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TOUR (19D) - 28th May to 6th June 2019

Bas Relief Buddha, Pha Mor E Daeng, Khao Pra Wihan National Park, Si Sa Ket Province


Strategic plan…….. Having decided very early on in the year that this trip out to Bangkok should last 7 weeks, I decided that there would be 3 tours. As a rule of thumb, if I spent two thirds of the time travelling on tours, then 32 days would be as much as I could handle. However, going into this third tour, I’d already managed 25 days so there should be just the week available to do what? Tour 1 was all along part of the strategic plan to cover as many of Thailand’s provinces as possible while Tour 2 to Yangon was a bit of a sideshow, adding another country to my long list. My intention for Tour 3 was different again, a bit of R&R (rest and recovery-recuperation call it what you will) but quite inexplicably I changed the plan at the last moment so that a section of this tour became part of the strategic plan adding more provinces to my list. The idea was still to enjoy some R&R during the later stages of this tour. However, in doing so I would need to add a couple more days to the tour.
Ancient Khmer sanctuaries…….. As I set off on the first stage to complete site visits in Si Sa Ket province, I soon began to realize what a task I’d set myself as we criss-crossed the province even making excursions into Ubon Ratchathani, all the time building a significant visit list, mostly of Khmer sanctuaries for which the area is famous. Finally, after four nights in Si Sa Ket district, we reached Sa Kaew province which we skipped through without great intensity.
Coastal provinces…….. Rather to my surprise, we reached Trat province earlier than I had expected and during the three nights there, I gained a flavour of what that R&R could look like. However, by then the tactic had been severely compromised while the strategic plan worked perfectly.
With the final night spent on the coast in Rayong province, I only had enough time to consider what might have been had I not changed the plan.
As always, I write these conclusions to draw attention to any issues that would lead to improvement in these tours. Certainly there was plenty in this tour to give me cause for thought. Over budget…….. Probably the most important lesson learnt was to consider more carefully the distances involved. In ten days we covered around 2,800 kilometres or 280 kms/day. That’s huge. No wonder I went over budget but in other respects things worked out fine. There were no health issues or issues with the Toyota Vios and the weather stayed on the cooler side with cloud and rain lingering for most of the time.
Seafood…….. Dining was never a priority during the early part of the tour and we frequently had to improvise but when we were on the coast some amazing opportunities to taste the local seafood presented themselves. Most noteworthy was Farm Pu Nim in Khlung district, Chanthaburi province.
Weather……..Compared to the searing heat of early/mid May during my first tour, the weather had thankfully turned towards overcast with some rain about with temperatures in the high 20's or low 30's. Certainly these were more comfortable conditions, one could say ideal and I hardly gave it any thought.
Rating…….. In terms of rating this tour, this is really hard to do since I sacrificed some comfort when travelling for the sake of visiting so many attractions. I also felt that the accommodation across the board was not up to the usual standard - twice we had to change rooms and I couldn’t get a wifi signal more often that not. I think if I rated this tour around 7/10 it would somewhat flatter.