Go Back  Fodor's Forum > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page > 1st time to Thailand. Stay in the north, or try to visit beaches, too?
Notices

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

Reply

Mar 30th, 2013, 03:57 PM
  #1
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
1st time to Thailand. Stay in the north, or try to visit beaches, too?

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.
goddessintl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2013, 05:19 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 31,780
First of all, I would suggest you not take a tour. You can go independently very easily. Thailand has excellent tourist infrastructure. Do you have a guidebook? Take a look and see what interests you most. Then plan your own trip - stay in lovely hotels for reasonable prices, engage in the activities you want, eat wonderful Thai food where you want to eat.

May is not a good time for the beaches on the Phuket side, as there is, on average, more than 10 inches of rain in May. Hua Hin, a two hour drive from bangkok would be drier than either Phuket or Koh Samui.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2013, 06:39 PM
  #3
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
Thanks, Kathie.

I wondered about the weather in and around Phuket, and looked at some sites online, but it's better to have first-hand knowledge.
goddessintl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2013, 08:17 PM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,160
I consider May as a shoulder season so you have a good chance of avoiding rain. It will be hot so a beach will be a worthwhile destination.

Phuket, Krabi and the area around the South West of Thailand does have the best beaches and water quality so I suggest you might take a chance and visit. Hua Hin, as per Kathie's suggestion, in May is nice and breezy but the water is often full of jelly fish then.

Another option apart from joing a group tour is to arrange private guides. In Bangkok there's Tong and her many guides and in Chiang Mai there's Sergeant Kai. Note that I have not used these guides myself but many here have and enjoyed their services.

Sergeant Kai: http://chiangmaitours.com/
Tong: http://www.tourwithtong.com/
Hanuman is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 30th, 2013, 08:26 PM
  #5
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,815
tong and her group are fabulous.. st kai gets rave reviews..

so much time is wasted on organized tours. rarely is it less expensive either..

samui is much nicer than phguket, imo.. but it is generally more expensive to get to..

i nhave enjoyed thailand in may in the past... the later you go the better..

get a good general guidebook
rhkkmk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:04 AM
  #6
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5
i want a tour in thailand in next year, any one suggest me what is the best time in trip to thailand.
steevennsmithh is offline  
Reply With Quote
Mar 31st, 2013, 07:39 AM
  #7
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,815
november-january
rhkkmk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 1st, 2013, 02:38 PM
  #8
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 1
Consider the 15 Gate1travel.com Kaleidoscope Tour of Thailand: My wife and I, along with cousin, Lucy, just returned from the 15 day Kaleidoscope tour of Thailand. This was an incredible tour with the best guide, OH, that we have had on any tours. Beginning with a couple days in busy Bangkok, immersed in the history, culture, and Buddhist religion. We took an hour Tuk-Tuk ride around the city. The guide spoke little English, but he understood 300 Baht or about $10. We signed up for all the reasonable excursions except for the Thai massage in Chiang Rei. The trip to the River Kwai was moving with the visit to the famous bridge and boat rides on narrow boats to our hotel in "the jungle." All the hotels were excellent, and some were superb quality. All offered high speed wi-fi and excellent breakfast buffets. Riding on the Mekong up into Burma and along the coast of Laos was fascinating. There were 39 in our group who started the tour. Nineteen left after taking the first nine days of the tour. I had to write one of those who chose the shorter tour that she really missed some sights, including the elephant training grounds at Chiang Mai.
One word of warning. Be wary of the street food and have bottled water. We found an excellent massage parlor next to our hotel on Soi 18 in Bangkok that charged 250 Baht ( $8.00)for an hour. This is a very clean facility with trained therapists.
The single supplement for Lucy was very reasonable. The optional excursions were well-chosen and were wonderful experiences. We all highly recommend the trip with Gate1travel.com. Jim Parrish
parr2200 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 3rd, 2013, 12:26 PM
  #9
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
Thanks, Jim. I'll have a look at that. There are so many options, with or without a guided tour.
goddessintl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 16th, 2013, 02:10 PM
  #10
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 36
Not sure if you've already made your plans, but I agree - you really don't need to be part of a guided tour. I traveled a few December/January's ago with my sister (we were in our mid/late 20s), and we felt extremely safe (if that is of concern) and found Thailand very easy to get around. We spent time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Hua Hin (we skipped the "typical beaches" to accommodate our travel dates).

We worked with both Sergeant Kai and Tong, but also hired Keng in CM as our driver for one day. He was extremely kind and entertaining to spend the day with. Below is his info:

Keng, Worachon Suwannachan
re-member at access dot inet dot co dot th OR sworachon at yahoo dot com
J1821 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 17th, 2013, 04:36 AM
  #11
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 971
We had the same trepidation about traveling without a tour and this forum reassured us and helped us plan a wonderful trip. Please see our trip report http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ore-part-i.cfm
We struggled with the time and going to the beach. It sounds as though the weather would not be good anyhow, but we had no regrets about the time we spent in the north. It was not too long (as I had feared). In fact, we could have seem and experienced even more and we were in Thailand almost 3 weeks.
virginiafish is offline  
Reply With Quote
Apr 29th, 2013, 01:53 PM
  #12
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 101
J1821 and virginiafish,

Thank you for providing more information. In the end, I am a tour group of one, using a company called Feel Good Travel. Guides are organized, yet I determined the dates, and was able to customize.
I will be going from Bangkok to Sukhothai, Ayuthaya, and Chiang Mai, then flying from Chiang Mai to Ko Samui for a yoga retreat. I will spend another day and half in Bangkok before heading home.

I may hire one of the guides recommended here for my last afternoon on Bangkok. I will remember to pack closed-toe shoes in case I want to get a drink at Skybar.
goddessintl is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jul 8th, 2014, 06:16 AM
  #13
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 7,604
Bookmarking!
flygirl is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:07 AM.