I'm starting to plan the itinerary for my 18 day trip to Thailand in August. I would mostly like to visit the main spots in Thailand and spend some days chilling in one of the islands, preferably one which is not overcrowded by other tourists. My idea is:
Day 1, 2, 3- Bangkok
Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9- Go somewhere North to visit temples, mountains, jungles
Day 9, 10, 11, 12 - Samui Island
Day 13, 14, 15, 16 - Visit cities in mainland south
Day 17, 18 - Bangkok
Do you have any suggestions on where to go and how many days to spend in each place. I would really appreciate some help. Temples, rivers, caves, elephant ride, beaches, massages, cooking lessons, nice food, beaches, are things that come to my mind.
For Bangkok I suggest:
1. Grand Palace + Emerald Buddha temple
2. Reclining Buddha temple
3. Little trip on klongs on longtail boat
4. Wat Arun
5. Vinmanmek (Teak Palace)
7. Golden Mount
8. Wat Tramit + Chinatown
9. Catch a spirit of KhaoSan road
p.s. Entrance ticket for (1) also includes (5)
From the look of your itinerary, it is well spread out and you should be able to see the most part of Thailand. Cyber has worked out a good part of Bkk stay according to your itin.
Day 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9- Go somewhere North to visit temples, mountains, jungles.
6 days to the north - Chiangmai and Chiangrai, should be sufficient to do all this things. August is a wet month though, trekking on the mountains is not advisable but other activities is OK.
Another activity where most travelers don't do is to go stay with a Thai family to learn first hand of the Thai village life, custom and home cooked food. Should you need more info about this kind of activity, PM me or go to http://homestay.travellerspoint.com
3. Little trip on klongs on longtail boat
Personaly, i will change this trip by a trip to Floating Market in Damnoen Saduak and Nakhon Pathon. It's easy to organise it from Bangkok for half day.
You can use another day in bangkok to visit Ayutthaya from Bangkok for one or two days, or when you will go to the North.
If you're looking for cheap hotel, you can easily stay in Khaosan Road. I really like this place even some time i prefer to stay near Sukkhomvit.
If you like asian market, you have to go to Chatouchak Market. I don't remember exactly which day is the best, but maybe someone here have this information.
Not far from Bangkok and for one day, you can go to Kantchanaburi to see the river kwai bridge.
Concerning Samui Island, it depends on what are you looking for. Samui is not really an authentique island like Koh Chang or Koh Mak but it's a pleasant place. But, the most beautiful island in Thailand seems to be near Krabi, Koh Phi phi...
The best days are weekends to the Chatuchak market.
I would cut down the amount of time in Bkk and be more fluid about other dates/times....you might like to stay longer somewhere.
don't try to do/see too much, just going places and ticking them off your list isn't getting to know or understand anything about Thailand.
[ Edit: Edited on Apr 24, 2008, at 6:18 PM by wildfk ]
I agree with Koh Chang/Koh Mak. I stayed on Koh Kood a few years ago. It was great. All the food was fresh, because it had just been fished the night before or that morning. There's a nice waterfall for swimming. I'm not sure how to contact the place I stayed, but it's called Ao Noi Resort. They have a private beach. When I was there, they weren't even technically open yet, but they let us stay. There are no restaurants, so you just eat whatever they make. You could probably talk the chef (who is also the manager) into letting you help in the kitchen.
Koh Chang is fantastic. Check out http://www.iamkohchang.com for good, honest recommendations on where to stay. He's got some really funny stories and good recommendations on some spots in Bangkok, too.
I also did a trek up at Khao Yai National Park, in the mountains northeast of Bangkok. There is a hotel and trek service called Greenleaf Tours. They do a great job. Accommodations are simple, but comfortable and inexpensive. Food is included also. The guy who does the tours -- Birdman -- can spot animals from incredible distances. And he doesn't load you up with junk food when you're hiking. I would definitely do it again.
Hope that gives you a few ideas outside of the regular!