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Trip Report SE Asia...It's so Hot!

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This report covers our first trip to Asia....and includes Bangkok (5nts) Koh Lanta (4 nts) Siem Reap, Cambodia (4 nts), Vietnam: Hanoi (4nts) Halong Bay (1 nt) Hue (2 nts) Hoi An (3 nts) Saigon (2 nts) Mekong River cruise (1 nt) and Bali: Seminyak (2 nts) and Ubud (6nts). Thanks to all the Fodorites who answered my many questions and gave great advice.

My husband and I (me....mid 50's...he later 60's) arrived on time in Bangkok on March 31, via Hong Kong on Cathay Pacific. I'm not sure their self-reclining seats live up to the hype, but they sure beat any American airline....full flight...guess the protests haven''t affected these flights yet. Our anti-jet lag tactic of staying up all night until 7am (body time) we left LA at midnight.....and then we tried to sleep for 7 hrs, helped us adjust to local time with little jet lag....also took the anti-jet lag pillls, homeopathic from NZ.
Arranged driver thru Tong to pick us up....shouldn't have bothered. We actually had to walk pretty far to another gate to meet him, then because he had a van whose height couldn't fit in the parking structure, we had to walk pretty far to a surface lot....and it was already mighty hot at 11am.....and no cold towel or water offered. Should have taken AOT or even just a regular taxi.

Arrived at our refuge, the Peninsula Hotel, and wasn't crazy about our grand deluxe room because it wrapped around the side of the hotel, and the main window was smack in front of a huge construction tower project with cranes....and no bump out floor to ceiling window like pictured on website.

I have to say, service has nver been real high on my list of needs, but I was expecting much from the previous comments about the Peninsula. Overall, I'd say is was good but not outstanding. The check in person thought I was checking out a day earlier, seemed confused about getting us a room...no fruit plate in room although it was clear the set up was there, etc.

Anyway, we went to the Spa for massages....I tried Thai and my husband, Swedish and they were easily the best massages we've ever had. However, they were pricey, $120 for an hour and20 min...but the hotel had given us discount vouchers which took $18 off the price. We thought it was worth it after such a long flight.
Just ate dinner at Thriptara, their Thai restaurant, in a lovely setting along the river, but the food was good but unremarkable. Stayed awake until 9:30pm which was good and slept in the most comfortable bed/pillow ever until 5:30am.

Forgot to mention, following our massages, I asked for a different room and they gave me one with more of a forward view of the river on the 27th floor so I was happy.

Next am., savored their wonderful breakfast buffet seated right along the river...just don't order eggs benedit. We got there about 6:30am and it was already very warm.

Lily, our guide arranged thru Tong, met us in the lobby at 8am, and we were off via the river boats to the Grand Palace comples. We spent a lot fime there and LIly expained a lot about color signficance, styles of Buddhas, and the Ramayana story which was depicted in many bas reliefs....we grew to be very tired of this story ( also heard a lot of it in Angkor Wat comlex) Just when we thouht we'd pass out from the heat....we left for a canal tour along Klong Mon on a private long tail boat that she grabbed. Then, we went to Wat Pho and saw the huge reclining buddha. By this time, we needed lunch....se we asked to go to the Coconut Palm, which Tong has recommended in the past. Took a short Tuk Tuk ride there....food ws OK. Then, I wanted to go to Vinmarek, the largest teak mansion, included with our Grand Palace ticket. Lily said we'd have to be a little "brave" because the red shirts were near there. We took a taxi, and she waited while we went with a tour group, which was in Thai, so the tour wasn't that great. Still nice to see. She seemed surprised we weren't with an English speaking group, but maybe she could have ensured that? After, we were spent, but she insisted we go to another property in Dusit Park, which contained incredible treasures. I believe it was called the Throne room buildng inside all carrera marble, handpainted frescoes on the domed ceiling, and yes, gorgeous gold and jewelled, howdahs, palanquines, and ships. Stunning....she waitin ourtside while we toured. If we hadn't been so beat, we would have spent more time there. So it was now 4:30pm...and she grabbed us a taxi to take us back to the Penisula boat dock...and she jumped out along the way.

Overall, she helped us adjust to our first day in Thailand....was very efficient if not very warm....and told us enough about what we were seeing.

That night, we ate dinner in Mai Jiang, the chinese restaurant in the Peninsula..very expensive and some things were great, others not so much. Think it would be better for their dim sum lunch.

View of river and lights of Bangkok were gorgeous from our room and we enjoyed a good sleep, not bothered by jet lag.

Will write more later (we're currently in Siem Reap), but if I had to do it over again...I'd never come here in April....the heat takes it's toll and I'm from southern Florida....thought it wouldn't bother me this much.

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