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Author: Koen

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We went to Thailand in March 1999, so most of the info you'll find here dates from that period unless otherwise stated. 

We visited these places: 

- Chiang Mai with 3 day trekking in the Pai region  
- Mae Hon Son by plane  
- Sukothai  
- Bangkok-Siem
- Reap-Bangkok  
- Southern Thailand:   Phang Nga,   Krabi: Ao Nang-Rai Leh,   Ko Phi Phi,   Ko Samui;
- Bangkok


Footprint Handbook Thailand

 I think this is a great guidebook. It has lots of background information, and it lists much more hotels and restaurants then the LP f.i. Also, if you prefer middle class hotels, you'll get a much wider choice then at LP. Another advantage is that at least not everybody has this guidebook. The new edition 1999 in paperback is out now. Recommended !  

Lonely Planet Thailand

  I had also bought this book, but I didn't take it with me except for some copies to save on the weight. In order to prepare your trip, I liked this one a bit better then the Footprint, because it reads a bit easier, and their maps are excellent. Also, their website is excellent to download an update. Disadvantage is that everybody has it, so you'll meet people in all the same places.  Edition 7/2001.  


 For those of you speaking dutch, it is definitely worth considering becoming member of "Wegwijzer". This is a non-commercial organisation based in Bruges, Belgium. They have an incredible amount of info coming from guidebooks, leaflets but also reports from members. Since 2001 you can now get a lot of these reports online!! Membership is only 25 Euro a year, and this includes a good magazine they publish every 2 months. Have a look at www.wegwijzer.be. I myself am a member since almost 20 years now.  

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Article Comments:
Hi there. I'm travelling on my own at the beginning of next year. Ive always dreamed of travelling since leaving university in 1999, now 29 years old, recently bought my house and split with my boyfriend I thought what a great opportunity. I hope to travel for six mths through Thailand then into Australia. Can anyone help or give me advise. Really excited but very nervous.
fourmi (1)
Dear all, my boyfriend and I will be going to Thailand this September. From Bangkok, we intend to explore the rest of Thailand, preferably places where we can do some diving. We have been thinking about going to Koh Samui, Koh Tao and other places. I'd appreciate if you could drop me a mail about things to look out for. Thanks!!
johnny (1)
I am looking for a someone to travel to bangkok with. I will departing sometime in september.
Richard (1)
I am going to Thailand for a month in November with my girlfriend and have had friends who have been and lived in a hut on a beach for some time. Does anyone know if these places exist, and if so, where they are located. We are just looking for somewhere to kick back for a while, and probably travel around from there.
adele varsamos (1)
Hi, going to thailand in august for three weeks,taken 2 children with us who are 4,feel alittle scared, but think they will get so much out of it,we are not staying in one place either,wots the point, want to travel round,wots the point.Does anybody know where will be great for kids as well as the parents!reading all the comments and so looking foward to it!We will be starting in bangkok!thankyou adele
JOE (1)
Im leaving for Thailand this Sunday... I've never left the country before, so Im a little nervous. Can anyone tell me what I should do as far as money goes. Where do I go to turn my US Dollars into Thai Baht? Should I convert my money before I leave for Thailand or while I am in Thailand? How much cash should I keep on me? How much should I expect to spend over a period of two weeks? Are there several ATM machines?
JLA (1)
I'm going to Thailand beginning of September - doing Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Tao & Koh Phangan plus staying a night in the Khao Sok National Park!! Bit concerned re the weather as apparently it is monsoon season and also concerned regarding taking malaria tablets - has anyone got any advice? I have been reading up lots but the information varies. Just booked the trip on a whim as I really do want to find a bit of paradise and was fed up talking about it. So excited but a little frightened at the same time. Is Thailand really that good?? :-)
Aya (3)
Dear Nikki in FL, I was born and raised in Thailand until I was 12 yrs old. In Thailand there are 3 seasons/year, Hot, very Hot, and Holy Moly..it's really hot! The time that you chose to go is in the third category (Holy...hot!). The best time to go to Thailand is Nov - Mid Feb. Since Mid-Feb - mid May is summer, mid-May till august it rains like crazy. You will probably see a lot of Thais at Koh Samui during March-April, since kids do not have school at that time. There are also other islands that you might consider checking them out. My friend went to Koh Mun-nork and they said it's gorgeous! I'm also planning a trip to Thailand. Please feel free to e-mail me if you want some information, I don't know much, but since I'm doing the research for my trips already, I wouldn't mind helping you look up some stuff!
Nikki in FL (1)
I am planning a month long trip to Thailand during mid-march, early April. I am wanting to go when there are few tourists, but before the rains. Is this a good time? In addition, I am looking to go to Ko Samui. Any advice on booking a place to stay?
Kahel (5)
I just came back and I really loved it. Friendly people, great food. I traveled round for 3 months and then did 1 month volunteer work with Thai-Experience. I wished I had it done the other way round. The Thai class and the close contact to Thai people in their daily life was so intensive and I learned more about Thai live that thru my 3 months travel before.
Mandela (1)
Bangkok is the crazy red dot of South East Asia. If you're a bar hopper might I suggest 3 nights in Bangkok and then a trip to the border (don't forget your passport) for not more then one evening of bar hopping in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. There is much more to see then just the bars, so please don't just go to Thailand for the parties (even though they can sure party there), make sure to see the sites before you indulge in the pleasures the underground of Bangkok has to offer... live music, great food, amazing wonderful beautiful people. I recommend Thailand to anyone, but esp. the wondering college student on the prowl for some innocent fun in Bangkok, or Phuket for that matter. -Mandela (I enjoy Cambodia more then Thailand every time for some reason, take that into consideration)
gURL (1)
I am planning to travel at bangkok this May..can you give me any suggestions or tips on what to do, etc., when i got there?? ANother thing is...can you explain to me the ticket booking process??I just want to know..im kinda..confused..thanks!
Dani (1)
I have enrolled in a volunteer program outside of Bangkok (no specific location yet) for 4 weeks in November. I want to extend the trip until Christmas...BUT am curious if I should pay for any Overland adventures, or just backpack it. I want to experience the country and all of its beauty. Please email me if you will be there or have any suggestions!
Raia (1)
Hi, going to Thailand in May, as partner has some business there - decided to stay longer and make it a holiday. Will it be the rainy all the time? 2 hot? Any clues from someone who has been there then - would be great. Cheers
Mark (5)
wow...new years day huh? If you arrive in Bangkok New Years day, there is no way you can make it to the islands in time unless you fly. However, on the brightside, plane tickets are pretty cheap if I remember correctly and fly very frequent. You can fly from Bangkok to Ko Samui in an hour and catch or rent a ferry to Ko Phan Ngan. If you do decide to stay in Bangkok for New Years, be sure to check out the Weekend Market north of the city. It's the best shopping in the world IMO. Cheap handmade jewery, linen shirts, designer knock offs, CDs, you name it, they have it. When you do go South, make sure to take either a night train or night bus. They are cheap and saves you a lot of time. As far as places to stay, I doubt you'll be able to find lodging on Ko Phan Ngan since they are always overbooked for New Years and Full Moon Parties. BUT you can probably find a room on Ko Samui or Ko Tao and then just take the boat and a day back to Ko Phan Ngan for New Years eve. I mentioned Ko Tao because of its cheap diving and great atomsphere. You can get a PADI open water cert for $200 while they put you up for free while you take the 4 day class. Try Ban's Diving for the best prices and best equipment. I enjoyed Ko Tao a lot because it's so laid back and everyone there is between 20-35 looking to dive and make friends. As far as Ko Phi Phi is concerned, I can't really tell you that much. Sadly I did not get a chance to visit the beaches last time I went. Since everyone I met as told me to go next time, I figure I pass on the advice to you as well. 12 days is not a lot of time as you probably know but you will have a ton of fun. Hell, I only had 10 days and made every single day worth it.
Marja (4)
Hey guys... I'm heading to Thailand for New Years. Anyone have any suggestions as to what I shouldn't miss, or any necessary travel tips I might need? Cities, islands, temples, treks, beaches, cheap places to stay, good shopping, great food, good people??? Let me know!!! marja
Curtis (4)
I'm heading to THAILAND in November...and I'll be there for three months. Anybody else gonna be there? Let me know.
Luis (4)
I spent two and a half months in thailand before the tsunami hit. Unfortuntaley all I got to see was Pattaya and Walking street. Its an overall great place but be aware that it is very, how do you say, "pleasure" friendly. I stayed at the military base in Sameasan and worked at Utapao. I doubt you'll be able to do that but overall I had a great time. went to Bangkok twice and had a blast both times.
Kaz (5)
in thailand, dont make arrangements or plans far ahead, just go with the flow. even in the city, things are going to be disorganized or confusing so learn how to go with the flow. get yourself lost and find your way out. use as many thai words as possible and dont get frustrated, just smile and make jokes. people are going to aggressively try to sell you things in some places, but again dont get frustrated, just smile and joke around or walk away. not a dangerous place as long as your good to everyone else kinda place ya know?
Natalie (1)
i really like phi phi, though i'm sure you've seen a lot of it if you helped with tsunami relief. i heard really really good things about chiang mai. and i heard that koh samui is the place to be for full moon parties! i will def make it there next time :) Have fun...i am seriously jealous!
Nikki (5)
in my experience, very few people speak English fluently, but most will know a little bit. you'll usually have better luck with University students. they're easy to spot since every student in Thailand, no matter what level, has to wear a uniform. they're usually learning English and very happy to practice with a native speaker. it's pretty easy to get around, even with the language barrier. i would suggest learning how to say hello/goodbye (sawadee-ka if you're a girl, sawadee-kap if you're a guy) and thank you (korp-kun-ka if you're a girl, korp-kun-kap for guys) and numbers at least to 10. and never underestimate the power of a warm smile and the attempt to communicate in their language. also, a piece of advice in regards to teaching - don't go with an organization. it's a rip off. i went with i-to-i. i paid $1600 for a four week program and that gave me a room, travel insurance, and entrance to a few tourist destinations. i will never regret doing it, but i'll never go that route again. i could have saved SO much money had i just gone on my own and found a school myself. really, it's not hard. there are flyers in all the guesthouses and if you find the cafes and bars that the foreigners hang out at, chances are there will be teachers there and they can tell you where to go to volunteer. hope that helped. feel free to email me if you have any other questions.
Torrey (5)
Hello there. I enjoyed reading about your experiences in Thailand. I am considering traveling there and possibly teaching English for an extended stay. A friend of mine has visited Chaing Mai and absolutely loved it. Therefore, I am considering that city as my main destination. Can you tell me about your communication with the local people on your journey? Do most drivers and shop owners speak a bit of English? Do the signs and maps make navigation easy or difficult? I would really appreciate anything and everything you can tell me about Thailand. Thanks for taking your time to help me out. Torrey
Kaz (5)
if you want to see thailands purity, the daily life of most people not in the city, then the east thailand is probably for you. theres the least tourists here, and people dont try to overprice you even though you are foreigner. i cant stay no longer than three days in a place like bangkok, its too much for me. im in ubon ratchathani and its a very nice place to live. people dont speak much english here, but they arent corrupted by business minds here. its like you walk around the market and you stare at an orange, and theyll just give it to you with a smile. i love the people here and i dont know what will happen to me in the future, because this place is growing on me. im here working at my best friends thai boxing gym and will be here until july. message me if you need more info about places to go in east thailand. i hear southern thailand is nice too, but if you go too close to the border down south, its different peoples territory and i hear things on the news about really screwed up situations. i also recomment laos and cambodia, but not the tourist places. i learned alot about life by meeting people from different places mostly through thai boxing, but where there arent tourists or the city, is where people are most kind.
Acacia (5)
I've been to Thailand four times in as many years, and I go to the same place everytime - Koh Samui. It's the largest island on the Gulf side - no damage from the tsunami, and you'll easily find information in any book on Thailand. The greatest things about Koh Samui... ~ rent a scooter, drive around the island and visit all of the wats/temples ~ ride an elephant - it's a total tourist thing, but absolutely worth the momentary shame of being called a farang (tourist) ~ find (it's not easy) Grandmother and Grandfather Rock ( two natural rock formations that look like male and female genitatlia). ~ visit the Blackjack Pub in Chaweng and watch a football match. It's England in the tropics. Make sure to root for Aresenal if they're playing, it's the owner's home team and you'll make fast friends! ~ trek the waterfalls. You'll find lots of great things trekking through the jungle, and the island is small enough that you can't get lost for too long - i.e.: days on end. Keep an eye out for the "spirits." There are huge revered Banyan trees, natural rocks and those enhanced by man that look like turtles, temples etc. There is so much more, so if this all sounds like something you're interested in, let me know!
Nikki (5)
I spent 4 weeks teaching in Ayuthaya last summer. it was amazing. the modern city was built around ancient temple ruins, so it's famous for that and elephants. it's not exactly "off the beaten path, " but it's certainly not a big city like Bangkok. I highly recommend staying at Ayuthaya Guesthouse (just ask any tuk-tuk driver and they should be able to take you there). The owner (I wish I could remember her name...) and her friend are two of the nicest ladies in the world and the rooms are comfortable and at a good price. Plus, they have hot water, which even in the sweltering heat of Thailand is something that you come to appreciate. And there's a great cafe where a lot of foreigners hang out is Tony's Place (another highly recognized name with the tuk-tuk drivers). They have a pool table. It's cool. And the bar right next door is one of the few places that serves a selection of vodka and rum. It's tough to find alcohol that's not whiskey in Thailand. So, Ayuthaya, highly recommended. Some of the other places I was able to explore while I was there were Kanchanaburi, Lopburi, and Chaing Mai. Lopburi is only a couple hours by train from Ayuthaya and can be seen in a day. They have temple ruins there, but they're really famous for their monkeys. They're EVERYWHERE and there are tons of them. Quite a sight to see. Kanchanaburi was cool, but can been seen in a day or two. If you're a WWII buff then you'll love it. I appreciate history, so I'm glad I went, but I'm glad we were able to catch the train back on Saturday instead of having to stay another day. Oh, and if you go there, you definitely want to stay in one of the guest houses on the river. I stayed downtown and there was nothing to do there and the hotel smelled of something awful (we had to get Buddhist incense at the 7-11 downstairs to cover up the smell just so we could sleep). Unfortunately I don't remember the street name, but there's this one street that's just filled with guesthouses, bars, cafes, and 7-11's for a good km or so. It was pretty dead when I was there, but it was still fun and I definitely wish I had stayed there. Chaing Mai was incredible. You definitely have to spend some time up north. You can take the train overnight for around $20 each way (i think) or you can fly with AirAsia for $40 each way. The shopping in the north makes Bangkok look expensive and the scenery is incredible. I did a 1-day trek and got to see a couple hill tribes, ride an elephant through the jungle, and ride a bamboo raft down a river. And just in case you want to spend some time in Bangkok, go to Khao San Road. There's a man there with a cart and he makes the best shakes and Thai iced tea i've ever had in my life. It's kinda tricky to explain where to find him, but if you think you'll go I'll figure out a way for you to find him. He's worth it. I want to go back. I really did fall in love with Thailand.
Brent (5)
I went to Thailand after the Tsunami as part of a recovery team but I did not get to see much of it (Obviously). What I did see was destroyed for the most part but I could tell how beautiful it was. Where should I go if I go to Thailand for 2 weeks? I like adventerous off the beaten path stuff. Not major cities like Bangkok.
jibsy (5)
Welcome to thailand in advance.... I'm sure you will have a great time here.. and yeah there're so many place that is much more beautiful than samui ^^~ check some others island too ..... and having any question..feel free to ask me..^^~
giGGlet (5)
I went to Thailand in July and I just got to say that it frickin ROCKS! Everything is so natural and peaceful. There is an island called Samui that will drop your jaw and make you never wanna leave. I hope to live there one day, I like the way the people are considerate of each other. Alot of them dont have anything but yet are way happier then alot of well-off people Ive met here in Florida. Its really cool. I felt completely at home..

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