My brother and I managed to find two free weeks to travel together and decided to hit up South East Asia. After much deliberation, we decided on the following schedule (check out the links for posts about each location):
- Meet in Bangkok and take the overnight train to Chiang Mai
- Spend three full days in Chiang Mai
- Fly to Ko Samui and spend three nights there
- Then hop over to Cambodia to stay in Siem Reap for three days and explore the temples of Angkor
- Finally, return to Bangkok for two days before both heading home
This schedule worked perfectly and allowed us plenty of time to explore each stop on the way.
We chose to take the overnight train to Chiang Mai to help keep the overall cost of the trip down, and I would definitely recommend it: we had an air conditioned, first class cabin to ourselves for a fraction of the price of a plane ticket and it was one of the best night’s sleep I’ve had! I’m glad we took our own food on board the train though, as the dining car options didn’t look too great… It was a lovely experience falling asleep to the bright lights of Bangkok and then waking up in the lush, green mountains of Northern Thailand. And there was even a shower at the end of the train car!
For our flights, we went with Bangkok Airways, and I would definitely recommend choosing them over other airlines. 1) They are very cheap. 2) Every airport we went through had a dedicated lounge for Bangkok Airways flight passengers for no extra cost; and the lounge had free wifi, free coffee and, most importantly, FREE FOOD! The lounge in Siem Reap even had a popcorn machine. Brilliant!
For getting around in Thailand, we relied on local public transport, tuk-tuks, and also a driver for one day booked through our hotel. The infrastructure in Thailand is great, and pretty tourist-friendly.
In Cambodia, it’s still much more developing – not all roads are in good condition and there is little public transportation. We booked drivers in advance and organised tuk-tuk tours through our hotel.