I will be spending 3 weeks in Thailand at the beginning of 2006, from the 8th of January until the 28th. I am hoping that someone would be able to suggest some places to visit, and if possible, give a suggested itinerary, or one that you have travelled with/on/to.
Whilst in Thailand, I would love to spend a week relaxing on a beautiful beach somewhere, see ancient temples etc up in the North and also experience the great Thai culture and cuisine.
My budget will be pretty tight, but from the sounds of it, everything here is cheap anyway. I will be arriving in and leaving from Bangkok.
I look forward to hearing your suggestions.
Bangkok is an excellent starting point. Lots of information available when you get there
20 days - not much time for a beach.
Bkk + Nakhon Pathom 3 days
Ayuthaya (ruins) 3 days
Lopburi 1 day
Sukhotai 2 days
Chang Mai + Doi Suthep + Doi Ithanon NP + 1 trekking/elephant ride/rafting, Chiang Dao Caves - 6 days
Pai - chill out 3 days
back Bkk - 2 days
The best piece of advice I can give is to include Kho Sok National Park in your itinery. Ive been to Thailand twice and both times visited this place. It is in the south inbetween the 2 coasts. Beautiful lush rainforest that is teaming with life. I stayed here about 3 nights in a tree house and did not want to leave (Arts Place). Somewhere else I can recommend is Ko Samui. This place gets some bad press for being very touristy which it is in some places but it still has its quiet spots and theres loads to do there. I stayed in a place called friendly bungalows in the north of the island on a very quiet beach.Cheap and cheerful but clean. I would sit in my hammock at 6 every evening with a beer to watch an amazing sunset.Can recommend this place.
I think 2 days is enough in Bangkok. It is very busy and polluted.Probably best not to linger when you first fly in and end your holiday here when your more accustomed to the culture. You will cope better with any potential scammers. I would definitely recommend that you book a nice hotel when staying here as you will appreciate escaping to somewhere nice out of the mad city rather than a backpackers. There are some seriously cheap 'nice 'hotels such as the Marriot.
You will have a fantastic time. Thailand is so beautiful and cheap!!
Ive just spent over two months in thailand and had the time of my life. I just thought Id tell you of a few places my friend and i loved-
Koh Samet (or samed). Only 3 hours from bangkok, this beautiful island is a great place for some relaxation along with good nightlife. We stayed at a great place called sinsamut bungalows on saikeaw beach- the lady here will do a deal on the price if you agree to stay a over 4 days. Shes really lovely and will help with any travel arrangments, changing money, boat trips, travellers cheques etc...and the huts and rooms are gorgeous- really unique. The restaurant in front of it is great too- beach cafe. Best restaurant we found that isnt too expensive- Jeps. Fab thai and western food. Best beach bars- beach bar, naga, toks and silver sands. They put on great fire shows here- the best we saw. Also they play toss a coin here- great for free drinks! It is an island that attracts equal amounts of thai and westerners which makes a nice change in my opinion.
Koh phangan- haad yao beach. A beautiful beach. Nice place to stay if you want to go to the full moon but dont wish to stay in haad nrin the whole time. It has a a fair few bars so isnt too quiet- in particular 'the lizard lounge' a bar in a treehouse is great for a few chilled out drinks!
Koh Tao- simple life is very good accomodation. And runs a good diving course with good tutors if you fancy it. Great beach to visit- shark bay- absolutely perfect. Hope you like house music if you go here!
Koh samui- If you ever want to spend 800 baht a night...shambala bungalows are beautiful...on the north of the island- the beach next to big buddha pier- i forget the name. Chaweng has some good restaurants and beach bars but is quite a tourist trap!
Chang mai- do a trek. They are really fun and you get to meet a whole group of people. Also see all the temples and visit the night bazaar. I hear pai and chang rai are beautiful places too...we didnt get time to see these.
As for bangkok, make sure you do a longtail boat tour of the klongs...canals. Best market- suan luam night bazaar- near lumphini park. For a bit of culture go to the joe louis puppet theatre- we loved it and its right by the night bazaar. Shop in MBK for good fake designer jeans! Stay in sawadee bangkok inn on the khao san road if you want to be in a touristy area (one of the slightly nicer hotels in the area but still cheap!)
Hope some of these suggestions help you!
Thankyou all sooo much for all of your suggestions, it has been really helpful! I cant wait to arrive in Bangkok before exploring the rest of the country!