Traving to Thailand and Malaysia for ten days
August 14, 2011 1:38 PM   Subscribe

Ten days in Thailand and Malaysia. I need ideas of what to do, where to go and where to stay. I know ten days for two countries is short but that is all I have. I love adventure and I also love to kick back and relax. I will be leaving from Montreal.

1) Where should I go first?
2) What cities should I not miss?
3) Where should I stay away from?
4) I love beaches and water.

I am going with a friend. Your suggestions will be appreciated :)
posted by alshain to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Forgot to ask what type of clothing should I pack? Footwear?
posted by alshain at 1:39 PM on August 14, 2011

A few notes: Chang Mai in northern Thailand is a great town, and there are a lot of adventure opportunities (trekking, etc) in the nearby areas. Bangkok is a shithole. I cannot comment on Southern Thailand as I haven't been there but that's where the good beaches are. Bring comfortable hiking shoes, I ended up doing a lot of walking in town. As for sandals, you'll need some for sure, but you can buy flip flops in the touristy spots for much cheaper than you can get them at home. Really, anything that you forget can be purchased cheaply while you are there. As for where you should go first I would say Laos or Cambodia, but that's just me.
posted by sacrifix at 1:53 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

When are you going? What's your budget? How's your jet lag when you fly this long? Where are you flying into and out of?
posted by mdonley at 2:01 PM on August 14, 2011

Response by poster: I am going in two weeks. My budget (air travel excluded) is around a $1000. I am okay with jet lag.
posted by alshain at 2:03 PM on August 14, 2011

If you only have ten days then try to reduce jetlag as much as possible. Chiang Mai is a great starting base to explore the jungle and Northern Thailand (and a great city in itself). We did not have much time for beach so we went to Ko Samet, couple hours southeast from Bangkok. It's a great little island, not too touristy, you can walk to the other side and watch the sunset. We stayed at Naga, they have nice cabins and a bar by the beach.
As for other cities, we really enjoyed Old Sukhotai, we rented motorbikes and spent the day riding through ruins and temples. Do not, I repeat, do not lose your time going to the floating markets, it is just plain boring and completely a tourist catch (except for imagining yourself as James Bond being chased by boat).
I assume you land in Bankok. Your hotel/hostel should be able to organise a driver to pick you up at the airport. Totally worth it if you arrive at 11:00PM after a 24h flight... It cost us US$20 and was totally worth it.
posted by ddaavviidd at 2:09 PM on August 14, 2011

If you're flying into Singapore, Tioman Island is close by and has a wonderful crystal clear lagoon. I was one of the highlights of my trip 25 years ago (and it's supposed to be pretty nice still). If your flying straight to Thailand, I wouldn't bother with Malaysia.

Pack as little as possible and choose a few light clothes (micro-fibre?) that you can wash and line dry in your hotel room. DON'T bring anything more than a purse/bag that you could easily manage on a crowed bus. Don't let your friend bring a lot of shit either.
posted by bonobothegreat at 2:45 PM on August 14, 2011

Search Lonely Planet's message board, the Thorntree, for more great information.

I once traveled for 29 months with one pair of shoes (replaced, but always one pair). You will be in the hot swell of the monsoon months. Assuming you don't have a conference or too many dance clubs to go to, there are 3 things you need footwear for: everyday walking around, gross showers, and possibly some light hiking. My choice has long been Chacos (I like the Z/1s). They are sturdy, don't hold smells, dry fast, and look okay. I think they look alright enough with a skirt, dress or long pants to wear out at night. The straps are adjustable and incredibly strong. I've looked at so many others, and some look so cute- but leather, buckles, foam soles and other things turn me off. I'm not a sport sandal type in my 'normal' life, but these are by far my favorite travel shoes.

To give you an idea of what I travel with, I am currently on the road for a year and I carry 15-17 pounds in my conversion backpack and about 3-4 pounds in a shoulder bag.

My other tried-and-true tip is: NO TOWEL! Use one of your shirts, a sarong, scarf, or hotel sheet.
posted by maya at 3:06 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Chiang Mai at the very least.!
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 3:20 PM on August 14, 2011

Bangkok is a shithole

Bangkok is my favourite Asian city.

Pick one great Thai island to explore. Ko Samet is indeed relatively close to BKK, but quite small and not very wildernessy. Consider seeing the incredible, and vast, Ko Chang before it gets destroyed by developers and converted into Samui. (Stay towards the end of the island with the hippies, around Lonely Beach).

Don't hire motorbikes unless you are super-experienced, and even then, be aware of the extremely high injury/fatality rate among Western tourists.

Nthing you could fit in Cambodia, which is superamazing.
posted by dontjumplarry at 4:27 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Railay Beach is beautiful, near Krabi, and has some nice rock climbing. Krabitown has great night markets with excellent food.
posted by backwards guitar at 4:43 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Penang (island) on the northwest coast of Malaysia, a short flight from BKK on Air Asia. Georgetown still has the architecture of British colonial SE Asia and the cuisine alternates between Chinese, Indian, and Malaysian.

But ten days will go by extremely fast and you will be better served by doing the beach/city/north country triangle in Thailand.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:04 PM on August 14, 2011

Isn't there some violence in southern Thailand atm?
posted by Deor at 7:27 PM on August 14, 2011

Malaysian Borneo! Go to Sabah for beaches. Check out Gayana Eco Resort or Kapalai resort. You could do a Turtle Island / Sepilok Orang Utan Rehab Centre tour, and do some jungle treks.
Wildlife river cruises in Sandakan look cool.

Or do the Headhunters Trail in Sarawak! Or check out the awesome caves -
posted by KLF at 7:36 PM on August 14, 2011

Thailand is really two trips, north and south. The north is jungle and temple and trekking and awesome. Passplanet was a good reference and they're fans of the north. You could take their top ten and make a trip out of it. Cross reference it with the Lonely Planet guide (for north and/or south).

The south is amazing beaches and snorkeling/scuba. Ko Phi Phi via Krabi is visually amazing as is Ko Tao and Ko Pha Ngan. I got SCUBA trained at Tao on the cheap, a super experience.

The difficulty is that unless you fly north or south from BKK you're going to lose most of a day heading to Chang Mai or a southern port to get to the islands and another day on the return. On your budget, I'm guessing you're groundbound in country. With ten days, I'd either head north or south, but not both unless you want to spend most of your trip in transit or pay for air travel within Thailand.

Footwear = Z1

You're going to be staying in some budget accommodations. I was happy to have one of these in the 8-dollar-a-night lodgings.

Spend as little time in Bangkok as possible. Don't buy any jewelry or other wise get scammed (see lonely planet).
posted by sisquoc15 at 10:08 PM on August 14, 2011

I disagree with anyone who knocks Bangkok. I thought it was an interesting and vibrant city. Chiang Mai was lovely and worth a couple of days. You don't need any more time than that. For the islands in the south, Ko Samui or Ko Phangnan had lovely beach hut hotels and beaches.

However your timescales are tight. I did Bangkok, Chiang Mai and both southern islands in 16 days and I wouldn't have wanted to do it any quicker. Suggest you limit Thailand to Bangkok (as you'll have to fly in and out of there) and then either the north or south depending on whether you want culture or chilling.
posted by mr_silver at 12:39 AM on August 15, 2011

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