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  1. #1
    Forum Member Jaffa's Avatar
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    Thinking abut Thailand

    Hi

    Thailand has always been on my bucket list and seeing as I'm not getting any younger! - I'm planning ahead to either this or next year. Ive tried looking on websites, but just getting confused.
    I like the idea of backpacking around looking at temples and taking it easy, perhaps using airbnb/the odd hotel/hostels to keep the price reasonable - would be looking at about the 3 week mark.
    Would be flying from the UK, and like the idea of traveling really light, i.e. Using a Synapse 19 and sure I could buy anything clothes wise if I needed to.
    I would like to to avoid high temps, I'm ok up to late 20 early 30 degrees and not at the height of the busy season.
    What Ive looked at is saying the best time weather wise is Nov - April, which Ive missed for this year, hence the confusion as to if its this or next year.
    Thanks
    Jaffa
    S25 Black halcyon/NWS: S19 Grey/UV: WF Black/NWS: Co Pilot Grey/UV, & various little pouches all purples/grey.

  2. #2
    Forum Member BajaMandy's Avatar
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    I went to Thailand in Summer of 2016. What I noticed, when I was in the planning stage is that what we consider 'early Spring' (Feb/March) was actually much warmer than I thought it would be....and was (at least in 2016) hotter than when I went (end of June/early July).

    Are you interested in backpacking around on your own? Are you able to handle the language barrier?

    If not, and if you are interested in a Tour, I'd recommend Intrepid Travel. They do small group tours (most are around 10-11 ppl per group), they do not participate (or endorse) animal tourism, such as elephant rides, and they invest money into local economies. One of the things I particularly liked was that there were activities scheduled for most days - but it was not an issue at all if you chose not to participate. We had some folks in the group that would show up in the morning, share transportation to the next place....and then the next time we'd see them was the next time we were on the move. Some of the activities that were available were absolutely wonderful - yes, the usual cooking classes, etc.....but I got to spend most of a day, one on one, with a woman who taught me about Buddhist traditions - we went to several temples and then I spent almost 2 hours in a "monk chat" - just me and a Buddhist monk, talking about whatever we wanted to talk about. So you COULD use a tour group as a way to have your lodging and travel all sorted and arranged and paid for, and do your own thing in between traveling....or you could participate a little or a lot in tour activities.

    The tour I did was Explore Thailand (or something similar) - I bought it as a 2-week trip. What I found on my arrival was that it was actually two tours. The first week was Explore Northern Thailand (Bangkok - Sukothai - Village Home Stay - Chiang Mai - Bangkok), and the second week was Thailand Beaches East Coast (Bangkok - Ko Phangan - Ko Tao - Ko Samui)...and then I got the overnight train back to Bangkok. I think they've changed one or two of the islands for this year.

    No, I don't get any sort of a kick-back from Intrepid.....I just had a good experience & thought I'd throw it out there for consideration.
    Black Dyneema/Wasabi SA (with UMP & LMP and GloWire), Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Olive/Wasabi MCB, Verde/UV Swift, Black Dyneema/Island A30, Black Dyneema/Iberian Co-Pilot, PCSB in Wasabi, SSB's in Black & Wasabi, LSB's in Zest & NW Sky, TT's in Steel & Wasabi, Various Packing Cubes, TSS's, YSS's, OP's, and QKITs

  3. #3
    Forum Member Jaffa's Avatar
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    Thanks for that , will have a look at their website...Thinking will be backpacking it, and traveling light.
    Unsure if will get flights out and then book tours/trips out, lots to think about.
    Jaffa
    S25 Black halcyon/NWS: S19 Grey/UV: WF Black/NWS: Co Pilot Grey/UV, & various little pouches all purples/grey.

  4. #4
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    I've been to Thailand twice over the past 15 years and just booked to go again in November this year.

    I must admit, my first trip was all backpacking and nowadays its simply staying in one place and seeing the local sights. Going back mainly for the atmosphere and the food.

    I've mostly done the south from Bangkok down in the past but happy to help with any questions you might have. You're definitely picking the right country to visit in my opinion.
    A vote for "Portable Culture"
    Aeronaut 45 (Black/Steel), Tristar Black/Wasabi, Pilot (Nordic Halcyon/Steel), Synapse 25 (Grey/UV), Small Cafe Bag Navy/Steel, Daylight Backpack (Burnt Orange), Daylight Briefcase (Black Halcyon) PLUS more 'bits' than you can shake a stick at!

  5. #5
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    Visited Thailand last May. Very nice, but, even then it was incredibly hot and humid---and I am from the American South!!!

    Try Gate 1 Travel ---www.gate1travel.com. That is company I used and was very happy with them.

  6. #6
    Forum Member aedifica's Avatar
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    I went to Thailand several years ago in January--it was very hot! (Not that you're thinking of going in January.) I had a wonderful time, partly because I was visiting someone who had been there a few years and had made a lot of local friends who showed us around. I really valued that experience.

    I did notice that the places we went were not well laid out for anyone in a wheelchair. For example, one place I saw a ramp... that had a lip at the top so a chair wouldn't be able to just roll onto it. I'm sure it wouldn't have been insurmountable, just an example of how even in modern construction, wheelchair accessibility isn't a priority. (I don't use a chair, but who knows, maybe I will someday.) So I highly recommend visiting Thailand but only if you're reasonably able-bodied.

    If you go to Bangkok, I recommend the sixth floor of MBK mall! It was a variation on a Thai market--there was no food, and most of the goods were the sorts of things that tourists might be interested in. As we were, in fact, tourists it was great! We bought some lovely silk scarves and teacups. I also recommend going to a real Thai market, not just MBK--especially if you can go with someone local.

    Are you making sure to plan around the rainy season? It's the other consideration to keep in mind besides the temperature. I don't remember when the rainy season is, though, just that that was part of why we went in January.
    I have a bunch of great bags. Favorite color combos are Aubergine/Island, Navy/Solar, Forest/UV.

    I have fulfilled my dream of palindromic-colored nested bags! Navy/Ultraviolet Pilot with Aubergine/Island Side Effect inside: blue purple purple blue. Forest/UV A45 with Aubergine/Wasabi Co-Pilot inside: green purple purple green.

    Formerly known as millefolia.

  7. #7
    Forum Member Jaffa's Avatar
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    At the moment its looking like September, I realise that it might be rainy season, but guess that a short rain shower every afternoon is ok -
    Im used to the rain, I live in the UK....
    Im leaning towards North Thailand, flying into Bangkok and heading towards ChangMai, looking at flights and the different airlines, not sure if there's any to avoid. Will be flying economy, as cant afford business class.
    Jaffa
    S25 Black halcyon/NWS: S19 Grey/UV: WF Black/NWS: Co Pilot Grey/UV, & various little pouches all purples/grey.

  8. #8
    Forum Member BajaMandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaffa View Post
    Im leaning towards North Thailand, flying into Bangkok and heading towards ChangMai, looking at flights and the different airlines, not sure if there's any to avoid. Will be flying economy, as cant afford business class.
    Jaffa
    I *loved* Chiangmai! Another option, depending on the amount of time you have is to get a sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiangmai....might be cheaper than a flight (didn't use in-country flights when I was there last summer).....but you would save he cost of a Hotel/Hostel the night of travel. If you're tall or fuller figured, you'll want a bottom bunk.
    I caught a sleeper train from Chiangmai to Bangkok, 2nd class....slept just fine. I also caught a sleeper from the port (coming back from the southern islands to Bangkok), 1st class - had the berth all to myself! I only paid for my seat & if traveling single, you can either buy both seats (to guarantee you get the berth to yourself), or if you don't, they have the right to sell the other seat to someone of the same gender.

    Food for thought, anyway.
    Black Dyneema/Wasabi SA (with UMP & LMP and GloWire), Cocoa/Wasabi Imago, Olive/Wasabi MCB, Verde/UV Swift, Black Dyneema/Island A30, Black Dyneema/Iberian Co-Pilot, PCSB in Wasabi, SSB's in Black & Wasabi, LSB's in Zest & NW Sky, TT's in Steel & Wasabi, Various Packing Cubes, TSS's, YSS's, OP's, and QKITs

  9. #9
    Forum Member Perseffect's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jaffa View Post
    At the moment its looking like September, I realise that it might be rainy season, but guess that a short rain shower every afternoon is ok -
    Im used to the rain, I live in the UK....
    Im leaning towards North Thailand, flying into Bangkok and heading towards ChangMai, looking at flights and the different airlines, not sure if there's any to avoid. Will be flying economy, as cant afford business class.
    Jaffa
    I'm heading there this November and have an economy ticket with Thai Airways. I've flown with them before both internationally and internal in Thailand and they've been good (certainly no worse than others). That was 10 years ago though but holding out for good enough service this year.

    Best of luck planning your trip.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    A vote for "Portable Culture"
    Aeronaut 45 (Black/Steel), Tristar Black/Wasabi, Pilot (Nordic Halcyon/Steel), Synapse 25 (Grey/UV), Small Cafe Bag Navy/Steel, Daylight Backpack (Burnt Orange), Daylight Briefcase (Black Halcyon) PLUS more 'bits' than you can shake a stick at!

  10. #10
    Forum Member Jaffa's Avatar
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    Thanks for the idea re sleeper trains, didn't know about them and also the info re Thai Airways.
    The only hesitation is Im looking at getting a new credit card for either cash back or Air points which I can use for the flights and expenses.

    The post by TB today is very apt, I think it would be easier if I travelled more often, or perhaps to the same place.

    Jaffa
    S25 Black halcyon/NWS: S19 Grey/UV: WF Black/NWS: Co Pilot Grey/UV, & various little pouches all purples/grey.

  11. #11
    Forum Member Jaffa's Avatar
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    Has anyone flown Emirates? After looking at flights, looking like this might be a possible, would be travelling Economy?.
    S25 Black halcyon/NWS: S19 Grey/UV: WF Black/NWS: Co Pilot Grey/UV, & various little pouches all purples/grey.

  12. #12
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    Hi Jaffa, I'm currently planning for ~3 week trip to Thailand this November. Seems to be a good time to go weather-wise, but I'm sure it will still be quite hot.

    Re: Emirates. We're leaning towards Qatar. Qatar, Emirates, and Etihad are all supposedly excellent airlines, and I'm hoping for a better experience than usual US airlines. Not sure if this applies to you since there might be direct flights from the UK, but we are flying JFK-BKK (no directs), so I'm considering scheduling an extended layover to explore Doha. Qatar Airways (and perhaps the other airlines) offer complimentary city tour with transit visa if your layover is over a certain amount of time. Not usually a fan of organized tours, so we might just book the stopover (ticket is same price if stopover is under certain amount of time, like 96 hours or something), and explore on our own. On the other hand, the electronics ban is something to consider, as a 12+hr return flight without iPad might be hard on my 12yo!

    We won't be doing as much backpacking as you since we need to schedule time to meet up with friends who will also be traveling there, and also we're trying to squeeze in a ~5day bareboat charter out of Phuket which has to be booked in advance. I'm still in early stages of planning, but it might be something like: minimal time in Bangkok, train/bus to Chiang Mai, stopping at either Ayuttaya or Sukhothai, base out of Chiang Mai for several days (@BajaMandy, monk chat sounds like a cool experience), fly to Phuket, sail/island hop, back to Bangkok.

    Good for you for going with just S19! We have A30s, but I might challenge myself to go with an S25. I always feel like I pack fairly light/compressed/efficiently, but I never seem to end up with a lot of spare room in A30 (guess I like having more clothing options). But again, the last few trips have been to water-related places, so I've included snorkel/mask/water shoes/sunscreen/booney hat which does ultimately add to space/weight, and I'd be packing those items again for this trip. And I also often pack an extra knitting/crochet project in addition to the one in my personal item.

    I'll keep an eye on this thread as I love to hear other people's planning progress/itineraries.

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