Trip to thailand - itinerary ideas

edited January 2009 in - Thailand
hi everyone. im not sure where im going with this but i need help planning my hol! theres alot to cover! i wanna go to thailand next january for cool weather. im 21 and want to go on a specialist photography tour as i havent got anyone to go with and love snapping photos! i want to explore all of thailand; and on a very tight budget! the plan is to go to bangkok, (and kwai bridge and floating market), chiang mai (elephant ride), beaches on the south east, koh pha ngan, krabi and phuket. (not nessacarily in that order...)

have i missed anywhere good!? especially for taking photos?

How about bangkok (or anywhere else) are there any places to be or see for taking photos, down back alleys or something?!

im not sure what beaches to visit too on the way? i was thinking koh pha ngan but just because it came up.. secluded/not touristy/clear waters/scuba diving coral reefs/white beaches/explore caves .. beach hopping..

i cant find a photography tour, even if i do it will probally be mega expensive. i may have to rethink and just go on my own-but i dont wanna do that either (coz its such alot to do, and such a different place i wouldnt feel safe especially with my camera and i no what im like leaving my money around and stuff). the thing is theres alot of travelling to do all this (but i wanna do it all! i have too).

mainly what order should i do it in (keeping it cheap). should i fly to bankok, chiang mai, or phuket.. and how about return (fly london gatwick) what order should i go in. i no the train is overnite but i dont want to do alot of train travel either. i could go south to north instead maybe.
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Comments

  • edited 7:41AM
    ..oh and im planning on cramming it in to around 12 - 14 days. probally think of something else ill add im sure!
  • Wow, that is a lot to do in less than two weeks, i would do less and enjoy the places you visit, otherwise you will be on a bus or train for the whole trip. Because you are on a budget i would fly into Bangkok as it usually has the cheapest tickets from the UK, for more information on what airports and airlines to use go to www.wordtravels.com/Cities/Thailand/Bangkok/CheapFlights You mentioned visiting the floating market in Bangkok. I would miss this, it is very touristy, a bigger and better market is the JJ weekend market. You also mentioned going to the bridge on the river Kwai. I would miss this as well. The scenery and waterfalls very near the bridge are beautifdul but the bridge is nothing special. It is also a distance from Bangkok and will consume at least a full day of travel. Think about taking a river tour inside bangkok instead. From here you have a choice of going north to Chaing Mai or south to the islands. I would take a bus or train to one and then fly to the other. For example, take the train to Chaing Mai, it will have great scenery for your photography on the way. Look into Chaing Rai which is a bit farther north and has a bit more impressive scenery. Pai is very scenic and would be wonderful for photography, it is close to Chaing Mai and also has elephant trekcs. From Chaing Mai you can fly to the beach resorts of the south. Far south is a great destination for you secluded beach hopping called Koh Tarutao. It is far south and will cosume a lot of your short travel time, but it is worth the trip. Many easily accessible islands farther north may not have the seclusion you are looking for. you mentioned Koh pha ngan. It is a lot of fun and has beatiful beaches but is also a very popular resort spot. Try the always beautiful Koh Phi Phi if you are short on time. Koh Yai is also a more secluded option. You should feel safe traveling on your own to touristy places so dont worry about joining a tour. Have fun.
  • edited 7:41AM
    ..thanks so much for your help. ive tried to put together an itinery putting in your suggestions. is the JJ market another floating market. prehaps i can go to both in the same day? i've cut out the POW kwai river on your advice.

    how do you think i should change the itinery more? i need to cut it down a bit, but i still want time to explore the central plains for photos of traditional fields and workers too. as well as see village tribes in the north - but im not sure where to go for this, as well as great photos?
    how do you think i can cut down the travel time somewhat? thanks!

    Itinery
    • day 1: Bangkok airport arrival – explore city
    • day 2: explore bangkok
    • day 3: explore bangkok, river tour of bangkok
    • day 4: visit JJ weekend market/floating market
    • day 5: bus to Ayuttaya, explore central plains
    • day 6: *overnight train to Chiang Mai
    • day 7: explore Chiang Mai and visit tribal village
    • day 8: explore Chiang Mai and hilltop temple of Doi Suthep
    • day 9: *bus to pai for overnight stay
    • day 10: elephant trekking.
    • Day 11: bamboo rafting down river, return via an orchid garden and butterfly farm to Chiang Mai. Relax at pool.
    • Day 12: *bus to Chiang Rai for overnight stay
    • Day 13: explore Chiang Rai
    • Day 14: morning flight to Surat Thani, some time to explore city
    • day 15: *overnight stay in Surat Thani, explore city
    • day 16: bus to krabi
    • day 17-21: ferry to island hop
    • island hop ko jum, ko lanta, ko ngai, ko rok, ko krandan, ko libong
    • snorkling, water sports, massage, food
    • day 22: fly home via Phuket
  • That is a great detailed plan for Thailand, you will really cover a lot with all of this. I would choose between Chiang Rai and Pai, Chiang Rai isnt much of a city and is mostly known for the scenic beauty of its surroundings. Pai has both the scenery and a fun little town to hang in so i would recommend going here. There are northern tribal villages near both of these places. The bus can get to be a bit much of you are car sick, think about renting a motorbike in Chiang Mai, this lets you drive around to neat attractions in Pai as well. If further pressed you may want to cut out the Surat Thani visit unless you are interested in Thai history and architecture, although you will see great examples of this at Ayuttaya. I believe you can do the floating market and JJ market on the same day, remember that JJ market is only open on the weekends and is truly massive and will take a lot of time to explore, but easy to get to, just follow the sky train to Mo Chit station. feel free to ask more questions. Have fun.
  • edited 7:41AM
    thanks again .. this is really helping! i think i will take you up on any more questions. it is really helping to find out as much as i can!

    i put down surat thani so i can get a bus to krabi - in order to explore more of thailand - cover more area so to speak for photos. but do you think for scenery/people its worth going to surat thani. if not, where do you think i should fly from chiang mai to,if id be going to the islands near phuket eventually? and i'll drop chiang rai, thanks for the suggestion. ..I dont think i'll be able to drive a motorcycle. i havent even passed my driving test yet! But thanks for the suggestion again.
    i decided to include ayuttaya before going to chiang mai because i want to see the traditional workers in the paddie fields, do you think its best going here, or maybe somewhere a little futher on? (im not sure whats in ayuttaya)
    i was thinking of getting the rice barge from bangkok now (as ive found its another thing to try and different mode of transport to keep things interesting), sail up Chao Phraya River to Ayuttaya. hopefully this can be done.
    i'd like to see some great temples on my trip, and monks too for photographing.
    is the JJ market a floating market - its really for the photos. i didnt know it was only open on weekends, thanks for that. what type of market is the JJ market, if its food prehaps that would be good for snaps. are both markets near MO Chit Station? I also heard of the Suan Lum Night Bazaar market, obviously this is at night, but do you know anything of this?
    id also like to stay in serveral hotels/places etc on my trip, like 'posh' hotel pool, traditional thai hut/house, basic thai house, other types etc. where do you think it is best to do this, ie. posh hotel in bangkok because its cheap for lovely accodation, thai hut in chiang mai .. any recommendations on places to stay.. and which island would be best to stay at do you think for a view/massage/relaxation/scuba diving..

    wow, im really asking alot again! thanks alexander for any advice you can give!
    im sure i'll post another itinery with changes , but later .
  • ok, good questions, firstly, Ayuttaya is the old capitol and has ancient and huge pagodas worth the visit but is short on rice paddie workers. If you are looking for tall terraced rice field hills you will have to find this up in the far northern Thailand. I have heard you can get a boat to Ayuttaya but im not sure how to organize this, especially on a cargo boat. Under the bridge pronounced Phra Pinklao (sic) on the Chao Phraya there are men with smaller boats used for day tours of Bangkok, it could be possible to convince one of them to go that far although it might be expensive. Also look at the river dock near Thammasat University, both of these are central in Bangkok and next to each other. Im sure there is great scenery along the way and if you do it you will have to write back and tell me how it goes. JJ market is not a floating market but is the worlds largest outdoor market and has everything from clothes to rare animals to cock fights. The floating market is more picturesque but mainly sells trinkets and tourist goods and is not close to JJ market. Jump onto the wordtravels website for info about these places. There are a few night markets and the one you mentioned will be great. For places to stay in Chiang Mai it is important to know it is not a rural town at all but Thailands second largest city. A guide book will be better equiped to tell you places to stay but a thai hut may have to be reserved for trecking in Pai. AS for flying to Surat Thani, i would recommend not lingering in town and jump the first chance to get to the islands. I know you really want to see rice paddie fields but im unsure of the best destination to do this, well, because rice paddies aren't usually destinations. But i believe up north near Pai there should be plenty for you. Temples are everywhere and so are monks so dont worry about trying to find those. The islands you mentioned will be great for any island need you have but as a general rule the more secluded the island the less chance you have to get a massage for scuba dive. Good luck. Again write back with more questions if you have them.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi all,
    I'm going to Thailand in July and want to explore... like martinajane if Alexander or someone could give a bit of advice on travel, timings and sights that would be brilliant!
    The idea is to go on sleeper train from Bangkok to Singapore and back, stopping off at definitely Koh Samui for a week, maybe Phuket, maybe Penang, def KL. I can book the sleeper and all that, but getting to Phuket, KS... can you fly from P to KS cheaply? are there buses from the nearest stations.... also, any other good places en route?
    thanks!
    tom
  • Check out airasia.com they are based in KL and are usually very cheap especially from KL. I would advise stopping at Koh Tarutao which is a great island right on the Thai/Malay border. Its easy to reach from bus taken near the train station stop in Hat Yai.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi there,

    Wonder if you can help me?? We plan to visit Thailand March 3rd!! for 3 weeks, we will stay in Bangkok for 2/3 days, we then plan to travel south maybe Krabi, Phi Phi, Koh Samui, we don't fancy travelling all this way in one go, so any suggestions?? also we would like to see Bridge over River Kwai, so should we do this first??

    Also, regarding hotels... I will be booking the initial hotel in Bangkok from here in Uk, but any suggestions re hotel booking whilst in Thailand, is it better to pre-book, or just arrive at destination, and hope for the best!!!!

    I've also been put off re. using my credit card for hotel/travel bookings, in travel agents, re. credit card scams!!!!should I be concerned?? what's the best option.

    Also how should I travel by train/bus?? do I have to pre-book tickets, or travel on the day. The idea of this holiday is to be as flexible as possible, and not stuck in one place for the sake of it.

    Thanks
  • edited 7:41AM
    Thailand is very famous for vacation tours as there are many places to visit. Person arrives for business tour to Thailand also enjoys the weather, climate, beaches, Thai food and many places.
    For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offers which includes 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty and charm, The Grand Palace, The Giant Swing, Royal Barge National Museum, Gemopolis, traditional dance extravaganzas, numerous shopping centers and traditional ways of life. It is worth taking a trip along its waters before exploring further into different canals to take a sight of old Bangkok.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hello,

    My husband and I are traveling to China/Thailand the last three weeks in December. We've got China covered as far as plans are concerned but are a little unfamiliar with Southern Thailand and all it has to offer. We are not the partying type, love adventure and would also like to relax. We are flying into Phuket and then flying out of Ko Samui two weeks later but have no hotel accomodations/plans so far. Any suggestions of places/itinary? Thanks SO much,

    Gina
  • edited 7:41AM
    latestays.com is good website to get deals on most the time, what i tend to do is check price on there when i have dec on a hotel and then check the hotel site price and go with the cheapest.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Gina - skip Phuket and head to the one of the small islands like Phi Phi.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi everyone (especially AlexanderStone)---I was reading up on some of the responses and I need some help planning my itinerary to Thailand. It looks like Alexander Stone can really help finalize my itinerary. If you can help out- that would be greatly appreciated. This is what I have so far.

    Thursday, January 14
    Fly from Bangkok to Phuket. I will get in around 10am. My friend is at work, so I will need to explore on my own. What can I see during the day if I can rent a motorbike that day to get around.

    Friday January 15-Sunday January 17
    My friend will be able to show me the rest of Phuket and possibly an island off of Phuket

    January 18-19
    Day trips to (Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Phang Na Bay, Khao Luk, Khao Suk, Similan Islands, Koh tarutao, Koh Yai, etc) I know I wont be able to go to all of them, but you can suggest/advise the best ones to go to.

    January 20
    Flight out from Phuket to Chiang Mai. See Chiang Mai---as much as i can when I fly in. Is one day sufficient in Chiang Mai??

    January 21- Day trip tour from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai to see the Golden Triangle. Is this worth it? I'm planning on a night flight back to Bangkok.

    January 22-25-see Bangkok - is this sufficient time? Should I stay in Chiang Mai an extra day?

    I also want to do the following- Elephant trekking, see tribal villages, Thai massage. Where are the best place to experience and see those? Is there anything else I should revise/delete/or see?

    THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!! :)
  • edited 7:41AM
    also, is Ayuttaya worth going to? Should I go there instead of one of the other places on my itinerary?
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hello! My boyfriend and I are planning are first trip to Thailand. We only have about 8 days and I am worried that perhaps I am trying to fit in too much. I am a photographer and can't wait to shoot the beautiful sites, he however is looking forward to beautiful beaches and wonders of the world! :) ( He really wanted to go to see Christ the Redeemer in Brazil but I talked him into Thailand) I'm dying to see the butterfly gardens and ride an elephant in Chiang Mai and he is looking forward to beautiful beaches and relaxing.

    Here is the sample itinerary I have made, any thoughts or tips would be appreciated.

    Mon. Feb 1 - Fly from Los Angeles to Bangkok
    Wed. Feb 3 -1:15AM arrive , Check into hotel
    Thurs. Feb 4 - Explore Bangkok, Shopping, Possible River Cruise, etc.
    Fri. Feb 5 - Fly to Chiang Mai -Visit Butterfly Garden, Relax, Walk around city
    Sat. Feb 6 -Spend day at some sort of Elephant Experience (the Chiang Mai Orchid Festival also starts this day)
    Sun. Feb 7 -Fly to Phuket -Relax
    Mon. Feb 8 - Phuket -Relax
    Tues. Feb 9 -Fly Phuket to Bangkok , then Bangkok to Los Angeles
  • edited 7:41AM
    Carriej444 - that's a very full itinerary, you will wish you had more time! When in Chiang Mai try to get out of the city into the countryside. I would hire a taxi driver for the afternoon and get him to whizz you around. SEe our Thailand, Chiang Mai and Bangkok guides here: http://www.wordtravels.com/Travelguide/Countries/Thailand
  • edited 7:41AM
    Ok so after talking with a few people I am beginning to realize that I will be spending to much of my time in the airport or getting to and from the airport. So as sad as it is I think I may have to cut Chiang Mai from the itinerary. I hear there are other butterfly gardens in Bangkok and Phuket as well. Now my questions are - Is Phuket the best place for us to spend the second half of our trip for beautiful scenery and relaxation? What activities are recommended there? How about in Bangkok? Are the any day trips we shouldn't miss?

    So now I must come up with a new itinerary. Here is my tentative plan:
    Mon Feb 1 - LA to Bangkok
    Wed 1:15 am - Arrive Bangkok, check in hotel
    Wed & Thursday - Explore Bangkok
    Friday Feb 5 -Fly to Phuket
    Saturday -Phuket
    Sunday -Phuket
    Monday-Phuket then evening flight into Bangkok
    Tuesday Bangkok to Los angeles
  • edited 7:41AM
    I am travelling to Thailand for a month alone, as a female and wondered if there was anyone considering doing the same thing that I can hook up with. I am intending to get to Bangkok on around 9th Feb and travelling round from there, the comments on your website are very informative and I have some ideas, but still nervous of travelling alone, I too have an SLR camera which I want to use so need to know I'll be safe, any ideas?
  • edited 7:41AM
    Tara, unless you are a deeply introverted person you are going to meet many like-minded young travellers and quickly hook up with friends that are going to the islands, or up north for trekking. It might be best stay in a cheap but air-conditioned place on Kao San road and just chat to other backpackers. Thailand is generally very safe indeed so use common sense and trust your instincts and you'll have the time of your life.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi I am travelling to Thailand with my 4 friends in the month of Feb Last week , I have Panasonic 3CCCD Handy Cam which I want to use so need to know it will be safe ! Is there Specially Electronic Goods are costly or Less price,will u suggest and where to purchase electronic goods pls tell me the place. waiting for ur reply.
  • edited 7:41AM
    Bangkok is a great place to buy electronics, not really sure what you are asking though...
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi My partner and I going for two weeks to Thailand, Flying to bangkok on the 15 March. Flying out of Bangkok on 29th March.
    We were discussing going north for a few days then hitting the islands for the rest.
    Is it worth our while going to Chang MAI?
    What Islands are the best, and which airport is the best to fly into to reach the Islands?
    also what is worth seeing in bangkok?and whats worth seeing in the north?
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi everyone,
    I'm not sure if this is the right way to go about doing this, but I have AirAsia flights which I don't need as I just can't afford to go anymore!
    I can transfer the name of the flight up to 6 hours before the flight, but if a date transfer is necessary it needs to be 48 hours before the flight. There's meant to be a transfer fee too which I was unable to work out from the call centre exactly what it would be, but its meant to be minimal and the flights were cheap to begin with.
    They include...
    - $59.50 (AUD) Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok flight on the 27th February, which I don't think I'll be able to get rid of in time at this stage;
    - $51.23 (AUD) Bangkok to Chiang Mai on 3rd March
    - $123.95 (AUD) Chiang Mai to Kuala Lumpur on 6th March
    - $107.85 (AUD) Kuala Lumpur to Langkawi (Malaysia) on 6th March with return to Kuala Lumpur on the 10th of March
    If anyone is interested, or knows what I should do with them can they please let me know, I guess just by posting and I'll give my email if its necessary.

    For dj, from the experiences of my sister and other friends who have been to Chiang Mai, it has some great night and day time markets where you can get hill tribe silver, there are also cooking classes, elephant riding and/or camping and other great cultural activities. Between Bangkok and Chiang Mai there are meant to be some interesting historical places like Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. For the islands, Koh Phangan is meant to be good for the full moon parties if you stay far away from all the action, but I think the party is on the 30th March so you'll just miss it, and I'm not sure what it is like when that's not happening. As far as I can tell you'll probably only want to spend a minimal amount of time in Bangkok as I was told the central part is very Western and not terribly cheap while the older cheaper parts of town can be a bit seedy, but this is all just going by heresay! Good luck deciding what to do!

    -
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi i've been reading all the comments very helpful,

    I'm planning a trip to Thailand Jan 2011 for 19 days haven't thought about what or where to go but all these tips are helpful

    I was just wondering about passport and visa requirements and vaccination? Does any one know how long your passport has to be valid for as mine runs out in November 2011 also do I need to get a visa before I go? And any vaccinations...does anyone know what is recommended and how far in advance to get these?

    Also is there any thing else I need to consider when planming my trip? I plan to have an itinerary, but is it best to book things such at trains, flights and activities before I go as would like to see the elephants, go on a jungle walk, sleep on a hut on the beach etc

    Thank you for any help you can give me

    Natalie
  • edited 7:41AM
    Please give some advice on what clothing to pack for a 2 week trip to Bangkok in June. Thanks to anyone who can help me.\

    Judy
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi. Im going to Thailand alone on April 10, for 25 days. Im planning on arriving to bangkok and just enjoy a couple of days the Thai New Year's celebrations.. then taking the night train to the Chiang Mai and spend 2-3 days (elephant trek and rafting included)..

    Then, i'll take a flight to the south (beaches and islands) and there I have no idea where to go. I dont want to spend too much time travelling, I just want to relax, party (Full moon party?).. if anyone have some tips on cheap/nice hotels i would appreciate.. I might also take a short trip to Cambodia, Singapur or Kuala Lumpur, any recomendations about this? Also, how limitating/boring is going alone? Anyone here going for those dates? Thanks!
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi. Im going to Thailand alone on April 10, for 25 days. Im planning on arriving to bangkok and just enjoy a couple of days the Thai New Year's celebrations.. then taking the night train to the Chiang Mai and spend 2-3 days (elephant trek and rafting included)..

    Then, i'll take a flight to the south (beaches and islands) and there I have no idea where to go. I dont want to spend too much time travelling, I just want to relax, party (Full moon party?).. if anyone have some tips on cheap/nice hotels i would appreciate.. I might also take a short trip to Cambodia, Singapur or Kuala Lumpur, any recomendations about this? Also, how limitating/boring is going alone? Anyone here going for those dates? Thanks!
  • edited 7:41AM
    Go visit Myanmar rather - a short flight from Bangkok and you are in another world entirely! Very few tourists, very cheap, and endlessly interesting!
  • edited 7:41AM
    Hi, my husband and I are visiting thailand for the time and it's kind of a delayed honeymoon. We're planning on going for about 2 weeks and are so confused about how to plan our visit. Some of our friends have advised us to prebook hotels, but that would leave us with almost no flexibility should we want to do something different or want to switch hotels, visit another city, etc. I don't know if booking hotels on the spot would be cheaper or more expensive than booking online.

    Then there are those friends who've told us to just get to Bangkok, stay there for a day or two, and make our way through there. This second prospect sounds exciting, but scary since I don't want us to be totally clueless and lost and unable to figure out what to do when we get there. Our initial plan was to stay mostly in phuket and two days in bangkok. but now i don't know. We're on a limited budget and have VERY little time to decide.
    Planning to fly out on the 26th of June (sort of a last minute plan to Thailand). Also, is it going to be very rainy around that time?

    Can anybody give us a bit of guidance about where to go, how to go (planes, trains, or coaches?) and what to do and how lost we are likely to be if we go with the second option?

    HELP!!
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