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Trip to Thailand - advice

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I am planning to take my first trip to Thailand with my partner during the summer later this year. We are thinking of spending the first part of the holiday in Bangkok and then moving on to a Beach resort – for example: Phuket or Krabi.

We want to stay in a very good (but not the most expensive) brackets hotel in central Bangkok. Can anybody give some advice as to a good Hotel that fits these criteria?

Also, can anybody suggest very good quality hotels in either of the two beach destinations that I mentioned? Which is preferable : Phuket or Krabi? I heard that Phuket is very lively and 'young'. Is this true? Is Krabi more relaxing?

Any advice or travel tips to this area would be gratefully received. Thank you.
Mike

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    In Bangkok, you are spoiled for choices of excellent hotels. You can certainly stay in "central" Bangkok - places like the St. Regis, the Renaissance, the Grand Hyatt, the Westin, Plaza Athenee or the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. But I'd highly recommend staying along the river instead. It's a bit less hot along the river and the air is less polluted and you get to observe the endlessly fascinating river traffic - the life blood of Bangkok. Staying along the river gives you easy access to the water taxis which can take you to many of the wats. River hotels also have shuttle boats to take you to the Skytrain for quick and easy access to downtown shopping. Along the river, consider the Oriental and the Peninsula, the Shangri-La, the Anantara Riverside and the Chatrium as good options.

    Both July and August are very rainy on the Andaman Sea - so Phuket, Krabi, Ko Lak, Ko Lanta, etc will all average 10 inches of rain in both July and August. The seas will be rough and the beaches red-flagged (too dangerous to swim). If you don't mind this, you can get great deals on hotels.

    If you would prefer somewhere less rainy, Koh Samui would be a better option for you. Hua Hin would also have better weather.

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