I have finally zeroed in on the places I would like to go.I just need little more help.Please excuse me for my constant messages.
1) Iam planning to visit Bangkok- Phuket-Kanchnaburi-Ko Samet/Ko Samui.
2) I want to go to Ching Mai but guess that would be out of place.
3) Could you please suggest me the best possible route to follow to reach these places?
4) Im posing this question again as in to go to Ko Samet or Ko Samui, could you please suggest which will be the easiest that will fall in this route and scenic wise which will be good.
5) I have only 15 days so is it possible to cover Chiang Mai.
Thanx for all th help.
#1 richahiker has been a member since 1/8/2008. Posts: 8
Unless you are starved for saltwater, hiang Mai is better. I took the day train to CM, and returned by nite train. Trip time was about 12 hours. Friends took the bus and said the ride was better. The nite train was fine - the 12 hour day trip got pretty boring. There are trains to Phuket - see thaifocus.com for train schedule and hotels.
If you are already set on visiting Phuket, then Ko Samui would be a more logical fit to your route than Ko Samet. I'd suggest Bangkok first of course, with a side trip to Kanchanaburi, since as SBE noted in the similar thread that it is quite close to Bangkok. Then I'd return to Bangkok and head to Phuket, on to Ko Samui, and then back to Bangkok.
Given the limited amount of time you have, I'd seriously consider flying from Bangkok to Phuket and possibly even Phuket to Samui to make the most of the few days you have. The train does not go all the way to Phuket by the way, so you'd need to do a train/bus combo from Bangkok.
Also, you could squeeze in a trip to Chiang Mai by flying one of the budget airlines SBE suggested, but I agree that it is likely too much to fit into a 15-day trip and you'd be better off skipping it. Unless you were willing to skip Phuket instead, and then you could do a Bangkok-Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Samui-Bangkok-Chiang Mai trip, or something like that. Have fun.
Chiang Mai isn't better at all. It's very overrated and very touristy.
It really depends what you want to do though.
Samet is a small island, good for relaxing but there's nothing much to do.
If you want activities Krabi, Phuket or Samui are better. But you don't have time for all of them.
If you want to go trekking in the north go to Mae Hong Son instead of Chiang Mai.
I would do either of these
bkk-kanch-mhs-samui or krabi
Personally i dont like Phuket that much, but some do.
#4 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
I guess "touristy" is in the eyes of the beholder. You can travel in a "bubble" anywhere - but it was much easier to break out of the "tourist bubble" in Chianig Mai and 4 more hours north Chiang Rai. Actually I stayed for a week in an Akah Village - my wife and I sleeping on the floor with a very nice family, in a one room hut on stilts. We saw a hill tribe school, played a couple of days with hill tribe orphans, and learned a lot about the Thailand efforts to help. It was outstanding. Cheers - have a safe trip - FF
Chiang Rai is a nothing town. No activities and very bland. The musuem there is terrible. Only the night market is any good.
"I stayed for a week in an Akah Village"
What's that got to do with Chiang Mai?
#6 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
Thanx a lot for ur advice and help.It really helped.
Would drop Phuket and if have time then would go to Chiang Mai.
#7 richahiker has been a member since 1/8/2008. Posts: 8
" but every single first time visitor to Thailand I've ever met wants to go there."
they wrongly think its exotic
tourist brochures and guidebooks hype the place
#9 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
Just to pipe in with another opinion on Chiang Mai -- while it is pretty touristy, it's touristy for a reason -- there's bucketloads to see and do -- it's got a fabulous culinary scene, the bars ain't half bad and there's plenty to do in the hinterland. It's also hugely popular with domestic tourists.
On the downside, the trekking scene out of Chiang Mai is badly "over-trekked" and you're better off trekking out of somewhere else -- Chiang Rai is ok, Pai and Mae Hong Son also good, Nan very good.
It's got an international airport, stacks of hotels and no shortage of tour groups, but there's also lots of little visited national parks, temples and hole-in-the-wall bars and restaurants with nary a tour group in sight. So it is what you make of it.
Exacto's CM trip report is well worth a read.
Well, if you're limiting your food tasting to CM's night market, that would go some way to explaining why you thought the city is touristy :-)
Like anywhere, CM has areas that are very popular with tourists (the Night Market being one), but there's ample less touristic areas. It's no different to people who write off Khao San Rd saying the area is over-touristed -- but all one need do is cross Ratchadamnoen Klang and you're back into a very Thai area.
"while it is pretty touristy, it's touristy for a reason -- there's bucketloads to see and do -"
Actually there's little in town to see except temples (yawn).
You can do cooking courses etc but that shit you can do in many places.
It's popular because it has a major airport and it gets hyped as the place to go in the north, when really it's about as exotic as a hamburger at maccas.
Many people go there to do treks and as you say the treks are over trekked. So really MHS, Nan are better options. And if you stay in those places it feels a lot more thai. CM feels like europe.
#13 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
"it's got a fabulous culinary scene"
actually the only good food ive had in the north was home cooked meals. Tried several rest in cm and they were ordinary.
#14 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
"little visited national parks"
most national parks in thailand arent worth the entry price nor the effort. crappy waterfalls and few animals.
#15 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209
Guesthouse accommodation is generally pretty good value in CM but songthaews aren't. A/C BKK meter taxis are much better value IMO. I was asked the same price for a 60 minute local bus ride out of town as for a 5 minute songthaew ride in Chiang Mai two years ago.
Too many scams there for my taste. I spent a month in Mahasarakam in Issan a year or two ago. Only a handful of foreigners ever go there and there's NOT a lot to do without your own transport. Just a fairly nice typical town where hardly anyone speaks English. I was working at the university and had constant invitations people's houses and was taken on WE trips to locale landmarks (mostly Buddhist temples) by colleagues and students. Went to a huge Buddha Day ceremony which was fascinating (if crowded) and got shown what to do. Remarkably little staring at my farang face even though I reckon I'm probably the only foreigner who's ever attended! I also got taken to Thai tourist attractions...reconstructed traditional Issan villages etc...again, the only foreigner there...obviously none of that is in LP yet. Long may it last, keep something truly "Thai" in Thailand. My farewell party consisted of a huge spread of all the local culinary specialities (and kareoke of course). When I went back to BKK, the bus station master sat me down with his friends who spoke a few words of English and bought me a large Leo while I was waiting for the night bus to leave. How often does THAT happen at CM bus station?
Friendliness and generosity is often inversely proportional to the density of foreign tourists I find. Same thing in Indonesia.
PS. Never been to Chiang Mai but always wanted to check it out. Do you absolutely need your own transport travelrock? I never did get round to learning how to drive a motorbike.
SBE -- was that the teacher's college in Mahasarakham? -- I had an amazing night out in that town with a bunch of teachers from there -- it didn't strike me as a town with much nightlife, but it packed quite a punch.
Your own transport (ie motorbike) makes much of Nan easier to cover, but most of the destinations -- including all six national parks (which, at risk of getting another outburst from travelrock, are worth the money) can be reached by songtheaw/bus/moto combos.
Edit feature... yes, it's on my list ;-)
It was at the Faculty of Education... I was teaching an intensive one month course to PhD students from universities all over Issan, but some of them were from Marasarakham University. Fun crowd (LOTS of kareoke) ;-)