Exploring Thailand

Jul 31st, 2014, 03:01 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 1,421
Exploring Thailand

I'm somewhat gun shy after the sudden and fairly comprehensive demise of my previous thread. It was supposed to be about an exploratory Thailand foray looking for possible retirement locales. It turned into a slanging match.
I acknowledge my complicity in giggling at times.

Despite this, I value the information that the many contributors to this forum offer, and have more questions, so, I bite the bullet and return.

Please keep this above the line people, I lost some information that was both helpful and useful when the previous thread was decimated.

Here's the previous plan :

Arrive BKK around 7 pm on a Saturday, private car transfer to Hua Hin. Stay 2/3 nights.

Car/driver to Kanchanaburi, stay 2/3 nights.

Train to Bangkok for flight to Khon Kaen, stay 2/3 nights.

Car/driver to Nong Khai, stay 2/3 nights.

Fly ex Udon Thani to Chiang Mai for balance of time, trying to fit in an overnight in Lampang.

CM - BKK for long trek home.

New plan - I still want to cover all places mentioned above, but need to avail of two free nights in Chiang Mai - which have to be used by 31 Oct.

We would land in BKK on the 25 Oct (it's a Saturday) at around 17.30.

Should we head for Hua Hin or Kanchanaburi for 3 nights ? Then fly to CM, and work our way south to Bangkok and whichever of HH or Kanchanaburi was missed before ? Or, perhaps stay a night in airport area, fly early to CM on the 26th.

Crellston, could you please remind me of the Thai language aid that you found useful ?

I see that we will be in Thailand during Loy Krathong. There is info on the web about celebrations in CM and Phuket, do all cities/ towns celebrate ? And, if so, which of our destinations would be best for this experience ?

Many thanks in advance.
sartoric is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 03:19 PM
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CM is overwhelming for LK... hotels will be full and perhaps not as cheap as some other times---book now..

I think I would go to CM 1st and then head to HH/K, having stayed overnight at the airport day 1... btw, a new Marriott is opening not far from the airport.
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 03:49 PM
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CM has many hotels. No way they are all full.

I did it in Phuket Town and it was good.

In regards to activities Kanch has more to offer. Hua Hin is basically a small busy city on an average beach. You could vist HH for 1 night and see what is there.

The main LT activity in HH is playing golf. A lot of non golfers on the HH complained of being bored.

Kanch is best if you have 2 nights as attractions are spread out.

Khon Kaen 2 nights would be enough to have a look. Nong Khai is smaller but attractions are spread out.

You could just hire a car in KK or Udon which will save you time. Driving is easy in the east with not too much traffic. Udon maybe best for car hire given you are flying out of there to CM.

Prachuap is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 03:56 PM
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Are you flying Thai?

If so you can fly free to CM same night. Thai offers a free domestic return flight with an international booking.

You can book a free flight to CM and a free on from KK/ Udon to Bkk.

Check out the thaiair website and input multiple legs.

Then just book Nok from CM to Udon.
Prachuap is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 04:06 PM
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Thank you both.

Prachuap, I'll check out Thais website. We usually fly Scoot as they use our local airport (and they're cheap), but that does involve a stop in Singapore so maybe the direct Thai flight out of Brissie would be best.
sartoric is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 04:18 PM
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I tried Scoot but connections not so good.

Flying Thai you can be in CM at 10.40pm same night. They will book your bags thru from bkk.

That will save you a day.
Prachuap is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 04:21 PM
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Loy Krathong is celebrated everywhere in Thailand. We usually celebrate it in Bangkok, where there are fireworks as well as the launching go the krathonhs on the river. It is a big deal in CM, so it does make sense to make hotel reservations early if you will be there.

I find Hua Hin a pleasant place. I've never stayed right in town, opting instead for a hotel on the beach either norther or south of the city. I find it relaxing, and there is good beach walking. I don't play golf. Hua Hin is also the location of what is considered by many to be the best destination spa in the world, the Chiva Som. I've never stayed there (majorly expensive) but we did stay at the Hyatt and walk to the Chiva Som for a full day of spa treatments.

Enjoy your explorations, and I'll look forward to your report.

PS There are lots of ex-pats in CM, and you will likely meet some as you wander around. I've had interesting (and Illuminating) conversations with several there.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 05:00 PM
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It sounds like you live near or on the GC. GC has far superior beaches to HH. Euros seem to like HH cause they havent seen many good beaches but you maybe disappointed. GC golf courses also much better.

But HH has good cheap dentists.
Prachuap is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 05:53 PM
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HH has about the same population as Coffs to give you a reference point. Coffs far superior beaches while HH has bad traffic due to proximity to bkk.
Prachuap is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 07:31 PM
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Thanks Kathie, it was meeting many expats in Pattaya that led us to this path

Yes Prachuap, we live on the GC, but are not really into the beach - do like a sea view though.
Thanks for the local references.
sartoric is offline  
Jul 31st, 2014, 11:36 PM
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Hi Sartoric,

The language course I recommended was Teach Yourself Thai by David Smyth. There are two versions- book only and book + CD . Get the CDs as well if you can. I loaded them on to my iPod and used to listen to them on the plane. Long time since I have spoken Thai so will probably use them again on our next trip for revision.

Having carried out the same reccy ourselves and visited some of the same places my conclusions were:

Hua Hin - I loved the place when I visited some 25 years ago. Some reasonable beaches in town, good fish restaurants and lots to see in the surrounding area. Prachuap Kiri Khan is a smaller, quite picturesque town not far away and worth a look and is apparently becoming popular with expats. sam roi yot national park is also with striking distance and worth a look as are several other national parks in the vicinity. We revisited a few years ago to look at property and there were some nice ones around. What put us off was the sheer numbers of expats. Mostly from Northern Europe, all seemed nice enough and non of the expat sleaze associated with some places but there were just too many.

Kanchanaburi is a nice place to visit especially for the scenery that surrounds it and quite emotive in terms of WW2 history (my great uncle was a POW in Burma). Do try to avoid going at on a weekend as the place is heaving with partying students and expats from Bangkok. If you are self driving, it is worth driving on into some of the NPs in the area Erawan? Etc. We stayed at a really nice place,Inchanatree, which was a bit out of the centre away form the noise but close enough to walk. It had only opened a few days before so we got a really good rate. Not sure what the prices are like now!

I can't really comment on the other places you are considering like Nong Khai, kong Kaen as I have only stayed the odd night en route somewhere or other. However, is an for me, never really appealed as it just seemed too far away from anywhere ( apart from Lao of course, which I love).

Chiang Mai is a city we return to a lot partly because of the city itself but as much for the surrounding region. There are some really nice small towns like Mae Hong. Song, Pai, Mai Sariang etc but they are probably too far removed form the infrastructure I think you mentioned you were looking for. The north does have an advantage for me as it is just a little cooler but against that there are sometimes problems with the air quality at some times of the year.

One place that is on my radar in the north for a visit is Nan which I am hoping we will get to in March.

I think you mentioned in your previous thread about renting a car and driving but had concerns re your husbands aggressive driving style? We did pretty much the same route and rented a car from BKK and returned it there before our onward flight. The driving really wasn't bad at all. You just learn to adjust your driving style to those around you - i.e. Your husband will probably be right at home

Good luck!
crellston is offline  
Aug 1st, 2014, 02:03 AM
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Thanks Crellston, I'll look out for the book/CDs, I'm probably on a hiding to nothing given my previous language attempts, oh well.

I appreciate the extra info on your thoughts about Hua Hin, it's seeming less likely to be a permanent location for us, but we'll have a look anyway.

Kanchanaburi is all about the WWII sites for me, both my parents signed up for the war as 18 year olds. At the time it was the thing to do. I talked to my mother tonight about planning this trip - she had mixed feelings about me going to K, said she lost friends on the railway. She will be 92 next Saturday.....

I also would like to spend more time in Chiang Mai and investigate the surrounds, it's the slightly cooler climate that appeals to me as well. I'll try to get to some of the towns around CM.

It's usually totally up to me to plan and execute our holidays, but DH is interested and engaged this time (ha ha, he wants to retire).
I think we've agreed there's going to be no car rentals, he likes a beer, as do I, so we'll find someone else to drive. It also saves me from taking Valium.

I'll be back with more questions, no doubt.

sartoric is offline  
Aug 1st, 2014, 04:45 AM
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CM is very hot in March and April. Dec and Jan are the cooler months.

No sea breezes up north.
Prachuap is offline  
Aug 7th, 2014, 08:32 PM
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I've come up with this plan so far. Discussions have been held, we will not be hiring a car (rats).

Nothing is booked yet apart from the 3 nights in CM (to avail of a hotel voucher).

Saturday 25 Oct arr DMK 17.25 stay somewhere nearby. Suggestions please for a hotel close to some street food options, budget say $100 or less.

Sunday 26 Oct fly to Chiang Mai arr around noon for 3 nights at Sala Lanna.
Day trip to Lampang during this time.

Wednesday 29 Oct fly CM to Udon Thani for bus to Nong Khai (1 hr) stay 2/3 nights.

Train to Khon Kaen (2.5 hr) stay 2/3 nights.

Sunday 2 Nov fly KK to DMK, transfer to Hua Hin by car OR train to Kanchanaburi. Stay 3 nights.

Wednesday 5 Nov transfer by car to HH or Kan. Stay 3 nights.

Saturday 8 Nov, car/train from HH/Kan to BKK for flight home. The flight home hasn't been booked, but we will most likely need to be in Singapore by 19.25 for a 22.25 departure. There's a flight ex BKK at 14.40 which would suit.

You can see I'm undecided about whether to head for HH or Kan first.
Loy Krathong is 5 -7 Nov, would that be better experienced in HH or Kan ?

Another thought is staying in Ch-am vis HH. Realise they aren't far apart, and we will see both, your thoughts on that ?

Finally, does the weekend make a big impact on visitor numbers to HH and Kan as my research suggests, which is the lesser of two evils ?

Many thanks again.
sartoric is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 07:05 PM
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Kanch is very "rural" by comparison to otter destinations - there seem to be lots of fights amongst the expats.
I recorde a trip to Kanchanaburi here....


Chiang Mai - If I HAD to go there over LK, then I would certainly book in advance, ut just getting about is going to be that much more difficult. (LK is originally a river festival, so Chiang Mai lays more claim than say seaside resorts on Phuket.

Lots of expats in Udon, (the town was developed by the US to help the war in Laos . Cambodia and Vietnam. but like Hua Hin I find that it is not attractive enough for me to want to actually live there.
Nong Khai is very small, but has (like Udon0 the advantage of being ale to pop over to Laos whenever thew mood takes.

Pattaya and Eastern Seaboard probably has the highest numbers of retirees and consequently has the most extensive relative infrastructure...convenient for Bkk and beaches and islands of Trat.
khunwilko is offline  
Aug 19th, 2014, 08:17 PM
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Thanks khunwilko, I read your report and laughed, you have the scouser accent down pat.

I thought this thread had died, so haven't posted the latest evolution of the plan.

We are now going to be in CM 26 - 29 Oct, then perhaps hire a car and drive the Mae Hong Son loop - 4 nights say until 2 Nov.

From CM we'd fly to Udon Thani, and then have 5 nights to split between Nong Khai and Khon Kaen. Our flight ex BKK will be 8 Nov, early afternoon.
Gets a bit tricky here with Loy Krathong 5-7 Nov. I'm thinking it would be best celebrated at Nong Khai where the river is a big part of the scenery. Thoughts, anyone ?

So unfortunately, no Kanchanaburi or Hua Hin this time, there will be another.

We think it's likely that we'd prefer the slightly cooler climates in the north/north east when the planets line up for our eventual move, so concentrating the search up there this time.

Thanks for the expat observations as well. There certainly are some characters in Thailand.
sartoric is offline  
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