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travel ideas for Thailand and ??

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am in the early stages of planning a trip with only one definite destination in Thailand and looking for ideas please from the seasoned travellers out there. this is my first venture into this part of asia.

Have a seminar in Chiang Mai 11 - 20th nov 2016 end of the rainy season. Would like to spend an additional 2 weeks travelling. flexible with the dates either side so could split our time before and after Chiang Mai or consolidate it.

My partner is sadly terrified of flying and will ONLY fly emirates. We are coming from New Zealand via Australia and Bangkok is the only airport to arrive and depart from. Emirates flight routes just don't connect for us to use another airport without flying further north ....such a shame! We will train/bus once we arrive and will not fly again until we leave.

We are not interested in days of shopping, nor lying on beaches or relaxation resorts; we would love to see SOME temples (will get a good dose in Chiang Mai); we love eating local food and experiencing/observing local way of life (our adventures tend to centre around our next food experience!); we enjoy a bit of trekking but not hours and hours of it but do love to wander for hours around places (and get lost!) as we absorb the location and we love to learn about local history.

We saw Rick Steins show on travelling the MeKong River down to the delta and would love to do something like this but think it may take too long to get too where we need to be in the short time we have then back to Bangkok to leave.

I wondered about travelling up to Chiang Rai then over into Laos (and maybe Vietnam?? but this may be pushing it a bit!) then back through Thailand to Bangkok.

also i have no idea how easy it is to cross boarders between these countries.

any suggestions and advice would be very welcome

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    Put your additional travel time after your seminar in CM. While in CM, do go out to Doi Suthep, a temple atop a mountain - lovely.

    You don't really have time for overland Chiang Rai - Laos - VN. Instead, keep your goals more limited. I'd highly recommend a side trip to visit the temples of Angkor. Or you could go to Luang Prabang Laos, perhaps via boat from Chiang Sean, not far from Chiang Rai.

    No visa is required for Thailand, but you need a visa for Cambodia and Laos, both of which can be purchased at the airport upon arrival or at most land borders.

    I recommend against VN for this trip - you need more time for it. And you can get a visa approval letter that allows you to enter at airports but not (yet) at land borders.

    Overland travel takes time - don't rule out using a flight here and there. For instance, if you decide to go to Laos, you'd have boat travel to Luang Prabang, but I'd recommend flying back to Bangkok from LP.

    Do some reading, see what appeals to you.

    You might find some of our photos helpful:

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    thanks Kathie

    yes reading i will do helpful to have places to start researching.

    there is just no way i will get Chris on internal flights or even between the asian countries unless it is emirates, so this ain't going to happen! i will work on possibly flying qantas so we could potentially depart from another airport that qantas flies too but not holding my breath!

    your sagely words have confirmed my thoughts that Vietnam is just too far.

    like the sound of the boat trip to Luang Prabang....we have Chiang Rai on our radar so this would work well. research time!

    as part of the seminar we have two days of organised touring Chiang Mai & surrounds so will be interesting to see if Doi Suthep is on the list.

    Angkor Myanmar/Cambodia?

    Love your photos in Bangkok, you appear to have captured its essence.

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    Angkor is in Cambodia. Pick up a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples to give you some information about them. If you want to visit Angkor, figure a minimum of three full days (four nights) to see the major temples.

    Myanmar is currently my favorite destination in SE Asia. It has only opened up fairly recently, so is much less developed than other parts of SE Asia. It would also be hard to do if your husband is totally unwilling to board another plane. There are a few land crossings open, but even then, you are often required to fly internally to avoid the "no-go" areas (areas where there is still active fighting between local tribes and the government).

    And getting back to Bangkok from Luang Prabang without flying involves several long bus rides (certainly riskier than the flights). You could visit Angkor without taking another flight, though you would need to study up on the various border scams in advance. And it's a full day getting to/from Siem Reap from Bangkok. No flights means you will burn up a number of days on buses/trains (trains only in Thailand).

    Given the flight limitations, I don't see that flying Qantas will help. Q doesn't fly in/out of Cambodia or Laos. Really, Bangkok is the only international airport for your plans.

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    November is a great time for Laos. Decent weather and relatively quiet. With two weeks to play with and avoiding flying I would suggest making your way from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai ( worth a couple of days exploration). From there to Chiang Saen is a couple of hours by bus or taxi. Cross into Laos and get the boat downriver to Luang Prabang ( takes two days with an overnight stop in the not very exciting Pakbeng).

    Luang Prabang has more temples than you could want and is worth a few days, possibly with some trips out to the surrounding countryside. From there you could head south to the capital Vientiane possibly stopping at Vang Vieng along the way. From Vientiene you could then get the bus back to Bangkok via Nong Khai ( which itself is a pleasant town). See For more info. All without stepping on a plane! There are other options for Laos but this is a fairly easy and well trodden route.

    Alternatively, from Chiang Mai consider renting a car and driving the "Mae Hong Sorn loop". Can easily be done in 4-5 days but longer would be better. Maybe take in Chiang Dao as well. The overnight train from Chiang Mai is a nice way to return to Bangkok.

    I agree with Kathie that Vietnam is a little to far in the time available, even if flying were an option.

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