I've booked flights (and not much else) to Bangkok for 5 weeks in Aug/Sept. I have a vague route planned..
Bangkok - couple of days
Head up to Chang Mai / Rai for a week or so
Back down either to Bangkok or straight over to Phuket / Southern Islands
Island hopping for the remainder, incorporating FMP on 1st September.
I would love to do a diving course.. unsure where to go yet? also an elephant trek maybe over a couple of days whilst I'm up north.
I'm 21, female and travelling alone.. so a little nervous!!
Having never travelled before, scared as I am, I'm itching to get out of the UK and see some sights, explore, soak up the culture and just have a great summer before my final year at university!
Anyone in a similar situation or with any advice or places to visit / things to do, everything would be greatly appreciated
You picked a perfect place to go for your first solo trip abroad! Thailand is an amazing friends and safe place, I did the same thing as your doing a few years back and will never forget it!
A nice place to stay in Bangkok is called wild orchid and it is a 5 min walk from all the hectic khaosan road but close enough to still be able to visit khaosan and party when you want to. I always stay there when im in town as its pretty cheap for a single room with a fan compared to what you can pay on the khaosan road! i think prices are cheaper if you walk in rather than book online.
Watch out for the tuk tuk scam where they say they will take you anywhere for 10 bhat.... its a complete scam and you will end up in a friends shop somewhere far from where you want to go in the first place! always get a taxi charged on the meter or agree a price before hand.
Also I would really reccomend a town called Pai which is about 4 hours bus north of chiang mai (if you have time to go there) I had one of the best times of my life up there. It was originally where some of the early hippy travelers ended up and with that came a nice music scene... the hippies are gone tere now but the music scene still lives on. If you do decide to go there message me and I can give you some recomendations :0) There is an amazing Hot springs in an protected forest area where local people have dammed off a little pool of really nice luke warm water with a bed of smooth stones perfect depth to sit in and have a couple of cold beers and a chat :0)
In chiang Mai there is a Bar called THC rooftop bar.... its an amazing place on the roof of a building with a bar and straw mat floors.
Also if you want to go to a place where all the thai's go for a night out go check out topshot's. My thai friends took me there a few times and it was always great fun. At the time it was ok to buy alcohol from a supermarket and then just buy the mixers in hotshots if you want to save some money... not sure if that is still the case as this was 6 years ago.
book a hotel in advance for the full moon party as its a right pain in the arse trying to find one when you get there along with a thousand other people! we booked corol bungalows before we went.... was quite pricey but was a great place to stay and walking distance along the beach to haad rin where the full moon party is.
hope this is some help
anymore questions just ask
Thanks for all this info, it's greatly appreciated
Pai sounds fab - any recommendations you can make, please do!! As I have 5 weeks and no booked hostels (exc. FMP) I can travel at the speed I wish and stay on longer in places I especially love. The hot springs sound amazing, where are they, or is the area, called?
Another place I'd like to visit is Kanchanaburi and the hinterland? To get the most out of it I think I'll book a package for a day trip, staying overnight and enjoying a day of wondering around also.
On average, staying in hostels - (basic beds, water, lockers is fine) how much do you think I'll need to spend per night / week? I'm aware FMP hostels are more expensive and having booked a recommended hostel here it is costing around £80 for 5 nights. Still not a budget breaking amount but more than I wish to pay for most of my trip!
How long do you think I will need for Chang Mai? Currently thinking about 4 days, heading up to Chang Rai for another couple - depending on whether I book a 3 day elephant camp / trek.
I'm currently trying to make a flexible itinerary so I know roughly what I'm doing and to ensure I don't miss anything out!
I'm getting more excited about it now, still nervous but I feel planning a little more will help - also realising the weather may not be as wet as I had first thought has eased my concerns
One thing I am unsure of, is the travel means and costs whilst I'm out there. i.e. how is best to travel up to Chang Mai / Rai, and then down to the islands? With costs in mind, I'd rather spend a night on a train than fly unless these work out with little difference in price?
For 5 weeks you need a tourist visa. Don't put it off to the last minute.
Figure out how much per day you can afford for a hotel, guest house or hostel and ask for recommendations in that price range for each area. Use a baht figure. Once you leave Bangkok you will not find that many hostels but you will have cheap guest houses. Limit the valuables you take with you if you intend to stay in hostels with open dorms. Safer to not trust anyone you don't know from back home! If something comes up missing from your hostel-hotel room suspect a fellow tourist first! Have bags you can lock.
In Bangkok you can make arrangements for transportation to other cities pretty easy. There are hostels and cheap hotels not far from the Skytrain in Bangkok. But if you choose a hotel in the Khao San Road area no rail service.
Rail service Bangkok.
You can book your train tickets when you are in Bangkok. The Skytrain connects with the subway, the subway takes you right to Hualamphong Train station for rides to Chiang Mai. Sleeper cars sell out first. In Bangkok a meter taxi is cheaper than using a tuk-tuk. Only use the meter and the ride is cheaper than bargaining the cost. Price is the same for one passenger or for 4. Have small bills and coins for paying taxi drivers. Excellent rail service from the airport to major areas in the city.
Anytime you use a bus DO NOT put your valuables in your checked in bag! No money, no passport, no jewelry in the checked in bag! Buses with most thefts from stored bags are usually booked in Khao San Road area. Google up scams Bangkok/Thailand for more info.
Spend the last night or two again in Bangkok just before you fly home. That way you can buy some last minute souvenirs and be only a short taxi ride to the airport.