I'll be back in Thailand this February. I am mainly interested in art and architecture, and this will be my third trip. So, my itinerary is a bit unconventional.
Arrive Sunday in Bangkok, stay Sunday and Monday, Monday devoted to a day trip to Ayuttaya. Tuesday bus to Kampaeng Phet, staying two nights. Thursday bus to Sukhothai, staying for two nights. Both days to be used for Si Satchanalai. Saturday bus to Lampang , for two nights. On day two I'll probably do a day trip to Chiang Mai for Doi Suthep, which I've never seen. In Lampang, Lampang Luang is the top site.
Then on Monday I fly from Lampang to Ubon Ratchathani, for two nights. That's mainly my Isaan urban experience, though there are cultural things, too. And on day two a side trip to Pha Thaem. Early Wed, I visit the museum there, then take bus to Rong Nang for one night. Obviously, I'll be there for Phanom Rung and Muang Tam. I've been to Angkor twice. On Thursday I take a bus to Phimai, for two nights, for the Khmer site there and small town experience. Saturday I bus back to Bangkok for the final night. I depart on Sunday.
Does this sound reasonable? Have I missed something obvious? Any suggestions?
Thanks in advance for any help.
#1 Sknew has been a member since 16/10/2016. Posts: 19
Sounds like fun. You're covering a lot of ground.
On #2222, between UR and Khong Chiam , there are a number of gong-making factories. You can't miss them as you pass them on the road as you'll see gigantic, colourful gongs hanging around all over the place. I believe some make drums, as well. They are very interesting and worth checking out. Some great photo ops (and you're welcome to make a lot of noise ... they are awesome!) You would need your own transportation to get to them, but it would be worthwhile. Again, as with going along the Mekong, going with a scooter would be your best bet. The road is very quiet and pretty flat. It follows the Mun River straight into Khong Chiam. If not, you might consider hiring a taxi to take you to Khong Chiam with stops along the way.
Also, I would consider staying in Khong Chiam and using it as a base for Pha Thaem rather than making a day trip from UR. It's a lovely little town on the Mekong in a fantastic and scenic area. Much more interesting and pleasant than UR (and I like UR!). Lots of nice, inexpensive places to stay.
Stay in Si Sat rather than going back and forth from Sukhothai. Or is that your plan?
Thanks, Tilapia. I've given a lot of thought to the issue of a scooter. Technically, my riding one would be illegal, as I don't have that kind of license. But I also have zero experience. Those considerations, and having enough money to play it safe, lead me to hire a car and driver for the day when needed.
Your suggestion about the gong makers sounds just charming. While I dislike shopping, this is quite different. I will look forward to it.
Staying in Khong Chiam is an interesting suggestion. I believe I could even bus there and hire a car for the day. I chose Ubon because it would be an Isaan big city experience, including food. Also, Ubon is a long but doable day trip to Preah Vihear, which recent news suggests I could soon visit from the Thai side. However, one night in KC and one in Ubon might work.
As for staying in Si Satchanalai, I've tried to contact the home stay recommend here without success. When there is so little tourist infrastructure, it seems unwise to plan on a place that doesn't respond to two emails.
Thanks again for your comments and suggestions.
#3 Sknew has been a member since 16/10/2016. Posts: 19
Hi Sknew. Just so you know, you don't need a licence to rent a scooter in Thailand. I'm talking about the type you see school kids bombing around on. They are inexpensive to rent and are very convenient when you want to explore and don't have your own two (or 4) wheels. The only downside to them is that they force you to travel light. Fine if you are, but not so much if you want to lug around a bunch of photographic equipment, etc.
But, yes, you can get buses and minivans there.
Also, there's always Sawankhalok to use as a base for Si Satchanalai. But I would not give up on Si Sat. You will see places to stay once you get there. I sensed the place was like a bit of an artists' community ... laid-back and easy, like many of the islands used to be. I wouldn't expect good communications from places like this. I would suggest that you go to Si Sat prepared to stay for the night, and if you cannot you can just go back as far as Sawankhalok rather than going all the way back to Sukhothai and then back again the next day.
Anyway ... just food for thought.
BTW, a nice New York Times article on the area I mentioned east of Ubon Ratchathani ...
I never knew it was called the Gong Highway. And, as the article mentions, my friend and I were the only westerners in Khong Chiam. Really nice place. Point of the "Two Colours River."
Sounds good and doable to me. Good to maximise your trip. Enjoy your travels!
#7 wanderer143 has been a member since 2/11/2014. Posts: 65