3 week itinerary - I guess it is it!

Old Jan 9th, 2006, 06:41 PM
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3 week itinerary - I guess it is it!

Ok, so after almost 4 months with veeeeery late sleeping, I guess my "whole' 3-week south east Asia itinerary is ready to go!. Many thanks to all of you, specially to Bob, wich helped me a lot to try to "pace down" the trip and with almost everything regarding it. I know you all will tell me that it is not enough paced yet, and I will have to agree, but what do people do when they just have short time and so much to see, and lives soooo far from that place? If it changes anything I am 27 and my husband is 29, no kids - I was "intending" to come home pregnant, but my doctor said no no, because of the malaria tabs - please feel free to discuss, I just can´t change the hotels and dates, but everything else is waiting for your advice!

26/02/2006 – Sunday – Arrive Bangkok (06:55), fly to Luang Prabang
Bangkokair PG 632 - 11:30/13:20
Hotel airport pick up.
Lazy afternoon
Massage at the hotel
Hotel Maison Souvannaphoun

27/02/2006 Monday – Luang Prabang
Rent a boat to Pak-Ou caves and to Wat Chop Pet en Wat Xieng Maen, on the other side of the Mekong (I had read of beautifull views here).
Afternoon Wat Xieng Tong and Wat Mai Suwannaphumaham
Restaurant: L'elephant
Hotel Maison Souvannaphoun

28/02/2006 – Tuesday – Luang Prabang
Morning alms giving and back to hotel to breakfast
Transfer to the airport to catch the
Flight Lao Airlines QV 102 – 12:10/12:50
Things to do in Vientiane, if there´s time: Si Saket Temple, Ho Phra Keo Temple, Patousay, That Luang Stupa (I´ll try to rent a taxi at the airport)
Vietnam Airlines VN 840 – 17:40/18:40
Hotel Majestic Salute
Restaurant: Cha Ca La Vong

01/03/2006 – Wed –Hanoi (Vietn&atilde
Visit One Pilar Pagoda, Literature Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Mihn Mausoleum (with driver and guide)
Restaurant: Brother´s Cafe
Hotel Majestic Salute

02/03/2006 – Thu – 2 day trip with overnight in Halong Bay (private junk)
Pick up at 8:00 am then transfer to Halong City. Boarding for cruise around noon, lunch followed with fresh seafood.
Sleep in private boat

03/03/2006 – Fri – Halong/ Hanoi
Lunch in town then return to Hanoi. Trip ends at 4:30 pm.
Hoa Sua garden café and restaurant
Hotel Majestic Salute

04/03/2006 – Sat – Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh
Vietnam Airlines 213 - 07:40/09:40
Temples: Pagoda of the Jade Emperor (Phuoc Hai) THIEN HAU TEMPLE
Complete Day Cao Dai Temple And Cu Chi Tunnels Tour (all with driver and guide)
Hotel New World
Lemongrass Restaurant

05/03/2006– Sun – Ho Chi Minh/ SiemReap
Early morning Ben Thanh Market
Flight to Siem Reap - Vietnam Airlines 827 - 11:40/12:40
Airport Transfer and go to hotel
Visit Artisans Dángkor
Massage at hotel
Temple?
Hotel De la Paix Angkor

06/03/2006 – Mon – Siem Reap - Angkor Temples
View Sunrise at Angkor Thom
Bayon/ Terrace of the Leper King / West Gate / Phimeanakas / Preah Palillay /Victoria Gate
Mid-day rest at hotel
Afternoon: Thommanom / Ta Prohm/Banteay Kdei/ Srah Srang/Ta Som /Neak Pean / Preah Khan
Hotel De la Paix Angkor

07/03/2006 – Tue - Siem Reap – Bangkok
Early morning Banteay Srei Temple
Banteay Samre
Flight to Bangkok – Bangkok Airways PG 939V 15:30 16:30
Restaurant Tongue Thai
Holiday Inn Silom Bangkok

08/03/2006– Wed - BANGKOK
Boat by the river hoping on and off. First stop Grand Palace.
National Museum, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho (massages 6-10usd), Wat Arum.
Two-hour tour of Bangkok Noi for around 4:30pm when the air is starting to cool.
Restaurant China House
Holiday Inn Silom Bangkok

09/03/2006 - Tue - BANGKOK
Chinatown, Wat Traimit
Klong tour?
Restaurant Bed Superclub
Holiday Inn Silom Bangkok

10/03/2006- Fri - BANGKOK
06:30 - Early morning (with Ratt) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
On arrival check in at “new” hotel and Lunch at Jim Thompson´s House
Paragon Mall and aquarium
Central Chidlom Food Court
Holyday Inn Bangkok – Ploenchit Road

11/03/2006 - Sat - BANGKOK – SUKOTHAI
Early Morning Erawan Shrine
Flight to Sukhothai 12:40 / 13:50 PG602
Get rental car at the airport. Route No. 101 to Sukhothai Historical Park followed by Sri Satchanalai Historical Park and Baan Had Seow.
Ananda Museum Gallery Hotel - Sukothai

12/03/2006 - Sun- SUKOTHAI – LAMPANG (207 Km)
Continue northwards on route No. 101 then turn left westbound to route No. 11 to Lampang. Sightseeing the city and Wat Phra That e Kaew Don Tao, the Burmese temple.
Hotel River Lodge – Lampang

13/03/2006- Mon - LAMPANG – CHIANG RAI (225km)
Step back to route No. 1 towards Chiang Rai with a stop at Kwan PhaYao in the central of PhaYao (130km), to admire Wat Sri Khom Khum (lakeside budist temple). Continue on route No. 1 to Chiang Rai.
Visit Chiang Rai “downtown” attractions.
Hotel Dusit Island Resort - Chiang Rai

14/03/2006 – Tue - CHIANG RAI
Visit Golden Triangle on the Maekhong River where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma meet, and then to Tha Khi Lek Bridge. Afterwards, a boat trip along Mae Kok River.
Meet poon at the hotel in the afternoon and plan next day driving.
Hotel Imperial Golden Triangle Resort
Restaurant Golden Triangle Café

15/03/2006 – Wed - CHIANG RAI – CHIANG MAI (182km)
I have no idea of this driving, as I hired Poon to be our guide.
I want to visit as many hilltribes as possible.
Hotel D2

16/03/2006 – Thu- Chiang Mai
Walk/drive around oldtown
Siam Silverware Factory
Wat Sri Suphan. art.
MalaiCome
Siam Celadom
Wat Mahawan
Phra Singh
Wat Jet Yot.
Restaurant Huen Phen
Hotel D2

17/03/2006 – Fri - Chiang Mai
Samkanpeang Village and Borsang
Doi Pui Meo Village.
Visit Phra Dhat Doi Suthep overlooking the city from the viewpoint
Hotel D2


18/03/2006 – Sat – Chiang Mai - Bangkok
Morning Cooking Class for my husband and Spa for me
Afternoon walk around open market
Car return at Chiang Mai airport
Flight Chiang Mai-Bangkok ThaiAirways 21:10/22:20

Flight Home: Thai Airways 00:15
…………………………………………………

Thanks for reading this all!!!!
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:06 PM
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Yipes! I hope you survive this trip. Travel in SE Asia is best when it is slow, when you can slow down and experience the culture. By my count, you are visiting LP, Vientiane for part of a day (this is truly nuts), Hanoi, Halong Bay, HCMC, Siem Reap, Bangkok, Sukothai, Lampang, Chaing Rai and Chaing Mai (11 places) in a little less than three weeks. In three weeks, you should be visiting four places at most. I fear this will be a miserable trip in which you are exhausted all the time, don't even know where you are let alone what you are seeing.

I'm sorry to be so negative, but I really think this will be a trip you regret. If Bob has helped you scale down your trip, I would hate to have seen what it looked like before!

Stop and re-consider what is most important to you about this trip? What do you want to see/do/experience? Then replan the trip, cutting out half to two-thiirds of the stops. You can cancel hotels, change plane reservations. Better to changer the trip now than to return exhausted and miserable and not having had any of the experiences you wanted to have.

(By the way, the way the rest of us do it is by choosing carefully, and knowing we will return. You are young, you have lots of travel ahead of you).
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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Kathie,

I really apreciated your post. Thanks for taking the time. It made me laugh of my self. I wonder what myhusband will tell me when he sees the itinerary too

I agree with you that (as Bob said) is "aggressive"!!!!
But i just don´t know what to cut!!! I really want so hard to be in all those places... I am very anxious, curious, active, I don´t even know "exactly" what I want to see most and I just couldn´t hear/see all those places in my research and let them go by...

If it was you, what would you cut?

yes, the half-day in Vientiane sounds the crazyest of all, I didn´t even want to go there, but due to air tickets schedule I will HAVE to stay those hours there. I thought the sightseeing would be better than the airpot, if I can get a taxi.

Anyway, MANY thanks for sharing, sorry for my english and for my anxiousness (I am not sure of this word, maybe I just made it up),

Maria
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:43 PM
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Here is some concrete feedback about your itinerary, and some different things you could do to adjust it:

You have way too much planned for your exceptionally short time in Siem Reap. There is no way you can actually see that many temples in so little time, and you haven't even scheduled yourselves to see the largest temple, Angkor Wat! If you are interested in the temples, schedule yourselves enough time to visit the main temples, three days. If you aren't interested in the temples, then skip Siem Reap. If you visit Siem Reap, skip Sukothai, as those temples will pale in comparison.

Skip Vientiane. You haven't got enough time to do or see anything.

If you are interested in Hanoi, then don't do Halong Bay. That way you'll have three days in Hanoi (which is minimal, but is better than what you have scheduled).

Transit HCMC, which will give you a little more time in Siem Reap.

Your idea that you want to visit as many hilltribes in one day as possible is unrealistic. You might manage one hill tribe visit. You spend a lot of time driving around Northern Thailand - is that how you want to spend your time? You may want to reconsider how to configure your northern Thailand time.

You've planned to see four countries in three weeks. In reality, you'd be better off seeing one or two countries. Vietnam deserves a trip of it's own. If I were you, I'd cut it out entirely this trip.

You have a more realistic amount of time in Bangkok. I expect Bob helped you a lot with that. You probably still have it overplanned, but you can make adjustments as you go.

I know you didn't want feedback to change your itinerary, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you I think you are making a major mistake by trying to cram too much into too little time.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 07:44 PM
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Maria, your English is fine! Good luck in making adjustments to your schedule.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 08:08 PM
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Damn, just when I thought I had trouble scaling down my itinerary. I don't see any resting or relaxing scheduled in there at all. I'm getting exhausted just reading it! Maria, please do yourself and your hubby a favor and listen to the advice the others are giving you. It's just too much to fast in my opinion.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 08:10 PM
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Okay, I take back the part about rest and relaxation, I see you've scheduled a few hours and acouple massages... yikes.
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Old Jan 9th, 2006, 09:51 PM
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Kathie,

thanks for the advice. I think i will cut Laos at all. There´s no sense in "loosing" one whole day going from LPQ to Hanoi, just because there are no direct flights. I prefer to skip Laos than Halong Bay because that´s the ONLY place my husband asked to be. And it is the only two days that we will probably just laze.
I will check if I can really cancel my air tickets from Laos, so I´ll cut it and Sukhothai and Lampang too.
That way I will be giving myself two extra whole days in Hanoi (but the first one is after the long overseas fligh, soooo), another one in Siem reap, and another in Chiang Mai, that i believe I will really enjoy.

Thanks for the help, I will let you know latter,

Maria
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 06:59 AM
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Those changes will help, Maria. You are still doing a lot. I'd say also cut HCMC and just fly through it to Siem Reap. That will get you another day.

Good luck!
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 07:44 AM
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I haven't visited SE Asia yet but I have been planning my Thailand/Cambodia trip for months.

One thing to keep in mind - SE Asia isn't going anywhere and you are young!! I know you mentioned wanting to get pregnant but having a child does not put an end to your travels, it just changes things a bit.

Have a wonderful trip!
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 08:04 AM
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maria---greetings from florida---almost as warm as SP....hanoi is worth some time- a couple of days...i would cut saigon entirely and also cut halong, but if you mist do halong, do it for a day trip....halong is nice but not really a hi-light on a whirl wind tour which you have planned...

remember i mentioned to you that changing locations almost always takes much longer than you plan...

i also am not happy with your 10:30 PM return to bkk and 00:15 or similar time for leaving bkk....suppose something happens?? i would come back to bkk earlier or even the day before...

also not enough time in LP...it requires more....i would skip the caves entirely unless you have 3 days there...

i might look at more time in bkk by cutting back on time up north or rearranging it....pick only one area like golden triangle to concentrate on, and a short time in CM--1-2 days...

you must hate us all by now but i think we are realistic....

by the way, there is not time for making babies on this tour....i did not see a slot for it....karen says---"not with those drugs---asking for trouble..."....use the ralaxing time in SP for that after your return....
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Maria, we were looking forward to running into you at the MS in Luang Prabang. However, I think you are definitely doing the right thing by cutting back on the number of places you will be visiting even if that includes Laos. I am not sure why you would want to change hotels in Bangkok. I would also stay in only one place in the Golden Triangle/Chiang Rai region.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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You all,

first of all it is IMPOSSIBLE to hate you!!! You´re always helping every single one that comes into this lively board. I love when I have the time to come here and read tons of your advice (ok, ok, I don´t actually follow them!!!). If I hate something now is myself.

You made me think a lot. What is happening now is that I am waiting an answer from Vn Airways to see if i can cancel the tickets (they were ticketed already, with me, at home!) from Vietiane to Hanoi. Craig, I was very happy to met you there too, but I re-thought and it´s so dumb to go into a country but really see it for just one day If VN Airways does not cancel and refund my ticket, I guess i will have to go, but....
Concerning Vietnam, why you all would skip Halong Bay overnight? Doing as a day trip sounds so rush... And it IS the restfull you are always asking me where it is... I don´t understand why you don´t like it! Kathie, by cuting aout Laos I would have two more days in Hanoi and one in Siem reap, even then you think I should cut Saigon?

Bob, I just book the late flight to Bkk because I didn´t want to be in the BKK airport too much, as my international flight leaves at 00:10 the next day, but if you think it is common to "something happen" I can book one hour earlier. No problem with Thai Air online booking!

Ok, guys, I really ENJOY being here with you, I talk too much and that´s it.

Just wanted to let you know that I am trying to re-organize everything, as I did very wrong on my own.

Please pray for VN Airways cancelation policies....

P.S. - Bob, I can´t believe you´re having the same weather as we this time of year! Poor you!
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 02:51 PM
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Good luck with the changes, Maria.

If Halong Bay is a priority, I'd do the two day trip you planned on. All of this juggling your itinerary has to do with making your trip the best it can be.

Personally, I'd cut the time in HCMC to simplify your schedule. On night there doesn't give you any sense of the place, and it's just more packing and unpacking. The longer you stay in a place, the more you'll enjoy it.

I agree with Bob, give yourself a bit more time to make your international flight home. One of my recommendations is to try not to book the last flight of teh day because if something goes wrong, you are really stuck!
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 03:35 PM
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Having just been at Halong last month IMO I would stay overnight one night only. The MAGIC of Halong comes at sunset and sunrise, so as a day trip it would just be a very long day with more time spent in the car than on the boat. But, two nights would really just be more of the same. That would be o.k. if you have lots of time and want relaxation. You might see a couple of more caves, but I would recommend only one night. By the way, the seafood (if you like seafood) is worth the trip alone. On an overnight you will get 3 wonderful seafood meals.
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Old Jan 10th, 2006, 04:19 PM
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I have to laugh! Maria, your trip planning sounds a lot like mine - and although I'm older than you, I do like to travel fast and see a lot. I started out wanting to see some of the same places you're going to. My daughter and I also have three weeks and we somehow winnowed it down to five stops: Bangkok, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang, and Siem Reap. That's still a lot. Vietnam was initially a dilemma - I really wanted to go there. But I ended up deciding that there was no way we could do it all and I'd just have to go back! If you're cutting Laos altogether, then yes, that helps quite a bit. Personally, though, I found it easier to cut Vietnam because I figured IT could be a trip all by itself that would be compelling enough to return for (more so than Laos, for me).
I was afraid if I didn't do LP on this trip, then I might never get there! And if I were you, I'd still cut Ho Chi Minh City - there's just too much travel time in your itinerary and from what I've read, it doesn't rank up there with some of your other stops. Good luck whatever you decide. You have a wonderful attitude, and I'm sure you'll have a great time. You're leaving about the time we're getting home, so we'll have to compare notes after your trip! Can't wait to see your trip report - and don't worry about your English - it's fine!!!
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 09:09 AM
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Dear awesome Helpers-Fodorites,

after listening to your wise advice, and spending some time "re-thinking" and trying to cancel/book my trip in a different way, I came up with this itinerary, wich is actually a mix with what you suggested me and with what I could REALLY do with my already paid hotels and airtickets. Thank you sooooo much for all the devoted time to this forum! It sure helps a LOT first-timers like me to have the best possible of their trips!

26/02/2006 – Sunday
Arrive Bangkok 6:55 AM
Fly to Hanoi 10:20 AM
Arive Hanoi 12:10AM
Hotel airport pick up
Lazy afternoon (jet lagged)
Restaurant: Cha Ca La Vong

27/02/2006 Monday – Hanoi
Visit One Pilar Pagoda, Literature Temple, Hoan Kiem Lake and Ngoc Son Temple, Ho Chi Mihn Mausoleum (with driver and guide)
Restaurant: Brother´s Cafe

28/02/2006 – Tuesday – Hanoi
Pick up at 8:00 am then transfer to Halong City. Boarding for cruise around noon, lunch followed with fresh seafood.
Sleep in private boat

01/03/2006 – Wed – 2 day trip with overnight in Halong Bay (private junk)
Lunch in town then return to Hanoi. Trip ends at 4:30 pm.
Hoa Sua garden café and restaurant

02/03/2006 – Thu – Halong/ Hanoi
Free day

03/03/2006 – Fri – Hanoi/ Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)- THIS IS REQUEST FROM MY HUSBAND: CU-CHI TUNNELS. I know I won´t fit inside it, but he probabbly will.
Complete Day Cao Dai Temple And Cu Chi Tunnels Tour (all with driver and guide)
Lemongrass Restaurant

04/03/2006 – Sat – Ho Chi Minh/ SiemReap
Ben Thanh Market
Flight to Siem Reap 3:40PM
Arrive 4:40
Airport Transfer and go to hotel
Visit Artisans D´angkor
chez sophéa restaurant

05/03/2006– Sun – Siem Reap
Morning: Angkor Wat
Lunch and rest break
Afternoon: Pré Rup, Sra Sang, Banteay Kdei, Ta Prohm

06/03/2006 – Mon – Siem Reap
Morning: Preah Khan, Banteay Prei, Neak Pean, Ta som
Lunch and rest break
Afternoon: Angkor Thom (Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, Preah Pallilay,Preah Pitu)

07/03/2006 – Tue - Siem Reap – Bangkok
Morning: Banteay Srei e Banteay Samre – west Causeway
Lunch and rest break
Kids School in the afternoon
Late Check-out and transfer to departure flight Bangkok – 20:20/21:10 PG947

08/03/2006– Wed - BANGKOK
Chinatown, Wat Traimit
Klong sundown tour?
Two-hour tour of Bangkok Noi for around 4:30pm when the air is starting to cool
Restaurant China House – Oriental

09/03/2006 - Tue - BANGKOK
Boat by the river hoping on and off. First stop Grand Palace. (8AM), Wat Phra Kaew, National Museum, Wat Pho, Wat Arum
Restaurant Tongue Thai

10/03/2006- Fri - BANGKOK
06:30 - Early morning (with Ratt) Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Lunch at Jim Thompson´s House
Paragon Mall and aquarium
Central Chidlom Food Court

11/03/2006 - Sat - BANGKOK
Erawan Shrine
Lumpini Park
Sukhumvit Road
Restaurant Face - Indian

12/03/2006 - Sun- BANGKOK-CHIANG RAI
Depart Bangkok (BKK) at 13:40 and arrive in Chiang Rai (CEI) at 14:55
Get Car at airport
Chiang Rai "Downtown" city view

13/03/2006- Mon - Bangkok – CHIANG RAI –Golden triangle
Visit Golden Triangle on the Maekhong River where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Burma meet, and then to Tha Khi Lek Bridge.
Restaurant Golden Triangle Café

14/03/2006 – Tue - CHIANG RAI
Opium Museum
Mae Sai
Meet poon at the hotel in the afternoon and plan next day driving.
Restaurant Anantara

15/03/2006 – Wed - CHIANG RAI – CHIANG MAI (182km)
Suggestion program :
Doi Tung. Continue drive to Doi Mae Salong with stop to visit Yao and Akha tribe villages(100 THB / person) on the way. Then visit a Chinese Kuomintang town and local market on Doi Mae Salong before continue drive to Tha Ton where you can have lunch there.
Afternoon, depart to Chiang Dao with stop to visit Hmong tribe village on the way. Then visit Chiang Dao cave(50 THB / person)and continue to Chiang Mai with a stop to visit Long Neck tribe village (270 THB / person)on the way. If time permit, you can also stop to visit an orchid farm before arrival Chiang Mai around 18.00 hrs.

16/03/2006 – Thu- Chiang Mai
Walk/drive around oldtown
Siam Silverware Factory
Wat Sri Suphan. art.
MalaiCome
Siam Celadom
Wat Mahawan
Phra Singh
Wat Jet Yot.
Restaurant Huen Phen

17/03/2006 – Fri - Chiang Mai
Samkanpeang Village and Borsang
Doi Pui Meo Village.
Visit Phra Dhat Doi Suthep overlooking the city from the viewpoint

18/03/2006 – Sat – Chiang Mai - Bangkok
Morning Cooking Class
Afternoon Spa
Afternoon walk around open market
Car return at Chiang Mai airport
Flight to BKK 19:15
Arrive BKK 20:25
00:15 - Flight back home (not actually home, but 3 days work for my husband in Portugal before come back to Rio)

I think it is much better now. I cut off Laos, as I would "loose" 3 days there and actually be "alive" in one of them, and cut Ayuthaya, sukhothai, Lampang and Lopburi.

I just feel sorry for Laos. But I am sure I will fall in love with northern Thailand and I will have the chance to go there again and cruise to Laos.

Thank you again, and I hope to have the most possible enjoyable trip and to send you tons of pictures and reports!

All my best,

Maria Carolina
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 09:24 AM
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This is a much better itinerary!
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 09:46 AM
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Much better, Maria! Have a wonderful time!
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Old Jan 28th, 2006, 07:42 PM
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FAR FAR BETTER....it will be fun....
one small comment....if you arrive at SR at 4PM, i think you will be too late to visit the artisans school...fit it in another day...
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