Just looking for some advice from seasoned travellers.
Im flying to Thailand at the end of the month and apart from a couple of nights in Bangkok I have no accomodation planned at all. The idea being that I wanted to get in the spirit of travelling and be free to chnage plans if I felt like it. Now it's getting closer Im starting to feel nervous....!
My rough plan so far is to visit Ayyutaya, possibly stay a night, travel to Sukhothai, again stay a night and then leave for Chaing Mai, I want to spend the last couple of weeks on the beaches (Im only there for a month).
I know its a pretty rough plan but like I said, Im pretty envious of travellers who seem brave enough to just turn up and go with the flow, so im hoping I can do the same.
Anyone think I will have any problems? Any advice is appreciated.
Ive read lots and lots of forums and guide books but actually getting a personal response form someone will make me feel loads better!
Thanks in advance!x
I think you're doing the right thing. That's exactly how I did it when I took my first solo trip to Thailand and it's how I've done it every time I've gone since. There's really nothing to worry about as there are plenty of cheap hotels in every town that you will go to. Grab a Lonely Planet book (or something similar), arrive in a town, and walk around and check out a few places. The chances of you getting stuck without a place to stay is really really slim. When you arrive in Chiang Mai or the Islands you'll be surrounded by touts that want to take you to their hotel. I always figure this is a great way to go. It's usually a free ride into the area where hotels are, and you have no obligation to stay at their hotel. Just check it out, and if you want to move on to another hotel, do.
This is a good time of year for someone to simply "turn up". The rainy season isn't packed with tourists and, with unpredictable weather, a flexible schedule is best.
When you get to Chiang Mai, if you head into the Old Walled City, there are lots of very very good places to stay. Ideally you should wander around and find a place that suits you for all the right reasons. I cannot remember the name of the place I stayed, although can envisage where it was (though not helpful to you).
Although they might be listed in my diary on here!! It might be worth having a read through and seeing if I listed anything.
Though there are tonnes of places in Chiang Mai - its all aimed at you, the tourist/backpacker. When you get to Bangkok, go to one of the MANY second hand bookshops, and pick up a Lonely Planet (for around £2.50) and in there will be lists of good places. Mine hotel wasn't in the LP, but was up the road from one which was recommended (and was full)...and always remember to barter. "Que bhart?" gets you far
I spent 3 weeks in Chiang Mai...it's great there, I miss it...
Take cable ties, and small padlocks and secure your pack as best as possible when on any overnight trains / buses. As you may find your belongings will have been rifled through. It has happened to me, and though I didn't have any of particular value in my rucksack, I was fully aware that on a round the world trip...and these 'things' had another 5 months to last!!!
I also wouldn't recommend going with the ticket touts...have ended up in some seriously dire hovels as a direct consequence of doing this.
The ONLY time I was stuck for somewhere to stay was turning up in Bangkok at Chinese New Year...ooops!!! I ended up sleeping on the sofa in a hotel lobby.
I visit Thailand each year now and certainly agree with other PM's advice re settling on accom as you go. I'm rather meticulous in my planning and spend hours researching a place before I visit, particularly accom. options. I haven't been to AYUTTHAYA as yet (pencilled in for my 2011 trip). Here's some accom. options with positive reviews:
Accom: ***Baan Lotus GH,20 Pa-Maphrao Rd,Ph035-251988,dbl,a/c(walk from bus station)
check rooms-pond side?-600B,fan-400B(2007)
- Tony's Place,12/18 Naresuan Rd,Soi 1,dbl,a/c,450B,earplugs,(2007)(check rooms)
CHIANG MAI accom**Tha Phae Garden GH,60 Soi 3,Thaphae Rd,dbl,a/c,cable,pool,600B see their website
Old City accom:*Gap's House,3 Rajadamnern Soi 4,Ph.053-278140,dbl,a/c,safe box,brek,no reserv's,550B
- Nud Kun,Soi 1 off Ratchadamamnoen,a/c,450B
- Awanahouse,7 Ratchadamamnoen,Lane 1,next to Thapae Gate,balcony,a/c,fridge,pool,600B
- CM Blue GH,30/1 Moonmuang Rd,Tim&Tony,a/c,dbl,tv,600B
- **Trigong Residence,dbl,a/c,cable.fridge,balcony(no smoking)-700B,highly recomm.:
My last visit I stayed at CM Blue GH. Nice digs and quiet but my third night I had to move because they had double booked even though I had booked in advance (only because I flew in from Hong Kong during the night). Anyway, rather than move to their GH nearby I elected to to move in to a fan room as it was only for one night. Still, I wasn't impressed with their booking responsibilities. I will try elsewhere first for my next visit in 2011.
Just google anything that takes your interest particularly to see if you can get an idea of their prices. I'm happy to pay what other travellers have been charged but if they try it on I'm prepared to take them on or try for a cheaper price.
Good advice re padlocks, cable ties. I use padlocks which are only unlocked when I need access.
I believe good planning avoids relying on touts. In 4 trips the only time I have succumbed is when we travelled by minibus from Phuket airport in to Patong Beach they always stop off at a travel agent and flog you accom. We were shown a brand new hotel that did not exist the year before and were offered an excellent price (they were obviously chasing occupancy). This hotel is a lot more expensive now. Point is these scenarios a rare.
PM me if I can be of further assistance.
Thanks so much everyone! Really good advice and much appreciated!x
Travelling is a great experience, especially when you don't know what you are going to do and where you are going next!
Thailand is such a wonderful country to explore! Apart from getting ripped off and some other stuff that would definitely be new to you. To get a good hostel/guest house/room of your choice, you can always walk around the town and you'll always find a decent place to stay. If you are going to Ayuthaya and Sukhothai, you can get rooms for as low as 300-500 baht which you'd fine nicer than those in Bangkok for the same price. There's also one place in Chiang Mai, I highly recommend, it's called Sakulchai Court, Huay Kaew Road, 450 baht, everything's new and clean, and compare to other places, this one is a taste of cheap luxury, was there last week! Tel. no 053211982, 053215172, 053215178
Also, if you are getting a taxi, always insist on using the meter, if they say it's broken then just walk away and find another one. Tuktuk, Songtaw and motorcycle taxis are other forms of public transportation that you'll find in a small town, before getting on, always ask for the fare and just try to negotiate for a lower fare.
Going South, Koh Samed beautiful soft white sandy beach, just a bit crowded though, both locals and foreigners. If you are staying there stay in Naga guesthouse. Koh Tao another island further down south, good for snorkeling, diving and kayaking. Koh Pangan is known for the famous full moon party, great island, after a night of partying, you can stay for a whole week relaxing in another side of the island. Cozy Resort quiet, nice, cheap and closest place to the party. Then if you want to stay away from the busy part of the island, head up to Haad Yao Villa on the northwest part of the island, new, clean and cheap place to stay. >>> Just remember the names of the resorts and the locals would know where it is, you can check the map or ask. Suggestion: Just book a night on each guest house, at least then if you find another nice place, you can always move... also part of the experience... you'll find a lot of activities everywhere you go.. don't EVER go to a TRAVEL AGENT!
I hope that'll help you.. Have fun! Cheers!