Have you ever wanted to visit Thailand or have plans to go, but wonder how you would get from town to town? If you are wanting to really immerse yourself in the Thai culture keep reading this blog has all the information for you!
Lets look at different types of transport in Thailand;
Tuktuk – You would only use this method of transport to travel a few miles, no further and you wouldn’t expect to pay more than 100-200 Thai Baht. This seems to be their starter price, any less then they will certainly be trying to sell you something else later (see more information on this further down in “Bangkok”). You can also use a Tuktuk for a day trip, taking you to many temples and other places of interest; we paid around 400 Thai Baht for 2 hours around Ayutthaya.
Taxi – Can be a more convenient way to travel somewhere that’s only around 1 hour away, for example we used a lot of taxies to get to different areas of Bangkok, as well as travelling down to Pattaya, and Koh Samet. You shouldn’t be paying any more than approx 1000 Thai Baht per hour.
Bus – we didn’t get to use this method of transport but here is a link that may help:
Train – All of the above will get caught in traffic at some point, plus there are a lot of accidents in Thailand, a lot more than anywhere else in the world. So with traffic, accidents and two busy children in mind, we felt the train would be more suitable for us; plus there are toilets on trains which is good if you are travelling with children.
The Northern Line Train goes straight up the middle of Thailand from Bangkok to Chiang Mai; there are many different types of train that run on the Northern Line, some run faster than others, some have aircon and some don’t. Prices range from 40 to 500 Thai Baht each depending on what class and train you choose to travel on, we chose to travel on all different trains so keep reading if you need help decided what kind of train is best for you.
Examples of Different trains:
Ordinary: No class choice, No aircon, Large open windows, 40 Thai baht, Slower
Express (71 & 77): 2nd class, Aircon 400 Thai Baht each, or 3rd Class no aircon 50-60 Thai Baht each, Fast
Special Express (3 & 7): 2nd Class Aircon, 400-500 Thai Baht, Fastest
On our very first train experience we chose a 2nd Class Express train with, as we had heard some awful stories of 3rd Class and Ordinary trains, we will talk about 3rd Class/ Ordinary Trains later on in this blog.
www.thailandtrains.com has lots of information and timetables
Bangkok is usually where most people start, so here are some tips on where to stay, what to do and how to get the train to your next destination.
There are many areas of Bangkok to stay, just make sure you don’t book the wrong area – otherwise you will be in the middle of a “business” area (Eg Silom) which is much like Fenchurch Street London with no restaurants or street markets. Siam is good if you like a busy town, links to other towns via the Skytrain and would like to do some shopping -at the Siam Square and MBK Centre.
Here are some good areas and hotels that we would suggest, and we have included some surrounding things to do:
Ramada Plaza by Wyndham, Bangkok, Menam Riverside (booking.com)
This hotel is higher end with a swimming pool, and right next to the river, so you can get a river taxi as cheap as 20 Thai Baht each (£0.50 / $0.65) to any town along the river as well as the main Koh San Road.
In the evening be sure to visit the night market, and book to watch the Muay Thai Kick Boxing show at Asiatique http://www.muaythailive.com. This is suitable for all ages, showing the history of Muay Thai through music, dance and martial arts. You can if you wish stay for 2 live fights at the end, which we did, our children are both girls aged 8 and 4 and they absolutely loved it!
Mango Lagoon Place, Koh San Road, Bangkok (agonda.com)
This hotel is a budget hotel with a swimming pool, its set in the middle of a very vibrant street full of street food, clothes stalls and restaurants. Only 5 min walk to the River (so you can get a river Taxie to any nearby towns) 5 mins walk to the busy Koh San Road, which has a fantastic night market! And an added bonus is that this is also 5 min walk to the famous Muay Thai Street boxing camp, and on Sunday evenings at 6.30pm you can watch a live match for free!
UPDATE: Soi Ram Buttri is achally much better and not as touristy as Khao San Road!
Just a few tips for Koh San Road area:
- TukTuks are on commission, so if you hire them to take you to some temples for a hour, they will take you to random shop at the end of your trip in hope that you will buy something (they will get a special stamp/ or money if you do) one place that we were taken to was a high end suit making shop, it was very awkward and uncomfortable!
- You will get told that Ko San Road is shut because there is a fight down there, OR that its a special day today, only today to see floating market! TRUST ME Do not believe them, they are trying to get you in their Tuktuk to make their money.
- You will be asked over and over by many Tuktuk drivers while on your peaceful stroll if you would like to go on a day trip to see the local Temples, or to the floating markets – if you don’t want to go just tell them that you have been already! Job done!
Train from Bangkok (Hua Lamphong) to Ayutthaya, we caught the
71 EXPRESS = 10.05am arriving at 11.24am this cost approx. 1200 Thai baht for 3 of us (Maisie was free)
If you listened to the history of Muay Thai when watching the Muay Thai Live you would have learnt that Ayutthaya is where it originated from. If you are also a fan of the films “Kick Boxer” and “Mortal Combat” you will certainly want to make a stop here, as this is where they filmed them! We will tell you where to go to get the best side by side photo from the films.
Fun Fact: Each town has its own style of tuk-tuks, Ayutthaya’ are especially cool, and unique, and very brightly coloured!
P.U. Inn Resort (Booking.com)
Just 2 min walk from P.U. Resort there are many bars and restaurants which we highly recommend, the street is quiet all the chairs are outside and it has a wonderful warm feeling. One of the bars is called Jazz Bar, which has live music every Tuesday and Wednesday night.
Mrs Pu will offer you a boat tour, which is definitely worth every penny, its a late afternoon boat trip, that will take you to see 4 temples with a final ruin temple at sunset!
KICKBOXER :-Wat Mahathat and Wat Ratchaburana.
MORTAL KOMBAT :- Wat chaiwatthanaram , Wat Ratchaburana and Wat Phra Si Sanphet.
It can take some time pin pointing the exact filming location within the temple grounds, but it is fasinating slowly walking around these temples taking in the spiritual atmospher.
11.27am from Ayutthaya arriving at 12.39pm 201 Ordinary Train 3rd Class 40 Thai Baht each
As the train was only just over an hour we decided to brave the “Ordinary” train which was a fantastic choice, the windows were wide open, the views were spectacular and there was a very cool breeze.
Lopburi town is located 130 kilometres north of Bangkok and only 60 kilometres north of Ayutthaya, this town is known for its resident monkeys that you will find swinging over the rooftops and climb on ancient ruins. Its definitely worth a visit, especially now (july) as all the monkeys have babies!
Where to Stay and What to do in Lopburi
Little Lopburi Village (Booking.com)
Here is a little video Little Lopburi Village made for us
1.00pm arriving at 4pm, Special Express 3, 2nd Class 400 Thai baht each
Where to Stay and what to do in Phitsanulok
The Grand Riverside Hotel (booking.com)
We didn’t expect too much from this stay, but we had a fantastic time staying here! Our rooms were interlocking so the children had their own room, plus I managed to have a bath! Every evening they have karaoke in the Restaurant which we all joined in with, it was lovely to let our hair down and have some fun!
Book a taxi asking to visit the Large Water Lilies, its around 10 min drive from the hotel and totally worth a look! If you are under 120 ib you can pay 100 Thai Baht to stand on a Lilly pad and have a selfie!https://www.thailandee.com/en/visit-thailand/giant-water-lilies-pond-phitsanulok-398
There are no direct trains from Phitsanlok (I didn’t realise this before booking) you can book a taxi for 800 Thai Baht to get there in 50 mins.
Where to Stay and What to do in Sukhothai
Foresto Sukhothai Guest Home (booking.com)
We had been travelling for sometime by now, and decided to take a break for a few days, and relax somewhere with a pool! And this is what we did, along with some Spanish lessons, Ukulele lessons and reading for the kids! We took one day out to the Old Town, via wooden bus – that cost 100 Thai Baht for all of us which was wonderful! We hired bikes when we got here for the kids, which cost 30 Thai Bahts, and took a leisurely stroll around the ruins in the Central Zone. Once we had finished looking around the ruins, we were told about a ceramic making place.
Taxi back to Phitsanlok Train station 800 Thai Baht
13.22 Special Express 7 train arriving at 17.30 we opted for 2nd Class as it was a longer journey and cost us approx. 1200 Thai Baht for all of us
Where to Stay and what to do in Lampang
Kanecha’s Home (booking.com)
Kenecha’s home is probably one of the most beautiful houses we have stayed in, wonderfully decorated rooms, comfortable beds and welcoming staff! We booked a two bedroom villa, so our girls had their own room and shower which they loved, travelling as a family doesn’t give you any privacy!
If you visit here at the weekend, take a walk to the weekend night market, this for us was a beautiful walk taking in the atmosphere and smells. It was such an odd experience walking through a very busy market, but being so calm and quiet; I have never felt so relaxed in such a busy place.
Lampang is known for its Horse and Carriage, so we decided to book a trip around town for 1 hour costing 400 Thai Baht, where we were taken to a few temples, and a street party! We did feel bad for the horse as we are not the smallest of people, but luckily we only travelled for 4-5 mins at a time and then the horse relaxed in the shade for 10-15 mins.
Weekend Street Market Lampang
Horse and Carridge Ride Lampang
The Journey from Lampang to Chiang Mai is approx 2 hours, and we decided to take the 12.36 Diesel Train that only cost us 70 Thai Baht for all of us (£1.80 / $2.40) Here is a little video of our journey that we really enjoyed!
Where to Stay and what to do in Chiang Mai
Baan Sang Singn (Booking.com)
This resort is run by a wonderful family, and has many room options suitable for families eg Bunk Beds, a beautifully clean swimming pool, and a few ride on toys for the kids. The family have children themselves, and definitely have thought carefully about travelling families and their needs.
This is by far the cleanest hotel we have ever been in, rooms are cleaned every day, windows are cleaned, pool side toys, tables and chairs. The cleaners work hard all day to keep the resort spotless, and you can tell that the family have alot of pride in their business. The food here is very well priced, and very tasty, and if you would like breakfast its best to order the night before to be ready at a certain time in the morning.
We stayed in a special room for our daughters birthday which we would highly recommend, its a Family Suite (with Bunkbed) it even has a bath! see photos below:
The resort is approx 10 min tuktuk drive from the train station, and 10 min walk to the main walls of Chaing Mai.
There are many things advertised to do around Chaing Mai, but with us looking into them further they seem to be either cruelty to animals or cruelty to the village people, too expensive or unappropriate for children. Here is an example of what is on offer in the Tuk-tuks:
One place we wished we could visit was 2-3 hours drive away was the Golden Triangle, White Temple – if you have young children this can be a very long day for you all. Maybe staying at Ching Rai or further north might be a better option.
We planned to be busy every other day, so the children can play by the pool and relax on the others. Thailand is very hot, and you will all get very tired if you have long busy trips booked everyday. Here is our list of things to do in Chiang Mai that is suitable for children, that you can either walk or organise transport yourself with a Tuktuk or Taxi:
Cat Café – They Call Me Cat (15 Min walk)https://www.facebook.com/Cat-cafe-They-call-me-cat-403918557032783/
This was a fabulous little time spent petting 25 cats, all different breads and all absolutely beautiful! We paid the 100 Thai Baht each to enter, the money goes towards running the small business, and keep the cats well feed and pampered! All the cats are happy, healthy and love lots of attention! Be prepared to have the puuuurrrrfect time!
Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre – Khantoke Dinner Show (10 min drive- 150 Thai Baht)https://www.facebook.com/OldChiangmaiCulturalCenter/
We had a fantastic time here, we sat at the front on traditional Thai mats, and ate our food from a small platter in the middle. For us it was an opportunity for the children to try new foods, as so far they havnt been very adventurous. The food is wonderful, – (some spicy some not) and they do come around and offer more when you run out, so don’t worry if you are feeling hungry you will be well fed. The show itself is a mixture of all Thai dances from Traditional thai to Hill tribes. We thoroughly enjoyed our evening, and both the girls were both memorised by the fingernail dance!
Ploenrudee Night Market (5 min tuktuk 100 Thai Baht)https://www.facebook.com/ploenrudeenightmarket/
Vibrant market place with fusion food stalls, funky cocktail bars made from converted busses, and live music! We had a wonderful time here, and once you have finished eating and dancing you can have a lovely stroll up and down the night market outside – what more would you want?
Lucky Bunny Cafe – (10 min walk)https://www.facebook.com/luckybunnycafe/
If you love a fury friend, you have to visit Lucky Bunny Cafe! They only allow 8-9 people in at a time and it cost 200 Thai Baht per person to enter. So when you arrive grab yourself a table in the cafe and wait for a bit untill they are ready for the next group!
I assure you the wait and the cost is totally worth it! You will meet several bunny’s of different breeds, each can do a different trick from kissing, high 5s and standing, and you will get a chance to practice the tricks yourself with the bunny’s! All of them are well looked after, coats are shiny, and they bright eyed and happy – definitely well loved and looked after.
If your looking for something to do with the kids while in Chiang Mai this is definitely one of our top choices- the kids will be “hopping” for joy!
Hmong Hill Tribe and Wat Phrathat Doi Suthed Temple
Hmong Hill Tribe was not what we expected, I had a secluded warm welcoming village in mind, with everyone dressed in tribal clothing, all running at us open arms- but unfortunately this was not the case. The whole town is commercialised tourist trap full of hundreds of stalls, and children asking for money if you take their photo! I am assuming they are dressed in the morning, and briefed for their days work, making sure they collect as much money as possible. We were very gutted about this, and feel it’s a real shame that what probably was once a beautiful village in the mountains, is now just a huge money making town. But we did have a wonderful day out, driving up the mounting, having fun as a family and seeing all the beautiful views!
The Temple down the hill from Hmong was beautiful, we had to climb many steps to get to the top and was just 30 Thai Baht to enter (adults) We purchased flowers, and incense from the bottom, and all made a wish to Buddha at the top.
Chiang Mai Elephant Home (Free transfer)https://m.facebook.com/CmElephantHome/
If you love elephants, and really disagree with riding them this is the place to go, no chains no saddles, just love! Chiang Mai Elephant Home is a team of people who rescue Elephants from Riding camps, where they have been treated badly, and offer them a beautiful home in a small village surrounded by mountains. The whole experience is calm, nothing is rushed and you are welcomed with a smile.
We decided to book a full day elephant experience, which starts off at 8am when you are picked up from your hotel and driven south of Chiang Mai approx. 1 hour 30 mins away. When you arrive you are greeted by the team, and given some clothes to put on. The first part of the morning is very relaxed, you will be given lots of information about the elephants, while you are making a yummy treat for them while watching them play in the field behind you!
Once you have made your elephant treat, you will be given a bag of food, and taken to meet the elephants to feed them! They are always very hungry, and the babies will hunt down your bag for bananas, they are very cheeky and playful!
Once you have fed the Elephants you will be asked to give them huge leaves, which they play with and eat, which gives you an opportunity to have a photo with them. Around 12-12.30 it’s your turn to eat, and the food offered is very yummy – curry, rice, vegetables, omelette and some fruit. We were very lucky to have cake, as they kindly made one for my daughters 5th birthday as a surprise, which we were incredibly grateful for.
After your lunch, your afternoon consists of washing the elephants with mud, and then splashing them with water in the river, an absolutely incredible experience, especially watching the babies who were obviously very happy rolling around in the water. On your way home you will be taken to a waterfall for a dip, perfect end to the day.
Chiang Mai Elephant Home Full Day Experience was the highlight of our Thailand trip, most magical experience being so close to these incredible animals, If you love Elephants I would highly recommend booking here! If you would like to see our experience in full please watch our YouTube link below:
Places to eat near to Baan Sang Singh:
B Samcook – Outstanding Breakfast and Dinner very high standard https://www.facebook.com/thebfamilycnx/
Chiangmai Breakfast World – beautiful garden and large selection of breakfast https://www.facebook.com/cmbreakfastworld/
BACK TO BANGKOK
Getting There: Night Train! 14 hours in a 1st class private sleeper cabin 19th July 2019 VIDEO AND REVIEW TO COME!