I have traveled a couple of times each to Europe, Canada, Mexico, and South America. I will be making my first trip to Asia in January, to Thailand. I wish there were a Rick Steves Thailand to help me prepare, but alas, there is not. I would appreciate any recommendations on reliable guidebooks. Thanks.
Hi Gary, We were in Thailand last January and it was the perfect escape from cold, winter weather! We mostly used the Lonely Planet Guidebook and Trip Advisor to plan. If you're going to either Bangkok or Chiang Mai you must get Nancy Chandler Maps - they are priceless. You can purchase them on Amazon. Our itinerary was Kata Beach on Phuket for 4 nights (though for a future trip, we'd skip the beach); Chiang Mai for day trips and cooking classes (12 nights - we really liked Chiang Mai!); and Bangkok for 4 nights. For travel in Thailand we flew Air Asia. For Chaing Mai we liked Baan Orapin Hotel or Sakorn Residence. For Bangkok, a good budget option was On8. At least earlier this year, Thailand was a great bargain. If you're there in early February, check out the Chiang Mai Flower Festival. Enjoy Thailand! Edit: I would add that whatever guidebook you use, make sure you get the most up-to-date edition!
I was in Bangkok for 3 days (stop-over) and did all the planning on the internet. I used Frommer's and Fodor's websites for sightseeing ideas and information. And I used Trip Advisor to get lots of input from others. It was great. This year I was back again for 5 days in Bangkok, 5 in Chiang Mai and 3 in Chiang Rai. I used Trip Advisor for most everything, hotels, guide, transportation. . . you name it. January is the perfect time to go. Bangkok is very easy to see on your own, good public transportation, cheap taxis. Chiang Mai too - I took a wonderful 1/2 day cooking class, then we sat down to feast on our efforts. Amazing. And a day trip to an elephant camp. In Chiang Rai I hired a private guide (THE BEST) with an airconditioned car for about $100/day. His name is Jermsak, his English is very good, he has a great sense of humor, is very flexible, and took me to truly off-the-beaten-track non-touristy places. His email is Jermsak - firstname.lastname@example.org - and his website is http://www.chiangraitravelplanner.blogspot.com/ He has several "set" tours, but he will work with you to develop the itinerary that suits you best.
Hello There are 2 of us traveling to Thailand in March, 2013. It is likely that I will be there for 9 days staying at a friends house in Pattaya. What are the 'must-see' places in the area. A great beach recommendation? Altough we will be based in Pattaya we can travel and do an overnight or 2. Hoping to see Thailand on a budget however I don't want to miss anything because I don't know if I'll see the country twice in my lifetime as it is a long way from Michigan. Thanks
Gary, Your best bet for Guidebooks is likely the Lonely Planet books. Their Thailand guide appears to be available both in printed format as well as in E-book format. The current edition was released in February 2012, so it's reasonably current. They used to be tailored more for the young backpacking crowd, but the books are fairly comprehensive so should be good for any travellers. You could also have a look at the Rough Guides books. Their Thailand edition was published October 2012, so it's even more current. They also have a Thailand Beaches edition. AFAIK, there is no one individual that provides the same type of coverage for Thailand (or Asia) as Rick does for Europe. Happy travels!
My son and his wife used Rickshaw Travel for their 2-week trip, and loved the vacation. We did, too, we got to keep the grandkids while they were gone. :)