We are three adults and one child (age 8 years). We are planning to go to Thailand in the last week of December 2017 from Kolkata. Our total budget is â‚¹2,00,000 and we are looking to spend a week to 10 days in Thailand. We want to spend a few days in the northern part of the country to absorb its culture. For the rest of the trip, we’d like to relax at a beach destination. Can you suggest possible itineraries, accommodation and to and fro transport options that can be included in our budget?
An ideal 10-day itinerary for you would run something like this: Days 1 & 2: Bangkok. Days 3-6: Chiang Mai. Days 7-10: On one of the southern islands (Koh Samui/Krabi/Phuket, etc). This would give you a couple of days to enjoy the many delights of Bangkok–its temples, shopping, boat rides and, most of all, its splendid, ubiquitous street food.
From Bangkok, you would take an hour-long flight north to Chiang Mai, where you would find an extremely pleasant contrast to the colour and bustle of Bangkok. This too is temple city, with many gorgeous wats, a lovely Old City, plenty of day trips for cooking tours, nature walks, etc. After this relaxed, semi-rural interlude, you would then fly to an island destination of your choice in the south of Thailand. Where, of course, you’d do the island-getaway thing. You could also do the trip in reverse, as in head straight to Chiang Mai and keep Bangkok for the end (so you’re not lugging around the stuff acquired during the inevitable shopping in Bangkok).
But now the bad news. I’m not sure that an all-inclusive budget of â‚¹2 lakh for four persons will be adequate to put this plan into action. The biggest expense head will be flights: it’s cheap to get to Bangkok from Kolkata, and Thai Air Asia has cheapish flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai too. The catch is flying to a beach destination further south–those flights tend to be pricier and likely to be even more so around the time you plan to travel. December and January are peak tourist months for the islands. All this flying about will eat up most of your budget.
I’d suggest that you stick to the plan for Days 1-6 (Bangkok + Chiang Mai), in whichever order you prefer. Then, from Bangkok head to a beach destination nearby–a trip that can be made overland, by bus or cab. Options include the resort town of Hua Hin, 2-3hrs southwest of Bangkok, or the quieter, less-frequented Bang Saen, 1.5hrs southeast of Bangkok.
Nice stays at affordable rates are plentiful in Thailand. In Bangkok, Tints of Blue Residence (tintsofblue.com), Pas Cher Hotel de Bangkok (pascherhoteldebangkok.com) and Bangkok Loft Inn (bangkokloftinn.com) are all well-located and offer stylish rooms for about â‚¹3,000, even in peak season. In Chiang Mai, try Cozytel (cozytelchiangmai.com), Vanilla Place Guesthouse (vanillaplace-chiangmai.com) or V Lodge (no website, book on airbnb.co.in or booking.com)–all of these are popular and offer rooms in the range of â‚¹2,000. In Hua Hin, try the Veerawan Hua Hin, if you like boutique-type hotels (from â‚¹1,700; veerawan-hotel.com) or for more standard amenities and a slightly higher price, the Ibis Hua Hin (from â‚¹2,700; ibis.com). Bang Saen is much less built-up, and accommodation is mainly in the form of guesthouses and lodges; try The Day Hotel or One Beat Vintage & Bistro, both located close to the beach and both offering rooms for about â‚¹1,500 (no websites, see hotel booking sites).