Thailand, what to do with 3 extra days.

Jul 12th, 2015, 06:43 PM
  #1  
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Thailand, what to do with 3 extra days.

Due to award flight availability it looks like I'll have an additional three days in Thailand. I will fly into Bangkok and I originally had six days in the city. I feel nine days in Bangkok will be way too long.

Chang Mai really doesn't appeal much. Beaches are of no interest. Cultural and historic sights are of primary interest when I travel. I will head to Laos from Bangkok so a destination where I can stop enroute for the three days will be ideal.

Any suggestions on where to head for the three days will be appreciated.

Thanks.
planningtravel is offline  
Jul 12th, 2015, 06:59 PM
  #2  
 
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How about heading to Lao via Chiang Rai? Smaller and more manageable than CM, it is my new favourite city in Northern Thailand. The Black House and White Temple are v. interesting. If there on a weekend the walking market is very good.
You could always get the boat down from Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang.

Where are you going in Lao? You could easily spend the extra 3 days there.
crellston is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 12:02 AM
  #3  
 
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A few days in the Kanchanaburi area? You've already got full details in another of your threads.

Another alternative to what Crellston's posted above is to take the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok (Hualamphong) to Nong Khai on the Thai-Laos Border. Here's the Seat61 website, just scroll down to 'Bangkok to Vientiane'...

http://www.seat61.com/Laos.htm#Bangkok to Vientiane

Nong Khai is a lovely laid back Border town, sat right on the Mekong River. A great place to stay is the Mutmee Guest House, where you'll also meet like-minded people who are about to cross the Friendship Bridge into Laos...

http://www.mutmee.com/

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Hotel_R..._Province.html

Spend a few days chilling there, and then simply take a tuk tuk to the Friendship Bridge. You buy your visa on the bridge, and then either a local bus or another tuk tuk into Vientiane (about 15km).

Great little adventure, and v.easy to do.
LancasterLad is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 12:27 AM
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If Kanchanaburi is still on your radar, and you have a few extra days, then you could go beyond there to Sangkhlaburi which is right on the Thai-Myanmar border...

http://migrationology.com/2010/03/sa...avel-thailand/
http://www.travelfish.org/location/t...i/sangkhlaburi

We stayed at the P Inn...

http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUse..._Province.html

Close to Sanghkhlaburi is Three Pagoda Pass, which is where the 2nd World War Thai-Burma railway ended up. You can talk across the bamboo border to young Burmese children eager to practice their English.

It's a glorious part of the world, very few tourists. And it's easy to get from Kanchanaburi to Sangkhlaburi by frequent public bus.
LancasterLad is offline  
Jul 13th, 2015, 12:59 PM
  #5  
 
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If you are heading to Laos after Bangkok, it makes sense to make a stop in Chiang Rai. Crellston's idea of taking a boat from Chiang Khong to Luang Prabang is a good one. DON'T take the speedboat - dangerous and loud. Take the boat that gives you an overnight in a village in Laos.

Enjoy your trip! It's a treat to have extra days!
Kathie is online now  
Jul 13th, 2015, 10:44 PM
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Even the slow boat to LP has it's dangers...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...ocks-sank.html
LancasterLad is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 07:08 AM
  #7  
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I really appreciate the advice.

My Laos itinerary is Vientiane (2 nights) - Vang Vieng (1 night) - Luang Prabang (3 nights). My plan was to take the night train from Bangkok to Nong Khai and then travel to Vientiane the same day and to fly from LP to Bangkok. I already have all my hotels in Laos booked, so I was hoping that the 'extra' days could be spent in Thailand instead of reworking the Laos portion of the trip. I guess that won't be entirely possible and I may travel Thailand - Luang Prabang Vang Vieng - Vientiane - Thailand.

I'll explore two options, Chiang Rai and the slow boat between Chiang Khong and Luang Prabang. I'm a little reluctant to do the later only because I'll be in Loas at the tail end of the rainy season in mid October.

LL, you've given me good advice on Kanchanaburi. My interest level on these sights isn't as extensive as yours, I feel a day tour from Bangkok will suit my needs best.
planningtravel is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 07:18 AM
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Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle area are both scenic and very interesting. We very much enjoyed the ruins and museum at Chiang Sean.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 14th, 2015, 05:29 PM
  #9  
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Have been reading about various places and trying to rework my itinerary. Realistically, the only two options are Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai.


What is the best way to incorporate Chiang Rai into my itinerary?

Chiang Mai seams easier to fit into the itinerary. I have the of an overnight train to/from Bangkok. Although the city itself really sounds like place constantly overrun by tourists, I'm certain I'll enjoy a visit to the hill tribes.

However, I am really stumped as to how to travel from Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai to Laos overland. As I'm travelling in the rainy season, I want to avoid the slow boats. I certainly don't want to make an overnight train journey to/from Chiang Mai and then another overnight train to Nong Khai.

I did check flights on Bangkok Airways, a flight from Chiang Mai to LP requires a connection in Bangkok and takes around 7 hours of travel time.

Any suggestions?
planningtravel is offline  
Jul 14th, 2015, 09:11 PM
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Laos Airlines fly direct from CM to LP. It's a nice flight too over dense jungle. Takes an hour.

If you want to avoid the slow boat during rainy season, then you never know what the road conditions will be like either. But to get from either CM or CR by road you'd have to endure long bus trips to get to Nong Khai, and over the the Friendship Bridge to Vientiane.
LancasterLad is offline  
Jul 15th, 2015, 12:44 AM
  #11  
 
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I have long been a fan of Chiang Mai but on my last visit I confess I began to change my opinion. Mainly because of the very bad smoke pollution ( won't be an issue in March) but also because it did seem to be overrun with tourists. That said, it should be quieter in October. Chiang Rai made a refreshing change, far less busy but a little harder to get to. Another, more rural option would be Chiang Dao

The hill tribes you will see near CM will not be a great experience, very commercialised and exploitative.

As for the weather, we are also planning on being in Laos from mid October to early Nov which is towards the end of the rainy season and so are expecting/hoping for reasonably decent weather and fewer crowds. The boat ride may not be too bad at all and I would not discount it.

Alternatively, there are "direct" buses from CM to LP just google it. Travelfish has a report on the journey but I am not sure how recent it is http://www.travelfish.org/transport_...i/chiang_mai/4

FWIW my current outline plan is to similar to yours in that the easiest flights take us into Vientiane and from there overland to VV and LP but most of our time is likely to be spent in the far north - Luang Namtha, Muang Sing etc. lots of minority people's villages in those areas but you probably need more than three days.

you could always keep your itinerary the same and just add the extra days to LP and do some day or overnight trips into the countryside from there.
crellston is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 09:52 AM
  #12  
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Thank you for the suggestions.

I've looked at this extensively, I can only take so much time off work. So, these three extra days in Asia mean reworking my itinerary in other destinations too as I'm on an extended trip.

As much I said I'd skip Chiang Mai, due to transport options CM is the best choice. LL, you make a good point about the buses in rainy season. It looks like the overnight train journeys or a flight will be the best options.

Is six days in Bangkok and three days in CM the best way to divide the number of days.
planningtravel is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 10:39 AM
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Were you planning to go to ayuthaya as a day trip? We enjoyed that paired with the summer palace which is close by.

We wanted to go to sukhothai to explore the ancient ruins there. I believe you would need two days there, although, not having been there, I cannot say for sure.

The white palace in chiang rai is amazing as was the night market which I believe falls on a Sunday. We really enjoyed our time in that region.
dgunbug is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 10:41 AM
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Sorry - that would be the white temple (not palace).

Wasn't aware there was a black temple when I was there. Has anyone visited it?
dgunbug is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 09:37 PM
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Dgunbug, we visited bothe the White Temple and the Black House ( not temple) earlier this year. The Black House is the home of the artist that created it and has a lot of very weird stuff!. I preferred it to the White Temple.

Planningtravel - I would say 6/3 is about the right split especially if arriving by train into CM which is early morning so you will get a whole day there on arrival.
crellston is offline  
Jul 16th, 2015, 10:06 PM
  #16  
 
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<<>>

It all depends on how you plan to spend your time.

6 consecutive days in BKK would do my head in. It's a big, big noisy polluted city that doesn't sleep. The only places you can see beyond all the high rise in front of your nose are in the older parts [eg Banglamphu which is great, the river and in Lumphini Park]. So unless you enjoy being hemmed in spend 2 of those 6 days on a side-trip.

Imo, CM is just a smaller version of BKK, less high rise, with too much traffic on 2 wheels, polluted, but with more easily accessible attractions outside the town.
LancasterLad is offline  
Jul 17th, 2015, 08:29 AM
  #17  
 
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We are all different. My first trip to Thailand I spent 9 full days in Bangkok and loved it! I love Bangkok and frankly, find it more manageable than Chiang Mai. Yes, it's a big city and if you don't like big cities, then skip my advice about it. We always stay by the river which means the air is less polluted (no big canyons of buildings holding the pollution) and it's a bit cooler (ok, really just less hot). And I mostly take public transport (public water taxis, skytrain) so seldom have to deal with the traffic.

Chiang Mai has worse air pollution than Bangkok - more particulates - because they burn their trash. CM also has no public transport system, so you have to take taxis, tuk-tuks or songthaews which means you are always contending with traffic. One option to consider is to stay outside of town.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 5th, 2015, 10:50 AM
  #18  
 
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I loved Chiang Mai--but seeing the temples and elephants was important to me. What about adding three days to Siem Reap? Fast flight and Angkor Wat is beyond incredible.
lenlu is offline  
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