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Days out from le Meridian

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Days out from le Meridian

Thanks to the brilliant replies from my last post, though my wife and I had planned a relaxed holiday staying at LM 1st October for 2 weeks we are now considering hiring a car online prior to travelling.

Though this seems a great idea would it be the best cost saving option as opposed to hiring a car and driver or going for days out with a tour operator.

We would like to go elephant treking and see the waterfall and also see some temples. If we drove could we simply turn up and pay and if so how much would this be in comparison to going on a tour?

What is the current price of fuel?

We have also found a 2 seater pickup type car to hire via Budget are these worthwhile or are they to bumpy and rough etc.

Sorry for so many questions but want to make it a perfect holiday as possible.

Thanks Dave

Poulton Le Fylde...
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for Khao Lak, Khao Sok National Park
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1. Re: Days out from le Meridian

Hi Dave,

Hiring a car and driver is more popular in Phuket with several recommended on that forum. I'm not aware of any that operate from Khao Lak. However, particularly if you hire a car for a longish period you have greater control over where and when you want to go anywhere. Similarly while tours are relatively cheap, the cost mounts up.

It really depends if you are an independent type who wants to drive and explore or be guided. Of course, with a car you can get the best of both world. For instance, drive down to Phang Nga Bay (about 1 1/2 hours scenic drive), stop in Phang Nga Town and visit the caves/temple there then go to the pier and negotiate a longtail boat trip out into the Bay. You can specify how long you want to be out there and whether you want to include sea canoing. You can usually better tour prices this way and have a better day out.

Similarly you can drive up to Khao Sok National Park (about 1 1/2 hours with a very scenic ride as you approach the National Park HQ). There you can chose an elephant trek, a raft ride up the Sok River and a walk up to waterfalls in the National Park. Although much the same trip, you can drive past Khao Sok and visit Cheow Lan Reservoir where you can hire a longtail boat across to visit raft houses and the Coral Cave, for instance. Again you can chose the duration of the lake tour.

There are some elephant trekking camps nearer to you at LM. In fact the best one, in my view, is Sairung Elephant Trek. There are two options, one that goes on a flat route upto a waterfall (this you reach by going north up the highway from LM past the Royal Bangsak Beach Resort and you will reach it on your right), the other goes over rougher terrain and not to a waterfall (this you reach by taking first right from the highway after leaving the LM heading north).

However, one of our favourite trips is a loop around Khao Lak, starting south back towards Phuket until you reach a major turn on the left for Phang Nga/Phuket. Keep going left and you will reach a T junction where you go left to Takua Pa where you pick up Highway 4 back to LM. On the way you will see signs for hot springs (which have always been dry when we reached them!) and temples where you can call in and view. At the same T junction you turn right when you are going down to Phang Nga.

The maps you get with hire cars are not very detailed (Budget's wasn't bad) but you can get a very good one of Southern Thailand at local 711 supermarkets for 99baht.

For other self-guided tours see the Six Area Drives under What to Do at http://www.khaolaklovers.com/

Also see the Southern Thailand tours from Budget's excellent World Class Drives at www.budget.co.th/travel_worldclass.aspx

For comparison on car hire prices check out Airport Car Rent (Full insurance with 10,000 baht excess) at http://airportcarrent.com/autotransport.php and Pure Car Rent (Full insurance with 5,000 baht excess) at http://www.purecarrent.com/

In April when we left KL, petrol was about 42 baht a litre.

The pick up is a very popular form of transport among the Thais and tourists but the suspension is, as you would expect, much harder than a saloon. We use a Toyota Vios Auto (Yaris with a boot) or Honda City Auto (Jazz with a boot) both of which are excellent cars and much more economical than a truck.

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2. Re: Days out from le Meridian

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