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Itinerary for Thailand in June

Itinerary for Thailand in June

Old Jan 9, 20, 8:59 am
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Itinerary for Thailand in June

Not the best time to travel (I know!) but hoping you could help me plan an itinerary for Thailand in June. We'll be arriving in Bangkok and have 12 full days to explore some areas. Ideally, I'd love a mix of nature + activities and a laid back beach destination that's close to an airport.Bonus points for good food but that's usually a given. What makes it difficult is that it's rainy season in the islands on the Andaman coast.

I've narrowed it down to a a few options
  • 3-4 days Chang Mai + Koh Chang - I just came across the island and it looks superb, there are a few really nice accommodations and even though it's rainy season there, hoping this means some flash rains during the day.
  • 3-4 days Chang Mai + Ko Samui or Koh Phangan - the weather seems to be perfect but what I fear is that the islands might be too touristy. Also the price to fly there is quite steep.
  • EDIT: upon further reading, it seems Koh Samet is also a good place to go in June + 3-4 days Chang Mai
  • Skip Chang Mai, stay 2-3 days in Bangkok + Ko Samui or Koh Phangan
Are there any sunny destinations I'm overlooking?

Gracias! ^

Last edited by B0gdan; Jan 9, 20 at 9:42 am
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Old Jan 9, 20, 11:02 am
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I'd probably scratch Ko Chang off your list. The other options have nonstop flights to/from Chiang Mai. Ko Chang will require a flight then a bus ride. It will eat up an entire day just for travel in each direction.

Any specific thing drawing you to Chiang Mai?
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Old Jan 9, 20, 6:29 pm
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I'd probably scratch Ko Chang off your list. The other options have nonstop flights to/from Chiang Mai. Ko Chang will require a flight then a bus ride. It will eat up an entire day just for travel in each direction.

Any specific thing drawing you to Chiang Mai?
It isn't the fresh air, that's for certain.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 12:30 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I'd probably scratch Ko Chang off your list. The other options have nonstop flights to/from Chiang Mai. Ko Chang will require a flight then a bus ride. It will eat up an entire day just for travel in each direction.

Any specific thing drawing you to Chiang Mai?
I was interested in some historic/cultural sites and some activities away from busy Bangkok. Chiang Mai seemed to be the most relevant. Any other suggestions?

Originally Posted by Diplomatico View Post
It isn't the fresh air, that's for certain.
Do you mean the field fires? I thought those are before June.
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Old Jan 10, 20, 1:11 am
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Originally Posted by B0gdan View Post
I was interested in some historic/cultural sites and some activities away from busy Bangkok. Chiang Mai seemed to be the most relevant. Any other suggestions?



Do you mean the field fires? I thought those are before June.
Chiang Mai is choking itself to death. The smoky season used to be in March/April and by mid-May the air was clear as rainy season set in.

I've been here for the last two months and the air quality has already deteriorated to the point where many people won't venture outdoors without wearing N95 masks, your eyes burn on some days, coughing, etc. Today the Air Quality Index is 124, rated as "unhealthy". Yesterday it was 155. It will only get worse going into Feb/Mar/Apr. (I'm leaving by the end of the month.)

Add to that the forecasted worst drought in decades this year, I wouldn't bet on the smoke being clear by June. (Third link below: last May, CM was the worst polluted city in the world.)

https://aqicn.org/city/chiang-mai/

https://www.airvisual.com/world-air-quality-ranking

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand...olluted-cities
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Old Jan 10, 20, 1:31 am
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Geez, that's terrible. Thank you for the warning. Is Chiang Rai a better option to experience some nature, visit some temples?
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Old Jan 13, 20, 9:10 am
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Originally Posted by B0gdan View Post
Geez, that's terrible. Thank you for the warning. Is Chiang Rai a better option to experience some nature, visit some temples?
I did Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai last month. I'm still coughing from Chiang Mai (almost back to 100% health). I could see the fires burning from the airplane when I left. You can see the entire town covered in smog when going up to Doi Suthep. I'm not used to smog, so it seemed to really effect my health. (I also typically get sick when visiting HCMC)

Chiang Rai was nice, but a bit boring. I liked it and would probably return. Way less touristy, more laid back, however it was not so cheap like I had hoped. There are a ton of elephant day trips, several interesting temples (Wat Huay Pla Kung is a must see), a few "real" night markets, and the town is smaller so it's more walkable.

There is a bus from the airport into town for 20 baht, however the air connections aren't that great. You pretty much have to route through Bangkok to go anywhere else. Bus ride to Chiang Mai is not bad, but there's a lot of construction and traffic when you get near Chiang Mai which adds quite a bit of time to the journey.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 12:14 am
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June is actually one of my favorite months to go, as the crowds are down quite a bit but the NORMAL pattern in most of the country has maybe just 20-minute or so downpour late in the afternoon. It's more overcast and therefore cooler than the typical May, but the summer (March thru May) can get really nasty with the high 90s temperatures and high humidity.

Haze problems and climate change have been adding some unpredictability. Ko Samet is known for being one of the drier places year-round. I'd favor the gulf side over the Andaman side for beaches.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 12:29 am
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post
June is actually one of my favorite months to go, as the crowds are down quite a bit but the NORMAL pattern in most of the country has maybe just 20-minute or so downpour late in the afternoon. It's more overcast and therefore cooler than the typical May, but the summer (March thru May) can get really nasty with the high 90s temperatures and high humidity.

Haze problems and climate change have been adding some unpredictability. Ko Samet is known for being one of the drier places year-round. I'd favor the gulf side over the Andaman side for beaches.
Thank you! Would you recommend any other places on the mainland apart from Bangkok that are worth visiting?
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Old Jan 14, 20, 12:49 am
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Originally Posted by B0gdan View Post
Thank you! Would you recommend any other places on the mainland apart from Bangkok that are worth visiting?
Well, Pattaya inspires the same kind of love-it-or-hate-it division that Las Vegas does, for slightly different reasons. Both places are unlike any other in the world in their respective categories, and with size comes other advantages like cheap rooms in low season and lots of expat-chef restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. Walking Street has become a real "thing" for tourism (not unlike the Fremont Experience, come to think of it).

June might be as good a month as any to take a shot at Angkor. Absent a war or something like that, crowds will only go up, and at least they'll be well off the peak size. Any other place in Cambodia could be considered.

Ayutthaya can be done as a daytrip from Bangkok and has a good historical park.

Hua Hin is a less-hectic beach alternative to Pattaya that can be reached with a train ride.

I'd consider Luang Prabang in Laos as an alternative to the golden triangle area, which has gotten tamer and more touristed in the last two decades or so.

Ko Samui is way, way overbuilt, IMO, much like Phuket. I saw it in 1995 and 1998, and also Ko Pha Ngan back then (and Ang Thong Marine Park). You can have a nice trip, but the chase for the less-developed spots has moved on to places needing combo airline-and-ferry tickets such as in Trang province (but: Andaman side) and a few down the eastern seaboard. I dropped out of the chase after seeing western Samoa and the Seychelles.

The thing you have today that wasn't around 25 years ago is all the cheap LCC flights everywhere. Bangkok (BKK and DMK) has a good selection both domestic and regional, though KUL is still the champ as the hub. That can be both a blessing and a curse, though, as those flights have caused places like Luang Prabang and especially Angkor to get many more visitors than before.
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Old Jan 14, 20, 5:14 am
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Originally Posted by B0gdan View Post
Thank you! Would you recommend any other places on the mainland apart from Bangkok that are worth visiting?
The best, under-appreciated, places probably require a rental car and driving.

Si Satchanalai Historical Park
Sukhothai

Nan/Phrae/Lampang/Lampun: provinces in the north

Chumphon: beaches

Buriram: Khmer ruins: Phanom Rung, Muang Tum

Samut Songkhram: multiple sites

Khao Khitchakut District, Chanthaburi: Buddha's footprint (limited seasonal access): check out the pick-up truck videos on Youtube.

Wat Hong Thong: Chachoengsao
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Old Jan 16, 20, 9:45 am
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Originally Posted by RustyC View Post
Well, Pattaya inspires the same kind of love-it-or-hate-it division that Las Vegas does, for slightly different reasons. Both places are unlike any other in the world in their respective categories, and with size comes other advantages like cheap rooms in low season and lots of expat-chef restaurants with cuisines from all over the world. Walking Street has become a real "thing" for tourism (not unlike the Fremont Experience, come to think of it).

June might be as good a month as any to take a shot at Angkor. Absent a war or something like that, crowds will only go up, and at least they'll be well off the peak size. Any other place in Cambodia could be considered.

Ayutthaya can be done as a daytrip from Bangkok and has a good historical park.

Hua Hin is a less-hectic beach alternative to Pattaya that can be reached with a train ride.

I'd consider Luang Prabang in Laos as an alternative to the golden triangle area, which has gotten tamer and more touristed in the last two decades or so.

Ko Samui is way, way overbuilt, IMO, much like Phuket. I saw it in 1995 and 1998, and also Ko Pha Ngan back then (and Ang Thong Marine Park). You can have a nice trip, but the chase for the less-developed spots has moved on to places needing combo airline-and-ferry tickets such as in Trang province (but: Andaman side) and a few down the eastern seaboard. I dropped out of the chase after seeing western Samoa and the Seychelles.

The thing you have today that wasn't around 25 years ago is all the cheap LCC flights everywhere. Bangkok (BKK and DMK) has a good selection both domestic and regional, though KUL is still the champ as the hub. That can be both a blessing and a curse, though, as those flights have caused places like Luang Prabang and especially Angkor to get many more visitors than before.
Pattaya seems to be quite controversial. From my readings, it seems the best place if you're a straight single male and looking for some "fun". That doesn't sound appealing but the restaurants do. Not sure if they're worth the detour though.

Ayutthaya and Luang Prabang seem like nice distractions from Bangkok that can be done in a few days. I'll definitely consider these, thank you.

And Koh Samui I'll probably stay away from. I don't want to contribute to overtourism so tending to go towards Koh Samet even though there aren't so many mid to upscale accommodations.

Originally Posted by transpac View Post
The best, under-appreciated, places probably require a rental car and driving.

Si Satchanalai Historical Park
Sukhothai

Nan/Phrae/Lampang/Lampun: provinces in the north

Chumphon: beaches

Buriram: Khmer ruins: Phanom Rung, Muang Tum

Samut Songkhram: multiple sites

Khao Khitchakut District, Chanthaburi: Buddha's footprint (limited seasonal access): check out the pick-up truck videos on Youtube.

Wat Hong Thong: Chachoengsao
Many thanks for the suggestions. Driving a car in Thailand is not that appealing so we'll probably focus on places that can be reached by train or bus.
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Old Jan 16, 20, 11:18 am
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you can also hire a car and driver to take you places for day trips and beyond. That's still relatively inexpensive and worry-free. I wouldn't ever want to drive a car there myself either. But I don't even like driving at home.

There are lots of nice national parks. I would contact a local travel agent and see what they can put together for you. Thailand has lots of nice things to see away from the big city. Many years ago I did a nice little itinerary that went to Khorat and visited places like Phimai, Phnom Rung and some other Isaan sights. I had a guide and driver/vehicle. Most of my travel around the region was done that way. As a solo traveler I always liked having somebody deal with interpreting for me and showing me around.

I agree that Sukhothai is a nice place to visit. I did that as a similar multiday trip that stopped in Phitsanulok and we also visited a national park that had some nice hikes.

Lopburi is also doable as a day trip.
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Old Jan 16, 20, 11:55 am
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I like the Isaan places and they're always pleasantly cheap and uncrowded compared to Bangkok, but the summer months there can be really oppressively hot & humid. Like July in central Florida. It's much better in "winter" when lows can be in the 60s, Thais are wearing jackets at night and I still have shorts on.

Pattaya has gotten so heavily visited, especially by Chinese (and Russians before Vlad's economy dipped) and other nationalities that the "traditional" western visitor is losing share and getting turfed out. Walking Street gets lots of gawkers and even some tour groups ("follow the flag!"), but as in Las Vegas on Fremont Street, it's become outdoor and street-focused, with many people never going indoors anywhere. Also lots of discos.
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Old Jan 16, 20, 2:57 pm
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I'd second the suggestion of Sukhotai and Sri Satchanalai. Totally overlooked for whatever reason. I could (and did) spend 2 whole days at the former and at least a whole day at the latter wandering around (by bicycle at Sukhotai). You'll likely be the only visitor. I don't think Ayuthaya holds a proverbial candle in comparison.
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