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Thailand forum

Chiang Mai or Kanchanaburi?

Posted by kbyrd on 8/6/2009 at 22:09

My husband and I are going to Thailand for 10 days in the beginning of July. We're planning to spend half the time relaxing at Samui and the other half of the time is open. We've read some good things about Kanchanaburi and everyone seems to love Chiang Mai. If you had to choose between the two - where would you go? Will we be kicking ourselves if we skip Chiang Mai?

#1 kbyrd has been a member since 8/6/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by Tilapia on 9/6/2009 at 00:16

You'll get a mixed bag of answers to that question that probably won't help you make your decision. Your answers may be more helpful if readers knew what you what you like, how you plan on getting around, what you would like to do, etc.

Personally, I prefer Kanchanaburi to CM. Nothing against CM ... it's a very nice place, but I certainly would not be kicking myself if I didn't go. But then that's easy to say having been before.

If time is tight and if you plan on traveling overland, I'd go to Kanchanaburi with a sidetrip to Sangkhlaburi for a night or two. Very nice part of the country, quiet, interesting, scenic, friendly people.

If you flying and don't plan on spending time in Bangkok, you may want to check out CM so that you can experience a large Thai city.

Rain might be an issue, though. You may want to just stay on Samui. 10 days will fly by there.

#2 Tilapia has been a member since 21/4/2006. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,521
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Posted by kbyrd on 9/6/2009 at 00:44

Hey - thanks a lot for your quick response. We'll be in Bangkok for a day and a half so we'll get a flavor for a city. Plus, we live in New York so we often like to get out of cities when we travel. But as far as our style of traveling - we like to do what the locals do, enjoy hiking and nature, and we're not high maintenance (but not sleep in a hut and trek through the jungle types either).

This trip is meant to be low key so we didn't want to travel all over the place. However, I was worried we wouldn't really get to experience Thai culture if we stayed on Samui. So I was thinking it would be nice to spend a few days in another area of the country. We were planning to fly places to save some time. Sangkhlaburi sounds intriguing - I'll look into it. Thanks for the suggestion!

You seem to be very knowledgeable so I hope you don't mind if I ask another question. A third idea we had was to spend a few days in the Krabi area and check out Phi Phi (if we didn't go to Kanchanaburi or Chiang Mai). But then I was worried about the weather so I wasn't sure if it was worth it to even try. The kayaking looked really cool though.

#3 kbyrd has been a member since 8/6/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by somtam2000 on 9/6/2009 at 07:08 admin

I agree with Tilapia -- Kanchanaburi and Sangklarburi -- esp if you like the outdoors.

July weather on Phi Phi will be quite wet, so I'd lean towards your original options.

#4 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by BruceMoon on 9/6/2009 at 07:14


I always find it intriguing that people will fly half way around the world to 'do' a specific set of things, and choose a place where the weather will seriously hamper the enjoyment of doing those things.

If you want to 'do' beachy things, why go to a place in the midst of the monsoon season?

Why not go to southern Indonesia, or far north Australia, or...

- - - - -

I also like Kanchanaburi - but for reasons different reasons than just 'tourism'. Kanchanaburi has considerable significance as a reminder of the brutality of war. That said, the nearby waterfall would be in full 'flight'. The trek suggested on the Kanchanaburi page here on Travelfish may interest you. If you do go to Kanchanaburi, please ensure you go to Hellfire Pass and when there, ponder the 'cost' of our freedom.

I also like Sangkhlaburi, but go look at what is written for the place here on Travelfish. You might like to take note of..

...Higher altitude and the presence of the lake can make it very damp during the rainy season and considerably cooler at night than say Kanchanaburi.

The point I'm trying to make is that you may be lucky for those 10 days and have great weather (that said, the ocean water will be murky - cannot avoid that), but equally, it may rain for the whole 10 days.


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

Posted by karyn on 9/6/2009 at 07:25


I went to all the places that you are talking about. Ko Phi Phi is very much a young crowd, especially compared to Samui. CM is a city with many tourists walking around and is quite enjoyable; however, I would go to Kanchanburi and spend a day going to the 7 tiered falls, plus other areas of interest.

#6 karyn has been a member since 10/6/2006. Posts: 36

Posted by kbyrd on 10/6/2009 at 01:56

Thank you Tilapia, somtam200, and karyn. I appreciate your thoughts!

#7 kbyrd has been a member since 8/6/2009. Posts: 3

Posted by DaniGriff on 4/11/2010 at 21:41

I am going to be going to Thailand Dec 19-Jan 9th. I want to spend half this time in the North going to temples, trekking, waterfalls, ridding on elephants, etc doing Jungle things and the other half down in the south on the andaman sea side. My original plan was to first go to Lampang for 2 days see the Elephant conservation center, then go to chiang rai for 4 days and then chiang mai for 2 days and fly down south. Is there still good places to ride elephants and everything else that I wanted to do further North as there is in Kanchanaburi, if so then this seems like it would be the better option because of less travel but I am willing to travel if I would get to see more and do more in the Chiang Rai area. Thanks for any suggestions I keep changing my mind on where to go.

#8 DaniGriff has been a member since 3/11/2010. Posts: 16

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