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a VirtualTourist member asked on Aug 21, 2016

Thailand

First time in Thailand

Good evening;
I am leaving for Thailand Sept 7. My original plan to explore Thailand in Sept then head to Maylasia in October however my plans are extremely fluid. Since I will be traveling alone I am somewhat concerned about safety especially with certain recent events if anyone could share a little knowledge or even some better insight into what's going on that would be great. Also any ideas as far as unique "non-tourist" stops I would really like to get off the beaten path and explore. Thank you!



33 Answers  (showing 1 - 30)


answered on 8/21/16 by
a VT member from Miami

Welcome to VT.

What "certain recent events" are you talking about? Thailand is a very safe and quite warm & welcoming country full of wonderful people.
Attacks can happen anywhere and we've just returned from a 5 week tour throughout Europe including Belgium and France where we were only 45 mins from where the bus ran down all the people in a terrorist attack.

We love Thailand and if you're going to spend any great length of time there make sure and allocate 3 days to fly to nearby Siem Reap Cambodia for some incredible scenery and UNESCO world heritage site.
Flight is cheap and quick - only about 45 mins.
Additionally, make sure and go to Ayutthaya very close to Bangkok - about 45 mins by train or hire a guide to take you there.
Better yet, hotels in that area are quite affordable and overnighting there would be wonderful which we did on our first trip out there.

If you're spending a few weeks there you can easily cover the North (Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai region, Bangkok area and Phuket / Southern Thailand.
Travel is quite affordable and easy to do within Thailand and airlines such as Bangkok Air offer very affordable flights within cities - around USD $50.00 each way.

Finally, look through mine and other members Thailand travel guides here on VT and feel free to ask questions.
Enjoy wonderful Thailand.

Homer




answered on 8/21/16 by
a VT member from Pattaya

If you are referring to the bombs going off in Thailand keep in mind that even in Malaysia bombs go off from time to time too.

Thailand is pretty big, you would have to be very unlucky to have something happen to you. No place is immune to terrorism, even where you live.

"Also any ideas as far as unique "non-tourist" stops I would really like to get off the beaten path and explore."

Millions of tourists do visit interesting places. The money they spend supports some of the interesting tourist sites. Just because other tourists have been there doesn't mean these places are not interesting. Popular tourist sites are easy to get to either by scheduled buses or shared tours from nearby cities. When you visit "popular" tourist sites there are also hotels and restaurants used to the needs of foreighers. I personally wouldn't want to be the only rich tourist all alone in some remote area!

When you do your research what places do you want to visit that are "off the beaten path?" Last year around 29 million tourists have visited Thailand. Not too many places they haven't been too! Look at map of Thailand. Thailand might be a little bigger than you think!

I suppose you could wing it and hop on a long distance bus and get off at a town less prone to tourist visits. Mingle with the locals and such. But places that tourists rarely visit may not be worth a visit if you only have a short amount of time in Thailand. I wouldn't skip Bangkok even if millions of tourists have been there over the years. Bangkok is cheaper than many beach areas further down south.

What do you want to do in Thailand? Millions of tourists go to Chiang Ma, this doesn't mean that this is not a city worthy of a visit. What are your interests?

[original VT link]

How much you can do depends on how much time you have. (Maybe how much money you have too!)

A Google search will give you some posts and links for "off the beaten path" questions.

google.com/search?q=off+the+...

Good luck.




answered on 8/21/16 by
a VT member from Puerto Princesa

I have to agree that recent events in certain countries would not put me off from going there as the chances of something happening to you would be minimal.
If you want to visit some places that are not popular with tourists I can recommend
PRACHAUP KHIRI KAN a town a few hours south of Bangkok that has great beaches, delicious seafood.
RANONG also in the south, but west coast. Few tourists go here . The town is small but worth visiting the port area and see the fishing boats offload their catch. In the province there are mangrove forests, hot springs and friendly people.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Tongeren

The entire north-eastern part of Thailand, bordering Lao, is lovely and not so touristy.
I absolutely agree that Ayutthaya is worth a visit.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Nashville

Interesting suggestions from davidjo! Hot springs??? :) But you need to be more precise about what you want/like to see. Also, the first time in a country there are important things to see - some main museums, places of worship and other monuments, art exhibits, markets, etc, that give one an idea of its history and culture. A sort of basic course. I feel that this is essential. Everyone visits certain places because they are interesting and wonderful! Then one can be adventurous and branch out, in terms of one's interests, but with a certain cultural understanding as a base.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Tongeren

Forgot to mention that the NE part is called i-San




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Nashville

Or Issan. However, it is certainly visited!




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Tongeren

It is visited indeed, but much less than other parts of the country. So it's more "off the beaten track" than other areas ...




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Toronto

Attacks can happen anywhere. We should not be fear of the lunatics.

I've enjoyed visiting the historical Khmer sites in Issan (NE Thailand)...certainly there are much less tourists than in Angkor Wat. eg. Phimai, Phanom Rung. I also liked cycling in Sukhothai historical park. It's a slow way to explore the various sites.

There are many islands in the Andaman Sea, but it's the rainy season now. It may be quiet as some tourism-related businesses will be shut down depending on where you go. Trang is a nice small town that is a springboard to some of the islands. It has some old buildings similar to those you'll see in the old towns in Malaysia. There is also a sizable population with Chinese heritage, and you can go for Thai style Chinese dim sum.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Miami

Wow, I just heard about the bomb attack in Bangkok. Had not heard about this when I replied initially.
My answer still stands though, this can happen anytime anywhere. It is unfortunately the world we live in.
I remain true to my statement, the Thai are amongst the friendliest and nicest of people and Bangkok is a safe place to journey to.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member

O man! Awesome stuff guys, I was hoping for a wide spectrum of answers and that was everything I needed to hear. I am extremely excited to get in country and visit all of these places. The one thing I am bringing with me in unlimited abundance is time. I'm am definitely doing Art, temples, museums, cultural actives. However, I would love to get on some fishing boats maybe help with some farming, looking for some real experiences. I fly out Sept. 7th..can't wait




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Pattaya

The one thing I am bringing with me in unlimited abundance is time.

You cannot stay as long as you want without a proper visa!

Are you planning on leaving home with a one way flight?

Staying for over 30 days requires a Tourist Visa you get ahead of time. Research the visa requirements that apply to your country.

I would love to get on some fishing boats maybe help with some farming,

Technically you cannot work in Thailand without a work permit.. Looking at a farm - no problem! Paying for fishing trips - no problem! Make Google your friend!

Good luck.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Nashville

Sir Halberd, the tourist visa can be extended within Thailand - 30 days - but it is not guaranteed. Of course getting a longer term visa before arriving (I think that is possible but double check all the regulations because they change frequently) is a good idea.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Tongeren

We went from Thailand to Angkor/Cambodia for 4 days. When we entered Thailand again we got new 30-day visa.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Trail

I'd pass on Malaysia. It's a very wealthy country, so is more expensive than the other S/E Asian countries. Spend the month in Thailand, go to Luang Prabang in Laos and Angkor Wat in Cambodia for 5/6 days. Beerlao is superb! Angkor Wat is the best series of temples & wats in the world. Absolutely fantastic. Better than Rome/Paris/Athens/Egypt. I've been to them all several times. I spent 10 days in Angkor Wat in Nov 2015. The Cambodians speak much more English than Thai`s. The street food is better than Thailand. Koh Samet is a very nice Thai Beach scene without the hype of Phuket or Pattaya.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member

I am familiar with travel visas. I have already planned travel outside Thailand for the month of October, November, and December. Also I will be working on a longer stay visa when I get in country. I only say "work" because that is the term I know, I would gladly help any fisherman out for free. If anyone has a boat let me know!




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member

What would be the most affordable living arrangements? I know all about hostels but I would much rather rent a room or even a house for longer periods of time...any thoughts?




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Nashville

Try airbnb. Lots in Thailand! And you can live with locals and learn things. Of course they also have apartments etc.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Hengelo

I'm in Thailand on the moment. I see many Asian tourists visiting the country.

There is a somewhat higher level of security checks, but hard to see when you don't know the country. The recent bomb attacks are linked to a group of 20 people acting on order of one person, maybe with a link to Malaysia. The strange thing is, no group claimed this bombing.

The only solid advice is still to avoid crowds; but just staying at resorts is probably not what you are looking for.

Traffic in Thailand is more dangerous.

Enjoy your time over (it's hot and humid!).

PJ




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Toronto

There are cheap guest houses that you get your own room for under 1000 Bahts. Quality and amenities vary.




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Pattaya

jeanfinney.

"Sir Halberd, the tourist visa can be extended within Thailand - 30 days - but it is not guaranteed. Of course getting a longer term visa before arriving (I think that is possible but double check all the regulations because they change frequently) is a good idea."

(From the previous post.)

Are you planning on leaving home with a one way flight?

Staying for over 30 days requires a Tourist Visa you get ahead of time. Research the visa requirements that apply to your country.

A tourist who intends to enter Thailand using the free 30 day Visa Exemption stamp at a Thai airport is supposed to have a plane ticket out of the country within 30 days. This is called "Proof of Onward Travel." This is supposed to be enforced at the primary departure airport at the beginning of the trip. Some airports enforce this and some do not. Ticket in hand with packed bags at the airport without "Proof of Onward Travel" or a Tourist Visa might be a problem just leaving the airport!

You have to get to Thailand first before you can do an extension!




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member from Pattaya

" I would gladly help any fisherman out for free. If anyone has a boat let me know!"

I personally wouldn't want to be the rich foreigner all alone on a boat heading for deep water! Being a foreigner in Thailand you are often considered wealthy! When you can take months off of work, maybe carrying a computer, smart phone, passport that can be sold for profit, money in your wallet, etc! You are a rich man!

5 5 5




answered on 8/22/16 by
a VT member

What would you recommend for inexpensive travel bus, train, etc..




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member from Pattaya

What would you recommend for inexpensive travel bus, train, etc..

Trains do not go everywhere in Thailand but they are available. Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Surat Thani are popular routes. See Seat 61 for more details. Long noisy ride. More room to wander around and stretch out than on a bus. Simple snacks. Can be chilly so have a long sleeve shirt or jacket available.

A long, long time ago when my work assignments were not timely I used trains to Hat Yai where I would make border runs to Malaysia. The last long train ride I had was when airports in Thailand were closed down by protests and I used a train beginning Bangkok, through Malaysia and on to Singapore for a replacement flight.

(Bangkok city does have some very good city rail service. From Suvarnabhumi to the city area by Airport Rail Link. The Rail Link also connects with a subway and with the Skytrain.)

seat61.com/Thailand.htm#.V7w...

Long distance bus travel is pretty good. These buses go to many of the out of the way locations. Google search can give you some schedules and prices. For bus rides my advice is to get the buses from a bus station and not a private bus company through a travel agency to save a buck.

On buses and trains always keep passport and money in your pocket. Don't put valuables in a checked in bag. Read up on "bus scams Thailand." (Not just Thailand, even in my country and other countries I visit I never put a passport or money in any bag out of my sight! Even if a checked in bag is not stolen or pilfered they could be accidentally misplaced.) Long distance buses can be a little chilly at times when the A/C is pumped up.

Have fun.




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member from Hengelo

Most Asian tourists I see travel in groups and are being transported in coaches; from cheap to luxury types. I know European tourist like to travel more on their own and the long-distance buses fit that preferences well (as above; trains (although safe) do not reach all parts of the country).

Be aware that in more wooded area you might need something to protect you from bugs. A friend of mine went into the woods and was bitten by very small flies. At the beaches that is a lesser issue; jellyfish in the sea water is.

PJ




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member from Toronto

Buses have different classes in terms of price: VIP, first, second. VIP is the most expensive and has comfy large recliner seats that is great for overnight travel or very long distance travel. Second class stops everywhere and is good for short distance. This bus stops to pick up and drop off passengers when there is a request. First class doesn't do this. Train is much slower but it is enjoyable for short distance (in my opinion). It is fun to observe the activities in the train - vendors go by at a station and people come and go.




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member from Tongeren

I always found the overnight sleeper trains to be a great way of covering large distances while sleeping :-)




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member from Nashville

I love trains and the sleeper trains even have a ladies' car, which is nice. The beds are good but it is sortof like trying to sleep inside a washing machine, The buses are fine, there are usually many departures. Not a problem at all....




answered on 8/23/16 by
a VT member

Nice! Great stuff guys. It's pretty challenging sifting through all the good/bad information the Internet can throw at you, I've done a lot of research and you all have definitely helped confirm that information. Thank you




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