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Travel between BK, CM, and beaches? Home stay and volunteering?

Travel between BK, CM, and beaches? Home stay and volunteering?

Old Sep 24th, 2010, 08:49 AM
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Travel between BK, CM, and beaches? Home stay and volunteering?

Can any help with some advice about how to get between these places? I am traveling with my sister this December. Our first and last stop is BK and we have about 15 days to travel.

I figured we take an overnight train from BK to CM. But am not sure about the "best" (not incredibly expensive or incredibly slow) way to get from CM to the southern beaches. We are thinking Koi Samui (or the surrounding area). Is Koi Samui worth the extra traveling? Or are the beaches on the mainland just as nice? Any thoughts about east side vs west side beaches? In general, we'd like to avoid overly touristy areas. We are looking for moderately priced places to stay. We don't need fancy. Just clean and well located.

Also, does anyone have any reliable info about a home stay for a night in CM or nearby? Are these"authentic" experiences?

Or any info about opportunities to volunteer for a day?

Many Many thanks!
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 09:08 AM
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The fastest way to get from place to place is to fly. If you are traveling on a budget, consider AIr Asia - very cheap.

It is expensive to get to Ko Samui, as Bangkok Air has a monopoly on flights. You can fly cheaply to Surat Thani and then take a ferry to Ko Samui. Both Ko Samui and Phuket have beautiful beaches, both are very built-up international beach destinations. In December, the whole Adaman Sea side of Thailand will have beautiful weather, and you could chose any of the beaches in that area: Phuket, PhiPhi, Krabi, Ko Lanta, Ko Lak, etc.

When in December will you be traveling? The time from just before Xmas to New Years is the busiest and most expensive time to travel to Thailand, and place to stay especially at the beaches will cost twice as much as they do in November. If you will be in Thailand Xmas week, opt not to be at the beach. Give us a per night budget for hotel so we can be more helpful.

When you ask about a homestay, I'm guessing you mean a homestay in a hill tribe village. No hilltribe village you can drive to will be in any way authentic. To get a more authentic experience you'll need to trek into a village to stay over night. If you are up for that the most often recommended person to arrange that is Sgt. Kai in Chaing Mai. Take a look at www.chiangmaitours.com
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Thanks, Kathie. We will be traveling during the holiday. We arrive in BK on the 14th and leave BK the 30th.

Checked out the flights on air-asia. Looks like it makes a lot more sense (in terms of money and time spent traveling) to go from CM to Phuket directly(about 1500bht).

Do you have any tips for not to miss places (to stay, eat, see) near Phuket and the surrounding areas? As for hotel prices, not sure if this is feasible, but around $125USD/3800bht would be ideal.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 12:38 PM
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Take a look at this Thai hotel booking site: www.sawasdee.com Most prices include tax and service (17.7%) and breakfast, but do read all the small print. You do have to pre-pay, so only book when your itinerary is firm.

Phuket is really a place to enjoy the beach, so other than the beach, there isn't a lot to see. The one activity that does generally get rave reviews is John Gray Sea Canoes

The place with the most to see/do, is, of course, Bangkok. It's my favorite city in the world. And do save some packing space for things you buy in Bangkok.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 03:04 PM
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Samantha
The weather that time of the year is usually wonderful! Keep in mind that it is always hot in Thailand, but the humidity and temps should be down a bit in Dec/Jan. Evenings are usually very nice indeed. We enjoy eating outside when there in Dec/Jan. My family will be there for the holidays as well... our 3rd year in a row! It's much nicer there than in Illinois at that time of the year.

You will probably have to do a good bit of searching to find something you consider suitable on Phuket. There are people who book from one year to the next, if they like their hotel or resort and want to return again the next year. But then again, if tourism is still 'down' you might get very lucky.

I personally prefer Kata and Kata Noi beach areas. I would avoid Patong beach if it were me, but you might enjoy all the crowds and noise! Maybe it's a matter of age.... ?? (I'm probably much older than you are) Patong probably has some hotels that are a bit more reasonable in price, but not right on the beach.

I think you would enjoy Krabi if you would consider a different location other than Phuket. There is a Krabi airport, about 35-40 minutes from the actual beach area. I have not looked into direct flts from CM to Krabi, so it might be a little more difficult to reach. But it's really lovely, and more 'natural' in some respects than Phuket, which has gotten very commercialized in the years I've been going there.

Let us know what you are thinking of in terms of hotels and locations in Bangkok, and we will try to help you decide.

Carol
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 05:51 PM
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I did more research and agree that Krabi sounds like a better choice. I think we'll want to lots of exploring ...

Any recommendations for places to stay in Krabi for a few days? Then a palce in Ko Phi Phi for a few days? Generally we'd like to keep it at $125 a night. Or less!

Any exceptional tours or places to see?
Thanks!
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 06:09 PM
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Go to the hotel booking site I recommended above. Toward the bottom of the left side of the page is a link to Krabi hotels. You'll have to put in your dates to get accurate price quotes. There is also a link to PhiPhi hotels.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 06:49 PM
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Krabi (I'm thinking Ao Nang) is a great place to catch a ride in a sidecar taxi. It's a rather thrilling open air ride... similar to a tuk tuk in Bangkok, but Krabi is much more natural with hills and rainforest type places. A Thai friend and I did this in the early evening (from Ao Nang) and went up the hill to a local market.

We got a driver to take us to the Tiger Temple (no tigers here) and also the Emerald Pool.

We also did a half day boat trip to some of the gorgeous outer islands off shore.

Enjoy Krabi!
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 06:55 PM
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Should have included the following:

Ao Nang Princeville Resort is where I stayed. It was 2700 Baht per night. That's less than $100. But I'd guess that the price for the holidays is higher. I was there in August of 2009. This resort is across the street from the beach (as are all of the resorts on the main road in Ao Nang). There is plenty to do, with food/shopping right outside the door.

And there was cheap internet right next door to the hotel.

I loved Krabi!! I would certainly go back there.
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Old Sep 24th, 2010, 08:27 PM
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If you volunteer in Thailand you will need a work permit.

whereas I'm sure if you offer you services for a day (???) no one will actually stop you, it's hard to see what you would achieve.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 03:03 AM
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I had no previous experience with trains, but somebody had told me Pakorn Ping is by far the best train, so I took that one. it leaves BKK and Chiang Mai at 6p.m. although I didn't see empty beds, a friend who took the same train on Saturday told me half her carriage was empty, which I was really surprised to hear,and if you ever plan for the beach side trip you should prefer Byron Bay accommodation at Byron Bay in Australia. Which is very much famous for their beach.
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Old Sep 25th, 2010, 09:10 AM
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Ashleee, you are recommending a side trip to Australia for the beach portion of their trip???
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Old Sep 29th, 2010, 01:47 PM
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take a direct flight form CM to phuket airport with either thai airways or air asia, or indirectly with bangkok airways. You can then decide which beach you want to visit. We prefer Khao Lak to either phuket, krabi or samui. It is much less developed and there are loads of beachfront hotels for much much lower prices than the other areas. We like the Orchid Resort, about 3000B in high season but there are loads of others that look nice as well. Taxis, food and everything else is miles cheaper than phuket. Have fun.
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