We're honeymooning in Thailand for 2 weeks in February. I have questions about everything from jet lag, budgeting time between the north and the beaches, intra-Thailand travels, and the ethics of elephant rides.
We arrive in Bangkok at 1AM after a 21hr flight. I am going to try my hardest to sleep until at least 9AM that morning (I worry I'll be too excited to sleep, but then again I might be bushed. My husband will likely pass out).
(totally flexible) ITINERARY:
Day 1: Bangkok
Day 2-5: Chiang Mai
Day 6-8: Scootering around the northern provinces (but where?!)
Day 7-11: Beaches
Day 12: back to Bangkok
Day 13: Board flight back to US
*It's been a while since I traveled well outside my time zone. What are your best tips to avoid crazy jet lag?
*While we both love cities (we're New Yorkers), Bangkok sounds a bit stressful for a honeymoon. I've been to Beijing, which is was kinda fun but all the crowds and bikes made me a bit anxious. Would we be doing ourselves a disservice by only spending 2 full days there? I'm anxious to spend time in the northern provinces and I predict my husband will love the beaches, so I'm leaning toward those two destinations over Bangkok.
*We want to rent a scooter and motor around outside the Chiang Mai limits, but we're not sure where to go! Advice?
*I am intrigued by the prospect of interacting with elephants, but we'd only enjoy the experience if we know they're treated well. The jungle tour sounds super fun, but I'm not sure if the animals are exploited. Should we stick to volunteering at the conservatory
*Flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai are extraordinarily cheap on Kayak ($53/person!) but flights from Chiang Mai to Krabi are 10x as much. Trains take forever. What are our best options to get from the north to the south? Right now I'm considering buying round trip tickets from BKK to CNX, landing back in Bangkok after we see the north, then using round trip tickets from BKK to Krabi, and just waiting at the BKK airport for a few hours in between. Complicated, but cheaper.
*I'm especially intimidated by picking a beach (or beaches) to round out our visit. We're not exactly backpackers but don't need a luxury resort either. We'd love something that involves a bungalow, easy access to the water, few (or fewer) crowds, and good food.
*Any specific recommendations, especially in terms of food, markets, sights, are also appreciated!