Seeking advice on a low-key itinerary
Replies: 4 - Last Post: Oct 25, 2012 6:41 AM Last Post By: Henrik2000
Oct 24, 2012 2:42 PM
Seeking advice on a low-key itineraryI will be visiting SE Asia for the fifth time and Thailand for the second this December. I am a woman in my 40's and generally travel solo. While I prefer getting off the main tourist trail, I am not comfortable doing this totally on my own, so I am trying to work out a 3 week itinerary that will allow me to meet up with other travelers in areas that are not super touristy. Last year, I spent time doing the MHS loop, which I loved, especially Mae Sariang. My priorities include:
- Avoiding big cities. I live in a big city (NYC), so prefer to be in more rural areas.
- Accessible by public transportation. I do not ride a motorbike, so will be traveling by bus.
- Possibility of a guesthouse with a social environment/other solo travelers, but not overwhelmingly 20-somethings. This can be hard to find - in my experience, many people in their 30's and up travel as couples.
I enjoy a range of activities, including trekking, national parks, ruins, and simply biking around/hanging out in smaller towns. I've been considering some combination of the places below (though obviously not all of them in one trip):
- Chiang Dao/Thaton/Golden Triangle area
- Khao Yai NP/Isaan/possibly southern Laos
I am not tied to these ideas, and would appreciate thoughts or additional ideas from folks who have been to Thailand and might have a similar travel style. Or if this sounds appealing and you'll be in Thailand in December, message me privately - maybe we can meet up.
Oct 24, 2012 4:23 PM
1You might consider traveling along the Mekong River from, say, Khong Chiam up to Chiang Khan (or reverse). No big cities, and the cities that you will come across are great. Fantastic people, great food, slow pace, public transport, places to stay, great scenery, amazing food, inexpensive, and scant few other travelers. That may be pumping the area up a bit, but that's what I've always found.
Done this area twice now on my bicycle and found it to be brilliant for riding, especially around Nong Khai and Chiang Khan. Light traffic and considerate drivers, lots of villages to visit off the main roads, lots of minor roads, and pretty much flat.
The same is true for Pakse, Champasak and Si Phan Don ... Bolaven Plateau isn't very flat, though. Great areas for riding.
I have also found the area around Sukhothai to share much of the above. Sukhothai, Tak, Kamphaeng Phet, Si Satchanalai, Sawankhalok are all very nice. More ruins/historical sites, as well.
Phrae and Nan would also be good choices.
The agony of choice!
Edited by: DoctorBogenbroom
Oct 24, 2012 5:31 PM
2Thanks DoctorBogenbroom. Those are all places that sound interesting to me; however, it is the "scant few other travelers" that gives me pause. I would like to choose an itinerary where I will meet like-minded travlelers, perhaps to travel with to places with fewer travelers. Nan and the Mekong route are both high on my list, but I'm not so sure about doing them alone (not for safety reasons, but because I prefer having company, at least some of the time). Are there any guesthouses with a social environment in the places you mentioned (besides Nong Khai, where I know there are)?
Oct 24, 2012 6:47 PM
3You'll find like-minded travelers, as well as guest houses, in and between Chiang Khan and Nong Khai, especially in Sangkhom. Chiang Khan has become very popular with Thais and has really been spruced up over the last couple of years, but it still draws farangs who are looking, for the most part, what you're looking for. Many are heading to, or from, Nong Khai and Laos, taking a route that isn't very popular and which is (fortunately) overlooked by the majority of people.
Very few travelers go beyond Nong Khai along the Mekong down to Nakhon Phanom, but if you do go this way and if you do run into people, they are probably going to be on the same wavelength as yourself. You will run into others between Nakhon Phanom and That Phanom and Mukdahan. Pretty quiet beyond Mukdahan to Khong Chiam.
You'll also find folks in Sukhothai and Phrae and Nan.
When I say "scant few other travelers" it is in comparison to the number of people you'd encounter on other more well-traveled routes.
Sangkhlaburi is also excellent.
Oct 25, 2012 6:41 AM
4I also recommend the area between Chiang Khan and Nong Khai. At both these ends, you will certainly have travellers (also in Vientiane across the border from Nong Khai). You can also hunt for travellers on Couchsurfing.org. As suggested, you could start ur Mekhong sojourn even in Nakhon Phanom. If you need a bit of glitz/latte macchiato, you could do Bangkok and/or Khon Kaen.
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