Posted on 03 April 2011.
This post is still a continuation of the previous post entitled: Things to Consider When Planning Your Travel Itinerary
My travel story on my trip to Bangkok and Cambodia will be put on hold for now until I answer someone’s question regarding how we came up with the itinerary for our trip. And thanks to you Rayanne for reminding me about it otherwise, I would have completely forgotten about this bit.
In planning for the trip’s itinerary, since most of us do not have the budget needed to check out the tourist attractions in Bangkok, we just settled with checking out the views of the city while travelling and malling since it was free.
As for Cambodia, after seeing the list of places included in the 2 days 3 nights package tour at Bou Savy Guesthouse, I thought that 2 days would be enough to check out the must-see attractions.
For my friends who wanted to see the tourist attractions in Bangkok, I informed them to make sure they visit the Grand Palace, Reclining Buddha and a couple of temples then just check out the tour packages being offered at any tourist agency office (since I got lazy looking for info about Pattaya). I guess the plan worked since all of us enjoyed the trip. But if you were to ask me how to plan your Bangkok-Cambodia itinerary, I’d refer you to the link above on what things to consider when planning your travel itinerary.
Here are a couple of pointers that may be of help too:
You need to have a lot of patience in planning your trip. You may no longer count the number of times you’ll be scratching off an activity off your list to accomodate your schedule and that of the place you will visit. It is also best to have a back up plan in case your original plan doesn’t work. Doing this will allow you to maximize the time you spend on your travel. Instead of cancelling a scheduled tour, you may want to consider a different option just in case the travel/transpo fees are too high, it rains or your train leaves you.
instead of going to a zoo in Pattaya, my friends booked for an elephant show instead at a cheaper rate
Consider your Budget
If you have money, you can ride the bus going to Aranyaprathet, Thailand’s border. But if you are on the budget-conscious side, ride a train instead. This also applies when planning where you will stay in Bangkok and Siem Reap. Also bring extra cash or bring your credit card just in case something goes wrong with your accommodations where you end up spending the night at a not-so-cheap place.
comfort vs budget?
If your plane lands at 1pm, it is not wise to travel to Siem Reap by bus since you will end up spending the night in Aranyaprathet as the Immigration office from both borders closes at around 5-ish (not sure about the exact time). In cases like this, you have to plan if you will spend the night at a cheap hostel or stay at the train station and create your own makeshift beds there like the rest of the locals.
you won’t be alone if you decide to spend the night at the Hua Lamphong Train Station
Be Familiar with Your Destination
If you decide to go on a packaged tour in SR, tendency is the one who will arrange for the tour already knows where you need to go so you wont have trouble here. If you decide to hire a tuk-tuk driver and explore the city on your own, they are also knowledgeable. Determine if you would want to hire a tour guide or not.
There are a lot of tourist attractions in Bangkok and its nearby provinces. It’s up to you to decide what places you will pick. Remember that you do not have the luxury of time to visit all of them (unless you are staying for a month here). So knowing how long it will take to reach one destination and the costs involved is a must unless you will let a travel agency decide for your trip, which in this case, is one flourishing business in Bangkok. You will see a lot of them there. It’s just a matter of finding the cheapeast tour packages.
You can either let a tour agency in you travel from Bangkok and SR take care of your trip details or you can follow your own itinerary. You can even have it arranged before you leave, courtesy of your travelling agency here. But be sure to research so that you will know what to expect when you arrive there. This is also important to determine how to spot scams. Just like here in our country, there are also scammers both in Bangkok and SR. I think they exist anywhere. So being prepared and knowldegeable of their culture and place will be very advantageous.
left side: Khao San Rd, home to a lot of budget hostels; all major temples surround it too
right side: malls, MRT, BTS Sky Train, Hua Lamphong Train station, a couple of budget hostels
be wise in deciding where you want to live for the next couple of days in Bangkok
Brainstorm with your Travel companions (if you have one)
A successful trip relies on great teamwork with your travel companions. Sometimes, a trip gets ruined if your travel companion whines all the time. You need to discuss with them the type of food you will eat, the amount of money you need to spend, the place where you will spend your nights and the places where you will go. If Traveller A wants to stay in an air conditioned room and if you can’t afford it even if you share the rent of the room (since you only saved up for a fan room), let the person know that so you can both decide. Who knows, you might end up not paying at all as Traveller A “might” offer to shoulder the expenses just to get the airconditioned suite at some posh hotel
After you have done all of that, then it is time for the next step…
It is best to book for the place where you will stay to ensure you will have a roof to rest once you arrive there especially during peak season.
looking for a place to stay in Soi Rambuttri when we arrived in Bangkok after our SR trip
Actually, we only booked for our accomodations in SR. I didn’t bother booking for one in Bangkok since I saw that there were a couple of cheap guesthouses listed online which did not show any rates and photos. So I decided we’ll find a place to stay in Bangkok when we arrived in the area. This decision worked for us and it doesn’t mean it will also work for you too. But if you want to take that risk of looking for a place to stay when you reach the place, by all means, go ahead and do so, just make sure you accept the consequences.
So if you were to ask me what a typical travel from Bangkok to Siem Reap itinerary looked like, it could be something like this
Eight Day Tour Itinerary: Overland Trip from Bangkok to Cambodia (patterned from our trip)
Day 1 - January 18
Head to airport and travel to Bangkok (Cebu to Clark – 7:20am | Clark to Bangkok – 8:45pm)
Day 2 - January 19
Bangkok to Siem Reap Trip (12-hr trip)
Dinner and tour of Old Market
Day 3 and Day 4 - January 20-21
Tour of temples and explore the town
Day 5 - January 22
Go back to Bangkok (9-hr trip)
Explore Khao San Road/Sukhumvit, go malling or if you are on the more curious side, visit Patpong
night market shopping
Day 6 - January 23
Grand Palace (am not sure if they open on weekends)
Wat Pho Reclining Buddha
Chatuchak Weekend Market (if this falls on a weekend)
Pratinum Mall (an alternative to the Chatuchak Market but airconditioned)
malling at Central World, Siam Paragon, etc.
Day 7 – January 24
Tour Bangkok or its Province
Day 8 – January 25
Early check out at hotel/guesthouse/hostel & leave your stuff there and come back for it in the afternoon
Last minute tour and shopping before heading back to the airport by 6pm for your 11pm flight back home or whatever schedule you have
For a 7-days tour or less, consider which is important. You can tour the major temples in Siem Reap in a day but consider the time it took you to reach that place and try to assess it if you’d be contented with a day tour. If you are undecided, then do not book for a package tour or a 2-nights stay and decide if you’ll extend your trip once you reach the place. If you are really pressed with time, then you can settle to stay in Bangkok and perhaps schedule a trip to SR in the future.
One of the few things that you may like when travelling to Bangkok and Siem Reap is you’ll have 6 stamps in your passport as compared with just settling in Bangkok. That’s if you are collecting
passports stamps you will accumulate when going to Bangkok and Siem Reap, stamp freak!
If you are torn between travelling to certain places, better check out photos of those places published online and decide if you’d really want to miss out on the opportunity of seeing those great structures. Unless you travel out of the country a lot, then you must think hard and prioritize the places you really want to see to avoid getting a headache on how to create your Bangkok to Siem Reap Itinerary.
This is a series of blog posts documenting my trip from Bangkok to Siem Reap and back in January of 2011. If you haven’t read the first posts, please check on the links below:
** Off to Bangkok and Siem Reap
#1 – The Accidental Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap in 2011
#2 – Trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap: The Planning Stage
#3 – You are reading this now
#4 – Arriving 5 Minutes Late on our Connecting Flight to Bangkok
#5 – En Route: Clark to Bangkok
#6 – Touchdown Bangkok!
#7 – Suvarnabhumi Airport a.k.a. Bangkok International Airport
#8 – Bangkok Train Station: Waiting for our Train Ride to Aranyaprathet
#9 – My First Taste of Authentic Thai Food
Unfinished Series from my 2008 Trip…
My First Train Ride From Bangkok to Aranyaprathet
Arriving at the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok
My First Trip To Bangkok
You might also find this useful:
Modes of Transportation in Bangkok
Things to Consider When Planning Your Travel Itinerary
The Cheapest Way to Bangkok from Suvarnabhumi Airport