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impacked Jun 21st, 2009 07:52 PM

Thailand Again
I am all over the map as we have time in September to travel and I have miles with Singapore Air that will expire at the end of the year. We have been to Thailand twice and always love it. We have visited Bangkok, Sukothai, Chaing Mai, Chaing Rai, Phukuet, Lampang.

We love small villages, local markets, places of history (including temples) and day hikes
Although, we love the sea (who doesn't) we are not into lazing on the beach or diving.

Have any suggestions and could we self drive if we're out of the cities?

Thanks so Much!

filmwill Jun 21st, 2009 08:08 PM

Sounds like you might want to look into Mae Hong Son...has all the qualities you described...and lots of hiking and trails to keep you busy.

We were there in December and absolutely loved it. Fern Resort is THE place to stay!

rhkkmk Jun 21st, 2009 08:16 PM

september is a bit of a tough time because of the staying away from the sea might be a first MHS mentioned above might work as might the golden triangle/chiang rai area...

what about bali, an easy trip from singapore? its the end of their high season....

Kathie Jun 21st, 2009 09:00 PM

Consider the Golden Triangle area. Take a look at the Anantara at the Golden Triangle as a lovely place to stay. A number of people on the board (including Bob) have flown into Chiang Rai and rented a car there to driven to the Anantara. Filmwill's idea of Mae Hong Son is another good idea.

crellston Jun 21st, 2009 11:20 PM

I second filmwill's suggestion of Mae Hong Sorn. We drove the MHS loop from Chiang Mai, through Pai, MHS, Mai Sariang etc. using teh Budget car rental world class drive maps which can be downloaded free from:

There are lots of national parks and villages which you can take as side trip not too far off the main loop. The villagers are really welcoming but I would suggest taking Lonely Planet's Thai phrasebook as a few words in the hilltribe language goes down really well.
I concur with filmwill on the Fern Resort. A great place to stay as we did on NYE and ate a BBQ dinner sitting around the bonfire. (They also have "guide dogs" who will take you out on walks in the surrounding hills). There are also some really nice places in Pai (I think we stayed at the Bella Vista)

The driving is easy with quiet roads but lots of hills and bends. I would suggest a 4WD - the main road is tarmac as are most of the places you may want to visit but 4WD does provide the opportunity to get to smaller villages and the higher seating position makes the most of the spectacular mountain views.

There is also a drive there for the Golden Triangle which is also good but IMHO, not as spectacular as the MHS loop.

impacked Jun 22nd, 2009 10:26 AM

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! WE are so excited especially since we love driving trips and exploring on our own. I think Mae Hong Sorn is our answer and Fern's looks perfect.

I'm off to work on tickets and an itinerary!

I really appreciate your time and great suggestions!!

filmwill Jun 22nd, 2009 12:16 PM

impacked, glad you found it as alluring as we all do.

crellston has some really fantastic suggestions about a driving tour. In retrospect, I wish we had had the time and done that. We took a bus from MHS to Pai (also, may be worth 1 night of your time--look into The Quarter...beautiful hotel!) and the scenery is just breathtaking. Wish we could've stopped and explored more.

Looking forward to hearing about your adventures!

Say hi to Panda for us, a resident guide dog at Fern Resort and one of the sweetest and most loving dogs ever (not to be confused with the other Panda...the speedo-wearing troublemaker endemic to this site.)

impacked Jun 22nd, 2009 04:46 PM

Thanks again...I found Crellston posting and read it with great interest. We decided to fly to Chaing Mai, rent a car and hit the road after one night. We've been doing research to see what other sites we may want to explore and certainly open to any ideas?

Hanuman Jun 22nd, 2009 06:04 PM

The drive to Pai will take you around 3 - 4 hours for a leisure drive on a road with lots of sharp curves. The drive to MHS will take you another 2 - 3 hours on a lesser curvy road. I would suggest a regular saloon car with a low centre of gravity, like a Toyota Camry over a 4WD, and you will be able to negotiate the bends better.

I also suggest that you try and book your car for a one way trip, like renting it from CM and dropping it off in MHS, and fly back from there. Doing the drive one way is fun but having to come back as well could get a bit boring.

A couple of years ago the Bangkok Post, with the cooperation of the Tourism Authority of Thailand, gave away several series of "Road Map" booklets to their subscribers. The map had information and pictures on all the attractions(wats etc), restaurants and hotels listed. They also provided the map on line in PDF forms but I'm not sure if it's still available. I'm a Thai and I find the map very useful so please try and search the Bangkok Post web site and if you have no luck then post here again with your email(I'll email the maps to you).

Hanuman Jun 22nd, 2009 06:13 PM

I've found the link for the Bangkok Post road maps. HIGHLY recommend that you download them for your trip up North.

crellston Jun 23rd, 2009 12:21 AM

filmwill - had I known that the dog was named Panda I would never have followed it! As it was the 2-3 mile walk we were supposed to take lasted for hours and seemed more like 9-10 miles as the dog took us around the hills and eventually into a small village. Could it have been trying to achieve its billable hours target like its namesake?

impacked Jun 23rd, 2009 03:00 PM

Hanuman, thanks for the info and the direct link to a great web site- my husband has had the printer going for the last 20 minutes! Also, thanks for the suggestion but my Driver/Guide (aka spouse) says he would like to do a loop up to Suppong.
Filmwill - we are huge dog lovers and know we will enjoy hiking with the resident guides. Can't wait!

khunwilko Jun 23rd, 2009 10:11 PM

You might consider a loop round the mid-south.
Fly to Phuket (or Surat Thani) and drive the circuit. Phuket Ranong Chumpon Surat and back across to Phuket. It's a fair old drive but in includes both the beautiful West coast the East coast which is relatively undeveloped and you could include the stunning Khao Sok National park in between Surat and Takua...on the way to Phuket.

If you think it is too long a trip, there are plenty of "short cuts" from the west to East coast that will shorten the trip a lot.
you'll get coast, mountains and the odd little town and market on the way.

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