Where should we go in Thailand?
December 3, 2016 9:02 PM   Subscribe

My boyfriend and I are considering a short trip (up to 1 week) to Thailand in January. Help me pick the perfect location for us.

My boyfriend is spending New Year's with friends in Thailand and I'm thinking of joining him for a few days (up to a week) at the end of his visit. We have both been to Thailand before (him: Bangkok and Pattaya, me: Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Pha-Ngan, Koh Tao). I'd be happy to go somewhere I've been before again, though somewhere new is more exciting.

He'll be finishing up in Pattaya, I'll be flying in from Australia, at the end we'll both be returning to Australia - somewhere with fairly easy airport access would be preferable.

We like authentic food experiences, meeting local people, and - as much as possible - comfortable surrounds and convenience (i.e. no really long journeys, fairly modern accommodation). We don't like loud parties or heavy drinking - I like peace and quiet while he likes "life" - but of the more local variety, not gazillions of tourists. We are leaning towards a beach holiday (his preference) but would consider inland options as well. We also enjoy outdoors activities (snorkelling, cycling, hiking, etc) and history and culture, though we are largely hoping to relax on this trip!

This is a fairly last minute idea (usually I plan things for months in advance) and given the time of year I need to make some quick decisions, so any suggestions or advice (for locations or even specific accommodation and things to do) would be appreciated.
posted by cloverthistle to Travel & Transportation around Thailand (5 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Koh Lanta
posted by cyndigo at 9:15 PM on December 3, 2016

I think you'd really like Chiang Mai - it, along with the surrounding villages, has a good combination of the things you want, along with the convenience of loads of flights to Bangkok on local airlines, or even the train! I went last year around this time and the weather was perfect, too - 25 during the day, 23 at night, dry and sunny.

Be aware that Chinese New Year is at the tail end of January/start of February this year - this might impact crowding at the main sites, but off the beaten path you'll find loads of uncrowded places. You really want Nancy Chandler's map to show you the villages around and what they specialise in - paper, handicrafts, etc. A motorbike would be very useful.

You might also want to tag on a few days in Yangon, Myanmar if you can - Air KBZ, Bangkok Airways and Myanmar National Airways fly direct in just an hour, and it's easily the most amazing city I've been to in southeast Asia (and very English-speaking to boot).
posted by mdonley at 9:39 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

I second Chiang Mai and Koh Lanta - both lovely, and quite different from one another. They're at opposite ends of the country, though, so depending on how much time you want to spend traveling, you might want to pick one direction or the other.

I stayed at Fisherman's Cottage on Koh Lanta while I was there. It's not too much trouble to get to by flying in to Krabi province. The swimming wasn't all that great on that particular stretch of the beach, but the guys running the place were fantastic and very friendly + excellent food. Additionally, it's easy to hop on a speed boat for a day of excellent snorkeling/diving from there (though I imagine that can be done from most resorts on the island that may have nicer beaches).

Alternatively, if you're intrigued by Chiang Mai but also want a beach experience, you could pop down to Koh Samet for a couple nights before/after heading up north. It's not quite as idyllic as the southern isles, but pretty well put together with nice restaurants, massages on the beach, etc etc. About 3 hours driving/ferrying from Bangkok gets you there.

posted by elected_potato at 9:54 PM on December 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Koh Samui and Hua Hin are both beaches that seem to be more popular with Thais than tourists. Personally I don't care for Hua Hin but Samui is nice and close to BKK.

Keep in mind places with locals may not necessary equal 'peace and quiet'. Both on Samui and Koh Lanta I had some nights next to non-ending Thai Karaoke parties. Although if you are seeking modern/western accommodation this is probably be less of a risk.

Also you could do Chaing Mai or Chiang Rai or Pai as someone upthread suggest but be aware they can actually get somewhat cooler in winter months.
posted by seesom at 4:58 AM on December 4, 2016

Thirding chaing mai!! it was incredible and beautiful and just amazing.
posted by ruhroh at 7:05 PM on December 4, 2016

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