Hello all, Iv just planned a trip from Bangkok all the way down to Po Pha Ngan. I plan to backpack most of the way over a good few months so have a few questions I would like to ask people who, either have done something similar or plan on doing the same as me.
1. Im going to be taking a hammock as my main sleeping arrangement, would this be a problem setting it up anywhere? and where should I avoid setting up camp?
2. How safe and effective is hitch-hiking in Thailand?
3. If im sleeping, how likely is it that all my gear gets robbed if im in a hammock?
4. How likely is it that I am going to find other accommodation on route (this includes bars and restaurants)? I plan on sticking close to the coast and the main road between Bangkok and Surat Thani.
5. How likely is it that I meet other groups (or solo travellers) by taking the coast?
6. Is there anything I should be keeping away from or areas I shouldn't stray in to?
Hope you guys can help!!
cant help you too much about the backpacking as I usually stay with my wife but i can say you'll be fine, the crime rate is quite low but take obvious precautions - dont flash the cash and your possessions. public transport is so cheap you'd be safer on the bus or coach to where ever you're going and I dont know you'd get a lift off strangers or even whether you would want to. At night, you may find you need to go inside, the mosquitoes will be eating well otherwise and the coast is possibly better than inland.
Thanks for the reply soyoukan, I thought I would be fine, was only looking for a few pointers, but thanks.
Mosquitoes shouldn't be a problem as I have a zip-up hammock, but the advice is much appreciated. Any other like minded people trying the same thing you think???
Im going to be taking a hammock as my main sleeping arrangement, would this be a problem setting it up anywhere? and where should I avoid setting up camp?
If you are planning on sleeping in some back alley or on a remote beach or park keep in mind that you may be considered wealthy even if you don't think so. Even back where I come from people sleeping in the woods are considered vagrants and even bums.
How safe and effective is hitch-hiking in Thailand?
Even in Western countries this isn't always safe. The fact you can afford to fly to Thailand and not really have to work (in the thoughts of some Thais) this means you are rich.
If im sleeping, how likely is it that all my gear gets robbed if im in a hammock?
Pretty good! If you intend to be sleeping in a remote area all alone. Remember you will be perceived as rich to many poorer Thais. Out in the woods all alone who would really know if you ended up in a hole?
How likely is it that I meet other groups (or solo travellers) by taking the coast?
You meet other tourists on buses, on trains, walking around, in pubs and beer bars, in hostels and hotels and on tours.
Is there anything I should be keeping away from or areas I shouldn't stray in to?
Keep away from dopers and troublemakers. Avoid chumming around with guys who get in trouble. You can be rounded up along with guilty culprits. Thai jails suck! If you drink too much and get wasted you might be a good target to get rolled!
The biggest killer of foreign tourists is motor vehicle accidents. If you intend to rent motorbikes you need an International Drivers License. (Good medical insurance too is something you might want to consider.)
1. Round trip plane tickets are usually cheaper than buying one way flights. Assuming you return home from Thailand and not wander around in Oz or NZ or something like that. With a one way plane ticket to Thailand and staying over 30 days you will have to purchase a Tourist Visa while still home. No Tourist Visa, staying over 30 days or one way ticket the airline may not even board you at your home airport. Staying in Thailand under 30 days with plane ticket out of Thailand in 30 days you can enter for free with a Visa Exemption stamp you get at the airport in Bangkok.
2. Having a set departure date makes it easier to plan a budget out. You cannot work in Thailand without a Work Permit. The money you have at the beginning of your trip is what you have to live on.
3. When you show up affects the price of your hotel rooms. (High season is now.) When you show up "might" be affected by weather. But keep in mind that tourists show up every day of the year, mild, hot or rainy season!
My advice is that if you can't afford the cost of a cheap guest house or hostel every night don't stay for so long. Some guest houses, small private hotels and hostels aren't too far apart in price. If you can't afford to use a bus to get around don't stay for so long. Cheap hotels have sheets and beds.
Thailand has some pretty good long distance buses, even rail service from top to bottom too. I can't ever recall seeing any foreigners ever hitchhiking in Thailand in over 20 years.
You need to work up a budget and see how much you have available after paying for flights to and out of Bangkok. (Bangkok, by the way, is cheaper than some beach areas because of cheap buses, city rail service and meter taxis.)
For directions on how to get from one city to another you can do a Google search. For daily costs do a Google search. If you ask for hotel or hostel advice include a nightly price range. Select a hotel/hostel based on what you can afford. Food can be cheap in Thailand but that depends on where you choose to eat at.
See your doctor for information on required shots. Do a Google search for scams to avoid. (Examples. Bangkok - gems, tuk tuks, palace closed, etc. Beach areas scams involve renting watercraft.)
Change your money in Thailand for best return. Don't rely on a single debit/cash card. Have a credit card for emergencies that may come up.
Have enough money to pay for a hotel or hostel each night even if you must stay for a shorter time. Compare round trip flights from your country to Thailand vs one way flights. Look over your visa requirements.
Thank you for the replies!
I have enough of a budget for hostels and hotels for the duration of my stay, only asked about the hammock idea because I kind of want to keep moving about the place and not stay in one place too long. Are there plenty of hostels up and down the coast (including bars and restaurants)? Also, how long would a visa cover me for and what sort of price are we talking about (and where do I need to go to get one)?
You get a visa through a Thai Embassy or Consulate.
In Thailand once out of Bangkok there are fewer hostels available but small hotels and guest houses are about the same price.
There are restaurants in many cities. Bigger cities will have bars and restaurants that foreigners visit. There could be Thai only bars in smaller towns, depends on how big the town is.
By end of 2015 around 30 million tourists are expected to have visited Thailand. These tourists all find somewhere to sleep and eat.
Hua Hin, Pattaya, Phuket, Phi Phi, Koh Samui have many tourists visit. Where you have lots of tourists you have restaurants and some nightlife available. Adult nightlife in Pattaya and Phuket. (Phuket is the most expensive city in Thailand.)
If you plan on stopping at any old town on the way to Koh Phangan you might be disappointed. Many young tourists on the way to Phangan use a train to Surat Thani. They may stop off at Hua Hin along the way.
When using buses get the bus from a regular bus station. Some problems with buses booked from Khao San Road travel agencies from time to time. Do a search for "bus scams" Thailand. Also when on a bus do not leave computer, money, passport or cell phone in any checked in bag! Keep valuables on yourself or near your seat.
Pull up some maps of Thailand. Thailand is larger than the UK. Wider at the top and skinny on the south end. The top half of Thailand is also popular with many tourists. (Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai area in particular.) Bangkok and the top half of Thailand is cheaper than some beach areas down south.
All of Thailand has warm summertime type weather and not just beach areas.
Don't rely only on a single debit or cash card. (If you plan on using a debit or credit card in Thailand remember to notify the bank first. Otherwise an ATM withdrawal may be denied because the bank suspects fraud.)
How much per night does your budget allow for a place to sleep at?
Suk 11 Hostel and Lub D Hostels are two in Bangkok. But there are cheap hotels around the same price too. Google search "cheap hotels Khao San Road area, Bangkok" for samples.
[ Edit: Edited on 30-Dec-2015, at 14:07 by karazyal ]