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Travel Itinerary Questions for Thailand/Cambodia

Posted by llefranc on 10/3/2010 at 04:17

Hi all,

I know a lot of people post their itineraries with questions so thanks in advance for any help/advice you can offer to hopefully make our trip better. My boyfriend and I are traveling through Thailand and spending a two to three days in Angkor Wat/Siem Reap, Cambodia. We will be in the region for a total of 18 days.

As of now we plan to spend a couple days in Bangkok and from there we are more interested in off-the-beaten path type beaches. We are also set on Chang Mai and Pai.

Our biggest dilemma is how to do this without spending too much of our time traveling, and really being able to stay in a place long enough to really get a sense of the culture.

Koh Chang seems like an intriguing option for beach and rainforest, and though it's not as touristy as Phuket or Koh Samui, I know is starting to become more developed. But is diving great in that area? My boyfriend is an avid scuba diver and I don't think he wants to miss out an opportunity to do some great exploring under the sea in Thailand. However, it seems like some of the best scuba diving is in the more touristy areas.

Which leads us to another issue, are we wanting to do too much in 18 days, are we not breaking up the beach to mountain tribe ratio in a good way?

Here's what we're thinking based on the fact that we'd love to fly to the places we can to limit travel time, but acknowledge that we will likely have to stop in Bangkok for a layover. Any help and advice would be much appreciated:

1. Bangkok - 1 1/2 to days, day trip to Ayutthaya (is it worth it to stay over night?)
2. Maybe go to a touristy beach in the South (Phuket, Ko Samui) purely to get some good diving in, but not interested much in the party scene and tourism. - maybe skip?
3. Koh Chang (not the most remote beach, but seems like it has wilderness and beach) - maybe skip?
4. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
5. Chang Mai with a road trip to Pai
6. Back to Bangkok
** again, we know we'll likely have to fly back through Bangkok a couple times

Does all this seem crazy for 18 days? Too many beaches in a row rather than spacing them out properly?

We love the idea of rainforests, seeing hilltribe communities, hanging out with some elephants, relaxing on some beaches but with some activities to occupy us (we get bored just laying around for too long), and exploring temples.

Again, thanks in advance for your thoughts. They are much appreciated!

#1 llefranc has been a member since 10/3/2010. Posts: 2

Posted by somtam2000 on 10/3/2010 at 09:08 admin

Hi llefranc,

So ideally you want to see Angkor, Bangkok, Pai and dive in 18-days?

The diving on Ko Chang is poor, but you don't say when this trip is, and that will determine which is the better southern island to recommend. East coast, Ko Tao and west coast probably Ko Lanta (assumming you want to skip Phuket and Ko Phi Phi )

So you could do something like:
Arrive Bangkok, 1 day
Overland to Siem Reap/Angkor and overland back 5 days
Overnight tranport down to whichever island (depending on season), dive and overland back to Bangkok 7 days
night train to Chiang Mai , morning bus to Pai, hang out and trek, bus back to Chiang Mai and train back to Bangkok 5 days

Obviously you could juggle the days a bit and fly to save time, but certainly doable.

Hope that helps!

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,941
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Posted by caseyprich on 10/3/2010 at 09:20

I've heard the diving south of Ko Chang isn't bad, and isn't busy (trips down around Ko Wai / Ko Maak ). There is a link to information on diving aroudn Ko Chang (

Word on the street is that diving around Ko Tao is wonderful. If you're looking for a more relaxed stay, Ko Chang is nice (the Southern end of the island i'd recommend) - but you could skip right down to Ko Wai or Ko Maak for a more mellow experience. I've heard people have difficulty moving in-and-out of Cambodia around Trat though - so if your plan is to save time that way, you may want to second guess it.

For off the beaten track the area around Long Beach is very quiet on Ko Chang.

Chiang Mia - had a wonderful couple days hiking with Pooh Eco Travel - really not touristy if that's what you're looking for.

#3 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by llefranc on 10/3/2010 at 11:36

Thanks so much to everyone thus far. We are traveling from March 24 - April 10th if that helps with any advice. I know it's during the ultimate hot season, which might change what beaches we should go to and where the best diving may be.

#4 llefranc has been a member since 10/3/2010. Posts: 2

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