A complete itinerary and directions for exploring Thailand with Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi, Koh Jum, Khao Sok, Kwai River and many more. Beaches and attractions for 2-3 weeks.
The eternal dilemma of how to make the most of our time and money, especially if we can only go on holiday, when so many others, in high season when everything is more expensive than usual. This is notably the case for Christmas and the New Year time, who can afford it goes to travel. I looked at the airline tickets from Budapest and just couldn’t find anything at a reasonable price, so I started searching for tickets from Vienna Airport, and now, for the fourth time, I found that it was much cheaper to fly from there. Bangkok is accessible by direct flight, great schedule by Turkish Airlines and often AirChina also priced the tickets at a reasonable price. Compared to the double price to my dates from Budapest, I think it’s super. If Vienna is the starting point, you can get there either by bus, train or car, but it is important when the flight arrives. If in the evening, then the train will no longer bring you home and need +1 night accommodation. I do not like the bus because if it gets a flat tire or gets stuck in traffic than I miss the plane. I like to drive because the same thing can happen, but I still have more mobility alone. The main problem is parking, which is quite difficult there and also brutally expensive, but there are a few cheaper options, I think I managed to find the cheapest one for Vienna Airport Parking in Schwechat. But let’s get going then!
Chances are you’ll come to Bangkok where I suggest you spend 1-2 nights acclimatizing. I always need half a day to pick up a new place, how it works and from there I move as if I was born there. The first stunning excursion destination from the capital requires at least 2 nights (you’ll have 1 full day there, returning the next morning). This is the world-famous Kwai River became famous by the legendary movie Bridge on the River Kwai. The writer of the novel was confused about the names of the rivers, where the bridge is, it is not above the Kwai river, but since it became well known, the Thais changed their names. So now everything is fine again. Old but comfortable and super clean train is the easiest way to reach the area, the name of the station is Kanchanaburi. The ticket is a very cheap. Trains are washed before departure and also cleaned on the way. A dust mask is useful if you have one, because through the open window dust enters the passenger compartment during the dry season.
Look how beautiful the colors are! From Kanchanaburi, you can take a one-day tour to Erawan Falls, a system of 7 waterfalls. Many skip the top, but the stamina pays off, swimming in the highest natural pool, and at level 4, sliding into the water amongst huge fish. Since it will be the evening when you return to your accommodation, it is more convenient for you to stay at the same place where you were at the previous day and only continue your journey on the next day. I recommend overwater bungalows in Kanchanaburi because they can be booked at great prices. Sure, what’s cheap is usually simple, but seriously, for a small bungalow of 13 EUR / night / 4 people, what do you want apart from of cleanliness and bed?
It was the experience of my life as the warm breeze passed through the bamboo walls at night, a splash of 1-1 fish jumping and the sounds of small animals filled the night silence. I remembered the Pocahontas theme song, along with the lyrics, listen to it too!
The most time-saving solution is to return from here to Bangkok and reach any train there to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital. It’s worth stopping there and spending half a day on the town, sightseeing. The temples can be visited in this amount of time by paying for a tuk-tuk who speeds up our transport. I left those temples which are close to each other for the end, cheering me up at night and going back to the train station at half past ten in the evening, where I got on the spotlessly clear night train towards Chiang Mai. I had a surprisingly good sleep on the train. The AC was really cool here, but I managed to cover myself so it was comfortable. It is worth paying for the upper beds, they are cheaper and more warmer, but they don’t have window view, the lower ones do, but it is worth it for the night, when you sleep anyways? So you saved time on the train because you go when you are asleep and saw a place that you wouldn’t see if you were flying, or wasting time on it with touring with a car, because it is a detour.
I don’t show a picture of the city, google it, but I share one of my bucket list experiences: New Year’s Eve Lantern Ceremony. Everywhere I looked, lanterns were floating in the sky. This would be forbidden in Hungary because of the danger of fire, but here’s a living example of how it can work without damage and deaths. Okay, there were some that got caught in fire and then fell into the crowd, but since in Asia it is customary to walk with open eyes and always be aware of your surroundings, it was natural for everyone to move away for the 10 seconds it fell to the ground , then they were extinguished and the crowd continued to celebrate.
As a spablogger, I have to mention that there is a wonderful hot spring 40 km from Chinag Mai, it can be found as Sankampang Hot Spring Hill in the google maps.
There are super programs from here like the jungle to sleep 2-3 day tours, I’d go back anytime, make sure you don’t miss out on the Mekong River Golden Triangle and the White Temple and the Black House and the Doi Inthanon National Park with the highest mountains in the country! At the triple border, you can go to Laos for the flea market, which is a great experience because of shipping in the small old boats, and of course it is memorable to see and taste such drinks like this:
It takes about 5 nights in total to visit all of these. Chiang Mai Airport (CNX) offers direct flights to Krabi (KBV), there is nothing to think about, it makes perfect sense to head to the beach from here. It’s the first night in Krabi Town, then the next day’s tour to the Tiger Cave Temple, where you should definitely climb to the top for a stunning view at the end! There are some beaches near Krabi, such as Ao Nang and Railay Beach, but I honestly don’t recommend any of them. They may have been nice beaches, but not anymore, Greece in Europe has 1000X more beautiful beaches – as far as the color and quality of the water is concerned. Sadly, it is the effect many ships. So what can you do? I sailed off, to the surrounding islands, of which Koh Jum became my secret favorite. There’s basically nothing but a clean, beautiful beach, palm trees and a few days’ rest. If you were a little more active, Koh Lanta would be your ideal next stop, an island big enough to do more than just beaching, but it has no flawless coasts like the small island.
On Koh Jum Island, all accommodations have long tail boats. They wait at sea and when the ferry gets close, some passengers transfer to the long tail boats and they take them to their accommodation, and the ferry continues to Koh Lanta. Arrive like this:
1-2 nights in Bangkok, 2 nights in Kanchanaburi, 4-5 nights in Chiang Mai star hiking, 4-6 nights in the islands, and finally 1 spare night in Bangkok to make sure you don’t miss your flight back. Any combination of this itinerary can be done in 2 weeks. If you have 3 weeks, be sure to visit Khao Sok from Krabi and sleep in one of the small cottages above the water. The most exciting thing for me was when we went with a local tour guide and a small team to explore the area and went into a cave partly filled with water. Unfortunately, at one point our guide indicated that we could not go any further, because it was raining outside and the inner part could easily become filled with water, which would be life-threatening if we did not get out on time.
In Sukhotai you can have 2 full days of cycling among the temple ruins, I really enjoyed wandering around in nature. There are some stray dogs in South East Asia… this is normal and they are harmless, most of them are just sunbathing.
In the evenings the locals sit on the shores of the lake and listen to music together on mats, and it was a magical feeling to join them. I always reminisce to this memory on cold winter days makes me a little warmer. Here, by the way, I recommend this awesome friendly guesthouse; its name speaks for itself: Smiling Face Guesthouse 🙂
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Safe travel, regards,