Thailand (A Backpacker’s abode) – Review of places to help you create your itinerary

Thailand-Various places
Planning a vacation to Thailand for a set number of days? Well then, you will have to decide the places that are must sees and the ones that can be left out. 
This post will give you a summary review of the places I visited in Thailand, to help with your itinerary decisions. You can also refer to the posts on each location for further details.
Thailand Visa information for Indians can be found here.
For any questions, please send me a message on Facebook.
 
Do you need to choose a direction? Yes, if you have only a week or 10 days, then use the listed tip to choose your direction. 
 

North or South? 

North Thailand is the place to go if you are not a beach person or if you want some time away from the traveler crowd and closer to the local culture. If you are a beach person and looking for happening party and scenic islands then head south! 
In case you want to cover both North and South, then plan for a bare minimum of 20 days to cover all of these places (in a hectic schedule). 
 

Review by place: 

Note: Click on Read more link for a detailed travel experience, travel tips and free Gyan :).
 

Bangkok 

Bangkok is the starting point for most travelers, party place, shopping and a Thai massage hub. This city is filled with backpackers. Stay in Khaosan area, so you are amid action. Khaosan road has street food, pubs, shopping and tons of Thai massage shops. Bangkok also hosts many temples, Royal palace and Museums. All the places are very touristy (crowded). If you enjoy cities and it’s offerings, then Bangkok is good.
[Read more]
 

Kanchanaburi

Check the water levels at Erawan falls and then go. Nevertheless, it’s so crowded that you did rather skip this place. Go to Kanchanaburi only if you are a history buff and like to visit the River Kawi bridge. Another attraction is the Tiger temple. You get to hug, kiss and take photos with Tigers, which are rumored to be sedated (how else would they forget that they are tigers??!!). You can do a day trip to Kanchanaburi from Bangkok.

Ayutthaya 

A temple town filled with several beautiful temples and ruins rightfully marked as the UNESCO world heritage site. To mention a few it hosts the famous Wat Mahatat and Wat Chaimongkol with rows of Buddha idols dressed in bright orange khata (shawl), a sight not to be missed! Nice place to spend 2 days. If you are a person of details, then you can spend a couple of more days here. 
 

Chiang Mai 

Beautiful laid back town with canals running through the roads. This is a nice place to chill out. There are temples, museum and local markets too. It’s a 12 hour train journey from Bangkok.You can go for several day trips from here, further up north. They also have a lot of adventure packages which includes zip lines and the likes.
Chiang Rai – You can do package tours or go on your own from Chiang Mai.
White temple in Chiang Rai is stunningly beautiful. This can be done in a day trip from Chiang Mai. Most economical way would be to go with a package tour (if you are solo). If you are in a big group then you can look at booking a taxi for yourself. The tours also offer a local tribes visit, which is staged. You get to see the tribes including the famous long neck tribe in their traditional attire and you can also buy handmade things from them.
The next place is Golden triangle, which is a convergence of the border of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. There is nothing scenic about this place, however most of the tours have this in the package. Some packages also offer a short cross-border trip into Laos market and back. As per the local folks the Laos market at the border is not so great. And if you are going to Laos sometime later, then skip this bit of the tour. It will save you some bucks.
Plan for 2 to 3 days for Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, with Chiang Mai as the base location. If you want to go to Pai, then add another 2 days to your itinerary.
[Read more]
 

Patong

Bangla road is the highlight of this place. Along side the beach there are places to eat, drink and shop. The beach as such is not so great compared to the previous beaches (I was in Philippines just before arriving at Patong). I would rate this place average compared to the other beaches in Thailand and Philippines.  Island tour from here covering James Bond and Hong islands, was a good experience but for the crowd. Well, where Beauty is, so are the seekers! You need one full day for the James Bond island tour, add a day or 2 for local sight-seeing.
[Detailed post Coming soon]
  

Phi Phi Island 

This is a small island, the length of which can be covered in 15 to 20 minutes on foot. In fact that is the only option! Vehicles do not ply here. It’s dedicated to people and experiences alone. It’s filled with vendors selling Phi phi buckets (alcohol served in small buckets), dive shops, tour agencies, and tattoo shops. There are lots of party places too, playing good music. There are fire dancers at the beach side restaurants, which is a must see. Fire dancers at Phi Phi are better in comparison with Koh Samui. There are great viewpoints as well that you can hike up to. There are also multiple Island hopping tours, covering Maya Bay and many other islands. 
To summarize this is a happy crowded, lively place to be.  Eat, drink, party, sleep, dive, snorkel, hike and move ahead! 
People do a day trip to Phi Phi from Patong too. However I would recommend spending at least 2 days here, 3 would be better.
If you are primarily looking to party, relax and go island hopping, this is the place for you to stay longer.
[Detailed post Coming soon]
  

Koh Samui

Koh Samui is known for its full moon parties. They also have half-moon parties. 
Stay near Chawlem beach if you want to be at a lively place. A more silent area having private beach is the Bang po beach area. Recommend to stay at Bang po beach resort which has a private beach and economical stay. 2 days will suffice for a relaxed time if it’s not a full moon time. If you are looking for partying, then, go to Koh Samui only if your travel dates coincide with the full moon or half-moon day. Except for Chawlem beach area, the island is deserted on non-full moon days. 
[Detailed post Coming soon]
 

Krabi 

Krabi town is more laid back and not as lively and crowded as Phi Phi. Ao Nang beach and Railay beach can be covered in day trips on your own. Ao Nang beach is nothing special compared to all the other island beaches. Railay beach is really beautiful, a place tucked away some 30 minutes away from Krabi town. The only way to go there is by boat. If you are a luxury traveler, you could choose to stay at Railay itself. There are resorts on the island. And there are enough activities to do, like rock climbing, dives or simply swim about in the lagoons.
You will need minimum 3 days: one to laze around Krabi town, one for Ao Nang beach and then a full day for Railay. You can add another day for Railay in your itinerary, if you have the time and money to stay on the Railay island/beach. 
[Detailed post Coming soon]
 

My high level itinerary

North Thailand loop : First innings  
Bangkok -> Chiang Mai  -> Chiang Rai -> Ayutthaya -> Kanchanaburi -> Bangkok -> Laos. I went back to Bangkok as I got a cheap air ticket to Laos. If you plan to cross over land-border, then would recommend this itinerary: Bangkok -> Kanchanaburi -> Ayutthaya -> Chiang Mai -> Chiang Rai -> Laos.
My South Thailand loop: Second innings (after Philippines)   

Phuket -> Patong, James Bond, Hong island, Lami beach -> Phi Phi island, Maya Bay-> Koh Samui -> Krabi -> Ao Nang -> Railays beach -> Krabi -> Bangkok -> Out of Thailand


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