So I've decided that my friend and I are going to stop in Thailand before we head to Oz. We can stay 30 days in the country without a visa I think. However as we are both new to travelling we really dont know how long we should stay, where to go see, and how to go about booking accommodation/tours there!!
We think we may stay only 2 - 3 weeks there! where should we go see within in this time, and how? I think we would like perhaps a mixture of beach life (which is probably more touristy) as well as seeing a local side to the country! Are there tour operators that we should use??
Would it be worth travelling into Cambodia?
We will be very nervous, and fear the language barrier, but we do feel as we have the stopover we may as well make the most of it!
Neither of us would want a majorly big party scene, although we would like to be able to have a few nights out in a relaxed setting where maybe we can meet more people!!
Sorry if this is confusing xx
Yes, you will get a free 30 day entry permit when you fly into BKK. I do want you to contact your airline and find out if they will board you w/o a R/T ticket or a flight out of Thailand (TL) within 30 days. The Thai Immigration officer won't care, but your airline might. Check.
Most young visitors head over to the Khao San Road section of BKK. Plenty of cheap places to stay & eat on KSR. I suggest you do a bit a research before you arrive. Many TP members prefer Soi Rambuttri, on the other side of Wat Chana Songkhram, just a block away from KSR. This map might help you decide what GH you prefer. Pick a few, then read reviews on tripadvisor. It always helps to read what others thought of that guesthouse.
I suggest you use your full 30 days in TL. That way you have time to head north to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai for some trekking and still have time for the beaches down south. I like the Krabi area because of the many beach options nearby. Railay Beach, Phi Phi will probably be on your list of places to visit. Phuket is well known, but crowded and expensive. You have better options. You will still have time for Koh Samui if you need more beach time. Or Koh Tao if you want a smaller, less hectic beach experience.
Now Cambodia. Figure 5-7 days if you want to get over to Phnom Penh for a few days and then 2-3 days up in Siem Reap to walk around Angkor Wat. Air Asia flies BKK-PNH for under $100. You then have a choice. There is no cheap flight: REP-BKK. You could fly Air Asia to KUL on your way to OZ. Or go overland in one long day back to BKK from SR. Or bus back to PNH and fly back to BKK on Air Asia.
Do not worry about language skills. Most Thais in the tourist areas speak some English. You will be OK. You will meet many other young visitors in every part of TL you visit. You gals will have plenty of others to socialize with if you so choose. Don't worry about that. TL is an easy and friendly country for a first time visitor.
Many parts of TL are now experiencing flooding, but that should not be an issue by March. Relax, do your research and have a great time while in SEA!
Feeling nervous is exactly how I felt, but once you get on that plane all that nervous energy tends to convert into excitement! I agree with Mike, he's spot on with most of the things he says. I'd say go places that interest you, depending on how adventurous you are you could either read up on places and then plan a route or just wing it...The travellers life is a free one. You make up your own rules! ;p
Khao San Road is a great place to meet people, however, it's predominantly party-oriented and living around there will not get you much peace and quiet at night that you crave. Sukhumvit is an area on the outskirts of Bangkok, where there's a seperate area for relaxing and partying. It's a bit less touristy and you'll probably get a better feel for meeting Thai people.
Deffo use your 30 days, Thailand is a beautiful country with amazing people and great places to see. I likes Kanchanburi and Chiang Mai for the experiences (sleeping on the river, jungle trekking, elephant treks etc) and there's great spiritual places as you head north like Sukhothai or Ayutthaya. Great Islands like Ko Chang, Koh Tao and Ko Samui are good to chill out with beaches and great beach hotel views.
By the way, Tourist Information Centres can be heavily unreliable (I took one!) and can con you out of money when you can do your own trip for free. What you can do is go to one, plan your trip with them and opt out, that way you've found out free info!
Cambodia is great, such a sad history but I'll let you discover why!
All the best....and if you want to understand the life of a novice backpacker a bit better, buy mine on amazon kindle-snip- it'll help you to calm your nerves and plus tell you about the places I went to in SE Asia!
Hope this helps,
[ Edit: Sorry, no promos please. ]