for any insight
I don't think you are planning too far ahead.
Like you, I saw a bargain direct flight into Thailand, but even later - November. So I grabbed it. And I've done most of my planning and bookings already. It's only the last 25% of my trip where I'm gonna wing it. Back in the day I used to wing it 100% and I reckon you can still do that if you are arriving Oct which is low season.
I like your itineraray - but like Lenny I'm thinking 7 days in the one place on Phi Phi is a bit much. Sure, you can jump to another island or to mainland Krabi which is nearby. But what I'm thinking - why not split Phi Phi between some time at/near the arrivals town Ton Sai and the rest somewhere on the laid back east coast: maybe Relax Resort for flashpacker, one of the cheaper joints on Rantee Bay for budget or Laem Thong for midrange or better? The east is just like changing islands but takes 15-20 minutes in a longtail vs 90 minutes to closest Krabi.
That time of year is a bit early for direct boats to the Trang islands or even Lanta and Ko Jum which are good near-Phi Phi locations.
I dunno how to answer yer question on travel vs career except to say that as on older dude who spent my 20s providing for the family I'm regretting a bit on lack of my travel in those days on account them are the years you best appreciate the good times and people you can meet.
I've changed my itinerary up a bit more and been trying to squeeze in some days to visit the Isaan area. I'll most likely meet no other solo travllers there but it might be fun to get off the beaten path a bit.
At the moment my itinerary is:
October 17-21 BKK
24Oct-1 November Chiang Mai/ Pai
3rd-8th - Phi Phi
8th-14th - Krabi
15-22nd Koh Lanta
So is Isaan worth visitng for 2 or 3 days and where would you recommend spending less time to fit it in? I'm spending 9 days in BKK as last time I only got to see Khao san road and kind of regret not seeing more of the city so I have given myself a good amount of time there
If you're intent on visiting Isaan I'd suggest skipping Phuket.
You say you've already been to Pai, so why not go the extra mile and visit Mae Hong Son this time round?
I don't know what sort of career you're looking at, but if it's the civil service or the corporate world we're talking about that YES, now is the time to travel.
For 3 days u cant see much of issan at all. One town. Not worth it imo. U need a week minimum.
I would skip phuket and pp if u want to do issan..u can fly from CM to udon so it would flow on. U could hire a car in udon and drive along the mekong towards loei or for a bigger trip towards nakhon.phanom and down to uBon. 1 way car hire is no extra for a week plus. See avis and budget. Then u can fly uBon back to bkk and down to.krabi. see air asia and nok
I don't know Leonard... I'd still recommend Phimai to folks, solely on its status as one of the region's important archaeological sites, with the caveat that I found it a disappointment and would not consider re-visiting it. Perhaps my dislike of the place is nowhere near as intense (admittedly the result of a surge of annoyance brought about by your cantankerousness) as my other post suggested?
Travel now, without a doubt. You're only 23 - you've got massive amounts of time to establish your career, plus the more established you get (important job, mortgage, family) the harder it often becomes to take time out to travel. If you've got the time and money to go now (lucky you!), then don't miss the opportunity.
With regards to your second version of your schedule, you've allocated a lot of time to BKK, CM and the islands, but not much time to the rest of the mainland - you might want to schedule in a few more places, to give yourself some more variety. I personally really enjoyed a few days around Sukhothai / Si Satchalan, but then I'm a temple junkie. Your readings will undoubtedly give you more ideas.
And no, it's not too early to start thinking about it and researching where to do - the anticipation's a huge part of the fun.
Have a great time.
So u were upset that i didnt like the badly decayed ruins at Ayuthaya.
Realistically one is only going to spend a couple of hours at most looking at ruins when they arent that big. Its more about visiting a region so you can do a few different things.
Sukhothai makes sense if u link with the north while Phimai makes sense to link with issan. On a stand alone basis i wouldnt make a special effort unless u r really into that sort of thing.
hi roro 1990
Having visited the 6 Phi Phi Islands weekly for years I would recommend that you consider changing your visiting time in Phi Phi with your planned time in Phuket . Anything longer in Phi Phi then 3 days is great if you are on your honeymoon and 3 days planned in Phuket is no enough considering the Island is just 30 square kilometers smaller then Singapore .
Bangkok is my favorite city. EVER. For more information on what do to and what to visit, check out Mark Wiens on youtube or his site migrationology. It's packed with great tips! I would recommend staying anywhere but in the Khao San Area or Sukhumvit. Maybe try to find something in Silom (I stayed at Saiphaephae Hostel and adored it). You can easily catch the skytrain in Silom to about anywhere in the city or just walk to the waterfront and catch a taxiboat for 10 baht.
25 amazing things to do in Bangkok --> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6VQsOvNvyQ