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Meet up June7-13, BKK to ChiangMai experience??

Posted by kasiaf09 on 19/5/2009 at 01:06

Hi all, I'll be flying into BKK on June 7 and making my way up to Chiang Mai with maybe stops in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai in between, then back to BKK. Anyone going to be there at the same time with similar travel plans and want to travel together? And also any other general tips on accommodations/method of travel? Its my first visit to SE Asia

#1 kasiaf09 has been a member since 19/5/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by brucemoon on 19/5/2009 at 07:19

kasiaf09

As it's your first trip, I'm sure you've done your research/planning.

Nevertheless, you ask for assistance, but don't provide details of the length of time between BKK - BKK.

Perhaps you could outline the plan you currently have in your mind. That way, we could offer suggestions.

Cheers

#2 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


Posted by exacto on 19/5/2009 at 09:42

hi kasiaf,

i'm afraid i won't be in thailand until december so i can't join you on this one.

as for general tips, i usually like to enjoy at least a day or two in bangkok before moving on, since it gives me time to get past the jet lag. if you are looking to meet up with fellow travellers, then the khao san road area will still probably be your best bet.

i love to take the overnight train from bangkok to chiang mai. my friends and i have often combined that trip with a day trip to ayutthaya, meaning we bus (or train) up to ayutthaya, enjoy the city for the day and into the evening, then catch the onward train to chiang mai.

if you plan to take the sleeper train, you might want to get your ticket sorted before you arrive in thailand. otherwise the sleeper seats can be booked full. also, if you do the day trip to ayutthaya thing, consider getting a day room (or just paying for a room you won't sleep in) so you can have a place to put your pack, take a nap, and shower and clean up before you board the train.

if you are keen to visit sukhothai, however, then the overnight train might not be your best bet, since the train arrives in phitsanulok at 4 am or so and you have to catch a bus from there.

chiang mai is one of my favorite destinations, and you should find heaps of things to do and people to meet there too. if you have the time, chiang dao makes for a good day trip or a quick overnight break while visiting chiang mai. have fun. cheers.

#3 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,685
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Posted by kasiaf09 on 19/5/2009 at 20:52

Thanks exacto.

My rough plan is:


Arrive BKK evening of June 7. Take morning train on June 8 to Ayutthaya for the day. Take morning train on June 9 to Phitsanulok, and hire a car to tour Sukhothai and Si Satachanalai. Take sleeper train to arrive in Chiang Mai on the morning of June 10, spend the day there, and leave the morning of June 11 to return to Bangkok. Spend all of June 12 in Bangkok, and leave BKK morning of the 13th.

I had preferred not to spend one entire day on the train, but it worked out best this way. Has anyone rented a car before?

How would I go about booking a ticket on a sleeper train before I get there? And do you think it's safe for a young female like me traveling alone?

#4 kasiaf09 has been a member since 19/5/2009. Posts: 2

Posted by exacto on 19/5/2009 at 21:55

hi again k!

that's a quick trip!

the trip to sukhothai and si satachanalai sounds great. i'm not sure you'll need the sleeper train from there to chiang mai, however. it would mean backtracking to phitsanulok and catching a train at 3 or 4 am for just a few hours. did you check the train times yet?

instead of a train back to bangkok on the 11th, you might consider flying instead too. there are several budget airlines flying that route.

people seem to recommend the "seat 61" website for tips on pre-booking your train seat. others use a bangkok-based travel agent and pick up the tickets once they arrive.

i'm afraid i'm not that young or female, so i can't say for sure how things are for that crowd. but having met lots of travellers on the road in thailand, and judging from the feedback from others on the site, i think thailand is reasonably safe for you. take normal precautions as you would anywhere else of course.

sounds like the ruins and ancient culture will be your focus on this trip. should be good. have fun.

#5 exacto has been a member since 12/2/2006. Location: United States. Posts: 2,685
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Posted by brucemoon on 20/5/2009 at 05:47

kasiaf09

exacto said 'that's a quick trip'. I'll be more blunt - you are going too fast and will likely not enjoy your imagined journey (unless, of course, your main aim is to be inside trains).

I've written elsewhere, Ayutthaya is a very very special place for the Thai people (it represents much about their kingdom). But, in relation to other ruins in Thailand (and SE Asia) its pretty ordinary. If you've got a month in Thailand, and are wanting to view the 'history' of ruins (or are a student of Khmer history), go see it. You, on the other hand, don't suggest a pressing need to see Khmer history.

Personally, I'd drop Ayutthaya and head straight for Sukhothai . As a tourist 'attraction', and if you have to choose between the two, Sukhothai is way way more impressive and enjoyable.

I wholeheartedly agree with exacto's suggestion of flying back to BKK. But, when (if) you book, make sure you go to Suvarnabhumi Intl Airport (not Don Muang Domestic). Look at www.airninja.com for low cost carriers.

As for hiring a car, it's so easy. Just do a google search and book through any of the agencies listed. There is a large format book of road maps (with basic city maps) that is necessary if a tourist wants to drive in Thailand. The departure from Bangkok is chaotic, and I'd suggest caution if you were thinking exiting Bangkok. But, Chiang Mai is quite OK (once you get the hang of orienting yourself to the compass).

I've met young females who cope on their own really well: they have the smarts to know how to manage themselves, they hook up with others where necessary (ie where they personally perceive a potential threat), and know how to sus out when it's OK to go alone. I've also met travellers of all ages (m + f) who really shouldn't have left home. Generally, when you are on public transport, there's typically many other western travellers - which means you can 'hook' up along the way for personal comfort. On travelling alone, there have been reports of people's personal gear being ransacked while on sleeper trains - so, if necessary, take precautions.

Hope this helps

Cheers

#6 brucemoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941


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