Another travel story on Thailand? Actually, it’s my first one, but you are right! You can find blogposts and travel stories about good old Siam just about anywhere. But you know why that is? Because Thailand – despite the mass tourism – is still worth visiting. And by ‘worth visiting’ I mean f*çk!^g awesome! Of course there’s nothing I could write about Thailand that hasn’t been written before. And everything has been photographed as well. But luckily I’ve got one piece of film that you might find interesting and unusual (scroll all the way down, last movie). If there’s anything original about the blogpost, this might be it…
Before I went on my backpacking tour, I was doubting whether or not I was gonna enjoy Thailand to the fullest. I don’t see myself as a mass tourism kind of tourist, if you know what I mean. But I had to give it a shot, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about. And I must admit I came back with a smile. A big ass smile!
Now for the practical side of things: I only had three weeks to see as much as I could. And before I arrived in Bangkok, I thought I’d head up to Chiang Mai via Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. And then come back and maybe do one island, if there still was time. But when I got to Bangkok (in February), it was hot. Really hot! So I decided to go to the beach instead. So I went to the train station and looked at the trains to Krabi, in the south (see map): 14 hours by train, followed by 3 hours in a bus. Joy. If you have more time, a journey this long is not really a problem. And it’s cheap! But with only a short holiday, I decided to invest less time and more money on transport. So I booked a one hour flight, for only 25 euros, to Krabi. And because the woman from the travel agency was so friendly and helpful, I booked four other flights at the same time. Four other flights? Yes, since I wanted to see more than just Bangkok and beaches, I had to get out of Krabi as well. Which means, after my second day in Thailand my itinerary looked like this: flight Bangkok-Krabi, stay in Ao Nang for a couple of nights, boat Ao Nang-Koh Phi Phi (two nights there), boat Koh Phi Phi-Phuket (one night), flight Phuket-Chiang Mai (four nights there), bus towards Myanmar, boat to Chiang Rai, flight Chiang Rai-Bangkok, flight Bangkok-Trat, ferry to Koh Chang (four nights there), ferry back to Trat, flight back to Bangkok. The price for all of these flights? About 150 euros. Time saved? About 70 hours! Conclusion: well worth it in my case!
Now I could start writing about every town I visited, about every trip I did, about the beaches, the cities, the food, the people… But I won’t. I’ll just say that my night in Phuket was awful. But unfortunately I had to stay there that one night, in order to get my flight the next morning. Ao Nang and Koh Phi Phi are touristy, but fun and breathtakingly beautiful. Chiang Mai was definitely my favorite city. The weather was much nicer (less hot and humid I mean), the food was even better, the people were more friendly and the prices were much lower than in the south. A trip on a longtail boat from Myanmar to Chiang Rai, on the Mae Kok river, is amazing and you can stop in small charming villages. But Chiang Rai itself is a bit of a disappointment. You can better go to the Golden Triangle instead. And Koh Chang is the most amazing island! Just loved it, so beautiful.
Conclusion: if you wanna keep it cheap and not get your sun blocked by big European bellies on the beach, go to the north! If you don’t mind paying more for a few good beaches, I’d say Koh Chang is the place to be! And if you wanna see it all in a short amount of time: travel by air! It’s so easy, convenient and cheap.