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1st time to Thailand. Stay in the north, or try to visit beaches, too?

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I plan to travel solo from Canada to Thailand for the first time in May. I'm looking at a few organized tours to cover the bulk of a two-week trip. Some tours are restricted to the north, and all include Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Generally, I love the beach, but I can live without it. Is it worth making a special effort to see Phuket and/or Koh Samui, and perhaps excluding something else, like a trek in the northern hillsides? For example, one tour would do just Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket, travelling by plane between them.

Any insight would be appreciated. Thanks.

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