Side trip choices from Bangkok

Apr 30th, 2013, 02:25 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Side trip choices from Bangkok

Hello all,

It's been about 7 years since I've read or contributed to posts on Fodors. Life happens and just haven't been able to do any international traveling until now. But, I do remember receiving a lot of valuable feedback and information in planning trips to Thailand and Japan, so I'm back again to ask for advice.

My boyfriend and I have tickets booked to Bangkok in August. We'll be there for 14 days. My boyfriend has business and friends we will be visiting in Bangkok and there are 'touristy' things that each of us have missed on previous visits that we'd like to see/do, so we will definitely spend several days in Bangkok. But, we'd also like to plan to go somewhere else in the middle of our stay, maybe between 6-8 days long. The 3 options we are considering are:
1. Fly to Singapore, bus to Kuala Lumpur, fly back to Bangkok;
2. Bus to Siem Reap, bus to Phnom Pehn, fly back to Bangkok;
3. Fly to Chiang Mai, bus to Hoay Xay, boat ride to Luang Prabang, fly back to Bangkok.

Opinions? Is there any safety concern with any area that we should maybe consider?

Thank you!
jlaughs is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 02:31 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,984
No safety issues for any of those destinations. Options 2 and 3 are the most interesting. Either would be a worthy trip for you.

If you choose Siem Reap, do get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous temples. Also take a look at www.theplf.org
Kathie is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 07:26 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 441
I'd suggest flying from Bangkok to SR instead of the bus. I know its an expensive flight but do a search for border scams and make up your own mind. I'd agree that the second and third options are the most interesting.
silverwool is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 07:49 PM
  #4  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Direct bus from Bangkok to Siem Reap? (sorry I don't know how to make this link shorter)

http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic..._Province.html

I've read other things about the direct bus, but of course, can't find them again right now. Posts when the service first began talked about having to change buses at the border, waiting for those who needed to get their visas at the border, etc. More recent posts said that they did NOT have to get off the bus when crossing the border if they already had their eVisa and the bus did not wait for those who had to get their visa at the border.

The bus would take, I believe, 8-9 hours. We thought it might be a good opportunity to see some of the country, even if from a window as it zooms by, while saving some money. Of course, depending on how our schedule works out, we may opt for the quicker flight. Right now it's that toss up between time and cost.

Is anyone familiar with this direct bus?

Thanks for the feedback.
Judy
jlaughs is offline  
Apr 30th, 2013, 09:48 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,508
I would go for option 2. If you are happy dealing with the scams that will be attempted at the border,I would get the train from Bangkok to Aranyabpratet, overnight there and then get the bus ( or a taxii) to Siem Reap spend a few days there and then get the bus to Phnom Penh, one of my favourite cities in Asia and often( overlooked by many for some reason). Buses to Cambodia are fraught with problems notably baggage pilfering, waiting ages with no bus at the borders etc. www.talesofasia.com has some up to date info.

Option 1 is only good if you REALLY like big cities. Option 2 - IMO you don't really have enough time.
crellston is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 05:18 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,149
You might do option 2 the other way round, flying to PP and going overland to SR and Bangkok. There were never any concerns about the border crossing that way, and certainly no need to spend a night at the border. I went in that direction, using a car and driver to the border and the government bus onto Bangkok, and had no difficulty. Driving across Cambodia was more interesting than Thailand.
thursdaysd is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 05:24 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,984
I agree, you don't want to take the bus to Siem Reap. But you could fly BKK-Phnom Pehn cheaply, take the bus or even a taxi to Siem Reap, then travel overland back to Thailand. As others have said, not nearly the scams and hassles coming back to Thailand as there are going into Cambodia.

Crellston's recommendation to read the talesofasia site is a good one. Don't even think about traveling overland to Cambodia without studying it carefully.
Kathie is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 10:22 AM
  #8  
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Wonderful! Love the idea of reversing direction using our planned modes of transportation for option 2. Added benefit is that we would know if we have or want to take the time for a bus or train at the end of our side trip rather than at the beginning. Seems so logical, kicking myself for not thinking of it, but that's why I came back to the people on the Fodors Forum. And, I'll be sure to check out the link recommendation.

So, it seems that option 3 should be eliminated, but option 1 is still a contender because my bf is interested in going to Singapore. I told him that I would agree only if we could also go to Kuala Lumpur since Singapore alone has minimal appeal for me. Does anyone know if there is a night train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur?

Thanks!
jlaughs is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 11:00 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 7,508
Night train leaves at 23.30 arrives KL at 06.30


http://seat61.com/Malaysia.htm#Singa...nang_-_Bangkok
crellston is offline  
May 1st, 2013, 12:52 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 25,149
If you go to Singapore and KL you could also take a look at Melaka. Buses are another possibility, and they are good, but the night train should be more fun.
thursdaysd is offline  
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