2 weeks in Thailand for a first time international traveler - Help!
Replies: 5 - Last Post: Feb 22, 2013 8:26 PM Last Post By: north_boy
Feb 22, 2013 7:00 AM
2 weeks in Thailand for a first time international traveler - Help!Hello there everyone,
I am planning on spending 2 weeks in SE Asia, but mostly Thailand, this June. I know it's not the ideal time to go, but I am a medical student with a less than flexible calendar so it's the best I can do for a big trip after a big exam.
I have the Lonely Planet SE Asia on a Shoestring book, but it's pretty dense and was wondering if anyone has any other recommendations. Any places/things that I really can't miss. Also any other basic advice, tips, pointers.. Whatever wealth of knowledge you may have to offer is appreciated.
Feb 22, 2013 1:53 PM
1Mate, I understand your time constraints (I'm a charge nurse) but believe me you are going about this the wrong way.
You have 2 weeks. That is nothing. So forget 'SE Asia'. It is NOT going to happen, not unless you plan on getting back to the hospital more knackered than you feel now.
Pick ONE country, then stick to it. Choose two places to visit within it, preferably close together, no more.
If you want my personal recomendations I'd either head to Bangkok for a good few days then head to one of the islands for a rest before flying back home.
Either that a few days in Singapore plus a few days in somewhere like Mellacca, Malaysia then Kuala Lumpur.
Feb 22, 2013 2:15 PM
2Listen to Mike man, he's got the goods! On a two week trip to Thailand I would do two places (within Thailand) maximum! Keep in mind it'll take the better part of one whole day every time you travel any distance. If you spend a night or two in BKK at the start - if I were you and you've just finished a big exam and want to chill out for a bit - I'd choose either the north or the south - if you want beaches then south it is - otherwise get a flight up to Chiang Mai and head to Pai, Mae Hong Son etc and just chill for a bit!!
Feb 22, 2013 2:19 PM
3I understand from your post that you will be looking to go to Thailand mostly, but wouldn't mind seeing a couple of other countries if possible. No worries, this is possible. I used to do such trips before I moved to South East Asia over a decade ago.
Have you considered starting in Bangkok and making your way down to Singapore overland by train?
You can stop at Koh Samui (which has decent weather that time of year) then Penang or Kota Bahru (Perhentian islands) depending on which route you take from Hat Yai, then Kuala Lumpur, Malacca (although there isn't a whole lot to do there) and end up in Singapore. Do note that Singapore can be prohibitively expensive if you are on a student budget so you may want to end in Malaysia. You can always get a very cheap flight on Air Asia back to Bangkok from KL if you need to go home from the same location you arrived from.
This will give you approx 3 days in each location which is fine, especially if you travel by night.
Train information can be found here http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm
Feb 22, 2013 3:38 PM
4Personally having been north and south, if you're looking to chill I would head south to one of the islands. You can book a bus ferry combo with Lompryah (overnight bus from Bangkok arrives in Koh Tao mid morning) - you can check out details on the Lompryah website http://www.lomprayah.com/ and our experience of Bangkok to Koh Tao on our blog http://www.worldlynomads.com/index.php/how-to-get-from-bangkok-to-koh-tao/ !
If you want to do some diving Koh Tao is a good shout.
Feb 22, 2013 8:26 PM
5I'm with those who counsel moderation in travel.
If you try to cover too much ground you will be spending all of your time on the road, little of it experiencing the people, the culture, the food.
In two weeks, I think you should limit yourself to Thailand. If you can afford to fly internally, then do so to save more time.
Bangkok is certainly worth a few days to see such amazing sights as the Grand Palace and some museums, Khao Sahn Road, as many Wats as you can -- but don't neglect the life on the klongs: you can buy a day's ticket dirt cheap and get on and off the klong boats on both sides of the Chao Praya: while on the klong it's interesting to go across to the royal boathouse.
You will no doubt enjoy any southern island you visit for idyllic beaching.
If you can stretch to three destinations, you might enjoy the overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. I think it's the last leg of the famous Orient Express. It's almost like the luxury of the old Indian Raj -- but modern and comfortable, you kill two birds with one stone: a night's accommodation and travel.
Chiang Mai can offer you some interesting rural trips (we were stunned by the intelligence of elephants at a rehabilitation center where we watched them painting representational art -- trees and mountains and birds -- in front of us on giant easels).
But you will need to limit travel time and focus on only a few destinations.
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