I've just started planning a solo trip (so far have not found a buddy with time off) to thailand in August. I'll be leaving sometime around august 5th and returning to canada around the end of the month.
I'm basically starting from nothing, no previous knowledge and barely any travel experience. i'm 23, just out of uni, and would like to try surfing, hiking, scuba diving, and other cool things while travelling throughout the country and maybe possibly checking out cambodia and/ or vietnam. I'd also like to experience a little bit of the nightlife and parties while I'm there.
Any suggestions, tips,etc. or sample itinieraries are welcome. if you're going around the same time with a group, maybe we can meet up.
Thanks, Looking forward to hearing from ya'll!!
Which part of Thailand you gonna go?
My boyfriend and I spent about a month in Thailand last year - it is awesome. Where you'll want to go will depend on what you like doing and what your travelling style is. Personally, we don't like big cities, so we did not enjoy Bangkok very much and only stayed there en route to elsewhere. We also travelled cheap. We did our PADI Open Water dive course at Koh Tao. Koh Tao is really lovely to spend a few days on, but I would recommend diving elsewhere. The island is relatively quiet compared to others since everyone has early morning for diving. We also did 2 dives near Koh Phi Phi which I highly recommend. There was a lot more marine life to see.
Our itinerary was as follows:
Bangkok, 2 nights (arrive by bus and boat from Cambodia)
Kanchanaburi tour, 3 nights (bus from/to Bangkok)
Chiang Mai, 6 nights (train from Bangkok)
Koh Tao, 4 nights (very long bus ride from Chiang Mai, but train was fully booked, then a ferry)
Koh Samui, 4 nights (ferry)
Koh Lanta, 3 nights (ferry, bus, ferry)
Koh Phi Phi, 4 nights (ferry)
Khao Lak, 6 nights (ferry, bus)
Koh Phangan, 5 nights - full moon (bus, ferry)
Phuket, 2 nights (ferry, bus, ferry)
Obviously it's more logical to go Koh Tao, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan rather than crossing the country and then going back and then back again, but we wanted to catch the full moon party and we'd already booked the diving on Koh Tao.
Getting around Thailand is very easy, and there are travel agents everywhere. Shop around to get cheaper prices, it's often that three nearby agents have completely different prices. Also, for almost our entire trip we never booked in advance. Hotels and bus rides were often booked the day before - sometimes this meant getting stuck with a bus instead of a train, which sometimes sucked. For example, the train from Chiang Mai would have been much better than a 26 hour bus with a change in Bangkok at 6am.
Parties are huge on Koh Phangan, even when it's not full moon you can find plenty of nightlife on the beaches - but this is true of most beach locations.
Kanchanaburi has some amazing waterfalls (Erawan)
The Similan Islands are stunning
Koh Ngai is simply paradise
Staying in floating huts on the lake in Khao Lak was pretty awesome
Diving is excellent
Ang Thong Marine Park near Koh Samui has the most awesome view from the top of the mountain
Zip-lining in Chiang Mai is really awesome fun
We also spent a month in Cambodia and Vietnam and I also highly recommend them. Vietnam is cheap and quite the adventure. Favourites there would be the Mekong River, Nha Trang for partying, and a number of other awesome places but may be a bit too north for you to get to within a month from Thailand. We also didn't like Hanoi or Phnom Penh (we must have this strange dislike for capitals). However, Sihanoukville in Cambodia was a hell of a lot of fun for beach lazing and partying - you can also spend a few nights on secluded islands in bamboo huts. Siem Reap was also highly enjoyable. We got stuck there for 9 nights while waiting for Thai visas and it was the best place to get stuck in.
Tip: take as little stuff as you possibly can and always keep a watchful eye on buses or around stations etc.
When I'm planning, I generally jump on wikitravel and have a browse of what's to see and do in the whole country and then in specific areas. Then I jump on google images to see what places really catch my eye. Then I check out trip advisor or government tourism sites for other advice on specifics. After that, I make a huge list of all the places I would ideally want to see, draw out a map with connections between each place, then see how much time I've got. I'm a huge travel planning geek :D Cutting down places is probably the worst/hardest part.
If you would like more advice or have some specific questions feel free to ask
Bit jealous, you'll have the best time!
I don't actually travel solo, I prefer to travel with friends. We have a plan to travel in Bangkok next year probably by month of April. So excited to visit one great country in South East Asia.
@alice1988: I'm not sure where yet
@meganjane: Thanks for all the advice. very helpful. I plan on only being gone for 3-4 weeks, so i may have to eliminate some of those places or cut down on the time at each. Would you recommend booking the return flight while booking the flight there?
No worries! For time constraints, I'd probably recommend doing only one side of the south (e.g Samui and Phangan OR Phuket, Phi Phi etc.). Booking return depends on whether you have a definite leaving date. If you're a bit more flexible, I'd book it once over there. We booked one way only and lucky we did because we wanted to stay another 2 weeks past our original plan. Also, I think having fewer places to visit but more time at each was better and being flexible allows to either stay longer if you like a place or to move on if you don't.