My boyfriend and I will be spending three weeks in Thailand this October...
... and we are planning to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Phi Phi plus one jungle destination. We are trying to decide whether to add either Kanchanaburi or Khao Yai National Park to our itinerary. Do you think this too much for three weeks? Thanks a lot! Susan
No, I don't think it's too much to add one more destination. If you have to choose between Kanchanaburi and Khao Yai National Park, I would recommend Kanchanaburi. It is actually a province on Thailand's western border and features a few attractive national parks. Khao Yai is the second largest national park in Thailand and spans four provinces. In terms of activities, all you can do in Khao Yai and around is camping, trekking, cycling, kayaking and night-time wildlife spotting. Kanchanaburi is a great destination for nature lovers with seven national parks scattered all over the province including the famous Erawan National Park. It also has the Bridge over the River Kwai, the Hellfire Pass, Mon ethnic villages and the Three Pagodas marking the border between Thailand and Myanmar. It's possible to visit the border market too.
If you just want a glimpse, you can do what many tourists do and plan a two-night trip to Kanchanaburi.
I also have another suggestion for your jungle experience in Thailand. Once you are in Chiang Mai, why not spend more time exploring the northern jungle by trekking in Chiang Dao or Inthanon? This way, you can slow down your travel, and focus on a variety of destinations in and around Chiang Mai. Perhaps you can include Mae Hong Son province in your itinerary. Then you can spend more time on the beach in Phi Phi and enjoy chaotic Bangkok before you go home. Hope this helps!
Could you please make a recommendation for the best river trip in Bangkok to see a floating market and the local canal network with young children in tow? There are so many options but what's the most entertaining and educational for kids? Thanks so much, JC
There are a few floating markets in Bangkok. If you want to combine them with a canal tour, then the best option is probably Taling Chan market. It's located in Taling Chan district and the market is alongside Khlong Chak Pra. It’s quite small and less touristy than the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market in Ratchaburi province. The atmosphere in Taling Chan market is pleasant with stalls selling food, fruits, plants, souvenirs and a traditional Thai band serenading market-goers with interesting musical instruments. As you walk towards the canal, you'll find places to eat, with the food prepared on the various boats. It can be a fun place to have lunch.
However, the market is only open on weekends. Canal boat tours can be taken from the pier of the floating market. The tours cover local attractions along the rural waterways such as orchid farms and snake gardens.
Alternatively, a canal tour from Tha Chang pier next to the Grand Palace can be interesting with a stop at Baan Silapin Artist House by the Khlong Bang Luang community. The restored building with a Ayutthaya-style pagoda in the garden offers a variety of functions including art gallery, cafe, mask painting workshop and traditional Thai puppet theatre. It is recommended to go there no later than 2pm between Thursday and Tuesday for the stunning puppet show, which will be entertaining for the kids. You can stroll along the canal bank to the local art gallery, bookshops and delicacy stalls.
Hope you have a pleasant trip!