Hello! I am taking my first trip to Thailand! I am currently deployed to Afghanistan and get 2 weeks leave in March and plan on going to Thailand! My main questions are the basic overall questions. I am looking for the fun club/bar scene with lots of good food vendors and that kind of stuff....I really don't know what part of the country to stay in or basically anything...If anyone has any tips for me I would really appreciate it. I am going in March.
First of all, thank you for serving your country. Those deployed to war zones really need to hear that your service and sacrifice are appreciated by those at home.
Now your trip to Tland. There are several locations that should be on your list. The easiest to get to from BKK is Pattaya. You probably already know the sleazy reputation Pattaya has around the world. But, millions of visitors every year head for Pattaya because of its naughty rep!. More nightlife than almost any city outside of Vegas. And I should know, I was born in Vegas and lived 8 winters in Pattaya! The beach is just fair in Pattaya Bay or Jomtien, but you do have a great beach option over on Koh Larn. My blog covers my day trip over to KL. Pattaya is not for everyone, but I suggest you go down for a few days and see if you like it.
Another option might be Koh Samui. Good beaches, decent nightlife, fun place to be. A short ferry ride away is a Koh Phangan. Known for its Full Moon Parties, KP gives you another beach option closeby.
Last suggestion is Phuket. Good beaches/water, plenty of nightlife. More expensive than Pattaya, Phuket has thousands of upscale visitors flying in from Europe each week and can get hectic. There are less visited beaches not far from the main area of Patong, Kata & Karon beach.
I like the Krabi coast, great beaches/water, but the nightlife is not up to par with the above options.
Ryan, those are just a few suggestions, others will chime in with their fave place in Tland. Good luck with your planning.
Don't leave out Chiang Mai as it is the cultural heart of Thailand. Read my blog and see the videos and photos. I will be adding more so keep coming back. Next entry tomorrow is how to find a real eco-culture friendly trekking company. -snip-
if you have any questions please let me know.
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]
I think you're gonna love Bali. Take some time to visit there and you'll see it'd be worthwhile.
For a two week trip with your criteria I suggest either Pattaya or Phuket as your base. You will enjoy yourself at either place.
Bangkok and Pattaya will have all the nightlife and partying you can absorb! Phuket is okay but the most expensive for hotels and local transportation. Bangkok is cheaper than Phuket (Patong area) but no beach.
Is a beach is important for actual swimming? Pattaya is cheaper than Bangok and Phuket for hotels and nightlife. The beach is crappy for actual swimming. But just great for nightlife, malls, restaurants, street vendors, etc. You can walk, jog, run and sunbathe on the beach. For actual swimming you can use Koh Larn Island (ferry ride is 30 baht.) Or swim at Jomtien and Naklua nearby. Choose a hotel with a pool. Pattaya is only 2 hours by cheap bus. Price of the rides are 113 baht from Ekamai (Sukhumvit) bus terminal, which is off a Skytrain. Or 124 baht using the Pattaya/Jomtien bus from the airport.
A hotel on or near Sukhumvit Road in Bangkok will put you in a good area for malls, street vendors, restaurants and nightlife. My suggestion is the Nana Skytrain stop area.
For Pattaya choose a hotel near Pattaya Sai Song. Locals call this road Pattaya Second Road. In this area you can walk to many things like restaurants, malls, street vendors, nightlife and travel agencies for tours. Local transportation is only 10 baht. Talk to other expats and ask how to use the baht bus. You wave the baht bus down, hop on. Push bell to get off and give the driver a 10 baht coin and just walk away!
If you want to visit Phuket choose a hotel in the Patong area. A Google check will also give you some information on various places to visit and how to get there.
There are quite a few military retirees in the Pattaya/Bangkok area.