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-   -   Thailand - 2 week itinerary (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/thailand-2-week-itinerary-1659603/)

ocanada Oct 25th, 2018 02:01 PM

Thailand - 2 week itinerary
 
Hi everyone,
my wife and I are planning our first trip to Asia. We'll be going the first 2 weeks of December and are looking for some feedback on potential itineraries. We'll be flying in and out of Bangkok. Want to relax on the beach for 3-4 days and travel around the rest of the time. Wondering if we should do Chang Mai and Angkor Wat or if we should pick one and skip the other.

Potential itinerary while visiting both would be as follows:
1. depart
2 . late evening arrival in Bangkok
3. Bangkok
4. Bangkok
5. Fly to Chang Mai
6. Chang Mai
7. Fly to Phuket
8. Beach
9. Beach
10. Beach
11. Fly to Siem Reap
12. Angkor Wat
13 Angkor Wat - Fly to Bangkok
14 Fly home

Option B

Remove either Chang Mai or Angkor Wat.
Add 2 beach days or
Add 1 beach day and 1 day at location that doesn't get removed.

If recommending Option B, please advise which you would choose.

Thank you in advance for your advice.

SirHalberd Oct 25th, 2018 02:31 PM

Unless you can add a few more days to your trip my suggestion is to skip Cambodia this time. Add one day to Chiang Mai and one day to your beach area. I think Chiang Mai is worth another day or two. With 14 days you barely have time just for Thailand. A final night in Bangkok is good idea so you can do your serious shopping, eat some good meals and be a simple taxi or train ride to the airport. (If you do any souvenir shopping early on you carry that stuff with you all over the place.)

Keep in mind that all of Thailand has summertime type weather all year long. Even in Bangkok you can get a tan once you are away from the shadows of tall buildings. BTW, Bangkok is a big city! Some parts of the city have some decent rail service. (Airport Rail Link, subway and Skytrain.)
http://www.bangkok.com/bangkok-area-guide.htm
http://www.urbanrail.net/as/bang/bangkok.htm

Most Western currencies get a better rate of exchange changing money in Thailand. If you haven't done so read up on how to use meter taxis for Bangkok. And for every country you visit always research any scams to avoid.

* Some tourists who come from cold climates use the first Bangkok hotel to store winter clothing and stuff not needed in Thailand until you go home. Schedule a final night back at the same hotel and get your stuff. For me, in Bangkok I prefer to use a hotel where I can use city rail service. Some tourists choose Riverside where you have some nice places, too boring for my tastes. Some tourists choose Pratunam or Siam area to be closer to shopping.

Bangkok is cheaper than Phuket. (My opinion.) Bangkok's cheap buses, rail service and meter taxis make the city easier on the wallet.

That's my 2 cents worth!

Have a good trip.

Guenmai Oct 25th, 2018 02:43 PM

With only 2 weeks, I would stick to staying in Thailand the entire time.

Happy Travels!

ocanada Oct 25th, 2018 05:10 PM

SirHalberd and Guenmai, thanks for the advice. Makes sense. If we stay in Thailand for the duration, looks like we could also reach Krabi pretty easily by flight. Would you recommend flying into Phuket or Krabi for the beach portion of our trip? From what I've read so far, sounds like Phuket is more hectic and crowded.

Guenmai Oct 25th, 2018 10:58 PM

I don’t know about Phuket and Krabi as, although I love the ocean, I don’t need to seek out beach destinations for vacation as I’m from L.A. and have the beach/ocean year around. I’m a real Bangkok person and on this upcoming trip, it will be 20 years of going there regularly. I’ve also been up in Chiangmai, but it was 20 years ago. One thing is for sure is that there is plenty to do in Thailand for 2 weeks. I do 6 weeks straight in Bangkok alone. As for your itinerary, personally I would do 4 nights in Chiangmai, 5 nights at the beach-as that seems to be a big preference, and 5 nights in Bangkok. I would put Bangkok at the end of the trip to just relax, eat great food, sightsee, and shop before flying home.

Happy Travels!

Cyansiam Oct 25th, 2018 11:23 PM


Originally Posted by ocanada (Post 16815055)
SirHalberd and Guenmai, thanks for the advice. Makes sense. If we stay in Thailand for the duration, looks like we could also reach Krabi pretty easily by flight. Would you recommend flying into Phuket or Krabi for the beach portion of our trip? From what I've read so far, sounds like Phuket is more hectic and crowded.

Depends where you stay on Phuket, north is quieter (Nai Thon, Layan, Laguna, Surin or possibly Nai Yang) or one of the islands, just avoid Patong. Kata and Karon will be busier but more family friendly, Nai Harn/Rawai is okay as well. There is far more culture in Cambodia than Thailand so if that is what you are looking for stick with Siem Reap, you can fly direct to Phuket from there.

crellston Oct 26th, 2018 12:14 AM

I see no problem in including Cambodia in the time you have available as it is pretty straightforward to get there from many places in Thailand.Where to go largely depends on your interests.

Bangkok is manic, hot with a tremendous amount to see. I would consult a guide book determine what interests you before allocating your time there. you need three full days min IMO

I really like Chiang Mai and have spent a fair amount of time there but, in the context of the time you have, I would probably give it a miss. One full day is just not worth the time and effort require to get there.

Angkor Wat is stunning but will be very crowded in Dec. many will say you need 3 full days minimum just to cover the highlights and, there is a lot to see. we took my in laws there for an anniversary trip and they’re delighted with just the one full day ( although two would be better). you could consider including a couple of days in Phnom Penh, one of the most fascinating cities in Asia and, imo probably a better alternative to Chiang Mai. a couple of days there would be great.

It is many years since I have visited Phuket and to be frank, it wasn’t my favourite beach destination then, but it is easy to get to. with beach time, I think it is as much about the hotel as the actual destination. I would also probably schedule your beach time at the end of your trip. that way you can relax and reflect upon your experiences and plan your next trip to Asia...

SirHalberd Oct 26th, 2018 03:28 AM

I would save Cambodia for another visit, maybe include Vietnam at that time.

I don't need good beaches anymore got too many sunspots already. (Happy enough with a nice bathtub in a hotel.) For me, Phuket, been there done that - didn't care for it! I am too much of a cheapskate!

Sample Google search below:
https://traveltriangle.com/blog/krab...t-infographic/

As they say in Thailand, up to you!

Kathie Oct 26th, 2018 07:40 AM

Which of these destination is most important to you?

Personally, I'm not a fan of Chiang Mai. I'd much rather go to Cambodia to see Angkor. But if you choose to do that you need to give yourselves three full days on the ground in Cambodia (meaning you will spend four nights there). If you have an interest, pick up Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples.

ocanada Oct 26th, 2018 01:13 PM

We'll arrive and fly out of Bangkok so we thought it would make sense to spend 3 days there. We're definitely doing a few days on the beach. We need to decide on either Chiang Mai or Angkor. Angkor does sound amazing but some people seem to think it might be overly crowded that time of the year. Not a fan of crowds but must admit we've never been disapointed by any of UNESCO's World Heritage sites in our travels. Main reason for visiting Chiang Mai would be the city itself, trekking, biking and the mountain scenery. We'd also probably check out the elephant preserve.

Thanks again to everyone for your input. Very helpful.

LancasterLad Oct 26th, 2018 06:48 PM

December is Peak Period, zillions of young hedonistics all over the main tourist spots. For Phuket, have a look at Nai Yang Beach. Beautiful, and much less populated than the main Phuket area. Right by Phuket Airport too, but not right under the flight path.
Chiang Mai is much like BKK,and v.congested with motor bikes.

I'd choose Siem Reap or Phnom Penh instead.

In BKK have a look at staying away from all the high rise and glitz. Phra Athit area in Banglamphu, right by the River springs to mind. Loads to do in that area, and close to many of the sights. A trip up the River by Orange Flag public ferry is a must.

​​​​

Cyansiam Oct 26th, 2018 11:28 PM

There are now 2 elephant sanctuaries on Phuket run under the umbrella of the one in Chiang Mai....ENP, if that helps.

ocanada Oct 28th, 2018 11:28 AM

Thanks for the latest posts.

Would Siem Reap be less crowded than Chiang Mai?

Would Krabi be less crowded than Phuket?

Kathie Oct 28th, 2018 02:31 PM

You will be there during high season, so there will be lots of visitors from all over the world.

No, Siem Reap will not be lass crowded than Chains Mai, because you will be visiting a finite number of temples, whereas in Chiang Mai, there will be more people there (just because CM is a large city) but spread out over a larger area.

As far as Phuket vs. Krabi goes, it depends on exactly where you are staying. If you want less crowded, you might want to look at Koh Lac or Khao Lanta. But you will find some areas of Phuket more crowded and other areas less crowded.

Cyansiam Oct 28th, 2018 10:02 PM

As Kathie says some areas in Phuket are always busy but first two weeks of December are traditionally quieter, the mass come for Xmas and New Year, I would presume the same for Krabi. Anywhere on the west coast north of Kamala is less touristy. If you want to do any tours/excursions choose carefully to avoid the chinese circus but this would apply anywhere in Asia now.

Kavey Nov 8th, 2018 07:35 AM

We spent three weeks in Thailand this January and loved it. No beaches for us, as it's not our thing but some of our itinerary choices would combine well with your time in / near Bangkok and Phuket.

I would agree with leaving Angkor Watt for another trip, not that you couldn't readily travel there, but you may as well see as much of Thailand as you can with your time. We did really enjoy Chiang Mai (and Chiang Rai) but I agree with Kathie that with your limited time, I'm not sure it's worth the visit. That said, we also did a one night trip to stay with a Akha hill tribe between CM and CR, whichw e loved).

My suggestion instead of Angkor Watt would be to visit Ayutthaya, and give it an overnight if you can, though it's also popular as a (long) day trip from Bangkok. Here is a post about the highlights of Ayutthaya for us: https://www.kaveyeats.com/2018/03/be...-thailand.html

Another recommendation I would suggest for you is to combine a visit to Khao Sok National Park with your time in Phuket.
You can visit an ethical Elephant Sanctuary, and also spend a night on the floating rainforest camp, such a highlight of our trip:
https://www.kaveyeats.com/2018/02/el...-thailand.html
https://www.kaveyeats.com/2018/03/a-...-thailand.html

ocanada Nov 25th, 2018 05:19 PM

thanks again everyone for all your input. We have finalized our itinerary.

3 days in Bangkok
3 in Chiang Mai
3 in Krabi
3 in Phi Phi

Looking forward to it.

SirHalberd Nov 27th, 2018 04:23 AM

IF you fly home from Bangkok don't try to arrive at the airport on a last minute connecting flight. Miss the flight home would cost you a lot of money for a replacement flight. Connecting flights can be late or even be cancelled for maintenance issues.

Lots of time in transit. Going to airport, waiting for departure, on flight and then getting bags. Taxi to hotel and then unpacking at your hotel, etc.

Have a good trip!

LancasterLad Nov 27th, 2018 06:02 AM


Originally Posted by SirHalberd (Post 16831324)
IF you fly home from Bangkok don't try to arrive at the airport on a last minute connecting flight. Miss the flight home would cost you a lot of money for a replacement flight. Connecting flights can be late or even be cancelled for maintenance issues.

Lots of time in transit. Going to airport, waiting for departure, on flight and then getting bags. Taxi to hotel and then unpacking at your hotel, etc.

Sound advice is never have a Domestic Flight on the same day as your International Exit Flight. In this case stay overnight in Bangkok.....remove all stress.

LancasterLad Nov 27th, 2018 06:08 AM


Originally Posted by SirHalberd (Post 16831324)
IF you fly home from Bangkok don't try to arrive at the airport on a last minute connecting flight. Miss the flight home would cost you a lot of money for a replacement flight. Connecting flights can be late or even be cancelled for maintenance issues.

Lots of time in transit. Going to airport, waiting for departure, on flight and then getting bags. Taxi to hotel and then unpacking at your hotel, etc.

Sound advice is never have a Domestic Flight on the same day as your International Exit Flight. In this case stay overnight in Bangkok.....remove all stress.

Fully agree about all the time lost in transit, and one hiccup can easily disrupt.


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