10 Days Vacation in Thailand - How we arrived on our itinerary


To be honest, we started planning for our Christmas vacations very late. This is the peak tourist season and if you start planning in the mid of November, you are less likely to get good deals. However, we still managed to plan a 10-day trip to Thailand and complete it within our budget of Rs. 1.25L, including airfare and stay. Needless to say, we are very proud of ourselves, especially because of the trip was adventurous as well as relaxing. In fact, we were quite sad when the trip drew to an end and didn't feel like coming back. Wish vacations could last forever!

To be honest, we started planning for our Christmas vacations very late. This is the peak tourist season and if you start planning in the mid of November, you are less likely to get good deals. However, we still managed to plan a 10-day trip to Thailand and complete it within our budget of Rs. 1.25L, including airfare and stay. Needless to say, we are very proud of ourselves, especially because of the trip was adventurous as well as relaxing. In fact, we were quite sad when the trip drew to an end and didn't feel like coming back. Wish vacations could last forever!



VJ and I were sure that we want to go on an international trip during Christmas, but we were divided between Srilanka and Thailand. We consulted our friends who have been to both these countries and also started looking up the airfares for both these places. Our friends had good things to say about both these countries, so we decided that we would opt for the country that would be more economical. Our travel  mantra is to be frugal when it comes to spending on hotels and transport, so that we can plan a longer trip and also travel more.


VJ and I were sure that we want to go on an international trip during Christmas, but we were divided between Srilanka and Thailand. We consulted our friends who have been to both these countries and also started looking up the airfares for both these places. Our friends had good things to say about both these countries, so we decided that we would opt for the country that would be more economical. Our travel  mantra is to be frugal when it comes to spending on hotels and transport, so that we can plan a longer trip and also travel more. 


At this point however, we almost gave up on the idea of a vacation during winter because airfares for Srilanka and Thailand suddenly skyrocketed. What was ~45K was now 85K. Needless to say, we were upset and thought that maybe we would have to do with a shorter domestic trip instead. We started planning for that. However, we had set up an alert on the airfare and one day, out of the blue, the airfare for Thailand dropped down to ~40K return for both of us. So we booked the air travel immediately. We would be leaving in 22nd December and be back on 1st January.


At this point however, we almost gave up on the idea of a vacation during winter because airfares for Srilanka and Thailand suddenly skyrocketed. What was ~45K was now 85K. Needless to say, we were upset and thought that maybe we would have to do with a shorter domestic trip instead. We started planning for that. However, we had set up an alert on the airfare and one day, out of the blue, the airfare for Thailand dropped down to ~40K return for both of us. So we booked the air travel immediately. We would be leaving in 22nd December and be back on 1st January.



The next step was to plan the itinerary. In this, we again spoke to our friends who have visited Thailand multiple times. People mostly visit Thailand for the beaches, however, this couple (Nandan and Smita of Ghumakkar.com ) have explored both North and South Thailand. We got excellent advice from them. While North Thailand is mostly inland and slightly hilly, South is mostly beaches and Islands. One of the possible itineraries was Bangkok->Pattaya->Krabi/Phuket->Phi Phi Island-> Bangkok. It was important for us to start and end in Bangkok because our flight was to and from the city. But we felt that this would be too much of the beaches. And we wanted to explore other places too. Finally we settled upon Bangkok->Chiang Mai->Ayuthhaya->Phuket->Phi Phi-> Bangkok.


The next step was to plan the itinerary. In this, we again spoke to our friends who have visited Thailand multiple times. People mostly visit Thailand for the beaches, however, this couple (Nandan and Smita of Ghumakkar.com ) have explored both North and South Thailand. We got excellent advice from them. While North Thailand is mostly inland and slightly hilly, South is mostly beaches and Islands. One of the possible itineraries was Bangkok->Pattaya->Krabi/Phuket->Phi Phi Island-> Bangkok. It was important for us to start and end in Bangkok because our flight was to and from the city. But we felt that this would be too much of the beaches. And we wanted to explore other places too. Finally we settled upon Bangkok->Chiang Mai->Ayuthhaya->Phuket->Phi Phi-> Bangkok. 


Travel to Bangkok has also been made convenient because of the possibility of getting a Visa on Arrival. And for December and January, visa fees has been waived off for Indian Tourists. We checked the documents that we would be needing for a Visa on Arrival and made sure that we had all of them. You can check out the following the following link for the documents required in 2019. Getting Visa on Arrival turned out to be quite an experience for us. We will talk about that in another post. Here, let us stick to the overall planning.



Travel to Bangkok has also been made convenient because of the possibility of getting a Visa on Arrival. And for December and January, visa fees has been waived off for Indian Tourists. We checked the documents that we would be needing for a Visa on Arrival and made sure that we had all of them. You can check out the following the following link for the documents required in 2019. Getting Visa on Arrival turned out to be quite an experience for us. We will talk about that in another post. Here, let us stick to the overall planning. 

The one thought that acted as a pivot for our entire plan was that we wanted to be in Bangkok towards the end of the trip so that there would be no unforeseen factors that may result in us being stressed about catching our flight back. During our research, we had read many horror stories about how unreliable the night buses can be and people being stuck in Phuket with no reasonable way to get back in time to catch their flights from Bangkok. But at the same time we wanted to make sure that we are not wasting days in transit or in waiting to get from one city to the other. With this thought in mind, we planned to catch a flight to Chiang Mai from Suvaranabhoomi International Airport (BKK) on 23rd, on the day of our arrival. Our flight landed at 2:45 AM and our flight to Chiang Mai was to depart at 10 AM from the same airport. We figured that we would have enough time to get a visa, clear passport check, and even relax a bit before our flight out to Chiang Mai. Things didn't turn out quite this way though.





The one thought that acted as a pivot for our entire plan was that we wanted to be in Bangkok towards the end of the trip so that there would be no unforeseen factors that may result in us being stressed about catching our flight back. During our research, we had read many horror stories about how unreliable the night buses can be and people being stuck in Phuket with no reasonable way to get back in time to catch their flights from Bangkok. But at the same time we wanted to make sure that we are not wasting days in transit or in waiting to get from one city to the other. With this thought in mind, we planned to catch a flight to Chiang Mai from Suvaranabhoomi International Airport (BKK) on 23rd, on the day of our arrival. Our flight landed at 2:45 AM and our flight to Chiang Mai was to depart at 10 AM from the same airport. We figured that we would have enough time to get a visa, clear passport check, and even relax a bit before our flight out to Chiang Mai. Things didn't turn out quite this way though. 



We were to spend two nights in Chiang Mai and then catch a flight to the DMK airport of Bangkok on 25th. From the DMK airport, we were to board a train or a minivan to Ayuthhaya immediately and then spend one there. We would have the whole of the 26th in Ayuthhaya and then take a train or Minivan back to Bangkok and a night bus to Phuket on the same day. This sounds busier than it actually was. You will find out how much time we had on our hands on 26th when we come to writing about this day. The reason we chose to do Ayuthhaya at this point rather than towards the end together with Bangkok was that a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket was coming out to be really expensive. By doing Ayuthhaya at this point, we save on airfare and also made good use of the day that would otherwise be spent in transit. Taking a night bus from Bangkok was beneficial for two reasons:


We were to spend two nights in Chiang Mai and then catch a flight to the DMK airport of Bangkok on 25th. From the DMK airport, we were to board a train or a minivan to Ayuthhaya immediately and then spend one there. We would have the whole of the 26th in Ayuthhaya and then take a train or Minivan back to Bangkok and a night bus to Phuket on the same day. This sounds busier than it actually was. You will find out how much time we had on our hands on 26th when we come to writing about this day. The reason we chose to do Ayuthhaya at this point rather than towards the end together with Bangkok was that a direct flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket was coming out to be really expensive. By doing Ayuthhaya at this point, we save on airfare and also made good use of the day that would otherwise be spent in transit. Taking a night bus from Bangkok was beneficial for two reasons:

a) The night bus charges were less than half the airfare  b) We would also be saving the money that we would otherwise spend on a hotel in Phuket  Since night buses (especially VIP buses) are comfortable and luxurious, we figured we could get enough rest and start exploring Phuket as soon as we got there.


a) The night bus charges were less than half the airfare
b) We would also be saving the money that we would otherwise spend on a hotel in Phuket
Since night buses (especially VIP buses) are comfortable and luxurious, we figured we could get enough rest and start exploring Phuket as soon as we got there. 


After this we would be spending two nights in Phuket. At first we had decided we would be doing two nights in phuket and 1 night in Phi Phi, but then we realized that we would be spending too much time in shifting hotels and will be left with only a day to explore Bangkok. So we decided to cover Phi Phi in Island hopping and take a night bus back to Bangkok on 29th. We would then spend one night in a hotel in Bangkok and spend the 31st night in the airport and catch the early morning flight back to India on 1st.    This was our final itinerary:  22nd - Take a Flight to Bangkok  23rd - Reach Bangkok and take a flight to Chiang Mai. Stay in Chiang Mai  24th - Chiang Mai  25th - Take a Flight to DMK Airport, Bangkok, Take a Minivan/Train to Ayuthhaya. Stay in Ayuthhaya  26th - Take a Minivan/Train to Bangkok. Board a Night Bus to Phuket  27th - Stay in Phuket  28th - Stay in Phuket  29th - Take a Night bus to Bangkok  30th - Stay in Bangkok  31st - BKK Airport; Early Morning flight to India


After this we would be spending two nights in Phuket. At first we had decided we would be doing two nights in phuket and 1 night in Phi Phi, but then we realized that we would be spending too much time in shifting hotels and will be left with only a day to explore Bangkok. So we decided to cover Phi Phi in Island hopping and take a night bus back to Bangkok on 29th. We would then spend one night in a hotel in Bangkok and spend the 31st night in the airport and catch the early morning flight back to India on 1st. 



This was our final itinerary:
22nd - Take a Flight to Bangkok
23rd - Reach Bangkok and take a flight to Chiang Mai. Stay in Chiang Mai
24th - Chiang Mai
25th - Take a Flight to DMK Airport, Bangkok, Take a Minivan/Train to Ayuthhaya. Stay in Ayuthhaya
26th - Take a Minivan/Train to Bangkok. Board a Night Bus to Phuket
27th - Stay in Phuket
28th - Stay in Phuket
29th - Take a Night bus to Bangkok
30th - Stay in Bangkok
31st - BKK Airport; Early Morning flight to India


Of all our transport, we had booked the flights and night buses in advance, because these are either too expensive or unavailable if not booked in advance. Rest of the travel, we had thought we would figure out on the go. This approach worked well for us. And the itinerary too was perfect and we wouldn't change much except a couple of things. We will come to these when we start the day-wise description of our trip. But more or less, this turned out to be a comfortable and interesting itinerary.


Of all our transport, we had booked the flights and night buses in advance, because these are either too expensive or unavailable if not booked in advance. Rest of the travel, we had thought we would figure out on the go. This approach worked well for us. And the itinerary too was perfect and we wouldn't change much except a couple of things. We will come to these when we start the day-wise description of our trip. But more or less, this turned out to be a comfortable and interesting itinerary.  

Of all our transport, we had booked the flights and night buses in advance, because these are either too expensive or unavailable if not booked in advance. Rest of the travel, we had thought we would figure out on the go. This approach worked well for us. And the itinerary too was perfect and we wouldn't change much except a couple of things. We will come to these when we start the day-wise description of our trip. But more or less, this turned out to be a comfortable and interesting itinerary.
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Comments

Smita Dhall said…
What a power-packed itinerary, both of you. The pictures, as usual, are amazing and delicious.

I can't wait to read what happened next, please post soon!

Vibha Malhotra said…
Thank you Smita! Visa on Arrival Experience Coming soon. :) Hope it went better for your family.

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