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Trip Report Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai: A 10 day trip report

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My husband and I flew on Vietnam Airlines from Hanoi to Thailand for a ten day tour of Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Our check-in at Nobai Airport in Hanoi was quick and easy. We checked one bag and I had what I thought was a small carryon bag. The gate agent said I was three kilos overweight on my carry-on bag—but let us through. I guess the weight limit for carry-on is 7 kilos….sigh!

The flight left on time and took only 1.5 hours. They served a quick meal of either beef with noodles or dim sum. My husband wisely took the noodle dish and I tried the dim sum—which was a huge mistake. Once I took off the lid of the dish and the nasty smelling fish sauce escaped—I knew I made a bad choice. Overall my recommendation for food on Vietnam Airlines is to skip it. Every time we have flown this airline the food has been sub-standard.

Due to the helpful people on this forum, I managed to get the “crazy rate” deal online for the Royal Orchid Sheraton. As many of you know, this is a very nice five star hotel right on the river. I won’t spend much time talking about the place since may others have written about it….but I can’t say enough about the beautiful view from our 23rd floor room and the great morning breakfast buffet. Basically we enjoyed a “champagne” hotel on our typical beer budget. Thanks to many of you for posting the great rates for this place.

But our beer budget made eating and drinking a bit of a challenge in the hotel. After checking several restaurants (beautiful and expensive for us) we ended up eating at restaurants in the surrounding area (Tongue Thai-- GREAT, Gallery Café—Very good, -Yok Yor Restaurant across the river—not so good). One exception to the high hotel prices (i.e. 250 B for a beer at the pool) is the bar where you catch the boat to the skytrain. Their beers are 50B each –which is a GREAT deal. Needless to say, we spent a bit of time in that region of the hotel!

We could not get our checkout time extended at the hotel—and thus had to check out at 2pm . We were taking the train at 6:30pm that evening to Chiang Mai, so had a bit of time to kill. We both were tired and decided to hang out at the hotel pool. We left our baggage with the hotel doorman and wandered over to the upper pool where I swam my daily laps. I went into the “bathroom” by the upper pool to change from my swim suit to clothes and whooped with joy when I found a HUGE locker room facility with showers, steam room, changing rooms and hair dryers. I showered and then whooped again—this time in dismay when I got on the scale that was in the locker room. GAK—I have been living in Hanoi for three months and now know the good food there has added a few more pounds than I expected—(another sigh).

…….to come: The overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

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    Glad you liked Tongue Thai and the Gallery Cafe. They are two of our faviorites. We always stay at the ROS. It is well-located and the pools are great. I always took my morning shower after a sauna downsatairs.

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    I also had a traditional Thai massage in the place over the Gallery Cafe. 350B for an hour and 500B for 2 hours. I was sad that I only got an hour massage because it was wonderful. The place is very clean! I have learned to ask for a "gentle" massage --otherwise they beat the hell out of you. This women really was good and kept asking if it was ok--and not painful. Wish I could say that for some of the other places I tried on our trip....but I will fill in those details later.

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    My restaurant experiences in Hanoi are mostly street food. My students want me to try all the "delicious Hanoi foods". Thus I typically end up eating Cow Udder..... if you want to read that story, check out the link below to my blog account of this interesting meal.

    http://geoasian.blogspot.com/2010/10/udderlyummmmminteresting.html

    I have eaten at the Green Tangerine and also Cha Ca La Vong which serves interesting grilled fish. Most online reviews are critical of the place, but I thought it was ok and the students I took with me loved the place.

    I posted here a couple of years ago about Hanoi restaurant recommendations: http://www.fodors.com/community/asia/hanoi-restaurant-recommendations.cfm

    These came from local Vietnamese. We did try Quan Ngon Restaurant, Phan Boi Chau Street: It was good!

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    PART II - Bangkok to Chiang Mai via Overnight Train…..

    Since I love trains, I convinced my husband to take the train from BKK to Chiang Mai on our trip. I was put in contact with a local Bangkok travel agent via the travel agency I use in Hanoi (Binhtours). They booked our tickets for the train and also our Air Asia tickets from Chiang Rai back to Bkk. If you are going to take the train, you need to book your tickets as early as possible. We wanted first class sleeper tickets—but they were sold out (about 3 weeks before our trip)….so we had them purchase second class sleeper tickets instead.

    We left our hotel (ROS) around 4pm for the train station. We thought it would take longer than the 10 minute- 50B taxi ride to get there. Once we arrived, we wished we hung out a bit longer at our hotel. My recommendation for anyone taking the train is to arrive about 30 minutes before train departure. The train station is pretty much a dump. I read online that they had restaurants, a grocery store and some shops. Well…..yeah, they do. But if you consider KFC a “nice restaurant” than you will like the station. Everyone was sitting on the floor because all the seats were taken. The grocery store was really a mini shop with nothing but package food (ie twinkies and instant ramen). We finally spotted a coffee shop upstairs and hung out there until it was time to board the train.

    The first class sleepers were sold out when we purchased our tickets…but I had taken the second class sleeper about 15 years ago from BKK to Hat Yai in southern Thailand and it was fine. When we boarded the train I said to myself….Hmmm, the trains have really gotten grubby since the last time I rode them. But I put on a good “face” for my grumbling husband. The train left pretty much on time….but we did learn that this train was not a “through” train. The tracks were flooded about an hour north of Bangkok and we were going to have to get off and ride a bus around the flooded section. I decided it was just part of the “experience”. So about 9:30pm, just as I was getting sleepy, we had to grab our luggage and get off the train. They had 3 or 4 huge buses waiting for all the passengers. We jumped on a bus…only to learn that it had no AC. So for the 1.5 hour “detour” I sat crammed into the top section of a bus with about 50 other sweating Thais. I was wishing for an airplane ticket at that point.

    But we arrived safely at the station and waiting for us was the train—this time with newer and cleaner cars with the berths already made and waiting for us. Since it was almost 11pm at that point, I was very happy to crawl into my little bunk and rock my way northward. My husband and I realized that the first train we were on was probably just a “local” train and not the nicer sleepers they use for long hauls.

    The second-class sleeper cars have two LARGE seats facing each other. These seats morph into an upper and lower bunk for sleeping. They really are comfortable. Since I am smaller than my husband, I graciously took the upper bunk. It is a bit narrower than the lower and does not have a window. Since it was dark outside, the lack of a window didn’t matter. The bunks have privacy curtains and basically are pretty nice. Clean sheets, blanket and pillow….and the mattress was very comfortable. The bathroom was at the end of the car—two sinks in the open area and a “sitter” and a “squatter” toilet on each side. They toilets were ok….nothing great, but they were stainless steel with the usual sprayer close by. They even had toilet paper!

    I popped ½ an Ambien, stuck some ear plugs I always carry with me in my ears and snuggled into my little bunk---- and slept pretty well. I woke up around 7am and found that the conductor had a hot water pot plugged in –so I hauled out the special Ethiopian Sidamo coffee I had brought….and using my Aeropress coffee maker, made a couple of cups of coffee for us. You should have seen the people sniffing when the great coffee aroma waffed through the car. By the way—if you are a coffee drinker and want a good travel coffee maker, Google “Aeropress” and spend $25 for the best travel coffee maker around.

    We arrived in Chiang Mai about 10:30am…..not the 7:45am that was scheduled. The bus leg took quite a bit of time and put us off schedule by about three hours. This was not a big deal for us—since we basically travel by the seat of our pants….and don’t make any daily plans—except for lodging and transportation. We caught a taxi ….actually one of the pickup trucks with two benches in the back to our hotel. A quick shower and we were ready to explore Chiang Mai.

    Next installment….Chiang Mai and DeNaga Hotel.

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    Gailmo (first of all, what part of MO? I'm from west central Illinois, so maybe not tooooooo far away)

    Have you ever tried the French press sort of coffee maker? My DH travels with a small Bodum. Just wondering if your aeropress is about the same, or better. Is it glass? I'm always concerned about breakage when we go to Europe and Bangkok with a glass pot in the suitcase. I think using filters would improve the taste of the coffee...maybe?

    Anyway, I'm enjoying your trip report! Some time when you go to Bangkok, you should try Maeng's cooking (Pickled Liver on Sukhumvit soi 11). The price is very cheap and the food is always fantastic.

    Keep the report coming, please!

    Carol

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    Carol,
    I live in Columbia, MO. Retired (as of Sept 1) from University of Missouri and hopped on a plane to Hanoi on Sept 9. I am hoping that the travel/teach routine keeps me coming back to Asia as much as possible.

    I used a french press coffee maker for travel for years...but then ran across the aeropress. Wow...what a difference. It is plastic and all you need to carry is the aeropress-which fits together --some filters --a small spoon--cup--and of course coffee. When you look at their website you see all this "stuff" that comes with it. No need to carry it all. The coffee maker is hard BPA free plastic--so unbreakable.

    I have purchased at least five or six of these units---because when I take it with me someone sees it and I end up giving it to them. I have an engineer friend who lives in Hong Kong who said it was the best engineered coffee maker he had every seen. And of course, I left it with him! I also give them as gifts to my coffee loving travel friends!

    ...and on another note: I roast my own coffee--so am somewhat picky about what I drink. I was able to buy some highland green coffee beans in Thailand last week and am going to try roasting them here in Hanoi. That should drive the neighbors crazy!!!

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    I'm going to show your aeropress link to my DH to see if he is interested in switching. Maybe... maybe not. We'll see. But thanks so much for the information. To me, it sounds much better than what he takes along with him now. And cleaning the French press (his job) can be messy.

    I don't roast my own beans, but I've been getting Gevalia for at least 20-25 years... whenever they started their mail order business. I always get whole beans and my coffee maker has a grind feature. Very hard to beat my Gevalia coffee every morning!! We buy Jamaica Blue Mtn beans in Zurich and have it ground on site. That's what DH uses in his French press. Bet they would work in the aeropress.

    Columbia, eh... I've driven through there several times. We go to KC at least four times a year and try different routes from our location (near Peoria and Quad Cities) and that route sometimes goes in your direction.

    I retired in 2004 from teaching first grade for 33 years. The idea of teaching in SE Asia sounds interesting, but my busy schedule would allow for such a long term stay. A teacher friend of mine, and her DH, try to go to BKK every year or two, for a one-month stay, to teach English at a school in Bangkapi (sp). They really enjoy it.

    Anyway, maybe we'll meet up in BKK sometime. I'll be there for almost 3 weeks, for the holidays, starting Dec 17.

    Carol

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    Chaing Mai – DeNaga Hotel
    We arrived in Chiang Mai and easily caught a taxi (truck with two bench seats in the covered back bed) to our hotel. We chose the DeNaga Hotel - located within the original part of the city –and very close to many of the wats and market areas. We walked to all these sites from this hotel. We selected this hotel based upon a recommendation on this forum and also its ratings on TripAdvisor. Using Agoda, we paid $57 per night. It really is a lovely place. It is a small hotel located in the heart of Chiang Mai. It is located in a side street area just off one of the cities main drags. It is quiet, the rooms are very nice and the ambiance of the place –especially at night is spectacular. I would rave more about it—except the fact that they were doing some renovation work while we were there. The pool was closed. The poolside bar was closed. The restaurant was closed. When I learned this bit of surprising news while checking in, I was not a happy camper. I wanted to hate the hotel because most of the things listed on their website were not available. But as we settled in and I got over my anger about the renovations, I realized that I really liked the place. As someone said on another post on this forum, it really is a bargain for everything you get. The rooms were very nice, very clean and the courtyard and setting of the hotel is wonderful. We stayed at the five star Sheraton in Bangkok before our stay here and I felt this hotel and its rooms were equal to that location.

    We decided to see some of the Wats after lunch and walked to three of the closest ones nearest our hotel. They all were interesting and we managed to spend a good three hours puttering around the city. Across the street from Wat Phra Singh, we saw a travel agency (Top Thailand Adventure Tours – 108 Rachadmnoen Rd) that had a sign outside that said “One day eco trekking in less touristy area” and something about individualized tours—not the regular bus type of tours that we saw many places advertising. I walked into their agency and talked to several people and picked up a brochure. My husband and I wanted to go trekking in the area but had no idea where or what. I also was very suspicious of the many tour agencies that seemed to be selling “canned tours” of the ethnic minority villages where you drive to an area and a few “long neck” women come out and allow you to take pictures.

    We ended up booking a one day eco-trek and agricultural tour to Doi Inthanon National Park with this agency. It was a bit more money (2000B/ person) than I wanted to pay—but it sounded exactly like what we wanted to do. And it was well worth the money! The next morning at 8am the young man we talked to the previous day at the agency showed up with a truck (4 passenger crew cab) and driver. I was surprised and pleased to learn that he was our guide for the day. His English was excellent and he had a great understanding of the area and its people. He told us he was born in a small village just north of Chiang Mai and he went to the Wat school that we visited before we stumbled into their travel agency.

    We visited many areas that day….and did quite a bit of trekking in the villages in the National Park. They had one of the minority men who lived in the village also accompany us on the trek….which made it even better. We started our trek at a small settlement that raised a variety of crops—including coffee. Since I am a coffee fanatic, I loved seeing how they processed the coffee and roasted it. We ended up buying two kilos of green coffee---We roast our own coffee and so we will be roasting this batch in a few weeks. We tromped through villages and rice fields. We crossed bamboo bridges above roaring rivers and saw at least 5 huge and beautiful waterfalls on our hike. Our guide had packed a lunch for us—and we sat at the base of one of these waterfalls and had a great lunch of chicken, rice, vegetables, salad, fruit and cake. At the end of a very full day of hiking and exploration of the National Park area, we returned to the hotel very muddy, very tired and very, very happy we went on this one day tour. Most of the time when you book a tour with a travel agent, they don’t actually run the tour. But this agency does run its own tours—and they did an excellent job.

    We ate that night at Jerusalem Falafel—located just down the street from our hotel. The food was really good and since we were pretty tired, we just took a short walk afterwards and headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep.

    We spent our final day in Chiang Mai walking –walking-walking! We wanted to see the town and also do some shopping so we ended up walking down to the river and managed to poke around every small street we saw! We had lunch at the “Whole Earth Restaurant” (Good!) and then wandered here and there….finally ending up back at our hotel for a nap. Later that night we headed off for dinner at a restaurant called “House”. We found the restaurant but somehow ended up next door at “Ginger” restaurant. I am not sure if they are owned by the same people—they share a courtyard and I did see some food and drinks moving between the two places. But—Wow….the food was excellent! We both said that if we had found this restaurant the first night we would have returned every night afterward. We walked back to the hotel and packed up our gear because we had to be at the Chiang Mai bus station at 8am the next morning.

    To be continued….Green Bus to Chiang Rai

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    Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai – Green Bus

    We scheduled the 8am “Green Bus” from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai.

    The Green Bus is a very easy and inexpensive way to travel to Chiang Rai. The only difficulty was buying our tickets. You really need to get them a day (or so) ahead of time. We took a tuk-tuk to the bus station the day we arrived in Chiang Mai to buy ours. The line for the VIP Air conditioned bus was LONG—in fact so long that our tuk-tuk driver said he would not wait for us and just wanted ½ the money we agreed on. We were fine with this—so he left and we waited in line for 30 minutes or so to get our tickets. We did discover that most of the people in line were buying tickets for that day— nevertheless, I suggest (as other people have said before) buy your tickets a day or so prior to departure. If you don’t, you may be faced with long lines and a sold-out bus. All the seats on our bus were filled.

    We left Chiang Mai on time and had a pleasant 3-hour drive to Chiang Rai. The AC on the bus stopped working and the driver came back and explained the problem—and he opened the upper vents providing air circulation. It was not hot that day---so we were lucky and didn’t have much of a problem with the AC situation. I think this is a rare occurrence.

    The Bus has as “stewardess” who passes out bottled water and a cellophane wrapped sweet bread roll with some type of filling in it. No English was spoken—but it was ok because we really had no other problems. We arrived on time at the bus station in Chiang Rai. The station is pretty far outside of town—so we negotiated for a tuk-tuk to take us to our hotel.

    Baan Nattawadee Hotel, Chiang Rai

    I put a post on Fodor’s Asia site to see if anyone could recommend a good hotel in our price range. Few comments or suggestions were made—so we were on our own. After a few days of poking around on TripAdvisor, my husband found a place called Baan Nattawadee Hotel. My fear about booking it was the price--$30 a night! Gak—too low! But the reviews were excellent…so using Agoda, I booked the hotel for a whopping $59.88 for two nights.

    Not one of the taxi or tuk-tuk drivers knew of this hotel…but fortunately I had written down the name, address (no help to them) AND THEIR PHONE NUMBER. This was a good move on my part. After wandering around Chiang Rai on the back of a tuk-tuk, (stopping at one wrong hotel) the driver finally called and got directions. GAD—this place was WAY out of town--A 60B ride during the day and an 80-100B ride once the sun went down. When we checked in we discovered that the advertised restaurant was closed because the owner had a new baby and was not cooking any longer. My hubby and I looked at each other and wondered what the heck we had done. But we checked out the room. BIG- CLEAN – COMFORTABLE. So our needs were met! It wasn’t fancy—but clean is my touchstone and this place was that! We wandered back to the main desk because we needed a wireless password. We sat and talked to the owner –who was wonderful. She asked us about lunch and after talking about our options, she said she would “whip up” some noodles and pork for our lunch. So we sat and did email and a few minutes later two huge plates of a wonderful pork noodle dish was placed in front of us. WOW….great food. While we ate we talked with her about our afternoon options. She suggested getting a tuk-tuk for the entire afternoon (500B) and seeing the White Temple and Black House. I liked the Ying-Yang of Black/White. So off we went—no negotiations on the tuk-tuk price because she took care of this when she called them. We knew what the white temple was—but we had no idea what a “black house” would be.

    The tuk-tuk driver took us to the “black house” first because it closed early that afternoon. HOLY SMOKES…..this place was simply AMAZING!

    The Black House is the creation of Thawan Duchanee. This web site: (http://www.chiang-rai.biz/activities/baan-si-dum-the-black-house) shows the site and this one: (www.thawanduchanee.com/ ) describes his work. As with most art, being in the presence of these works was much more powerful than any photos could convey. The many, many buildings filled with his work were stunning. We were the only people there and the artist was “in residence” having a meeting with several other people. The site covers a large area and we just wandered around. It was very interesting.

    Leaving the black world, we headed to the White Wat, the creation of Chalermchai Kositpipat. It was about a 30-minute trip from black to white.

    The wat glowed and sparkled in the late afternoon sun when we arrived due to the combination of totally white paint and mirror-chips embedded in the building decorations. The interior of the main temple, which we were not allowed to photograph, was equally unconventional. Although it had a Buddha on the altar emphasizing the possibility of freedom from the stress and suffering of life, the interior walls were being painted by Kositpipat as we visited, with scenes depicting hopes, struggles and fears-- including images of Superman, Spiderman and the Neo character from the movie The Matrix. Rather bizarre!

    The tuk-tuk driver dropped us off in town about 5pm that evening at a street side bar. We wanted to shop at the night market and also find some food-- so we sat for an hour enjoying the local beer and watching the world walk by.

    Around 6pm we walked into the market area—people were still setting up for the evening trade. Since this was our last stop in Thailand before we flew “home” to Hanoi, we wanted to do some gift shopping here. But before shopping—food! Holy smokes—the night market’s food was amazing. Stall after stall of every type of Thai food possible! We settled on a HUGE plate of shrimp and vegetable tempura (50B) –which was followed by a second plate of shrimp tempura—(30B) because the first was sooooo good! We each had a fruit drink (passion fruit for me and Banana for my husband -20B for two). The food was excellent—and the swirl of activity around us was even more interesting.

    One thing we noticed while in Thailand—especially in Chiang Rai was the large number of western men (typically in their 50’s or older) with very young Thai women on their arms! (Yeah, I know----and I won’t go there.) But in the food area of the night market—we saw many, many “families”—older western men with much younger Thai women and their young children. It was interesting to watch how they gathered and talked. The men all talked (and drank) while the Thai women took care of the kids and didn’t talk much. My husband is a social worker---and I am a geographer, so the two of us had a long and interesting discussion about the geographical location of this “phenomena” and the interaction patterns and challenges facing these families and their children.

    It was a really interesting afternoon and evening!

    We tuk-tuked back to our hotel—again the driver didn’t know where it was located—but I had a map (which he couldn’t read!!!!) so I pointed and directed him to our nice little hotel on the fringe of Chiang Rai.

    We slept well—and the next morning ate breakfast -American or Thai (choose Thai it is very, very good!) and again wondered what to do. The previous day the owner had mentioned that we could get a car and English-speaking driver if we wished. I was hesitant to book an entire day because it rained much of the evening. But the day was clear with not one cloud in the sky! So I asked if she could get a car and driver for us. She made a call and returned saying the driver would pick us up in 45 minutes! We were amazed at this fast service. We were even more amazed when we discovered that we were using the “hotel car” (….their car!) and the driver was a local man—a farmer who learned to speak English at a hotel he worked at sometimes. His English was ok---not perfect, but understandable. Cost for car + driver for entire day—1800B

    At breakfast we also talked to the husband of the owner. He had just finished his exam to be a judge and this was the first time we had met him. I admired his “Thai Fisherman” pants—and asked where I might buy some. He got up—went into his house and came back with a pair of them. HE GAVE ME HIS PANTS. I am not kidding…..I put them on and wore them all day! When we returned that night he said he had purchased more at the market and if I wanted them—they were 150B a pair. My husband and I each bought another pair. I also admired the T-shirts with the hotel logo on them and he had more of them made that day in our sizes! How can you beat service like this?

    We spent the day visiting a variety of locations including Mae Salong and its beautiful tea plantations, Doi Tung --the site of the Queen Mother's beautiful house and gardens, a visit to the Golden Triangle and the Opium Museum—including a long tail boat ride on the Mekong River. Our final stop as the sun was setting was a more peaceful area in Chiang Saen where we visited remnants of an ancient Thai kingdom.

    The driver dropped us off about 7pm at the Sunday night market in Chiang Rai—what chaos—we really did not hang around long because it seemed like every teenager in the area was at the market. We are dinner at "Cabbages and Condoms," a venture by the Thai Ministry of Health "to make condoms as available as cabbages." We never could figure out what the connection was with a restaurant, which may be why the food was a disappointment. But the restaurant had some interesting sights: A Santa Claus dressed head to foot in red and white condoms; a sign stating, “Our food is guaranteed not to cause pregnancy”. My husband said that they probably have a great collection of condoms in the toilet—so off he went to check it out! He came back with a disappointed look on his face---Nothing!

    We took a tuk-tuk back to the hotel—arriving about 9pm. We were tired and slept like logs that night! Our flight to Bangkok was at 12:30pm the next day. We decided to just hang out at the hotel –so we ate a long and lazy Thai breakfast. The hotel owner offered to drive us to the airport—which is a long way outside of town. We were dropped off in plenty of time for our Air Asia flight back to BKK.

    NOTE ABOUT AIR ASIA: You only are allowed 7K carry on baggage. We were over that limit with our carry-ons and had to check them. NO FREE BAGGAGE on Air Asia. We had to pay 625B for two small (but 13K) suitcases! I didn’t know this…I did check online but couldn’t figure out how to “supersize” our luggage because we had an agent buy our tickets for us. Oh well……. My recommendation is to “supersize” baggage when you book your ticket. It is very cheap if you do it at that time.

    Our flight left on time and we had a smooth flight to BKK. Baggage took about 15 minutes to appear.


    To come: Airport hotel and final night in Bangkok.

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    Enjoying your report. We loved the White Temple, but never knew there was a black house. I don't think anyone else has every reported it. Nice find. We also really enjoyed the Sunday night market. There were tons of families there when we went.

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    You write such great report, thankyou for taking the time.
    I also like trains. Do you think first class has private bathrooms? I am kind of a clean freak. Does the train smell second hand smoke?
    I have been telling people to put all the heavy stuff in their carry-ons because nobody ever checked the several times I flew with Air Asia Malaysia/Thai/Indonesia. Maybe things have changed. First time I flew Air Asia I voluntarily told them my carry-on was more than their weight limit, I paid a fine for that. I learned quickly honesty may not be the best policy.

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    First class I am told does not have private bathroom--but to be sure, just check online. I believe that the Thai Trains now do not allow smoking. I did not see anyone smoking on our trip--which leads me to believe that it is not permitted.

    I am not sure about Air Asia weighing carry-ons. I knew my carry on was over their limit-so I just tossed it onto the belt for check in. Maybe that was a mistake!!!!

    One more segment to go on this report---hopefully I will have it finished tomorrow. I need to get it completed so I can move on to other things!!

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    Gail - enjoying your report greatly. We are looking at returning to the area after a long absence so I'm very interested. The info about the aeropress is really interesting too. I usually travel with a french press but this sounds way more convenient.

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    To "gailmo"
    Haven't been to Bankok in years, but did stay at the Royal Orchid. Glad to hear it's still good...Where or how did you get a "crazy rate" that was so good? If anyone else knows, please post.
    Thanks!!

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    I found the "crazy rate" in a post on this forum--I think the one titled ROS. It was offered by asiatravel.com about two months ago. I believe this type of rate was ending in early November.

    ..and to answer Bob's earlier question. I am "off" to Missouri next! I leave Hanoi on Dec. 1 and will be back home for the holidays. I am already sad just thinking about leaving my good friends and "Vietnamese family".

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    Gail: I am enjoying this very much.

    I have a question about your time in Hanoi: You probably mentioned this elsewhere, but what were you teaching and how did you arrange this?

    Thanks..a geography major

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    Sorry for the late reply on this message.

    I was teaching a class called "GIS for Teachers". This was a geography class that introduced mapping science and GIS to pre-service teachers in Hanoi. It was my second time teaching at Hanoi National University of Education. My department in the US (U of Missouri) has a Vietnam Institute program that works to bring Vietnamese students to the US to study. I was able to arrange my teaching through this program.

    A side note: I am back in Missouri --arrived home two daze ago! I plan to return to Hanoi again next fall! I love it!

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  21. 21 You're Not Going to Japan AGAIN?
  22. 22 Hotel or Air First for Japan?
  23. 23 First trip to Japan-17 night Itinerary in Cherry Blossom season
  24. 24 Elephants in Northern Thailand
  25. 25 Trip Report From Ryokan to Buddhist Monastery: Two Weeks in Japan
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