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Any backpacker travel updates?

Posted by Barbara123 on 29/7/2022 at 00:50

My last trip to Thailand was in early 2019, and I'm dreaming of returning early next year.  I'm wondering how similar or how different it will seem.  For example, do my favorite cheapie guesthouses still exist?  Do buses and minivan services run as they previously did, or have the routes and frequencies been curtailed?  Are the historical parks and other touristic attractions keeping similar opening hours as they previously did?  Is it like here at home where everything's gotten a lot more expensive?  In general, what's changed and what remains the same?  If it matters, I'd probably mostly be traveling in central and northern parts of the country, maybe Ubon or Petchaburi and Prachuap Khiri Khan.  Any recent experiences would be helpful, thank you!

#1 Barbara123 has been a member since 8/9/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by exacto on 29/7/2022 at 13:52

Hi Barbara,

I'm in Prachuap Khiri Khan at the moment, having spent the last month bouncing around between Bangkok, Korat, Phimai, Udon, Nong Khai, and Ban Krut. Travel is popular again in Thailand, fueled mostly by domestic travelers and Thailand-based expats, with a few backpackers and other westerners visiting too as part of the mix. The pandemic definitely changed the landscape, with lots of businesses like guesthouses and restaurants closed - some still waiting to reopen and some closed permanently. Interestingly enough, however, many of my old favorites are still in business - and there are a surprising amount of new places which opened during the pandemic lock down too, so you'll still be spoiled for choice in most towns. The historical parks and museums I've visiting are operating normally, again with mostly domestic visitors. Prices have increased a bit since I was last in Thailand in February 2020, just before the pandemic lock down started, but nowhere near as much as they have in the United States or Mexico (by comparison). Many restaurants have posted signs explaining that the average price for food is increasing by 5 to 10 baht per item. The average price I'm paying for a comfortable flash packer level guesthouse is 600 to 650 baht per night - up a bit but still super affordable and great value for money. Some State Railway of Thailand train routes are not operating at the moment, but I've had no trouble getting a train to where I'm going so far this trip, with only the Special Diesel Railcar routes selling out in advance (like they always did before too). Buses and domestic flights seems to be operating normally again too.

Anyway, I hope this general overview helps. Let me know if you have specific questions. Cheers.

#2 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,848

Posted by nicocina on 2/8/2022 at 02:59

Hi Barbara, 

I’ve lived in Bangkok for 10 years and spent Covid here, traveling all around the country every time I had holidays. What I’m seeing now is what I would define as the right amount of tourists: not too many as it was in 2018-19 but enough so that local people work but we all can have fun and live the country more sustainably. This would be a great time to come to Thailand as a tourist. Less minivans maybe but that’s just better for everyone’s safety on the road ;-)

Enjoy your trip! 

Nico 

#3 nicocina has been a member since 8/12/2013. Posts: 1

Posted by exacto on 16/8/2022 at 23:04

Hi Olivia,

You might get more responses if you start a new thread with your question rather than piggyback on a thread that is not related to your topic.

Either way, the Auckland Airport website lists six different rental car companies doing business at Auckland Airport. You will find them at this link: 

https://www.aucklandairport.co.nz/transport/rental-cars

You might wish to check each company's website for prices and availability. I also suspect you will get a better deal if you reserve a car in advance online rather than just turn up and see what is available. Good luck!


#4 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,848

Posted by somtam2000 on 17/8/2022 at 22:22 admin

Hi exacto, 

That post about car rentals in NZ was spam and has been deleted. Cheers!

#5 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

Posted by Barbara123 on 18/8/2022 at 23:22

Exacto and Nico, thank you for your helpful replies.  I think that I'll start shopping for a reasonably priced plane ticket.  And by the way, I've never been to Prachuap Khiri Khan.  I just figured that I should finally visit a beach, not spend my entire vacation time in the northern parts of the country.  It sounds pretty low-key and it's not too far from Bangkok, a good place to relax a couple days and eat lots of seafood.  Will it meet my expectations?  Are there other similar places that I should also consider?  Thanks again!

#6 Barbara123 has been a member since 8/9/2013. Posts: 3

Posted by exacto on 19/8/2022 at 02:16

Hi Barbara,

I like Prachuap town because it is small, friendly, and affordable. I particularly like the small but very good night market near the clock tower each evening and the weekend market that sets up each Friday and Saturday near the pier. It is also a great town for seafood.

I'm not sure, however, that I would call it a beach town. The beach area right in front of town is more of an industrial beach, with a concrete sea wall and lots of fishing boats. It isn't particularly great for swimming or relaxing. Nearby Ao Manao beach is popular. It's on the adjacent Thai Air Force Wing 5 base, about a 3 km ride from town and easily accessible with a scooter or bicycle. Ao Manao beach has beach side restaurants and umbrella chairs, etc. too - but even so, to my eye is not a great beach getaway, but rather just the best local beach in the area.

In other words, I definitely think Prachuap town is worth a visit for many reasons, but I am not sure it would meet your beach expectations. For a purer beach getaway you may want to consider somewhere like Krabi instead. Depending on the time of year, and if being close to Bangkok is a priority, then Ko Samet is another potential option, as are the islands like Ko Chang off the coast of Trat along the eastern seaboard. There are actually dozens of great options to consider, but I hesitate to list any others without knowing what type of experience you want to have.

I hope that helps. Cheers.

#7 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,848

Posted by Adamandneela on 21/11/2022 at 14:51

I am in Tha Ton now. It seems a lot (perhaps 30/40%) of the accommodation written about and reviewed in 2018-19 no longer operates. Maintenance on a few of the places I have checked out has been neglected. But travellers are coming back, especially domestic ones. Covid is still keeping the Chinese travellers north of the border it seems.

#8 Adamandneela has been a member since 19/11/2022. Posts: 1

Posted by somtam2000 on 25/11/2022 at 00:54 admin

Hi, 

Yes, I think it is going to take some time for the dust to settle regarding what will be re-opening, what will change hands and what will never return. Think the big change will be when China comes back on-stream, which I assume might be in Q2 next year.

One of the issues is it is very destination specific—a friend was in Cambodia a few weeks ago and told me a tonne of places in Kep remained closed with no sign of reopenings, then in Siem Reap while a bunch were in a similar state, there was no real rhyme and reason to what was open or showed signs of coming back. Likewise here in Bali some locations are humming, others remain ghost towns (tourism-wise).

Think is going to be a year or trial and error.


#9 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 8,099

Posted by oggun on 28/11/2022 at 17:41

Hi, thanks for the useful season updates, please provide more when you can!  We are getting ready to go back to Thailand next February, for a full 3 weeks (sigh...) after 10 days in Vietnam (first time there). In T I will probably go back to Prachuap Khiri Khan (love it), and to some island in the Ko Chang archipelago... There are places I have not been back to since the late '80s though (Phi Phi, Samui...). Maybe this is the right time to rediscover some of these beauties, with less package tours/mini cruises/herds and hordes?  Thanks and Happy Travelling!

#10 oggun has been a member since 19/3/2015. Posts: 3

Posted by DLuek on 3/12/2022 at 09:12 TF writer

I've finally made it back to Thailand and am digging the vibe so far -- feels almost like mid 2000s Bangkok but with a much better metro and weed dispensaries in place of internet cafes. 

As for tourism, as others have mentioned, it's mostly Westerners and that means that while some of the hulking newer hotels are now ghost ships, a lot of the old classic guesthouses survived and are open again. That's how it was around the Khao San area yesterday, anyway. It's lively enough but not crowded -- great time to be here I reckon. 

As for the plans, Ko Chang archipelago is a fine pick imo. Don't go there and miss Ko Kut!

#11 DLuek has been a member since 19/6/2008. Location: Thailand. Posts: 1,348

Posted by davelliot on 7/12/2022 at 04:40

PICTURE  of Klongchao, Ko Kut (Ko Kood) in 2005.

#12 davelliot has been a member since 6/9/2017. Posts: 62


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