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Draft Itinerary and Questions

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Hi all,

I am in the early stages of planning for a family trip (boys will be 8 and 10) to Thailand this winter with (perhaps) a stop in Siem Riep, Cambodia. I have spent time reading recommendations and reviews but have a few questions. Because we have children, I would like to travel around school vacations so as to minimize time out of school. I was considering leaving shortly after Christmas this year. I admit that this is a LONG read and I apologize for that. (I just re-read it before posting and am cringing at the annoyed responses I may get.)

By way of background: I am very well-travelled, my husband less so, and my children have spent long summers travelling around Europe. I prefer not to spend money on things like zip-lining, etc or things I can really do here. None of us have been to Asia.

Question one: Is a week too long in Bangkok (I know opinions will differ), but will we find ample things to do that don't involve hours-long day trips? We have timeshares and there are ample places to stay in Bangkok that we could take advantage of to minimize out of pocket expenses.

Question two: Airfare is reasonable right now, LAX to Bangkok, but seems to jump in winter, Can anyone speak to reasonable fares in winter or am I going to struggle to find decent flights then? We tend to use miles for flights, so I am assuming that LAX round trip to Bangkok will end up being our best option and would like to not pay too much over our miles benefit.

Question three about interior flights: Once there, it looks like flying to Siem Reap and Chiang Mai are in our best interests to maximize time in country. My first thought was flying from Bangkok to Siem Reap to Chiang Mai and back to Bangkok for departure, but perhaps a roundtrip at some point is best?

Question four: How does this (very early draft) itinerary look?

Day one: Arrival in morning (hopefully) Bangkok
Days 2-7: Bangkok with side trips. (I'm willing to do a couple of longer side trips, but with kids like to minimize the time in seats.) Looks like a full 5 days in Bangkok outside of arrival and departure days.
Day7: Ideally a morning flight to Chiang Mai and a day to get to know the city.
Days 8-9: Chiang Mai and area. This gives me 2 1/2 days in Chiang Mai. Too little?
Day 10-11: Elephant Nature Park overnight (has anyone spent the night there? Does a day tour suffice? )
Day 12: Flight to Siem Reap.
Days 13 -15: Siem Reap
Days 16-20: ???? Assuming I need to get back to Bangkok for a return flight, I would like to spend a few more days in Thailand.

Alternatively, we take a train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with a 2 or 3 night "layover" in between to break up the trip and give us a few more days in Thailand, which would get us closer to the 3 weeks I'd like to spend total. Or we fly to Chiang Mai and do a longer side trip further north to Chiang Rai.

Thank you in advance. I am well aware that itineraries are often too ambitious at the beginning.

Wendy

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