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> Simple questions about Thailand, from a simple minded guy
darrenstravels
post Jan 12 2009, 12:34 PM
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Hello,

I've a few questions about Central and Northern Thailand, and I would appreciate those who know the country well if they could offer up some advice.

* The Train Network

Outside of public holidays, how busy does it get? Am I likely to be able to get a ticket a few hours before it goes, to popular places like Bangkok to Chiang Mai or from Nong Khai to Bangkok? Would it better to book ahead by a few days?

* Booking things ahead - i.e. whilst in the UK still

I'm looking at being there for most of May, I doubt very much I will be going off the tourist route too far (if at all), I'm a (first time) solo traveler who doesn't care too much about accommodation as long as I can get some sleep and wake up with my bags still there in the morning. Will I be able to find ample accommodation at that time? I don't want to book ahead as I don't like the idea of having to keep to a schedule....but at the same time I don't want to have to search for three hours to find a bed in a cesspit.

* Experience with Air Asia?

At the end of the trip I have to make a trip over to Bali, and I'd be doing it with Air Asia. Thoughts on this airline? I don't care for comfort, facilities or service, but I do care that my flight (and airline) will still be running, as I cant be late in Bali, at all. Also, I'd have to fly back to Bangkok to get my flight home to the UK as one way tickets are proper expensive.


I think that's it really. I like the idea of doing things on the spur, but I am also tainted by previous bad experiences that mean I now need reassuring that I can do the above fairly simply. If im honest, I think I know the answers to the above, but like most people attempting to step out of their comfort zone, I also need reassuring too.

Thanks guys,
Darren


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wakingdream
post Jan 12 2009, 05:39 PM
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Hey Darren,

Well, if you're traveling in May, you're all set to pick up last minute tickets and make last minute arrangements with little or no trouble at all. I'd say no trouble at all smile.gif May is outside of high tourist season and you won't see nearly as many people as you will between roughly November and January to February. I've been a number of times outside of the peak season and quite frankly, it's my favourite. You'll experience a little more rain but, who cares?? You seem like you'll deal just fine smile.gif So, definitely no worries about accommodation or last minute train tickets. There are a couple of holidays in May you can check out here on Wiki. Those are really the only times you might want to plan a bit ahead and even then they aren't major deals, as in, you shouldn't have too much of a problem traveling on those dates.

I've flown Air Asia once and found it completely reasonable, both in price and the flight itself as well.

QUOTE
I think that's it really. I like the idea of doing things on the spur, but I am also tainted by previous bad experiences that mean I now need reassuring that I can do the above fairly simply. If im honest, I think I know the answers to the above, but like most people attempting to step out of their comfort zone, I also need reassuring too.


You'll have no trouble flying by the seat of your pants at that time of year. Infact, I'm sure you'll have a really great experience being outside the thick of tourist season( it can get a little much sometimes). Actually, I'm totally jealous! I think May's a great time to go!

ScottWoz is chilling in Phuket ( I think he's still there anyway!) and I'm sure he can answer any more specific questions if you have more. I've traveled through SEA five times and even got married in those parts smile.gif Good times. But, my downfall is it's been a few years since I've been and , as they do, some things have changed. Al in all though,l you're in for the time of your life!


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ScottWoz
post Jan 12 2009, 08:24 PM
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Mate,

You'll have absolutely no problems, none at all. YES you'll get a train ticket hours before, YES you'll have plenty of accommodation options to peck at, and NO you won't have any problems solo-ing your way around. My advice? Don't book ahead, it'll take the adventure out. You won't have any issues regarding what you want to do, especially at the time you're wanting to do it. You have just the right attitude, you're different to many, which is why many mill around in their self-imposed difficulties and why you'll have a very rewarding experience.

Anything specific just shout up and I'll do what I can. I may even be up that way myself around then. Let us know when you get here and I'll PM my number over to you. Anything you need just call.

Go for it, you'll have a great time.. thumbsup.png


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darrenstravels
post Jan 14 2009, 02:54 PM
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Now they are what I call helpful replies! Thank you so much, both of you. In fact as I type I have a huge grin, that I can't really explain.

It's still very much at a "planning" stage, and does depend on a few other things as well, sadly, but I'm also pretty hopeful. I will definitely be in Bali, as my big sister is getting married, but while I'm in the area...why not?

Thanks again guys.


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ScottWoz
post Jan 14 2009, 03:09 PM
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Good to hear the grin's stretching wide D, and don't worry about the planning too much - it'll all fall in to place.. yes.gif


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wakingdream
post Jan 14 2009, 08:34 PM
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Yup. Scott's right. It will fall all into place. Thailand has a way of whisking you off on one great, big adventure. Little planning necessary! You're going to love it!

I have a smile on my face thinking about your excitement! I can't wait to read what you get up to!



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lunthom
post Jan 14 2009, 08:43 PM
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yes, you do no need to reserve the train ticket , if your plan is not in the 1st week of May coz Thai holiday and if you would not mind about the train type I mean hard seat without air-con you can buy upfront before departure.

Air asia is promotion now till 18.1.09 to Denparsa and others , let 's you chek it on thier web site.

Hope they can help you.
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Paul
post Jan 16 2009, 07:27 AM
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Yeah, I am pretty much going to agree with everyone else and only writing to put you even more at ease.

Accommodation - there is plenty and you won't come across any problems in that department.

Air Asia to Bali - not a problem. Done that recently and everything was fine. They are well established now and no indications they will go belly up any time soon.

Train - should be able to get it on the day. This is the only one where there is some chance of your plan going adrift, but should be OK. If you are going to have a day or so in Bangkok exploring, why not get the train ticket as a priority, then chill out exploring the city for a bit. Just a day or two in advance may make all the difference. I'd also recommend the 2nd class sleeper. If you are going overnight (again recommended) the 3rd class hard seats can be bit tiresome, whereas for a bit more you can have one of the most comfortable sleeps of your trip in 2nd class sleeper.

Let me know if you want a name / phone number of a driver/guide in Bali - we had a great one and I'd be happy to pass him some more work.

Have a great trip

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skylab
post Jan 16 2009, 08:05 AM
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Now I'm wondering about the same questions but for August. I should be there around that time.


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skylab
post Jan 16 2009, 08:40 AM
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Hey Scott, how long will you be in Thailand for?


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Paul
post Jan 16 2009, 07:53 PM
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Same answers for August.

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ScottWoz
post Jan 16 2009, 11:07 PM
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Agree on the 2nd class sleeper theory. I've took five in Thailand now and reckon it's one of the best ways to travel by far.
QUOTE(skylab @ Jan 16 2009, 08:40 PM) *

Hey Scott, how long will you be in Thailand for?
As always I'm a man without a plan Stan. If I'm here I'll shout you a beer, but if I'm not I won't be far wink.gif


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wickyjennings
post Jan 17 2009, 06:51 AM
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I'm going to be around Thailand from June, with a flight to Oz in November (30th Birthday in August so chasing those visa's). I will also be travelling solo. I've been using the site for ages for inspiration and have recentely joined proper.

This is the first post have I read and the advice instantely put me at ease and got me grinning like a loon crazy.gif . Thank you everyone. I look forward to getting involved.

I have one question. I'll be coming from Nepal (month trekking) and the madness of India. Around June what would be a good island to chill out on for a bit? As I know it will be the wet season.

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travelmonster
post Jan 17 2009, 03:39 PM
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Hi Wicky,

I don't know the answer to your question, but just to say welcome to the forums!!


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lunthom
post Jan 18 2009, 08:20 PM
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QUOTE(wickyjennings @ Jan 17 2009, 06:51 AM) *

I'm going to be around Thailand from June, with a flight to Oz in November (30th Birthday in August so chasing those visa's). I will also be travelling solo. I've been using the site for ages for inspiration and have recentely joined proper.

This is the first post have I read and the advice instantely put me at ease and got me grinning like a loon crazy.gif . Thank you everyone. I look forward to getting involved.

I have one question. I'll be coming from Nepal (month trekking) and the madness of India. Around June what would be a good island to chill out on for a bit? As I know it will be the wet season.



Koh Tao, Samui ,Phangan and Kho Chang at Aow Thai side should be fine in the rainy season.
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ScottWoz
post Jan 19 2009, 10:04 PM
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Agreed. I spent last June/July around Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Pha Ngan and the weather was marvellous. No worries..


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wakingdream
post Jan 20 2009, 09:05 AM
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QUOTE(ScottWoz @ Jan 19 2009, 10:04 PM) *

Agreed. I spent last June/July around Krabi, Koh Phi Phi and Koh Pha Ngan and the weather was marvellous. No worries..

We kicked back around that area in the summer time too and it was really nice smile.gif


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wakingdream
post Jan 21 2009, 10:02 AM
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Hey Darren, check this out too;

THAI cut domestic, international prices

BANGKOK: -- Thai Airways International Plc (THAI) is cutting domestic airfare in between 45-55 percent from market price while dipping ticket price for international routes up to 50 percent, aims to stimulate traveling in first quarter this year.

"This is the first time the airline offers such extra lower airfare," Chris Chantalitanon, director area for Thailand, Indochina and Myanmar , said Wednesday.

-- The Nation 2009-01-21


Always worth looking into smile.gif


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darrenstravels
post Jan 21 2009, 05:39 PM
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Oh sweet, thanks for that.

I originally checked out Thai, but they were charging 300 to go to Bali, whereas AirAsia had it at 80! I normally fly budget airlines, just have never flown with AirAsia so a little anxious about them - but great reviews on here, so that's me sold.


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wakingdream
post Jan 22 2009, 10:10 AM
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QUOTE(darrenstravels @ Jan 21 2009, 05:39 PM) *

Oh sweet, thanks for that.

I originally checked out Thai, but they were charging 300 to go to Bali, whereas AirAsia had it at 80! I normally fly budget airlines, just have never flown with AirAsia so a little anxious about them - but great reviews on here, so that's me sold.

Yeah, all the flights I looked at with AA were cheap as chips. Being from Canada, some prices had my jaw on the floor. I only flew the one time but next time, if we have less time, I would def consider flying a couple of more times depending on where we're headed.


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