Thailand

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  • johnlenham 19 Apr 2010 09:07:01 4,000 posts
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    Anyone ever done any travelling around Thailand?
    A friends is going travelling around Asia for 6 months and has asked if me an my gf if want to join her for like a month at around November.
    Now having never been travelling, or paid much attention to Thailand any tips/ spots to check out/ cheapest folks to fly with etc?
    Its looking likes its going to cost roughly 500 to get there and back but thats about all I know so far :D
  • Tonka 19 Apr 2010 09:39:51 19,840 posts
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    Threesomes at sunset

    If you can read this you really need to fiddle with your forum settings.

  • Tonka 19 Apr 2010 12:36:51 19,840 posts
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    Some general travel advise.
    Do research on-line (like you are now) before hand
    Ask other tourists once you get there
    Skip the Lonely Planet
    Relax and accept that you will get ripped off
    Trust the system
    Learn how to say thanks and hello in the native tounge
    Book hostel for the first few nights in advance
    Eat the local food
    Starbucks serve good coffee and usually have clean toilets

    I haven't been in Thailand for 6 years but last time Koh Phangan was indeed nice. Do not stay at Hat Rin though. If you are going to their full moon party every place on the Island will arrange trips there and the trip there is better than the party. (Mad Jeeps doing 80mph through pitch black jungle roads snaking over mountains and you and a bunch of other chugging beers on the back)

    Avoid Chang. (The beer)

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  • johnlenham 19 Apr 2010 12:37:58 4,000 posts
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    2K00L4SK00L wrote:
    Shop around, haggle...never take the first offer. You'll almost certainly be ripped off.

    7-11/Familly Mart are brilliant for cheap booze and snacks, and they're everywhere.

    This mainly a Bangkok issue but when you travel by tuk tuk/taxi/limo....if the driver tries to be your tour guide and offers to take you places. You'll certainly be paying a big fat mark up which goes in his pocket. Plus they often make up excuses to take you to buy suits/shoes/whatever....and they can be extremely persistent.

    Carry lots of small notes.

    Ko Phangan is worth going to for the full moon party (31st every month) plus if you like snorkelling it's great.

    It's brilliant and beautifull (especially so for a single guy), but you need to have your head on tight.

    Nice thanks. Any reason for the small notes?
    Yeah my friend spoke about the full moon partys def sounds worth going too :) Shes been through thailand before so she has a very rough idea where as me and my mrs havent been past Turkey!

    Im kind of wondering how much I should save after the initial 500 or so for flights mos tplaces seems ot say $10 a day so whats that like 8 a day for a month? seems alittle low?
  • Tonka 19 Apr 2010 12:53:40 19,840 posts
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    Pack everything you think you will need and then get rid of half of it.
    Set up two bank accounts. One that is tied to your ATM card and one with all your cash. Have the bank automatically transfer a set amount to your ATM account once a week. That way no one can rob you blind.

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  • Concrete 19 Apr 2010 13:00:57 553 posts
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    Drink Chang (the beer).

    Put aside 50 quid for a couple of cocktails at the Banyan Tree. I do this every time I am out there and it is inevitably the highlight of the trip.
  • johnlenham 19 Apr 2010 13:01:00 4,000 posts
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    Ah good points with the bank accounts! hadnt thought of that!
    I imagine the costs will be low as she will have been gone since August, but im pretty good with money so I shouldnt hopefully go overboard with spending.
    Trying to peice together what would be sutible to pack but I suppose if Ive got to lug it around allday everyday it needs to be minimal.
    Thanks for all the info though chaps very helpful :)
  • Concrete 19 Apr 2010 13:05:25 553 posts
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    Oh, and you have to be a little more careful about the knock off stuff you bring out of the country these days as its the customs officials latest money making scheme. Smaller, lesser known labels such as Bathing Ape and Zoo York are fine. If you try leaving BK with a suit case of D&G and Nike fakes you are going to be spending some time behind bars while all your mates back home get the money together to get you out.
  • Tonka 19 Apr 2010 13:12:56 19,840 posts
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    2K00L4SK00L wrote:
    You'll probably be wearing vests/t-shirts/shorts the entire time. You can easilly wash light cotton stuff in your hotel sink. Sounds like a cheapskate thing to do, but we had to do it eventually.

    Or hand it in at some washery. Still, lugging around a huge backpack makes you look like you are in quest of the nearest Aussie Bar (un-cool) and is infuriating.

    Also, travelling with your partner is the real test. You will fight. Make sure you always eat before you get hungry. Always carry some small snack. Take breaks a lot. (I guess being on a beach negates most of these problems)

    And if you see something (nick nacks, t-shirt, sandals, fake watch, DVD) you want to buy and think "Nah, I don't need that" buy it. You will regret it later if you don't. And even if you don't like it later you can give it away as a Christmas present.

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  • Bertie Senior Staff Writer, Eurogamer.net 19 Apr 2010 13:47:37 1,749 posts
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    Daan saaf is nice. Stayed on Koh Lanta for a while and had fun. Would have liked to have seen Phi Phi just because, though - heard goods and bads about it. Trekking in Chian Mai was top fun, too - do recommend if you're up in those parts. Get smashed in Bangkok and get a tattoo. Happy days.

  • Orange 19 Apr 2010 13:53:42 4,564 posts
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    Phi Phi has lovely beaches but is a real poser place. My friend who did a 6 month tour a year ago had his best time in Laos, followed by Cambodia.

    Thailand is still worth a visit but a bit too touristed out now, plus there's the whole red shirt / yellow shirt protests which are getting worse all the time.
  • Zidargh 22 Apr 2010 10:51:20 1,664 posts
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    @Tonka:

    I am supposed to be going away for a few months as of August and was thinking of spending 2-3 weeks in Thailand. Me and my girlfriend fell out big time as I am pretty much adamant I am going by myself and without her because quite frankly, if she is not in a place with England's luxuries, she feels completely out of her depth and it will be a liability. So as selfish as it sounds, is it wise to do these things by myself?

    As a solo traveller - I am very sociable, but will I get a bit overwhelmed by all the drink/drugs/mentality if I am by myself? Im a big drinker but don't do drugs and was quite hoping to find some chilled out people and explore the culture.

    Thailand, compared to other places such as Vietnam, Japan, Hong Kong etc just seems to intimidate me.
  • BinaryBob101 23 Apr 2010 01:12:44 21,969 posts
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    I advise to go it alone Zidargh, if that's the case. It worked well enough for me having lived there for nearly two years, off and on.

    Regarding your second question, if you avoid the typical tourist traps you'll have no problems at all. Those traps being Pattaya, Most of Phuket, Koh Samui. Head for places like Railay Beach in Krabi, Chiang Mai and some of the quieter islands on the Andaman side and you''ll have no worries. Koh Phi Phi and some of the other islands around it are absolutely beautiful. Avoid Koh Phangan as it's space cadet central, the full moon parties are totally fucked up with awful people now, you will get overwhelmed there, but then again any sane person would now.

    Really, there's nothing to be intimidated about in Thailand, avoid the obvious pitfalls and you'll have a wonderful time.

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  • Tonka 23 Apr 2010 07:20:58 19,840 posts
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    Go for it. Thailand was Easy enough to get around in and there are enough people there to find someone who's not into whore hunting and beach gurning.

    It sounds as if BinaryBob has some real good advise as to where to go. I heard good things about Railay Beach but never been there myself.

    What is it you find intimidating? Where else are you planning on going?

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  • Syrok Designer, Tarsier Studios 23 Apr 2010 07:41:41 14,031 posts
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    Worth keeping in mind
  • Zidargh 23 Apr 2010 10:57:50 1,664 posts
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    Great advice guys. Thank you.

    Well I've seen The Beach (the opening scene) and most of the people I know who have gone to Thailand have treated it like Club 18-30s/are into their pills etc.

    I for one am up for some random, mental activity but something thats not corrupted by squaddy/pill head mentality. I guess its just the idea of me at a Full Moon Party by myself getting surrounded by drug heads, started on, whatever. Its all imagination but when I hear about my friend who got offered MDMA, asked immediately for a bang in the toilet and had her interest piqued for a threesome, it raised my eyebrows. I could handle this kind of business with my friends, but I wonder how I would react alone, ya know?

    Ill be starting off in Japan for a month, which Ill be doing bits with a friend but will have time by myself. Japan does not worry me in the slightest. I am contemplating doing Vietnam, Cambodia (though it sounds really tragic, killing fields as a tourist trap wtf?), Malaysia and Hong Kong in October to see an old uni friend. For places like Thailand, I am tempted to pay a bit extra for one of those 30 odd day tours with Imaginative Traveller or something like that. Something where you're instantly thrown together with people.
  • MrMcStyles , Gamer Network 23 Apr 2010 11:16:49 56 posts
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    Koh Tao - One of my favourite places in the world
  • figgis 23 Apr 2010 11:24:11 7,382 posts
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    Syrok wrote:
    Worth keeping in mind

    The Foreign office are advising against travelling to Thailand at the moment.
  • johnlenham 23 Apr 2010 11:35:00 4,000 posts
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    Zidargh wrote:
    Great advice guys. Thank you.

    I hear about my friend who got offered MDMA, asked immediately for a bang in the toilet and had her interest piqued for a threesome, it raised my eyebrows.
    o_o
    Im going to have to ask my friend about this part, she went alone and knowing her she probably did most of the stuff you just mentioned... She never really said WHY it was good (full moon party that is)
  • Zidargh 23 Apr 2010 11:39:22 1,664 posts
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    Exactly. Its all funny if you dont act on it and arent forced into it, but I'm not like that AT ALL.
  • johnlenham 23 Apr 2010 11:52:51 4,000 posts
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    Zidargh wrote:
    Exactly. Its all funny if you dont act on it and arent forced into it, but I'm not like that AT ALL.

    I suppose you can apply that to most places though, like I can imagine shit like that happens in Ibiza and all the other "party" places so I guess its just a matter of avoiding it.
    Started my savings after having paid off aload of other shite \o/ but shes not decided if shes goign to be in China or Thailand (not fussed either way).

    For the others is there like a list of stuff thats good to take with you?
    Shorts/T's
    Sunblock/malaria tablets (?)
    Pen knife is apparently handy
    Mosi repelent?

    About all I can think of at the momment..
  • Zidargh 23 Apr 2010 12:20:02 1,664 posts
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    Actually. How easy is it to meet new people in a positive way? Im very sociable, come across confident and make an effort with people. But are there alot of people who wont be so open and will be quite off half the time?
  • BinaryBob101 23 Apr 2010 13:00:48 21,969 posts
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    Very easy. You'll find plenty of other backpackers from all over the World who are more than happy to swap stories, if you're a sociable sort. If not, you'll fade into the background like everybody else. But, really you must bare in mind that people are more keen on talking and being gregarious when they're away from home in a totally different culture. Within five minutes of being on Khao San Rd in Bangkok you'll be in a conversation, if you want to be. Same with anywhere in Thailand if you want it. Personally, I'd avoid those thirty day tours like the plague. They won't take you to the more esoteric spots (which in general are the most beautiful) and you'll be on their timetable. what happens if you go somewhere you want to stay for more than 24 hours? Well tough tits mate. you'll be moving on! You're not American, you're a British explorer! Just go for it, you'll have an amazing time.

    Btw, The Beach isn't real life you know and wherever you go if you want to avoid the drug culture you can do so very easily. Well, apart from Had Rin on Koh Phangan at Full Moon. The place has been corrupted pretty badly since my days Full Mooning in '91.

    /old

    I highly recommend a trip to Chiang Mai and more or less demand you go to Railay Beach. There really is nowhere in the World quite like it. I know everybody's definition of paradise is different, but it's tough to argue with this:

    Here.

    I also suggest spending at least 24 hours doing a whirlwind tour of Bangkok, staying on Khao San Rd. You may meet folk you can hook up with, and possibly travel with. I'd suggest 2-3 days there really, but you can play it by ear. Many people hate Bangkok the first time they go, and for pretty good reason. It's a big culture shock, it's noisy, polluted and very, very fast. But, ultimately for me it has an atmosphere like no other city on earth, the food is totally fantastic and the tourist stuff is genuinely worth a gander. A most around the River Kwai is also a bit of a must. There's obviously the bridge, but there's also nice places to stay actually on the water.

    Above all, don't worry about it so much. You'll kick yourself after a couple of days when you relax. Oh, and learn some basic Thai. It's not difficult to learn the numbers (great for shopping/haggling, please, thank you, hello, my name is..., etc, etc. The Thai folk will respect and love you that little bit more for it.

    Have a great time and "Sabai, sabai" (chill).

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  • Load_2.0 23 Apr 2010 13:05:42 18,223 posts
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    MrMcStyles wrote:
    Koh Tao - One of my favourite places in the world

    Me too, it has been about 6 years since I was back. probably the most relaxed and calm I have ever been. Fantastic place.

    Great place Thailand been there many times in my life, takes a while to get used to all the pestering. But you soon get good at blocking it out. Expect a mix of awesome (people, beaches, food) and nasty (Fat male tourists on motorbikes with 16 year old whores, trash) learn how to barter. Enjoy.

    Do not accept the "ten chang challenge" and buy fake clothes extra big (they shrink!).

  • BinaryBob101 23 Apr 2010 13:11:26 21,969 posts
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    Yeah, Koh Tao is the nicest island on that side. Really lovely.

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  • Zidargh 23 Apr 2010 13:38:31 1,664 posts
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    Oooooooooooooh. :)

    Thank you BB, its helped a lot. I can't help but be nervous really as I've never done anything like this.

    Last question; I'm presuming its quite easy to get yourself into a romantic situation out there? Not with ladyboys of course.
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