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Thailand - Help with Itinerary 15 Days to incl. North & South

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Would appreciate any advice re our itinerary to Thailand. We are travelling with our kids (15 + 17) for 15 days December 2016 Not sure if we are trying to accomplish too much in a short time, and looking for advice in getting to Khao Sok as we think it could be one of the highlights of the trip.
As it stands we have the following organized:
2 days in Bangkok
2 days in Ayutthaya - UNESCO heritage festival, then overnight train to Chiang Mai
3 possibly 4 days in Chiang Mai
Here's where we need the advice: not sure best strategy to get from Chiang Mai to south as we'd like to go to Khao Sok for an overnight stay on a river raft
6 full days for the south - we'd like to see Khao Sok and spend a few days relaxing on a beach (we thought Ao Nang) before returning to Bangkok on Christmas eve. We will have Christmas Day in Bangkok and fly out on the 26th.

Questions: Best way to maximize trip to see the country - is it worth the side trip to Khao Sok? Should we be looking to go to another beach area closer to Khao Sok? and if so where?
What is the best way of organizing a trip to Khao Sok? Pros & Cons of flying from Chiang Mai to Krabi vs taking train all the way back down + bus to Krabi/Ao Nang and also Khao Sok? Is there another great place to see the scenery and experience the raft houses that doesn't require travelling to the south?
Looking forward to learning from your travel experiences!

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