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  1. #1
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Been 8 times - something new?

    So I'll be escaping the charming, pollution ridden chaos that is China for a month: Jan 14th - Feb 14th.

    As mentioned in the title I've been to Thailand about eight times: Bangers, Koh Samui, Samet and Chang. Enjoyed them all, mostly.

    I was planning a day or two in Bangers to see what has (or HASN'T) changed, and get a new International Drivers licence (naughty me). Not interested is the gogo girls and ho's.

    I was thinking then a few days in Chiang Mai and Pai, if the weather and smog aint too bad. And then heading over to Cambodia (haven't been, except for one border run).

    Would be nice to see another SEA country. Was in Philippines and Vietnam this year.

    Any recommendations on Cambodia? (I have read up, so have a fair idea of what to see and where to go. Will also be meeting a friend and his missus there for a couple days.)

    Then I have a friend to meet on Koh Chang. Is it still decent? I was there seven years ago and it was good. Cheap bungalow for 300THB, on the beach, fan and mosquito netting. Simple and decent. But my friend is loaded so she's staying at Amari Resort ($100/night), I'll settle for something cheaper, nearby.

    My queries/worries are:
    1. Is it worth it to have a gander up north in CM and Pai for about 5 days?
    2. Then head to Cambodia via which border? I know I can get an E-visa for Cambodia online, but some borders don't accept that.
    3. Best way to get from Cambodia to Koh Chang?

    *4. Is Chiang Mai and Koh Chang ridden with Chinese tour groups and Ruskies? I'm taking a vacation to get away from these creatures, but I'm sure I can handle a few flashpackers and firebreathers, provided they keep their pet fleas and lice away from me..

    You responses would be most welcome.

    Cheers
    BB
    Last edited by Baas Babelaas; 16-12-2013 at 02:01 PM.

  2. #2
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    Fly to Sri Lanka, cheap and very nice. Cathy Pacifric have great rates between Bkk and Colombo.

    Have you been to Kao Yai in Nakon Nayok, Saraburi, the other 3 provinces? There are many nice places there.

    Have you been to Luang Prubang? I haven't, but you can get a direct flight from Bkk and everyone says it's great.

    Burma? Now is a great time to go. See T57s great thread for ideas/pics.
    How do I post these pictures???

  3. #3
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    If you are escaping chaos then I would go to Ko Chang, with a Kindle or a few book and stay there. If you try to cram in too much it will be a chaos of its own and not a vacation. But I've only stayed at Lonely Beach which is a bit far from Amari, which is closer to the ferry. I say far as although there are baht buses there are no on demand taxis as far as i know. The "bars" are closer to Amari.

    Up north is definitely worth a visit but if you are not mobile then Chaing Mai is just another town.
    Better to think inside the pub, than outside the box?
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    1. Is it worth it to have a gander up north in CM and Pai for about 5 days? 2. Then head to Cambodia via which border? I know I can get an E-visa for Cambodia online, but some borders don't accept that. 3. Best way to get from Cambodia to Koh Chang?
    This could be a bit of a pain in the arse...

    Why not just fly to Laung Prabang?

    I recently had a similar situation to you, didn't want to spend all my break in Thailand, and have been to most places in Thailand... Instead I spent 3 days in Sri Lanka (that was great) and a week in Kathmandu (cheap flights by nepal airlines, you can buy tickets from their office in Silom for about 8,000 baht one way). 8 times in Thailand... Go further afield...

  5. #5
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    Bit of a ballache to get from Chiang Mai to a Cambodia border crossing, you'd be better off flying if time is limited. Otherwise, you'll either have to get the train to BKK then the train to Aranyaprathet, or the train to Sukhothai/bus to Surin/taxi to the border crossing.

    Best way to get from Cambodia to Koh Chang would be to come through the Koh Kong border crossing and get a minibus to Chang.

    It's well worth going to C.mai/Pai, especially so if you can ride a bike to drive the amazing roads in the area. Check out the recent thread on here by TonyBKK, "Riding the MHS loop". You could do the entire loop comfortably with 5 days, staying in Pai and Mae Hong Song for a day each.
    Last edited by khmen; 16-12-2013 at 02:38 PM.

  6. #6
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai as I haven't been (in all of those eight visits). Is the crop burning happening in Jan-Feb?

    I'll do flying and skip cramped buses. My year-end bonus allows for that.

    I won't be doing Laos or Sri Lanka or Burma this time around, but they're on the list for next year.

    Always have my Kindle with me, loaded with plenty of good reads, and when I'm by the sea I make the most of it - kayaking, snorkeling, swimming, boating etc. (that said I live by the sea in China, it's just that it's a murky, silty brown).

    I'll also be catching up with friends in Cambodia and Koh Chang, so both need to be fitted in. Cambodia midway through and Koh Chang to round up.

    Then the flight out of The Swamp to The Smoke (China).

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai
    If you like those areas the consider hiring a car in Chiang Mai and driving along the hilly border road upto Doi Tung; there's a very nice palace there (a royal place) with gardens and museums, and the road to it is fantastic, you can stop in guesthouses/hotels on the way. It's only a 6 hour drive or so, but the scenery and location make the journey there a fantastic one. There's a faster road back via Chiang Rai, but once you're at Doi Tung then you're pretty close to a lot of other sites up in the far north...

  8. #8
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai
    If you like those areas the consider hiring a car in Chiang Mai and driving along the hilly border road upto Doi Tung; there's a very nice palace there (a royal place) with gardens and museums, and the road to it is fantastic, you can stop in guesthouses/hotels on the way. It's only a 6 hour drive or so, but the scenery and location make the journey there a fantastic one. There's a faster road back via Chiang Rai, but once you're at Doi Tung then you're pretty close to a lot of other sites up in the far north...
    Roads safe enough for someone who hasn't done much driving in the last eight years in China (but have been driving for many years previous)?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post
    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai as I haven't been (in all of those eight visits). Is the crop burning happening in Jan-Feb?

    No, usually March, April.

  10. #10
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    Pai;
    hope u enjoy Kan san road cause that's what the city is like
    Been thru there 4-5 times an have not stopped longer than to have lunch. Easy to do the whole route in 2 days and stop at Soppang not Pai.
    1,864 Curves!!!

    Love Cambodia and go 2-3 times/year, head to Surin and visit the Angkor style temples. Then cross over at Osmach and head to Siem Rep than overland down to Koh Kong an exit at Koh Kong and on to Trat
    laos all over every July
    Malaysia, heading back down next week to Cameron Highlands and up thru Pattani, bet u have not been there? :-)

    Great roads all the way from Fang to Mae sot and back to Bangkok along the Burmese border
    Last edited by Phuketrichard; 17-12-2013 at 11:40 AM.
    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol or insanity, but they've always worked for me" HST

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas
    Roads safe enough for someone who hasn't done much driving in the last eight years in China (but have been driving for many years previous)?
    Fine. Not busy, pretty good roads, bendy with amazing views. If you take your time, go up some side roads, follow some signs for resorts when you come to an area that looks interesting then you could have a really great 3 or 4 days, imho...

  12. #12
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  13. #13
    I am in Jail
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    Give Koh Chang and Koh Phayam on the Andaman sea a look, get there through Ranong, which is itself a very pleasant non-touristy town.
    For something very unusual and spectacular visit Kao Sok park, get a boat to Ha Roi Rai and stay in the floating guest houses.
    Up north I much preffer Chiang Dao, Fang, and Doi Mae Salong over Chiang Mai or Pai.
    On the other side the area around Nan is quite interesting and beautiful, has much more remote feel to it up there. Nan the town itself very pleasant and not touristy.

    In the south Satun and surounding area very interesting, and it's a short hop from there to Penang whichich is a pleasant change for good indian food, further south the old Portuguese port of Maleka is also an interesting change of pace from Thailand, great indian food there too, and excellent Chinese tea trader houses.

  14. #14
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Think I'll go on Phuketrichard's advice - Cambodia overland, then Koh Chang, then back to Bangers for a night or two of madness.

    Then sadly back to the Middle Fiefdom..

    I'll do the north on the next round..

  15. #15
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    ^have a good time, and don't forget to do a photothread...

  16. #16
    Member Baas Babelaas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bettyboo View Post
    ^have a good time, and don't forget to do a photothread...
    Will do!

  17. #17
    Member cdnski12's Avatar
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    After touring around Chiang Mai, get a plane to Siem Reap. You'll have to tfr thru BKK. Spend min 3 days in Siem Reap. Then a 6 hr bus to Phnom Phen, another bus to Sihanoukville. Spend a day or 2 there, then it is a full day by Bus to the Koh Kong border x-ing to Trat, TL. You might make it to Koh Chang in a day, but you'd have to be lucky connectionwise. All that is easily do-able in the Dry season. I did it in 2010 with no real problems. Alternately, since your time is somewhat limited, maybe avoid the 3 days of bus riding and fly from Phnom Phen back to BKK and then to Trat. Using planes the entire way from Cm=>Siem Reap=>BKK=>Trat is only around $550; so I'd say it ain't worth your time to mess around on Buses. Check out Bangkok Airways Website.

  18. #18
    Thailand Expat terry57's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by palexxxx View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post
    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai as I haven't been (in all of those eight visits). Is the crop burning happening in Jan-Feb?

    No, usually March, April.


    The tossers started burning in February last year. Bad news that shit as it ruins the complete area.

  19. #19
    I am in Jail
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    Quote Originally Posted by terry57 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by palexxxx View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Baas Babelaas View Post
    Thanks for the advice all. I'd like to see Chiang Mai and Pai as I haven't been (in all of those eight visits). Is the crop burning happening in Jan-Feb?

    No, usually March, April.


    The tossers started burning in February last year. Bad news that shit as it ruins the complete area.
    Yep the burning is really nasty, it is why I avoid going north that time of year. The air is much better to the south. You might even get a little rain, which is delightful.

  20. #20
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    Luang Prabang is lovely, I was there last year for a week's honeymoon. Choose the time carefully, I was told the place was mobbed by Chinese over their New Year, it seems Thailand is well and truly in their sights now!

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