Hey all! My hubby and I are going to Thailand for the first time in January for 13 days. I have a rather ambitious itinerary and just need to know if it's doable along with needing some tips, suggestions, and detail help.
So, to start we arrive in Bangkok on Jan 9th at 11:55PM after a 30+ hr long flight. Now we plan on leaving the next day in late afternoon-ish for Chiang Mai but would like to do a 2 hour walking tour recommended in Thailand lonely planet book that covers the Grand temple and some other temples/wats. We won't but up at the crack of dawn on the 10th as I'm sure we'll be pretty exhausted. Thinking we'll probably be getting up closer to 9-10AM. Now, that said, would it be smarter for us to just get a hotel close to the international airport ( BKK) so when we arrive we can just get to the hotel and crash soon as possible, or would it be smarter to just suck it up and get a hotel closer to the Grand Palace area? Any suggestions to hotels ( looking at around the $100 Cdn or 3000 bht price range)in either area? How long would a taxi ride be to get from the airport to Grand Temple area? Keep in mind that if we do get a hotel close to the airport, we'll need travel time after the walking tour to go back to the hotel to get our belongings before , and then go to whichever airport flies us to Chiang Mai. If we do get a hotel near the airport, what is travel time between the two airports? We plan to fly out of Chiang Mai hopefully in the latter part of the afternoon but if there are later flights and you all don't think we can get the above done by late afternoon, we can do that instead. That night after arriving in Chiang Mai, hopefully hit up the Night bazaar.
Jan 11-13. Plan on doing probably 2 full day tours and 2 -1/2 day tours. Not written in stone by any means yet. On one day would like to do the Elephant Nature Park. One day possibly doing a Doi Inthanon National Park tour or one involving hill tribes / river rafting( would really like to see some rice paddies! )( Any preferences from others on this day?). The two 1/2 day tours I'm looking at is the Doi Suthep tour and either the Chiang Mai or Lamphun temples tour ( preferences on either of these?) Also for the temples tours, is it better to take an actual "tour" or to just get a taxi and do it on your own? Anyone have any suggestions as to which tour company to use? I know to look for TAT affiliated tours, but there are just sooo many , it's hard to choose which ones are best. Further, considering we're going during prime time in January, how far in advance should I be booking these tours? As for accomodations in Chiang Mai, I'm thinking it would be nice to be close to the Night Bazaar. Any suggestions? Will it be to noisy if we're close to the night bazaar or would someplace along the riverbank and just taking a taxi be a better?
Jan 14- Fly to Bangkok and then to Krabi. Here's where things get a bit iffy and sticky. We want to go to Khao Sok National Park.. we want to do a 3 day/ 2 night tour we're thinking with Limestone Lake Rainforest Tours ( the 3 day adventure tour it's called). Now, they apparently can provide transportation from Krabi so we would from Krabi that same day go to Khao Sok with the tour starting on Jan 15-17th. Here's a link to their site and the tour: http://www.limestonelaketours.com/tours6.html . Anyone hear if they are good? How long does it take to drive from Krabi to Khao Sok? Hopefully they can do this tour on our planned dates or that will really muck things up, lol. We were considering going with the 3 day earth lodge jungle safari, but only day of departure we could have done with them started on Jan 17th which would make our beach time kinda funky.
Jan 17- leave Khao Sok and back to Krabi. Anyone know long of a drive it is to go from Khao Sok to Krabi? Here things are kinda up in the air. We have the remainder of Jan 17 till Jan 21 or Jan 22 here. We are tossed between staying a couple days in Krabi ( thinking West Railay if we do) along with a couple days in Phi Phi before going back to Bangkok either on Jan 21 or 22. Or on the 17th after we get back from Khao Sok, head straight to Phi Phi same day ( not sure that is doable with boats/ferries??)and spend the whole time on Phi Phi. So itinerary here could look like this:
Jan 17 arrive to Krabi afternoon. Night in Krabi
Jan 18 all day Krabi
Jan 19 Go to Phi Phi and night in Phi Phi
Jan 20 all day Phi Phi
Jan 21 go to Krabi from Phi Phi, then fly to Bangkok
Jan 22 day in Bangkok
Jan 23 6AM fly home to Canada
OR: Jan 17 arrive to Krabi sometime in afternoon and head straight to Phi Phi
Jan 18-20 Phi Phi
Jan 21 - go to Krabi from Phi Phi, then fly to Bangkok
22- day in Bangkok
23 fly home
Is the first beach itinerary too much moving around? Or will it still be pretty relaxing and enjoyable? The 22nd is still big time up in the air yet as if the beach part is too condensed, we could fly back to Bangkok on the 22nd instead.. so long as the Grand Palace walking tour is doable on day one with all the taxi rides to and fro. On Phi Phi, which beach would you recommend? We 're looking for very good snorkelling right off the beach with very clear waters and super soft sand. We don't want to be in the middle of the party area, we have no interest in partying whatsoever. We would like to have access to decent array of restaurants though, at least within walking distance. Does this exist?
Oh yeah, and how long does it take to get from Krabi airport to the dock?
Believe it or not, I have cut a LOT of stuff out of the itinerary. I never realized how much there was to see and do until I really starting researching and planning. Anyway, any help, suggestions, etc would be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance for any given! I also apologize for how long this thread is, lol. :) Thanks again!!
#1 Halilee has been a member since 4/5/2008. Posts: 11
Wow, that is a LOT of questions!
1) I'd go downtown rather than stay out at the airport. Arriving that time of the night a cab to downtown shouldn't be more than 45 minutes, so what's that on thirty hours! Plus, to do the ride around 10am the following morning could well take 1-2 hours if the traffic bogs down
2)Travel time between the airports is around an hour (depending on traffic)
3) Chiang Mai questions:
The two 1/2 day tours I'm looking at is the Doi Suthep tour and either the Chiang Mai or Lamphun temples tour ( preferences on either of these?)
Doi Suthep is easily done without a tour -- just get a ride to the top of the hill and have a look around. Lamphun is easily done without a tour -- but unless you have a specific interest in the temples there, it's prob a bit difficult to justify going out there given how much else you've packed in!
"Also for the temples tours, is it better to take an actual "tour" or to just get a taxi and do it on your own?"
It depends what level of info you're looking for. If you just want to have a bit of a poke around and see some pretty temples, then a tour is often superfluous. If however you're looking for nitty gritty detail, then a guide is a good investment.
"Further, considering we're going during prime time in January, how far in advance should I be booking these tours?"
Nothing you've listed so far couldn't be booked the day before you plan to do the tour. You don't need to book these from overseas -- all you'll do is pay a lot more than organising it once in CM.
Krabi to Khao Sok takes a few hours -- around three maybe, but I'm not sure off the top of my head. I've not heard of the tour you mention.
4) If you leave Khao Sok early you'll be able to get a ferry connection to Ko Phi Phi same day.
5) "We 're looking for very good snorkelling right off the beach with very clear waters and super soft sand. We don't want to be in the middle of the party area, we have no interest in partying whatsoever. We would like to have access to decent array of restaurants though, at least within walking distance. Does this exist?"
No, not really. It's a tradeoff -- the bulk of the restaurants and bars are all together so the closer you are, the busier it gets. See the Ko Phi Phi coverage for details on the individual beaches etc... If you're heading to Phi Phi expecting totally unspoilt beaches and a back to nature experience, you will be very disappointed.
"how long does it take to get from Krabi airport to the dock?"
20-30 minutes depending of the maniacal nature of your driver
6) "Believe it or not, I have cut a LOT of stuff out of the itinerary."
My mantra is LESS IS MORE. Spend more time at fewer places and you'll have a better, more relaxing trip.
In 13 days, you can cover Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Khao Sok and Phi Phi -- but it is a squeeze. I'd ditch Lamphun and would treat Krabi as a transit hub only. Organise your flights to leave late and arrive early, you should have enough time to do what you want.
I didn't answer all the questions as some, eg accommodation recommendations, are answered already on the site.
Hope that helps
#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,789
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Hiya Somtam! Thank you so much for all your advice! It most certainly has helped a lot! I have been looking at some other advice on the forums regarding how to get to Khao Sok. Some have mentioned flying from Bangkok to Surat Thani, then taking a bus to Khao Sok from there. So it would be fly from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to Surat Thani then bus as opposed to flying fro Chiang Mai to Bangkok to Krabi then somehow to Khao Sok. Our plan if we were to go to Krabi first would be to leave most of our luggage in the airport locker and just take what we need for the Khao sok part then upon returning, picking it up and going to the beach destination. If we take the Surat Thani route, we'd have to take all our luggage with us. Is it that big of a difference on which way to take? Will the luggage be an issue if we go from Surat Thani instead?
Oh, and don't worry, I don't quite have totally preconcieved ideas on Phi Phi. I've read enough to know it's packed with people and shops and even garbage, and I don't expect to be totally secluded, nor do I want to be, lol. Just don't want to be stuck in the middle of party central.. maybe just a little removed from it. :)
Again, thank you so much for all the help! That was pretty brave to delve so deeply into my thread, haha! :D
#3 Halilee has been a member since 4/5/2008. Posts: 11