I'm planning on traveling solo to Thailand and Cambodia for 30 days total for the 1st time, and here's what I've come up with so far. Just need advice on the amount of time to spend for each place. Please let me know if I'm trying to go to too many places and what I should take out, if any, as I understand there's quite a bit of traveling involved to get to these places. Also please let me know if I'm spending too much or too little time in one place and I'll make adjustments.
If your answers will depend on my interests, they are - practicing photography, culture, history, nature/scenery, hiking/trekking, beach, temples, explore, explore explore. Not into drinking or partying.
I'm initially thinking of breaking it down this way, in this order, and will have early starts for each day:
Bangkok - arriving in Thailand via BKK and spending first 3 nights here
Kanchanaburi (Bridge on the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass, the main cemetery and the main museum) - 2 nights (are 2 nights enough for these?) I believe I need an extra day if I were to visit Erawan Falls/National Park but correct me if I'm wrong.
Ayutthaya - 2 nights
Sukhothai - 2 nights
Chiang Mai - 4 nights (going to look into doing one of those one-day treks)
Chiang Rai - 2 nights
Cambodia (flying from Chiang Mai airport to Siem Reap) - 5 nights in Siem Reap
Phnom Penh - 5 nights
Southern Thailand for the beaches - 4 nights
Back to Bangkok to prepare to fly back home via BKK - 1 night
I can consider skipping the beaches (go back some other time) and add those 4 nights to either Cambodia or any of the above aforementioned places in Northern Thailand (i.e. Chiang Mai) if that's highly recommended by many.
Thanks in advance.
#1 Levesque25 has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 9
I'd give some basic logistical advice that if you are going back to BKK via the islands around Trat you may be better off flying first into Phnom Penh and then going up to Siem Reap , as you can cross overland without any doubling back that way. I always like to end a holiday with a couple of nights on the beach - and while you are moving around a bit I think you'll find the pace isn't too bad that you have set. For me, 5 nights in Phnom Penh is over doing it . . . and I don't think you need to be in Siem Reap for 5 nights either . . . one thing you could do is shave two nights off Phnom Penh and maybe one off Siem Reap and go down to Kampot for a couple nights. If you don't mind hopping on a rented motorbike this is a great area to get away from things and explore. The other option would be to add that time to a stop in Battambang on your way to Siem Reap for a warm-up on temples and a nice local scene.
I always recommend Pooh Eco Travel for tours based in Chiang Mai.
Thanks very much for the input. I'll definitely look into Kampot or Battambang and also taking out days from Siem Reap and Phnom Penh .
Also, I failed to mention in my original post, but I was thinking about flying from Phnom Penh to maybe Krabi airport. A few folks have recommended that I go to Krabi/Ao Nang area for the beach. Thoughts on that route/plan? I haven't looked into Trat but can also do some research on that as well.
I can always change to what makes more sense.
#3 Levesque25 has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 9
Yeah I would say 4 nights in Siem Reap is plenty and that is if you plan on spending 3 days looking at temples like I did.
5 nights in Phnom Penh is way overkill imo. I think 2 days is plenty myself and that gives you time to go see Kampot/Kep/Koh Tonsay or Sihanoukville/Koh Rong. You get a bit of the coast/islands in without wasting money on flying back to Thailand.
Bit confused by Casey:
I'd give some basic logistical advice that if you are going back to BKK via the islands around Trat you may be better off flying first into Phnom Penh and then going up to Siem Reap
If going to Trat it will be much easier to go from Phnom Phen than Siem Reap and in addition should Levesque25 so desire he/she could stop of at Chi Phat for a rural experience (plenty of photo ops) and a hike in the jungle on the way to Trat (easily reached in a day from Chi Phat)
I would know at least one night probably 2 off Phnom Phen and a night off Siem Reap
Sorry, I read read 'islands' and was thinking the Ko Chang archipelago, now that I see it is the Southern islands it makes more sense to fly out of PP. Could always pass through Battambang on the way down to PP if you fly into Siem Reap first.
Never been to Chi Phat, though it looks very interesting, could be reached after a trip to Kampot if the OP wants to skip Battambang and head to Ko Chang instead? I'd heard that overland crossing was problematic, but that was years ago.
I am a regular visitor to Chi Phat - love the village and the people.
There is no problem exiting Cambodia these days at the border in Koh Kong (or Poipet and Pailin) - indeed there never was the problem was entry at the land borders.
There are many nice places in Cambodia including kampot but time is limited. As to where to spend time on the beach then might be worth looking at weather charts for the time of the visit
One night in Sukhothai is more than enough. There's really not that much to do. We arrived around 12 in the afternoon in Sukhothai and spend the day strolling around the tiny town. The next morning we rented a bicycle and explored the ruins. We took the nightbus to Chiang Mai the same day (and it REALLY didn't feel like we were rushing). Same for Ayutthaya. Bear in mind that staying an extra night in both places wouldn't be that bad, I'm just pointing out that you can easily see plenty while staying just one night.
Two nights in Kanchanaburi is more than enough. It only takes about 2 hours to get there from Bangkok (most minibuses leave around 8 or 9 in the morning). You can check out River Kwai, the museum and the cemetery in one afternoon (it's pretty small and close together). Spend the next day exploring Erawan Waterfalls + Park.
I would skip the beachtime in South-Thailand. Why don't you go to the Cambodian beaches instead? Go to Sihanoukville and catch a ferry to Ko Rong (which i've heard is incredible!) or visit Kep/Kampot.
Thanks everyone for your helpful input! Making adjustments to my itinerary now.
Charlotte - what time did your bus from Sukhothai leave for Chiang Mai? What kind of bus was it and how long/how many hours was the trip from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai?
I chose 2 nights for Sukhothai because I didn't want to rush it and wanted to do the place justice, but if it seems like it can be comfortably done with the schedule you mentioned then I might just do that.
#9 Levesque25 has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 9
The ride was pretty comfortable -it was about 4/5 hours. We picked the cheapest option (second or third class bus with no airco but fans). I think the bus was 5 or 6 o'clock in the afternoon! We arrived in CM around 9/10 in the evening. If you leave Bangkok early in the morning (take the bus from mo chit bus station), you still have an entire afternoon in Sukhothai . Like I said, we really didn't feel rushed with just one night, but an extra night wouldn't hurt. Sukhothai is really worth it, bicycling around the ruins was one of the highlights of my trip!
Thanks Charlotte, that was really helpful.
My planned route is actually: Bangkok > Kanchanaburi > Ayutthaya > Sukhothai > Chiang Mai
So I'm leaving from Ayutthaya to get to Sukhothai. I read that this trip takes about 6 hours so I plan to leave Ayutthaya as early as possible in order for me to arrive in Sukhothai sometime hopefully in the early afternoon. I'll definitely consider your suggestion.
#11 Levesque25 has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 9
As for Kanchanaburi, I really want to visit both Hellfire Pass and Erawan Park/Falls, but I read that it's not ideal to go to both places on the same day, as they're in different directions. So maybe I'll spend 1/2 day for the Bridge on the River Kwai + cemetery + museum + exploring the town, then the next full day at Hellfire Pass and Hellfire Pass Museum, then an additional day for Erawan Park/Falls (I read somewhere that the last bus at Erawan Park leaves at 4:00 pm).
#12 Levesque25 has been a member since 12/5/2014. Posts: 9
if you don't party then you will def not need 5 nights in PP, 5 in Siem Reap is probably overkill also, but if you have the time explore out of SR, it is an amazing part of Cambodia - Tbeang Meanchey, Preah Vihear etc, I agree, go south and explore the beaches down there, why not end your trip with the beaches and islands of Cambodia before flying home, rather than spending precious time going back to Thailand for an extra few days.
I realize you prob fly from BKK to home, just organize a flight for the same day so you can fly from PP to BKK and home.
Don't rush through Kanchanaburi, you can do a tour that will do Erawan in the morning followed by bridge/history stuff to finish the day. make sure you do Erawan EARLY. then spend a day doing Hellfire, Sai Yok Yai, Hindat etc. personally I would try for 3 nights at least in KB.
again up to you, but I think Ayuthaya and Sukothai don't really need 2 nights each.
more details of Cambodia/ Thailand, (kanchanaburi inc) itineraries in my signature link
The thing about two nights is that arrival on the first day may not be early enough to see and do everything - especially in Ayuthaya which is quite spread out. If you take the train from Ayuthaya to Sukothai (bus from Pitsanalouk) then once again you will not have much time that day to explore in Sukothai- especially by the time you have found a hotel. On this basis I would say one full day /2 nights is about right