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8 days before southeast asia trip, a couple loose ends to tie up - please help?

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Hello again,

I went through my itin with a fine-toothed comb over the weekend and there are a couple things I've yet to firm up before I leave next week for my Hong Kong, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam trip.

I don't really have any specific restaurants in mind, though I have noted some that are mentioned a lot here (i.e., Chote Chitr, Blue Pumpkin Cafe, Fanny's Ice Cream). I'm hoping that we'll be able to get on the spot recommendations while we're there, and also hoping to be a little adventurous and just go off and find something that looks good (though we are well traveled and aware of the precautions we need to make when shopping in the markets and off the streets, so who knows how adventurous we will be haha!).

We have a nice mix of time on our own to explore and already arranged tours (1/2 day with Tong, A Lot of Thai cooking course, an afternoon with Ponheary, and a trip to the Red River Delta, to name a few).

Things I am not totally confirmed on are the following:

*Exact directions on how to get to the Plaza Athenee Hotel in Bangkok from the airport - will be contacting the hotel some night this week for advice.

*Grand Palace, Jim Thompson House, and the various temples in Bangkok - I know we want to go early in the day or later in the afternoon, and we haven't totally decided which ones we want to do yet. I'm thinking I'll read in much further detail on the epic flight to Hong Kong and try and plan our days out then.

*Visiting Doi Suthep in Chiang Mai, while making a stop on the way there or back to TECC - is this something we need to prearrange for? Do we need to book a driver, or are there other ways of doing this? I feel like all I saw online were driving directions, and we don't plan to rent a car. If we need a driver, should we do this in advance, or arrange with the hotel upon arrival?

*Legends Spa while in Chiang Mai - I imagine we can book services once we arrive in the area.

*Alms giving in Chiang Mai - I'd love to spend an early morning with the monks the day we head out of CM and make our way to Siem Reap, but wasn't sure the best way to go about doing so. I was hoping not to have to book this through a tour operator, but wasn't sure what our options were. Thoughts?

*Luggage storage in Hong Kong airport for our long layover. We're hoping to go visit Po Lin Monastery/Giant Buddha since we arrive at 1:30pm and don't depart for our return to the States until 11:25pm. I haven't looked too much into this yet but plan on doing so this week. I imagine it's got to be pretty easy to store our bags (unless of course we can check them way in advance somehow) and make our way for an afternoon trip, but if anyone has immediate knowledge of the best way to do this, please let me know.

I'm getting SO excited. I'm thrilled to explore new countries, a brand new culture, new food, new sights, new smells, etcetcetc. Every time I have gone somewhere other than Europe, I am completely blown away and I'm expecting the same for this trip. Thanks once again to everyone that helped me put this trip together. I work for a travel company and have a lot of "area experts" here and suppliers that can book things for me, but I myself am "allergic" to group travel and prefer to do things on a much smaller scale. My itin would be complete crap were it not for all of you. So thank you. Very very much.

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