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Thailand - November or January?

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Jul 4th, 2014, 07:20 AM
  #1
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Thailand - November or January?

Good morning

I am contemplating a possible trip to Thailand either this late fall/winter or the following year.

I am brand new on this board. I have been on Fodors Europe for years but have never ventured over to the Asia Board. So, I'm not a rookie traveler but am definitely an Asia rookie.

First things first - which month would be better - November, or January? Is one month much more rainy or humid than another month?

I am not a beach lounger (at least, not for long) but enjoy being outside otherwise - hiking, cycling, photography, exploring.

Any off-the-top of your head thoughts on regions to focus on (probably a two week trip), thoughts on solo travel for someone who is used to solo travel in Europe but has zero background in the Thai language or customs would be nice to hear... I haven't even decided if this will be solo, for sure, but it's at least 50-50 likely.

Many thanks for any thoughts. Even books or websites to seek out would be so helpful.

PS. I should mention I was weighing Cambodia, first, in order to see Angkor Wat, but right now I'm leaning Thailand. I could be persuaded otherwise.
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Jul 4th, 2014, 08:21 AM
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Either November or January has good weather in Thailand. If you were planning on a beach, I'd say January, and November is a transition month on the Andaman coast. Since you have thought about Cambodia, I'd encourage you to consider a side trip to Angkor while you are visiting Thailand.

You don't need to know Thai to travel there, but do read a bit about the culture and customs first. You will find that more people in Thailand speak English than do people in many European countries. Any of the good guidebooks will give you sufficient background. For many of us here, Bangkok is our favorite city in the world. There is much to do and see in Bangkok and wonderful food and amazing shopping. I'd also recommend a stop in Northern Thailand. While I'm not fond of the city of Chiang Mai, some people love it. If you opt to go to Northern Thailand do spend some time in the countryside.

Angkor is truly one of the wonders of the world. If you are interested, get a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. You would need three full days to see the major temples.

I've traveled solo to Thailand, and I think it is safer than major European cities. It's rare to hear of a pickpocket incident, unlike the major European cities.

Enjoy your planning. While I enjoy Europe, I am addicted to SE Asia. Take a look at some of our photos: www.marlandc.com
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Jul 4th, 2014, 08:05 PM
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I have travelled solo to Bangkok a number of times. I agree with Kathie that it is safe. Just use caution as you would anywhere else! I am returning to Bangkok in less than two weeks on a solo trip. I have not been to Cambodia but many here have and they often suggest combining it with a Thailand trip.

My husband and I travel to Europe at least twice a year, but I have never done a solo trip!

I am also not a beach lounger, but I like Phuket and Koh Samui anyway. I do enjoy Chiang Mai in the north. In April we did a 6 day driving trip to CM from BKK and it was great fun! Next time I would love to include Chiang Rai and maybe Pai, Mae Hong Son.

Enjoy planning your trip. I would probably say January rather than November for really nice weather.
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Jul 4th, 2014, 08:13 PM
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hi flygirl! With the great help from posters on this board we did our first trip to Thailand a couple years ago in January and really enjoyed it. First trip we did BKK, Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai (have a great guide for CR area), drove to Mae Hong Son and Pai and flew down to Aonang Beach. We're not beach people either but figured we had to at least see the gorgeous Thai beaches. We've got a TR from our first trip to Thailand.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 03:18 AM
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Does that two weeks include travelling time from you local airport?

If so, then you've only got 12 nights (max) in Thailand.

Kathie says that for many, 'Bangkok is our favourite city in the world'. Maybe true, but for many Bangkok is somewhere that has to be endured, and it's just a starting and finishing point. And in any case, it's massive, sprawling, polluted, in your face from the outset, and it's definitely somewhere that will need to grow on you - you can't just settle into it!

Only a relatively small area is conveniently covered by public transport, ie. Skytrain (BTS), Subway/Underground (MRT), and public ferry. Travel by taxi (apart from to/from the airport) or public bus can be v.slow due to the choking roads. So it's best to have a firm plan of what you want to get out of your stay in Bangkok, and finding a hotel to fir your budget close to either the Skytrain or public ferry should be a priority.

Personally, I'd only stay in Bangkok for a max of 2 nights on arrival, and if you are flying home from Bangkok then you'll really need to stay in town or an airport hotel for the final night.

So your initial 14 nights have now been whittled down to 9 nights (max). How do you want to use that time, and how do you want to travel around, by air, or bus/train?

Chiang Mai is often recommended, but I think it's just like Bangkok on a smaller scale.

I'll see what everyone else suggests before chipping in again.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 09:07 AM
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Thank you everyone for humoring me as I dip a toe in here.

I would expect 14 nights on the ground. I would likely not decide on how much time to spend in Bangkok until I've read about what to see there. I vaguely remember a friend telling me you can have silk clothing made there (if I am not mistaken) and in fact she took a favorite dress on a trip with her (wherever in Asia it was) and the seamstress made a few copies for her in silk. She said it was reasonably priced. I would be interested in doing something similar - what a nice souvenir. I imagine I could get it started upon arrival and pickup before I left for home?

I did some poking around on what tour operators offer and it seems Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are on several tours. I have heard of Krabi and that it is gorgeous.. I've heard of Phuket but don't know much about it... I don't even know how far apart these various places are, yet.

yestravel I will look up your report - and pin you down at the next GTG!

In looking at weather charts it seems January is drier than November but November doesn't look particularly rainy. I do like cooler weather when traveling, so the north would figure highly into this trip.

Not yet sure if I'll cross a border. It would be tempting to visit Angkor Wat as well, since I will be already coming that far, but if it's going to take 5 days to comfortably do so perhaps I should make that a completely separate trip. I'm sure to be back.

Kathie, thank you for the photo link - lovely photos! I will peruse the various sets you've made. So colorful!
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Jul 5th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Do you have a guidebook yet? I think it is difficult to incorporate information if you don't have a framework for it. So get yourself a good guidebook and start reading. I wouldn't take a tour anywhere in Thailand - absolutely no need, as there is great infrastructure for travelers and the travel is easy.

There are tailors everywhere in Thailand and many advertise very cheap prices and short lead times. You get what you pay for. The place most often recommended for women's clothing is Cotton House, in the small shopping center behind The Oriental Hotel, and there is another place in River City that gets good reviews. Note that if you take along a garment to have them copy, you are not getting custom tailored clothing, you are getting a reproduction of off-the-rack clothes. Even if you want them to copy a garment, do have it carefully fitted. Good tailoring takes time. So yes, have it started when you arrive in Bangkok and get the final fitting and pick it up when you leave Thailand.

Krabi and Phuket are on the Andaman Sea, as are come other beach areas like Koh Lak and Ko Lanta. This area should have good weather while you are in Thailand.

yestravel has an excellent report here, as does Chris45NY (her report is here on the first page).

You wondered about what to see in Bangkok. I could give a long list of my favorites, but take a look at some of the sets of Bangkok photos on our website, as that will give you a good intro.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 12:26 PM
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I did take along a favorite "man" shirt and had four more made, but with the buttons on the correct side for a woman, as well as a pleat down the back, for shaping. If you have a dress you dearly love, then by all means, have more made in that exact style and fit. But as Kathie says, you get what you pay for, and you will need to have fittings even if you have something copied. I had those shirts copied about 10 years ago and I am still very happy with them! They are done in cotton/poly prints, not in silk.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 01:12 PM
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I've had other friends who also took along a favorite article of clothing for copying and they were generally happy with results.

I'm quite tall and I originally started out getting pants made (dressy work trousers I guess you would say)and I was pleased with having something that fit correctly! It's hard to find a 36" inseam, and the clothing in the Tall Girls stores was not my style at all.

If you see something in a magazine, cut out the picture and take it along with you to the tailor. Sometimes that will help them design something for you.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 01:56 PM
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I can't believe, although I know it happens all the time, that people travel half-way round the world at great expense just to get a few bits of clothing copied in Bangkok.

Then when they get home, they tell their friends what a wonderful time they had in Thailand, when they hadn't even stepped foot outside of Bangkok!
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Jul 5th, 2014, 02:21 PM
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I don't know of anyone who traveled to Bangkok "just to get a few bits of clothing copied." But I know plenty of people who have had clothing made in Bangkok.

Bangkok is part of Thailand, LL, even if you don't like the city.
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Jul 5th, 2014, 03:06 PM
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LL, to whom are your comments directed?
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Jul 5th, 2014, 11:57 PM
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@kathie<<>>

I never said I don't like the city. I know the most convenient places to stay (for me) in Bangkok, how to get around without scratching my head, and can easily fill up 2 or 3 days with interesting things to do. But then it's time to move on to somewhere greener, less polluted, and with a slower way of life.

@simpsonc510<<>>

Anybody who reads them.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 04:09 AM
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Both months are fairly good weather except for Samui, Tao and KPN.

Early Jan is peak season so late Jan better than early.

Nov less crowds so Nov is better IMO.

Krabi is only 2 to 3 hrs drive from Phuket or u can catch ferries.

IMO Krabi more scenic and better. Trang is also good.

Bangkok is a great night city but days can be humid and smoggy. Great food.

Kanchanaburi province is scenic and fun too.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 04:57 AM
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Having the choice of November or January, I'd go for early November or late January. Once you get to the beginning of December it's high to peak season right through until the end of January.

Another vote for Kanchanaburi. Too many folk do it as a v.long guided day trip, whereas it's a place to enjoy over a few days, and with enough time carry on to the Thai-Myanmar border at Sangkhlaburi. Beautiful, serene, and full of history...

http://www.seat61.com/Bridge-on-the-...m#.U7k48JRdVEw

I haven't done the Mae Hong Soon loop. But if I only had a couple of weeks available then it'd been fairly high up the batting order.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 05:00 AM
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Prachuap and the Lanclad seem to post at the same time! Be careful and make sure you log-off before posting under the other person's name!
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Jul 6th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Sorry but different people. Learn some manners instead of calling people "white foreigner bird crap" hey?
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Jul 6th, 2014, 05:44 AM
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Hmmm! I can assure you we've never met, nor ever likely to either.

Perhaps we post at similar times because we're both often logged on at the same time. That just happens to be when a lot of regular posters are still fast asleep in the USA, and the forum is relatively quiet.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 05:49 AM
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Don't worry about him. He claims to be Thai but all he did was use a Thai keyboard to abuse me with a common low class insult.
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Jul 6th, 2014, 06:55 AM
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Many of us have met Hanuman, and we can assure you he IS Thai, so please have your facts correct before posting. I guess I thought Fodors was to HELP the traveler , and even the not so positive side of a place can be portrayed in a gentler manner. One can give information to guide a traveler, not be so nasty. After all if you have to "endure" a place why bother?
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