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goalis7continents Jan 1st, 2009 10:57 AM

Planning a trip to Thailand - Please Help!

We are planning a trip to Thailand to celebrate my big '50'! I have a few questions - when is the best time to go? Should we go on a tour & if so, does anyone recommend one? How long should we go? What are the highlights?

Kathie Jan 1st, 2009 11:20 AM

Best time of the year to visit Thailand is November-December-January. I would not recommend a tour. Thailand is incredibly traveler-friendly, with a great traveler infrastructure.

Unless you enjoy traveling in a group, not having enough time in any one place to have a real experience of it, seeing only the most obvious tourist sites, having someone else choose your hotels without your input, the tour dictate your places to eat - typically bland buffets, etc, I'd recommend you not go on a tour.

Kathie Jan 1st, 2009 11:21 AM

PS - For highlights I'd recommend you buy a good guidebook and see what interests you. Also, read some of the hundreds of trip reports here about Thailand to get some ideas about how to arrange for the experiences that interest you.

Gpanda Jan 1st, 2009 12:21 PM

I went to Thailand for my 50th and went back the next five years. It's a great place.

The best time to go is mid-November through February. Around Christmas is the highest of the high season. You should go for at least two weeks which will give you 12 days o the round if you're coming from the US.

A typical first time is split into three locations, Bangkok (BKK), Northern Thailand and a beach (for that time, the best weather is on the Andaman Sea which includes Phuket, Krabi and Ko Lak.) The internal flights are easy and Thai Air and Bangkok Air are better than any domestic US airline.

Kathie is correct. You don't need a tour. A tour will limit you and you're better off without one. You can easily get a guide separately and will enjoy it much better.

A good split is:

BKK-3 days
Northern Thailand-3 days
Beach-4 days
BKK-2 days

If you give us an idea of your expected per night hotel cost, we will give lots of hotel recommendations.

You should buy a basic guide book and see what strikes your fancy.

You will have a great time. Thailand is magical.

goalis7continents Jan 1st, 2009 02:03 PM

Thanks for the info - do you recommend renting a car or public transportation (trains)? Also, what is everyones favorite guidebook - besides Fodors :)

Gpanda Jan 1st, 2009 02:57 PM

It is much easier to hire a driver than rent a car. In BKK, you don't want to ever drive. River ferry, taxi and bus will get you everywhere. Even in the north, it's better to hire a driver. It's cheap and you don't have to worry.

Kathie Jan 1st, 2009 03:36 PM

If you are really into trains, you can take a train to northern Thailand from bangkok. But if not, fly. In Bangkok you'll want to use the water taxis, skytrain and taxis.

Browse some other guidebooks - Lonely Planet has lots of good info, and I like the Insight Guides.

rhkkmk Jan 1st, 2009 03:55 PM

a second good time of the year to go is may and june.... weather is decent and prices are far lower--maybe 30%..

we love to assist on this board...if you narrow down your timeframes we can assist with airlines, hotels, restaurants, activities, guides, sites, etc...we love to do it... if you don't do what we say, however, there are penalities....just kidding...

your budget is a good thing for us to know as well...what type of hotels, etc...generally things are quite reasonable...

2-3 weeks is a good amount of time for a first visit...

i love frommers for a first whack at planning, then i like fodors and others for more detailed info... but most of all i like this forum..

many of us go to thailand annually and some posters live in thailand: hanuman, michaelbkk, jamesA and others....

bkk is also a good base for visiting other nearby places: angkor wat, vietnam, laos, cambodia, myanmar (burma), singapore, malaysia, indonesia, singapore to name a few...

thailand itself offers city life, rural life (up north) and great sea side areas....

rhkkmk Jan 1st, 2009 03:55 PM

where do you come from? that helps us help you if we know

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