Hi all, my name is Aaron, This up-coming January I will be in Thailand for three weeks. I do have a few questions that I am hoping some of you more experienced travelers could help me out with. For one. I really feel I need to go see Chang Mai. My question is how long does it take to get up there from Bangkok, also If I were interested in seeing Phuket as well how long would it take to get from Chaing Mai to Phuket? Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 7, 2008, at 1:48 PM by aaron-s ]
Depends on if you're willing to fly there, or go by land?
I really recommend Chiang Mai, it's a must while in Thailand. I can give you several tips of where to go.
hey thanks for replying, I was thinking about going by train up there from Bangkok, I am still not sure if I should go to Phuket though. people are telling me there are plenty of places in the Kingdom that are more beautiful and deffinaley(sp?) cheaper for a budget traveler like myself. But yes Chaing Mai is a must on my list. please let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions. If I were to go to phuket I would want to get there as fast as possible from Chaing mai. I am guessing that that would be by air, do you have any ideas on how much a tiket would be?
thank you again
Bangkok - Chiang Mai by train 13 hours, fly 70 minutes, by VIP bus 7 hours.
Chiang Mai - Phuket by Thai airways direct flight, 1 flight daily 2hours 20 minutes, no trains to Phuket.
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For flights, you can check out AirAsia, a major budget airline in South East Asia. You'll have to fly to Bangkok first before flying to Phuket. As usual, budget flights are sold point-to-point and they won't wait for you if the connecting flight you're coming from, even though theirs, is experiencing delays. So if you are taking both flights on the same day, allow at least 4 hours of time between flights in case there's a delay on the first leg.
hey thanks for replying, I was thinking about going by train up there from Bangkok, I am still not sure if I should go to Phuket though.
thank you again
If you use the train to get to Chiang Mai use the sleeper train. This will also save you from paying for another night in a hotel in Bangkok. The sleeper train is popular try to book it a few days ahead of time. In Bangkok get a hotel near the Skytrain route. The Skytrain can take you to the subway and the subway will take you to the national train station.
If you need a nice beach then go to Phuket if not check out some other places in Thailand that are more unique to Asia than a beach.
In case you don't know it - in Bangkok, Phuket, Pattaya and Chiang Mai if you want to sign up for a tour you can get them from travel agencies. They will have a list of available tours for you to choose from. Tour companies pick up and return you to your hotel too!
[ Edit: Edited on Oct 7, 2008, at 6:28 PM by karazyal ]
You can book a overnight bus in Bangkok to Chiang Mai at one of the million travel agents in the city. It shouldn't cost more then 400-500baht. You can find lower tho. As for Phuket, it's same deal from Bangkok, book a bus from a travel agent. I think it's only a few hours away(ive never gone) but as said before, if u just want a beach. Go somewhere else. From what ive heard Phuket is overpriced and full of tourists.
The lonely planet (and pretty much anyone I've heard from on this board) recommends strongly against booking ('tourist') busses through travel agents, with many reports of people's luggage being rifled through on those busses, as well as uncomfortably heavy insistence on also booking accommodation through them before arriving, plus frequent switches to ever more cramped and crappier busses en route, and even people being left stuck halfway between cities.
Much better to go to the official bus station and book a bus there directly It might cost a few hundred baht extra, but most locals go for this, which should tell you something.
Yeah definitely don't go through travel agents. Just rock up to Hualampung Train Station, look a bit lost, and someone will come to your aid (happened to me - i couldn't believe it). If not, then ask at the info booth counters. They should be able to organise a train ticket for you.
I'd suggest not flying, as VIP buses and sleeper train can get just as comfortable, and just for the experience really. It's also a lot cheaper, so you can't go wrong.
In Chiang Mai, i highly recommend Gong Kaew hostel (listed on Hostelworld as well). Might be a bit secluded, but the staff are awesome, and the trek we signed up from with them was great too. And visit the Tiger Kingdom if you're a big cat lover.
Most travel shops are fine....and very convenient too. They don't need a huge commission to earn a living and can save you a a lot of wandering around