I am gonna be in thailand for about 30 days and im wondering if my plan seems kind of ambitious for that time range. These are the things I plan to do:
April 25th - Fly into bangkok spend about a day here and then take the overnight train down to Ko Samui and take a ferry over to Ko Pha-ngan for the full moon party on (april 28th). I assume you have to buy a ticket or something to get to the full moon party - how much in advance should i do this?
Spend a few days in this area and then go to Krabi and Ko phi-Phi. In Krabi id like to do some outdoors stuff like kayaking and climbing.
Phuket for a few days (?) I've heard mixed things about this place... should i go..?
Then I'll probably go north to Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, go hill tribe trecking, etc (would a week and a half be enough for this area).
Then head down to bangkok stopping at Ayuthaya.
Probably spend about 5 days in bangkok.
somewhere along the way id like to do an elephant trek as well.
I'm also considering going into cambodia for about 5 days or a week to go to Angkor Wat (i think it would be amazing to see!). Is it worth the hassle of crossing overland to cambodia and then back into thailand (my flight is out of bangkok).
In total, between my entry flight and my exist flight into thailand its 37 days. I am planning on getting the 60 day tourist visa that is currently being given away for free, or so i have been lead to believe.
How does this sound time wise? Any advice would be great, as well as must sees that i've missed out on.
Sounds like a good plan and I think you're timing is pretty good. I'll try to answer a few of your questions.
Full Moon Party - it's free. No tickets involved. Just show up on the public beach and dance. Biggest problem is accommodation. The first two times I went to the full moon party, once in April, and then the next May, I had no problem finding a hotel a couple nights before the party, but maybe I got lucky. It may not hurt to book a place. There's heaps of places to stay around Hat Rinn (the party beach), where the chances of actual sleep are minimal, but I wouldn't overlook the quieter beaches in the north of the island, like Thong Nai Pan which is lovely and much quieter. You can easily get a taxi down to the party. The third time I went it was also New Years Eve and we ended up having to stay on Koh Samui and taking a boat to Phangnan on the night of the party.
Phuket - If you like Phangnan and Krabi, then you'll probably hate Phuket. You are indeed going to hear mixed reviews and a number of people on this website love the place. Personally, I visited Phuket on my 5th visit to the country and it is bar none my least favorite place in Thailand. I will never go back. Guess you just have to decide for yourself, and honestly, it doesn't hurt to stop there for a day or two after you leave Phi Phi on your way back up to Bangkok. If you like it stay for a little longer, if you don't, keep on moving.
10 days or so is pretty good for Northern Thailand. You could definitely stay more, and i would recommend trying to get to Pai while you're there. Take a trek for 3 days, which will also include an elephant ride. Maybe 2 weeks is better.
I love Bangkok, but I don't think there's any reason to spend 5 days there. Spent 2 full days of sightseeing and add more time in other places. Don't forget, because Bangkok is the center of the country, you'll always end up passing through there. You'll spend a day when you arrive, probably another day between the Islands and the north, another day before you head to Cambodia, and probably a day before you fly out. So there's little need to allot another chunk of time to see it. Just take full advantage of the days when you are passing through.
Cambodia is a great idea and Angkor is probably my favorite historical sight on the planet. If all you want to see if Angkor, than 4-5 days is fine depending on how much time you want for the ruins. Many people have told me that 1 day was enough because they get templed-out. You can definitely cram a lot of temple seeing into one day and hit all the major must sees - Angkor Wat, Bayon, and Ta Prohm. After a day like that you may not feel the need to see more. But I think Angkor is a lovely place, and another two days of biking around to far off quieter temples, hanging out and reading a book, chatting with the monks, and just enjoying the countryside can prove more relaxing than time on the beach. Getting to Siam Reap (the closest town) is a pretty straight forward day trip from Bangkok. So factor in 2 days travel plus whatever you want to spend at Angkor.
Ayuthaya is great, but I would say visit it as far away from when you go to Angkor as possible or else you'll remember it as just another ancient temple. Another possible stop is Kanchanaburi - a couple days at a hotel along the river is great, and Soukathai is you aren't sick of temples.
At the last Full Moon you would have struggled to find somewhere to stay on Full Moon iself (unless you were prepared to pay 2000 Baht for an overpriced room). But in April the Full Moon isn't quite as busy so you might be okay, although you'll still have to pay over the odds.
One option might be to leave you backpack at a hotel (if you pay for a room for the night after Full Moon then most places are okay with this) and then just stop up all night (the Full Moon Party goes on until the early morning). Then spend the next day sleeping to recover.