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getting to Tonsai, Thialand
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By Jack Ziegler
From Golden, CO
Nov 12, 2012
me

Hi,

I'm about to buy a ticket from LAX to either Bangkok or Phuket. I'm planning on going to Tonsai as my first climbing destination for a trip lasting 90 days.

It's just as cheap to fly to phuket as it is to fly to bangkok. I know you can take an over night bus from Bangkok to Krabi (which is by Tonsai but too expensive to fly to). I also heard that you can take a ferry from Phuket to Krabi.

So which city would you fly into? Phuket or Bangkok?


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By Andrew Bradberry
From Golden, CO
Nov 12, 2012

Definitely DON'T take the overnight bus. Spend a week in Bangkok, then fly down south. Sooooo jealous.


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By Jack Ziegler
From Golden, CO
Nov 12, 2012
me

why bangkok over phuket? It's too expensive to fly to krabi, and sleeping on a bus or train doesn't sound that great....anyone out there gone from phuket to tonsia/railey/krabi?


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By Jack Ziegler
From Golden, CO
Nov 12, 2012
me

actually, I did a search and found cheap flights 45-100 for a one way bangkok to krabi. For some reason if you try to do LA to Krabi it's really expensive as compared to LA to Bangkok...


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By Steve Pulver
From Tucson, AZ
Nov 12, 2012

fly into Phuket, take the bus/shuttle from there to Krabi, faster than the boat

also I thought they had flights to Krabi which would be an even better option


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By Brent Butler
From Boulder, CO
Nov 12, 2012
Tequila Sunrise, Maverick Buttress - Moab UT

I bussed it from Ao Nang (a town/beach near krabi) to phuket. I can't totally recall the length, but I don't think it was too bad. If you aren't keen on enjoying what bangkok has to offer then you might as well just fly into phuket and avoid the overnight bus or train. If you do decide to fly into bangkok I would highly recommend the train over a bus.


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By KyleAnderson
From San Francisco, CA
Nov 12, 2012
tonsai, thailand

I took an overnight train from Bankok to Krabi eventually arriving in Tonsai. I had fun, but wouldn't do it again. If you get a sleeper car, make sure that you are under 5'11" and make sure you get a bottom bunk. I didn't fit in the bed, and the train shakes a lot, so i felt like i was going to fall off the whole time from 6 feet up. We did meet some friends on the train, drank some thai moonshine, and smoked a Jay while hanging off the side of the train in between train cars. That was pretty cool. Even when you get off the train, you still need to take more busses, so it is a long journey. It seems like a sleeper bus might be more comfortable.


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By Jim Amidon
Nov 12, 2012
J TREE

For sure fly all the way to Krabi.......

Get to Tonsai as quick as you can and start pulling down on that beach Limestone....


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By weston bierma
From Vail, CO
Nov 12, 2012

Fly into bangkok and stay on Khao San Road (not sure on the spelling). Then use Air Asia to get anywhere within 4 hours flight time. We flew from Bangkok to Phuket for $40 USD then worked our way back to Bangkok using buses and boats.

Super jealous. Also take a Thai Cooking class if you need a day off, it pays dividends once you are back home in the states.

  • ***EDIT
Never book a trip to your final destination when it is a regional airport half way around the world, it will ALWAYS cost more. In Asia use Air Asia to get everywhere and Ryan Air in Europe King Fisher in India ect. We have done many many trips and always work this way. Usually we don't even book our regional flight until getting to the major hub. For example this past May we went to Morocco climbing so we booked a flight from Denver to Madrid then walked up to the Ryan Air counter upon arrival and got tickets to Marrakech, Morocco Cost us $750 ($700 to madrid + $50 to morocco) roundtrip. If you booked it from Denver to Marrakech straight through it came to almost $1,500!


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By weston bierma
From Vail, CO
Nov 12, 2012

Also depending on which part of Thailand you want to start at Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia can be a cheaper starting hub. For all of Asia 95% of the time my wife and I use Bangkok (the most fun) or KL. Sometimes Singapore is worth a look as well.


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By S. Neoh
Nov 12, 2012

Yeah, check out Air Asia flights from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi and Phuket. Also, Silk Air flies between Singapore and Phuket. Both are regional airlines, there are several more regional airlines for Southeast Asia.

You can book and pay for regional airline flights (on a separate ticket) from here using a US credit card if you do not feel like dealing with that at the airport after a long trans Pacific flight.

It looks like LAX/SIN has the slowest fares, compared to LAX/KUL and LAX/BKK.


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By NC Rock Climber
From The Oven, AKA Phoenix
Nov 12, 2012
tanuki

I traveled by bus and train all over SE Asia. I always had good experiences, especially in Thailand,

I did the night bus from Bangkok to Krabi. It was NO BIG DEAL. In fact, I believe that I slept a full eight hours. I did not buy my ticket at Khao San Rd (spelling?), but instead went directly to the bus station and got a ticket on a local (non-tourist) bus. My GF and I were the only non-Thais on the bus, everyone was totally cool and wanted to share their delicious dinners with us, and it was about 1/3 the price of the "tourist coach" that left from KSR. We saved money on the travel costs and didn't have to buy a hotel room that night.

YMMV, but I would choose the bus over flying. Also, I 100% agree with flying into Bangkok and spending a few days there. KSR is a great place to stay for a few nights while you are recovering from jet-lag and there is a ton of cool stuff to do and see while in Bangkok. Make sure to see more of Thailand than just Tonsai. Also, get away from the heavily touristed areas if at all possible. Thailand is a beautiful place with some of the most amazing and friendly people I have ever met anywhere in the world.


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By Shylean
Nov 14, 2012

I am going down to Tonsai on the 30th and am going to take the bus from Bangkok, they are not bad at all and overnight. They even have movies :)


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By WhitneyB
From Golden, Co
Dec 3, 2012

Shylean wrote:
I am going down to Tonsai on the 30th and am going to take the bus from Bangkok, they are not bad at all and overnight. They even have movies :)


We took a tourist bus from Bangkok and it was pretty unpleasant. We definitely did not have movies or leg room or friendly drivers or a bus that didn't leak when it rained....
I would also recommend bringing valuables on the bus with you. It warns against the bus in both Sam Lighteners guide book and Lonely Planet.
However, the views from the bus were pretty incredible and I'm a little jealous, because Thailand is amazing!


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By Ryan Williams
Administrator
From London (sort of)
Dec 3, 2012
El Chorro

NC Rock Climber wrote:
I traveled by bus and train all over SE Asia. I always had good experiences, especially in Thailand, I did the night bus from Bangkok to Krabi. It was NO BIG DEAL. In fact, I believe that I slept a full eight hours. I did not buy my ticket at Khao San Rd (spelling?), but instead went directly to the bus station and got a ticket on a local (non-tourist) bus. My GF and I were the only non-Thais on the bus, everyone was totally cool and wanted to share their delicious dinners with us, and it was about 1/3 the price of the "tourist coach" that left from KSR. We saved money on the travel costs and didn't have to buy a hotel room that night. YMMV, but I would choose the bus over flying. Also, I 100% agree with flying into Bangkok and spending a few days there. KSR is a great place to stay for a few nights while you are recovering from jet-lag and there is a ton of cool stuff to do and see while in Bangkok. Make sure to see more of Thailand than just Tonsai. Also, get away from the heavily touristed areas if at all possible. Thailand is a beautiful place with some of the most amazing and friendly people I have ever met anywhere in the world.


Do this^^^

It's a waste to fly to the other side of the world and just go straight to the beach. There is actually a chance that you won't even like Tonsai. It's dirty, polished, crowded, and most of the food sucks (it's not real Thai food). Tonsai is not Thailand... at all. People pretend to go there and have this cultural experience but it's not much different than Miguel's.

Stay in BKK for a few nights, go out on Th Khosan but also go out somewhere else in the city. Flying from BKK to Krabi isn't expensive but it still takes all day once you factor in the bus ride to and from the airports, etc. And if you fly to Krabi, you have to catch an early flight and hightail it to the pier or you'll be spending the night in Krabi and won't see the beach 'til the next morning anyway.

Taking the night bus (not the tourist bus but the government bus) is the best way to go. The trai doesn't go all the way to Krabi. The government bus can be fun, relaxing, and cheap. Just have a nice meal and a few beers before you get on and then go to sleep. The seats are nearly twice as wide as an airplane seat and 3 times as wide as the seats on the tourist bus. They also recline. DO NOT take the tourist bus. It will be full of drunken Euros and Aussies and the toilet will probably overflow halfway to Krabi. Also, the drivers are not known for their safety.

If you fly to Phuket, you'll get off of a 10hr flight and step into the busiest most touristy part of Thailand. The touts there are the worst and they will rip you off. Then you will have to get on a minibus packed with hungover back packers and ride an hour to the pier. Then you will sit and wait at the pier and probably get ripped off when you buy your ferry ticket. Then you will spend two hours on the ferry and end up in Tonsai around sunset, tired, hot, hungry. You'll be useless the next day.

Honestly, Phuket it is probably the worst place to land if it's your first place to Thailand. Unless, that is, you're planning on spending a few nights there. It will take the edge off and there are fun things to do.

Bangkok is an amazing city - it is kind of sad that so many climbers never see it.


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