My useful Thailand

On 1 July 2014 by From elephants to kangaroos

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General information
Prices: the more you on the South, the more expensive it is! Accomodation, food, water, transports, laundry…everything!
Currency when I was there: 1€ = 44 THB (count 1€ = 40 THB)
Transports : the train is the cheapest solution to travel in Thailand and also safer than the bus, although a little longer. You have many airports including in small towns / on some islands so if you do not have much time, consider this solution. And, of course, the boats to go from island to island.
Visa : no visa for French people, you have a right to 30 days in the country for free (including when you arrive by land now, which was not the case before).
Accomodation: don’t be surprised, in certain places, especially the islands, a lot of accomodations are named “resort” or so when it’s actually only cheap guesthouse. So just stop to the places you like and don’t just look at their fancy name.

CHIANG KHONG
1st town where you arrive if you come from Laos. It’s a small town, there is not so much to do but it’s a nice place to stay.
Accomodation: I do not know the name of my GH but it is in the middle of the main street, opposite the Bamboo Mexican restaurant. The owners are super nice (they dropped me at the bus and were really accommodating). We each paid 120 THB per night (we were 3 and had 2 large rooms).
Restaurants: Bamboo offers a good home-made mexican cuisine! A little bit more expensive than a classic thai restaurant but really good.

CHIANG RAI
Accomodation: same, I don’t know the name of the GH but there is one main street with all the GH, this one was a little bit hidden with a garden and it was 200 THB / night for a big bedroom, bathroom and terrace.
Restaurant: I didn’t try any, I only ate at 7/eleven or at the market.
Visits: the White temple of course, the Black House, the akha village if you want a nice ride with a motorbike in the mountains. Everything is free, rent the motorbike for 120 THB per day.

CHIANG MAI
Accomodation: I tried Julies GH, well-known (dorms 80 THB and private rooms from 120 to 400 THB depending what you want) but it’s often fully booked. Just next to it, you have JJ GH, 130 THB the triple beds room. And I also tried the Royal GH (don’t confound it with the Royal Lanna hotel), between 180 and 400 THB I think depending what type of room / comfort / equipment / floor (the less you pay, the higher you are and there is no elevator!). Swimming pool in this GH and well situated.
Restaurants: Julies GH offers good meals, so as Royal GH. Good burritos places next to Chiang Mai gate and don’t miss the night market during the weekend, loads of stands with good and cheap food!
Visits: loads of excursions from CM depending what you want to do (cooking class, zipline, elephants camps, kayak and much more). I tried the Elephant Nature Park during 2 days / 1 night (birthday gift), nice experience as you can read here. 5800 THB for this formula, 2500 THB for a one day trip.
Tatoo: if you want a safe / clean place to make a tatoo, go to Rocker Skin, Luckie will welcome you with a big smile, excellent music (Beatles, jazz and more) and with cheap prices, a nice and clean equipment. The shop is next to Chiang mai gate, in the main street that goes from there when you go to the old town.

PAI
Accomodation: from far, the best GH that I tried during my trip, Pai Chan which is after the bridge on the main road, just go up. 175 THB per night for a single room with private bathroom in a bungalow. The GH has a swimming pool, a nice restaurant and the owners are really nice. View on the mountains. Go for it!!!
Restaurants : the GH one, the Thien (on the road from the GH and going to the hot springs, next to the GH, beautiful setting!), Burger Queen who surely has one of the best burgers I’ve eaten and cheap, the Witching Well as for dinner or breakfast, the Steakhouse for a good meat. All are located in the main street. Also very good food at the night market (every night in the pedestrian street). For bars, the Almost famous offers the best mojitos and for 4 mojitos purchased you have one free (to taste, the mango mojito!). Ting Tong and Yellow Sun are the two biggest bars in the street, I prefer the 2nd one for the kindness of the owners and the pool table / football table. Buffalo is nice too. For a good chai as in India, go to Pai Chai in the small street where there is the restaurant Mama falafel.
Visits: rent a scooter in Aya when you arrive in Pai for 120THB per day if you stay at least 4-5 days (bargain) and go for rides everywhere. Many waterfalls, hot springs, of scenery. Stop at the canyon for sunset and talk with Som Chai which has small shop there, if you‘re interested, he can take you to hidden corners near Pai and / or take you to Mae Hong Son by scooter (super highway, I highly recommend). He is not a guide, asks nothing up to you so see at the end of the day what you want to give to him!
Between Pai and Chiang Mai, you can keep the scooter and make your journeys, as Aya has an office in the two cities. I highly recommend if you like to ride, the road is very beautiful and much nicer than the minivan as the road turns constantly!

SUKHOTHAI
Accomodation: Bantai GH, 200 THB the double room with shared bathroom (bargain)Nice owners.
Restaurants : I only tried the night market and the GH restaurant.
Visits: the temples in the old town, 100THB for the entrance, you can go by tuk-tuk / scooter / bus and rent bicycles there or keep your scooter (20THB the entrance for the scooter).

BANGKOK
Accomodation: on friend’s advices, I went at the Flapping Duck GH. 150 THB the night in dormitory with 4 beds and shared bathroom. The outside of the GH is nice, it’s a little bit off Koh San Road so quiet, but nothing special this apart. I didn’t really like it actually. You can probably find better for the same price!
Restaurants: I tried several but I don’t know the names :) so just walk and stop when you find something you like!
Visits: The Royal Palace – entrance 500 THB (!!!) but does worth it. Wat Pho – entrance 100 THB (I didn’t visit it after seeing thousands of temples during my trip but there is the huge reclining buddha in gold inside). Walk in the city, in the parcs, in Chinatown. Nice bat ride to do, take the taxi boat that costs 15 THB and goes around the city, you’ll see temples and nice buildings on the way. I wasn’t in Bankok during the weekend but apparently the Chatuchak market and the floating market are amazing! For shopping, go to the markets, or to MBK or Siam Paragon malls.

HUA HIN
Accomodation: Bird GH, 400 THB /night for private room and bathroom. It’s along the sea and has a nice pontoon to chill.
Restaurants: Coffee Club just next to the GH, a little bit expensive but nice food. And the night market, excellent quality and cheap.
Visit: nothing special to see here, just long walks on the beach and nice life. Kitesurf is there is wind!
Visa extension: there is an immigration office in Hua Hin so you can extend your visa there (1900THB for 7 extra days). Almost nobody there so it’s quick to go and make it!

CHUMPHON
This is just a stop when you come from the north, your train is delayed and therefore you have to wait the next day to take a boat to the islands. So only a housing plan there: Fame GH 250 THB, double room (find a traveler to share) with shared bathroom. They have the best price deals for boats.

KOH TAO
Accomodation: Tropicana resort, double bedroom with bathroom and balcony for 400 THB, the hotel is on the Chalok Baan beach.
Restaurants : Cappuccino for good bread / pastries! Sandwichs stands everywhere.
Visits: take a ride around the island (150THB / day to rent a scooter). And excursion to the amazing Nang Yuan island, 100THB the entrance there and boat to go/come back at 250THB per person if you are at least 3 on the boat.

KO PHANGAN
Accomodation: Sea Gate resort, bungalow on the beach for 2 persons for 300 THB the night, on Baan Tai area.
Restaurants : night market at Tongshala, best price / quality ratio!
Visit: same, rent a scooter and go around (150THB per day). If you want to dive, I advise Dive Inn center, great instructors and team (2500 THB for 2 fun dives, breakfast and lunch included).
Full Moon party: once per month, the entrance fee is 100THB, taxi from Baan Tai 100THB per ride.
Massage: I rarely do some but I loved the one I did at Pu Relax, on the main road that goes to Baan Tai after the port. 350 THB for an oil massage that lasts 1h.

RAILAY / TONSAI BEACH
Accomodation: Green Valley resort on Tonsai beach, 250THB the bungalow for 2 persons with bathroom (Tonsai is cheaper than Railay).
Restaurants: Mama Chicken on Tonsai, excellent local food for cheap price!
Visit: nothing special to say. You can do climbing if you like it, so have fun!

KOH PHI PHI
Accomodation: Golden Hill, 900 THB the triple bedroom. GH with swimming pool but quite noisy. So we moved the next day to Green home bungalow, much nicer, terrace, same price.
Restaurants : Banana bar offers a nice view and plays movies every night (and serves nice cocktails and food). Cappu latte for a good breakfast.
Visits: do a half day tour (at least) at Maya Bay / lagoon / snorkelling for 450THB per person (breakfast and lunch included).
Island fee : 20THB for the environment conservation.

PHUKET
Accomodation: Dang Sea Beach Bungalow, 700 THB the night for a private cosy bungalow on the beach. Very comfortable, great location, terrace. For small pleasures at the end of a trip :)
Restaurants: pick one on the beach where you can eat feet on the sands. Prices are pretty much the same everywhere, good local food. Great Pad Thaï at the 1st restaurant when you come from the hotel which rents chairs.

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