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Thailand or Greece?! Please Help Us Decide!

Thailand or Greece?! Please Help Us Decide!

Jun 22nd, 2005, 07:46 PM
  #1  
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Thailand or Greece?! Please Help Us Decide!

We would love to hear from people that have visited both of these countries. We know we will visit both of these places within the next few years but we are trying to decide where to go next year.

We are both quite adventuresome and we have both travelled through most of Europe but we have never been to Asia. I would like to sail a bit at whatever destination we decide on but that is not a requirement.

For our vacation next year we wanted to relax a bit rather than zip from place to place trying to see everything.

What do you suggest?

I will also post this in the Europe forum.

Thanks for your input!

Cheers!

eurotraveller is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:15 PM
  #2  
 
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Hard to compare the two!! That is an understatement! When are you thinking of going? ie. what month(s)?

I would buy some good guidebooks & decide which country has what you are looking for. Everyone here has their own opinion based on what interests them.

We were in Greece in April/May 2004 and liked it but hated the prices-so expensive! Also I felt that the Greek Islands were slickly marketed and failed to deliver what we'd seen in photos and heard about.

We travel to Thailand regularly as we love the food, sights, shopping, great value accommodation, gentle, hospitable people, crystal clear waters of the islands to the south, heat when we need it, cool days & nights in the mountains, easy to drive in, etc. Cheap, cheap, cheap!

See Thailand in Nov, Dec & Jan for the best weather, imho.

Lyndie is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:19 PM
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I've lived in Greece...in Athens for a year...and been a tourist in Greece 4 other times. I love Greece; I'm sure in a previous life I must have been Greek because every single time I go there when I arrive in the city, the smell of the city is nostalgic. Hard to describe, but I just feel reallly connected to the place and always have.

There is lots to do in Greece, and the pace is slow. Sailing is poplular. Water sports abound on the islands and beaches. Hiking is possible just about everywhere. Greece is quite different from other European countries...though I can't quite put my finger on what sets it apart so much.

Thailand...I also love Thailand. Interesting that you want to compare the two, as my first trip to Bangkok brought back Greek memories in many ways. Believe it or not, to me, Athens and Bangkok really resemble each other quite a bit. There is old mixed in with new architecture in both cities, the roads are incredibly crowdes and chaotic, concrete is the building material of choice, after dark the cities both come alive. Many shops are unlit during the day (keep the temperature down in theory). The pace is slower than other huge cities.

I'd say whichever you choose to visit first will not disappoint you. Both Greece and Thailand offer a wide variety of sites, activities, relaxation...the only thing I think Thailand might win on is massage. I would even budget a similar amount of money for both, but in Thailand I think you might get more luxury for your money...not that Greece is expensive, but you may not find equal luxury to what you might find in Thailand in Greece for the same price. Greece has plenty of stunning hotels, villas and rooms for rent.
KimJapan is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 08:50 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the quick responses!

I do realize that both countries are worlds apart in cultural experience.

We don't have any particular time of year planned at this moment.

When we will travel will depend on where we go.

We will be gone for approximately 3 weeks.

We are both in our early 40's, love adventure, exploring different cultures and ethnic foods.

We know we will travel to both countries soon but we can't seem to decide which one to visit first!

Keep the opinions coming!

eurotraveller is offline  
Jun 22nd, 2005, 09:25 PM
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We live in Thailand but did a trip to Greece and Croatia a couple of years back, yes, they are totally different, although having been to other places in Europe I liked Greece and Croatia the best, in fact I disliked much of Europe, sorry........naturally the costs were very very high compared with what we are used to in Thailand, many told us when talking that even just 7 or 8 years ago things were much cheaper and better but since becoming part of the EU they said prices had gone crazy and even the small islands were faced with headache beurocracy that was damaging the old way charms, anyway, I veer from the point, but certainly the costs of any type of hotel that we are used to in this part of the world was just way beyond our reach.

We felt poor!

They are so different but if you have not yet visited Asia then Thailand is a great place to start, almost everyone who visits Thailand returns again and again, and again. relaxed, laid back, cheap, great hotels and resorts, great shopping and restaurants, culture, easy life.
I am biased but in all honesty I would say Thailand and other parts of Asia will surprise you and you tend you get what you expect, a big part of that is great accommodation whatever you pay.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:29 AM
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ttt

I think we have stolen Eurotraveller from the Europe Board so topping this so others can add ideas, OP plan is perhaps 3 weeks but wants to include maybe Cambodia too.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 05:38 AM
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They are both wonderful and three weeks is a good length of time for a trip to either. One thought -- if you are interested in different cultures, you might consider Thailand first since it still has some vestiges of the "old thailand" and the "old culture" but the longer you wait the more western it will become. I think if you wait a few years to go to Greece you will be seeing essentially the same country as if you go now. The same can not be said of Thailand.
glorialf is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:11 AM
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Whichever you choose if you want to sail I highly recommend www.seascape-sail.com. You can see other posts I have made here about our time in Turkey with them, but they also run sailing trips in Greece and Thailand. It is a great way to see what you couldn't really access by land and Diane and her colleagues at that company are really great as were our fellow travelers. Enjoy planning your trip!
laurie_ann is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:14 AM
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We visited Greece a few years ago (Santorini and Athens)and we just loved it!! Santorini was absolutely breathtaking.The people were friendly, the food was great...On the otherhand, we had visited Thailand twice before that..We loved Thailand. And we want to go back again to both places but right now we are hooked on India!! But seeing as how you haven't been to Asia yet, but have travelled so much through Europe..I would go to Thailand!
TracyB is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:22 AM
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No brainer again- its Thailand for so many reasons- too numerous to list.
BillT is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 09:00 AM
  #11  
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Well, my boyfriend was convinced that we should go to Greece. I am going to have to show him this thread to sway him towards Thailand!

Our friends in Germany will probably join us for this holiday.

We obviously have not looked into cost to charter a sail boat with a skipper (we will crew since a couple of us are avid sailors). Can anyone give us an idea of what it would cost to cahrter a sail boat for a week with 4 people? I looked into Greece but not Thailand yet.

Laurie Ann, we just returned from 2 fabulous weeks in Turkey. Next time we will visit the coast of Turkey.

Thanks for the feedback!

Cheers!

eurotraveller is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 09:25 AM
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With Sea Scape you do not have to charter the whole boat. We were a couple, sounds like you, early 40s and we had our own cabin but shared the boat 8 "strangers" who quickly became "friends". A week like that is about US $800 per person, which is boat, crew, breakfast and lunch (but not dinner although I think in Thailand they bring a cook and you get all three meals because there are not really restaurants like there are in all the coastal hamlets of Greece and Turkey) and soft drinks and local beer and wine.
laurie_ann is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:10 PM
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I've been to Greece, but I keep returning to Thailand. The people are warmer, the value for you dollar is incredibly better. Thailand lends itself well to slower travel. Choose three or four destinations for three weeks: perhaps Bangkok, the temples at Angkor, a spot in Northern Thailand, and a beach destination.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 03:40 PM
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I've been to both several times. Greece is my favorite European country. Athens has so much culture and history to offer and the island are stunning, though I wasn't crazy about Mykonos. Crete and Rhodes are must sees, as is Santorini but the latter is very touristy and crowded if you go during high or shoulder season. If you go in low season, it will be less crowded and cheaper but you risk many reataurants being closed up for the cold weather. Also, if you go anytime from Oct to April and want to take boats, the seas can get very rough and it is not at all pleasant. I spent 10 hours on a boat in Oct of 1996 going from Santorini to Mykonos with my head over a bucket! It wasn't just me either, everyone was sick! If you go in that time period, fly between islands.

Thailand on the other hand, is, some would say, a much more exotic destination. Bangkok, my favorite city in the world, has loads of sights, culture, shopping, eating, in other words, you will never be bored. The islands are beautiful (if you like beaches, this is the place for you--much nicer beaches in Thailand than in Greece IMHO) and Northern Thailand is a real gem. The Thais are lovely, gentle welcoming people, and on top of it all, as mentioned by others, it's MUCH cheaper than Greece is right now.
laurieco is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 08:53 PM
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I just returned 2 Greece travel guides and bought one Thailand book. I have always been drawn to Thailand and I am not sure why I haven't been there yet. I was hooked on Mexico for several years, then the Caribbean and for the last 10 years or so I have been hooked on Europe. Now.... be afraid, be very afraid... I know I will get hooked on Asia!

I know this has been asked before but I will ask again anyway. What is the best island to spend some time relaxing on? We both have spent so much time zipping around to see sights in Europe that we are ready for some R&R in Thailand! We would like to visit an island or two from which we can scuba, snorkel and kayak. What is your favorite?

We would also enjoy hanging out in a nice quiet villa that is fairly close to some active night life.

We are early 40's and adventuresome but now that we have entered middle age we can't seem to stay up and party until 2:00 a.m.

I must warn you that now that I have made the decision to travel to Thailand I will be posting many questions! I look forward to getting to know all of the regulars that post helpful info on the Asia Forum. Sometimes the Europe forum has a few jerks that seem to only frequent the site to criticize people.

Cheers!
eurotraveller is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 09:34 PM
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Hi euro-I'm sure you won't be disappointed with Thailand!

Koh Samui is worth a visit as it is a pretty little island with lots of nightlife, water sports, shopping etc. We also loved Railay Bay near Krabi but in Dec 2004 it had become overdeveloped and too busy. We hear since the tsunami it has become more beautiful than it was previously. Someone who has been recently might be able to update you. Some here love Phuket but we thought it was way too developed and too much of a tourist trap for us.

We are hoping to get down to Ko Tarutao in Dec 2005. There is a national park there and the diving & snorkelling sound spectacular. Do a search on google for info or someone here might know more. You'll have a great time in Thailand. It is truly spectacular!
Lyndie is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 10:36 PM
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I very strongly suggest you use Yahoo to search these days, especially for Asia ! I have been reading localy some very 'interesting' news about how websites are listed, who comes up high etc, based on that I would stick with Yahoo
JamesA is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 10:59 PM
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If you want to scuba and snorkel by day and then have lively restaurants and some nightlife Koh Samui or Phuket would be your best choices, weather dictates which, May to October Samui has good weather and then the weather pattersn change and November thru to May Phuket/Krabi etc have the better weather.
From both Samui and Phuket for decent scuba you have to go to nearby islands, it is big business and highly organised, although both isalnds/areas are often termed as being commercial the fact is that they do actually provide what people are after, and in the case of scuba, kayak, rock climbing, soft adventures, buffalor and elephant rides and the like mixed with plenty of restaurants, night shopping, lot of bars and some fun nightlife they actually 'do' come up with the goods!

I might have missed it but have you decided time of year yet?

To whet your appetitve here are some local sites to browse: Phuket

http://www.phuket.com/sports/water_sports.htm

http://www.phuket.com/spa_massage/index.htm

http://www.phuket.com/island/attract.htm


This is quite a nice site about Chiang Mai ( up North ) from Sergeant Kai:

http://www.chiangmaitours.com/



JamesA is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 11:05 PM
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Lyndie, quite a few years back we went to Sukorn island in Turatao area, small island and incredibly quiet ( then anyway ), nice beach bungalows and cheap, from Satun on mainland you can take a boat trip to Langkawi. The road from Trang up towards the ferries for Koh lanta is very good now and it's a lovely part of Southern Thailand, but it is very very quiet, still now quite off the normal trail.
They did Survivor Thailand there a few years back.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2005, 11:19 PM
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Of the 3 week plan I think many would suggest a couple of nights in Bangkok ( say USD 100-120 ) and then fly to Angkor ( 55 mins ), others will suggest Angkor accommodation, then a couple of days there are flight to bangkok and then if you want North then a 1 hr connection up to Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai, couple of days, maybe some trek or whatecer and you then still have a good 2 weeks down south beachwise. You can then mix scuba with some tours with plenty of lazing time. Just about to load the wago up for a weekend trip, lots of regulars on this side will give you tips and do use the 'search' at the tip.
I think everyone is a nice bunch over year, I ventures onto the Europe board once to try and find if ity was possible to do a cheap trip to Rome later in the year and bascialy got lynched for expecting to accommodate a family for USD60-100 in Rome, so I withdrew quietly .........
JamesA is offline  

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