Ok so we (group of girls in our mid twenties) are heading to Thailand for 17 nights in June. I have a rough itinerary planned as follows:
16th to the 18th June - (2 nights) Bangkok
18th to 21st - (3 nights) - Chang Mai (take flight from BKK)
21st - 25th (5 nights) - Ko Samui
26th - 2nd Jul (7 nights) Ko phangan (for full moon party)
3rd - back to Bangkok for flight home the next evening.
Ok guys as I said its very rough.
My main difficulty seems to be getting from Chang Mai back down south to Koh Samui - flights appear to be expensive and any other method of travel seems to be very time consuming.
I am not 100% set on going to Ko Samui and would be just as happy going to another island if it meant it was easier to get to from Chang Mai. (Where ever we go after Chang Mai is going to primarily about relaxation)
I am going to Chang Mai as I want to experience some real Thai culture (although I have heard concerns about its authenticity?) and the elephant sanctuary esp appeal to me.
So is there somewhere south of Bangkok on the way to Ko Samui which would give a similar experience so as to save on travel?
I am conscious of spending too much time travelling from North to South and too much moving around as I do want this to be a relaxing beach holiday as well as a cultural experience. I do like good and lively nightlife also, but want to avoid the tacky side of things aswell if poss!.
Any help with the above would be very much appreciated.
I am very much open to suggestions!.
#1 Dee123 has been a member since 5/3/2010. Posts: 5
Flying to Samui indeed is expensive, and I don't think you will be able to find cheap flights to or from there.
An option you could try is flying from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and then getting a night bus to Surat Thani (the port where you take ferry to Samui or Phangan). This way you save some money and it might not be that time consuming if you take the night bus. It takes about 12 hours from Bangkok to Surat Thani.
Another option would be to go to Koh Chang, it's about 5.5 hours from Bangkok, so you can fly from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and from Bangkok get by bus to Trat and in Trat a ferry to Koh Chang. This is a very nice island, it has great beaches, nice people, laid back environment, good party, etc... and it is not very mainstream (I enjoy this personally. Then from there to go to Phangan, you take the ferry from Koh Chang to Trat and then a bus from Trat to Surat Thani and then the ferry to Phangan.
#2 luchy1309 has been a member since 30/1/2009. Posts: 24
Chiang Mai is definitely a place people come to for "culture" and you find way more people getting in touch with locally-aware activities (cooking schools, yoga, meditation, elephant or hilltribe volunteering, etc) instead of the mostly booze and beach mentality down south. I would come up for at least three days and good to include a Sunday for the excellent evening market in the old city area.
As for getting down south, since you want to visit the FMP on June 26 and have limited time you can take a cheap AirAsia.com flight to Bangkok and then get the evening bus and connecting morning ferry to Ko Tao with http://www.lomprayah.com. Then after a couple days partying and snorkeling on Ko Tao get one of the frequent ferries to Ko Phangan. Accommodation is often a bit scarce right before FMP but June is not the busiest month. Maybe get on the island the 25th so you're not running around searching for a room at the last minute.
sorry to add so little positive to your thread but your itinerary sounds good.
although i have that same concern as you because when i go to thailand/south east asia i have a limited timescale i dont like wasting most my time travelling,unless its by boat.
#4 ceedee1 has been a member since 20/1/2010. Posts: 59
Thanks so much for your helpful replies!..I'm wondering is it worth it just to spend the extra money on the direct flight from Chiang Mai to Ko Samui -I don't know if we fancy spending 12 or 13 hours travelling when we have so little time as it is. The flight is working out at around €100 at the moment. I know its hard to say for sure, but does anyone reckon the price is likely to increase or decrease nearer the time?
#5 Dee123 has been a member since 5/3/2010. Posts: 5
The Samui airport is owned by Bangkok Airways and the flight is always expensive compared to other options. Also consider flying Bangkok - Surat Thani on a cheaper airline like Air Asia, Nok Air or 1-2-Go. Then get a combined bus/ferry to the islands for about 500 baht.