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Trains, Planes and Automobiles

CANADA | Monday, 11 November 2013 | Views [707]

Week three of our blog and Tim and I were discussing how to explain our planning process. An experience that was quite appealing and exciting to us but is really boring in hindsight; especially written. It is difficult to put myself back in time to our planning weekend; a weekend we hardly left our bed, tablets in hand with nothing more than a map of Thailand and a general idea. Our trips dates were picked based on the price of our airline tickets and the time we have allotted for our Xmas holidays. As I said, this turned out to be 25 days in Thailand. Where to honey?

The first thing we decided was we didn't want to be always on the go; however, we really wanted to experience the three drastically difference geographies Thailand has to offer. As Tim has already been to Thailand; albeit for a shorter time with a much more limited budget, we drew on his knowledge as a starting ground. Thanks goodness for the Internet. Type in Travel Thailand into Youtube and you will get thousands of video blogs ranging from Eco-tourism to the risky sex and drug industry. Like I said before, Thailand has something for everyone; choose your poison.

It became quickly apparent that you can save a lot of money taking buses, trains and small public vehicles. Thailand is a popular destination to travel, not only because you can get everything your heart desires, but because the cost of living (and tourism) is extremely low. What also became apparent was that to save money, people often spend a lot of their time in Thailand crammed into crowed buses or spending sleepless nights on trains. Not something we are interesting in experiencing. So, how than did we come to our schedule?

Bangkok was an easy starting place as all international flights land at BKK (Suvarnabhumai Airport). After travelling from Bagotville to North Bay to Toronto to Tokyo to Bangkok in 50+ hours, we thought we might need a couple days in place; especially to adapt to the 12 hour time difference. Tim explained that he had a love hate relationship with Bangkok, but that once you get past the cacophony of noise, crowded streets, smelly and smoky air, the city is an amazing experience. Think Toronto, New York or Los Angels; only Asian, with cheap food and a tone of exotic and cultural attractions (not talking sex attractions here ;-) Looking at the attractions Bangkok had to offer (and the fact that Tim didn't actually see many of them the first trip) we decided we would spend 4 days in Bangkok before adventuring out to the rest of the country. This allowed us a day or two to adapt, plus a day or two to be adventurous in they city.

Looking at the remainder of the country, we decided that we wanted some beach time, plus experience the unique culturally experience of northern Thailand. We also wanted to experience both sides of the Thailand coasts (Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea); so Koh Phangan and Koh Phi Phi would be our focal points.

From Bangkok, Hua Hin was a natural stop as it made a big impression on Tim the last time he was there (this is where he thinks we should retire). We decided that the 4 hour train would be acceptable and will book this ticket when we arrive. The cost of the train is about $5 each. From Hua Hin we decided for a little more comfort and booked a comparatively expensive, but less stressful, bus and high speed boat combo. (about $35 per person, verses about $10 for train/boat) We booked our travel from Koh Phangan to Koh Phi Phi via the same operator (Lomprayah). From Koh Phi Phi we will travel by conventional ferry to Phuket, staying two days on the island before flying direct to Chiang Mai; Thailand's largest Northern city.

We will be in Chiang Mai from 23-28 December, but we are still unsure what we will be doing. After some research of the city, we knew we wanted to be back in Bangkok on the 28th for two reasons: We wanted to go to the weekend market (with more than 15000 “stores” its Thailand’s largest), and we wanted to be there for New Years Eve. New years celebrations are quit popular in Bangkok, probably only second in the world to New York city. Somehow Tim agree to this; I could never have imagined and know it would be impossible to get him within a 1000 miles of New York during the holidays. While flying from Phuket to Chiang Mai was a no brainier (about a 30 hour train ride); the Chiang Mai to Bangkok was a tough decision. There is something to be said about experiencing an overnight train ride; however, Tim really did not enjoy this part of his last trip. He left the decision to me, but frankly, I would rather an one hour flight to 14 hours of a rickety train ride.

So, that's our general outline of the trip; which really needed to be established before getting into the details. As I promised last week, next week I will explore how we took this general itinerary and did our hotel bookings. Our planning process wasn't actually compartmentalized this way; but, this blog turned out to be far more palatable. Stay tuned, 25 days of hotels for under $750 total; try that in North America...


Tags: bagotville, lomprayah, north bay, suvarnabhumai airport


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