10 Day trip to Thailand - end of March

Old Jul 31st, 2014, 06:32 AM
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10 Day trip to Thailand - end of March

Hi,
me and my girlfriend are planning to have a 'different' holiday next year (rather than the usual all inclusive beach resort type), and are thinking Thailand.. We'd be going at the end of March (which i understand will be hot) , as she is a teacher and our holidays are restricted to school holiays...

I've seen package multi centre trips for c£1000-1500 which seem pretty good, but reading these boards you seem to suggest that DIY-ing it is cheaper and probably a better way of going about this?

The plan is (hopefully) to do 2 days in Bangkok, 2-3 days in Chaing Mai, then 4-6 on a beach / island...

A few questions;
How many days should we spend in Chaing Mai?
I was thinking a night train from Bangkok to Chaing Mai would be cheaper, and travelling in the night saves a day or so travelling, also, I'm a train geek....
Beach / Island is an open book, and I'm open to any suggestions, not really wanting / needing anywhere with massive nightlife, would prefer more unspoilt places, with enough decent places to eat...
We'll probably want to do some tours, cookery schools etc whilst we're there, are these best booked in advance or when we're there?

That's just a vague plan though, so any suggestions, pointers, recommendations etc are very much welcome.

Thank You in advance
hughesyj is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2014, 06:40 AM
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Yes, you can do it cheaper and better on your own. You don't need any tours in any of the places you mention, but if you really wanted one, boo it on the ground in Thailand. Likewise any cooking classes.

What is it you want to do in CM? That will determine how much time there. Personally, I much prefer Bangkok - so much to see and do.

For beach, consider Khao Lak, Krabi, Ko Lanta or another less busy place on the Andaman Sea.

With your limited time, I wouldn't spend 12 hours on a train. Flights within Thailand are easy and cheap. Look at Air Asia and Nok Air, both budget airlines.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 06:54 AM
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Chiang Mai during March can have very poor air quality as it's in the middle of the "burning season". I suggest Bangkok for a few days and then to the beach.

For the beach, as Kathie have suggested, try the Andaman side of Thailand as the weather should be nice and hot.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 07:06 AM
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Hi Hughesyj,

it can work out a lot cheaper to DIY your trip to Thailand. the biggest expense will be the airfare. I generally find that www.statravel.co.uk and www.trailfinders.com often have the best deals from the UK, sometimes even better than the airlines themselves. Eva Air and BA have direct flights to BKK but Emirates have indirect flights via Dubai which often only takes a couple of hours more for c£200 saving in fare

The train is a fund way to get to Chiang Mai http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm has all the relevant info on fares and times. taking the night train saves on accommodation costs and arriving in CM around dawn is a nice way to arrive. it doesn't eat into your holiday time as you are travelling overnight whereas even with a short flight, by the time you factor in trave time to the airport you have lost half a days.

I like CM and have visited many times, although i seem to be in a minority here. I think it makes a nice contrast to Bangkok. You should however be aware that some years, but by no means all, the slashing and burning of the fields and forests at that time of year can cause very severe pollution. lot to see in and around the city and the food scene there is excellent

I think CM is the best place for cookery classes. we spent a few days at http://www.thaicookeryschool.com and had a great time. i would highly recommend it.

not really a beach person except for diving but have been looking for somewhere quieter for when my in-laws join us for a couple of weeks in March. Koh Lanta is on the list as is ooh Yao and Koh Yao Noi. a long time since i have been to Khao Lak and that is also on the list but as iI recall the scenery is not as spectacular as that around the Krabi area.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 11:31 AM
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I'm in the camp of those that enjoy CM and agree that it is a nice contrast to BKK. Also second the recommendation for the Thai Cookery School. We had a fun half day with them. Not sure why it was recommended to make plans on the ground instead of in advance.

All that said, I wuodl be very careful about goingn to CM (or anywhere in Norther Thailand in March. This past year we were there in mid February and one could already feel/smell the burning that had started. It wasnt horrible, but I imgaine it got worse as the days went by. We flew from Nam to CM and what we saw on looking down the entire short flight from the plane was a thick air mass of pollution/smoke.

We spent our beach time in AoNang which had nice beaches & great scenery in the area.. The town itself was nothing special, a typical beach resort. Especially enjoyed visiting the other islands.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 12:23 PM
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I too would rule out CM, but that is because I do not find it worth while..

bkk is fabulous.. any days spent there are worthwhile... choose your hotel carefully... we can help...use www.sawadee.com, www.agoda.com, www.expedia.com to get ideas... the main hotel tourist areas are on the river (tend to be more expensive, but imo are the best---sukhumvit/plenochit/wireless areas....

we like khao lak for the beach---1 hour north of Phuket...

koh chang is another cheaper possibility

forget the train, fly---nok air, air asia, Bangkok air...
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 12:41 PM
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I am one of the few (it seems who likes CM, I would happily go again. Do a cookery School (which is great fun)
there are some good places to vist and some nice shops, although I would heed Hanumans words about it being slash and burn season.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 01:04 PM
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hughesyj.

What's your hotel budget per night?

If you decide on CM then the overnight sleeper train is a great way to do it, as expertly described by Crellston.

Also consider as an option to CM, Nong Khai which sits in a gorgeous spot on the Meekong River v.close to the Friendship Bridge separating Thailand and Laos in the North East. You can get there by overnight sleeper train as well.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 04:10 PM
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With $30 flights I never bother with trains but you train geek can do it.

CM - I usually just hire a car and explore the north. CM is a busy touristy city. Looks like a European city with all the tourists.

3 good caves up north
Tham Lot
Chiang Dao
Muaeng On plus hotsprings nearby

Real Thai towns in Lampang and Phayao.
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Old Jul 31st, 2014, 11:50 PM
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Thank you for all your replies.

We may leave Chaing Mai out then, which means we can either stay longer in Bangkok, or spend more on hotels (etc) on an island / beach..

I (we!) would really like to do a cookery school as mentionned above, am I right in thinking that these will be available at most resorts, and even in Bangkok?

Hotel budget is variable, the thai rate seems to be per room, not PP, so if we could average £100/night over 10 days, that would be good.

Is it easy to get from airports to resorts with suitcases, I've read about buses being mentionned, but don't want to rock up on a public bus with a suitcase to block the whole bus up!?

thanks
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 12:32 AM
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A 100 pounds or roughly 5,200 Baht a night should get you some good accommodations both in Bangkok and at the beach.

Take a look at this Thai website for pictures of some nice islands and beaches. If you like any of them let me know by using the number at the start of each set of photos and I will give you the name in English.

http://www.painaidii.com/diary/diary...00483/lang/th/
http://www.painaidii.com/diary/diary...00484/lang/th/
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 03:08 AM
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Catch taxis from airport to hotels. They are cheap.

$50 to $80 gets a good room in Thailand. Same as a $150 to $200 room in the west.

Room rates are per room for 2 people normally.
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 03:51 AM
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Try cooking with poo in Bangkok...

http://www.cookingwithpoo.com/

...very tasty!

You'll get around easier in Bangkok if you stay close to either the BTS (Skytrain), MRT (Underground), or river transport (public ferries).

Personally, I'd go for a mid-range hotel with a swimming pool, excellent buffet breakfast, and sat right on the river close to Pier 13 at Banglamphu. My favourite is the New Siam Riverside...

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R...e-Bangkok.html

Don't take any notice of the odd negative review.

It's a vibrant area for all ages. There are dozens of restaurants, street food eateries, and bars in the area within a 5-10 minute walk. Khao San Road (love it or loathe it) is closeby, as are some of the major tourist sights.
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 03:58 AM
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Lots of good info about getting around Bangkok by public transport here...

http://www.transitbangkok.com/bts.html
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 04:14 AM
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Nice website Hanuman. Where is no. 4?
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 06:26 AM
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crells that's Koh Payam and the nearest town is Ranong.
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 06:33 AM
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And here's the information for the resort in the picture: http://www.theblueskyresort.com/
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 06:34 AM
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forget buses..
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 06:44 AM
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Many thanks Hanuman. I have been searching search for somewhere a little different to take my in-laws when they join us for their 50th wedding anniversary in March. Looks like this may well do very well.
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Old Aug 1st, 2014, 06:48 AM
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You're welcome! By the way the website title is "7 unseen Thai islands that you must see before you die" - so you can scratch one off the list!
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