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Itinerary Feedback - Thailand

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My husband and I are throwing together a 10 year anniversary trip for this April. We had originally planned on French Polynesia (new destination for us) or the Caribbean (a new island - maybe St. Lucia - St. John is or fav). After a week of the boards we decided that we are scratching those destinations and want to try some place new that combines culture and laying around on a beach. Thailand seems perfect despite the fact that we will be traveling in April (I believe in being immersed in the destination on the day you are celebrating). We have traveled in Europe several times and are interested in something new and more exotic.

This is the overview of the plan. I will give details below. Apologies if this is not the preferred format.

There are United Awards flights available that we plan on using. Leaving DC Friday afternoon - arriving in BKK very late sat. Spend 3 nights in BKK. Fly to Phuket - 4 nights. Fly to CM or CR for two nights. Fly home. We are squeezing a lot in. I don't like spending only two nights in a destination but our children and grandparents might revolt if we take another night.

Here are my thoughts and questions so far after sorting through the Thai info (thanks to all the Asia experts and other rookies like me):

1. April in hot - Heat doesn't bother us. We vacation in Charleston, SC in August every year and don't mind the BVI's in July. I prefer off season travel. I am not sure if I understand how hot it is. Will we be ok touring very early, shopping in air conditioning or lounging by the pool in the afternoon and then go back out at night?

2. Hotels - this is what I have so far -

BKK - Peninsula

Phuket - The Shore at Katahani - Kata Noi Bach Phuket or Phuket Panwa Beach Resort (west side of Phuket). These both seem like they are on quieter beaches. Both offer private pools.

I am leaning towards CR after reading the forums.
Anantara Golden Triangle - Looks awesome - love the elephants on site - cooking classes - is it really worth $1100 a night?
Le Meridien - is another option - we would probably schedule a tour on our one full day - visit markets and such.

I would really like to see elephants at the conservation camp. That is the main reason I was considering CM.

This is not set in stone. No tickets have been purchased but April is creeping up on us. Any advice or feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Jami

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