April in Bangkok, again!

Apr 16th, 2014, 07:26 PM
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April in Bangkok, again!

Tomorrow I'm off to Thailand on trip #34 to BKK since 2001. Guess I've really fallen hard for this exotic city. I've been so many times now, it feels like home away from home. I have loads of friends to see, two birthday parties to attend, plus perhaps a trip to Chiang Mai during my 16 day visit. There is no schedule (other than the birthday parties) so I am planning only for the first 7 days of my stay. The rest will fall into place as we go along.

I live 3 hours from Ohare in downstate Illinois, so I like to drive to Chicago the day before (do a bit of last minute shopping if time) and do a park-sleep-fly near Ohare. Once again I am staying at the Hyatt Regency, which has a covered garage for my car. I pay for one night at the hotel and then get free parking (typically for 10-14 days) while I'm away, plus shuttle service to/from the airport. It's really a great deal! I'm sure many other airports in the USA offer hotels with park-sleep-fly deals. I will pay $10 per day beyond the 14 free for leaving my car in the garage. Cheaper than parking at Ohare and having to schlep my bags from the car to the airport "tram" to terminal 1, and then back out to parking when I get back home.

Anyway, this winter (we had snow just two days ago) has gone on FOREVER so I'm sooooo ready for the heat and humidity of Bangkok right now. Maybe I'll finally get warm!! haha We had our first snow in October, so 7 months with white precip at some point! UGH

I don't know if I will have any hotel or restaurant or shopping tips to share this time, but I will try to report live while I'm in Thailand. My first 7 nights will be at my favorite Sukhumvit serviced apartment, Adelphi Suites, on soi 8; very close to the Nana skytrain station, plus grocery stores and restaurants and street markets right outside the door! I first found this place in January or February of 2008 and have stayed here many many times since. It's not fancy, but staff is very helpful and the location is really tough to beat.

I have an early wake up call in the morning, so I'm going to try to get some sleep right now. I'll be able to sleep on the plane(s) as I am on a paid business class ticket (which upgraded to 1st class on the long haul across the Pacific to Tokyo) and I will have lie-flat seats. Not nearly as tiring as trying to sleep sitting up in an economy+ seat!

Come along on my adventure if you'd like to read along. There may or may not be helpful tips for fodorites. As I said before, this is trip #34, so I have done the tourist things a long time ago. The focus of my trips to Bangkok are now for seeing friends, shopping, and trying Thai food!
simpsonc510 is offline  
Apr 16th, 2014, 08:33 PM
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Going to Bangkok. First timer next February. I live 2 hours from Chicago. Looking forward to your trip
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Apr 17th, 2014, 03:40 AM
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Enjoy and travel safe. I will be interested on what you see as far as the political situation. Check out Cabochon hotel 14/29 soi 45 Sukhumvit New hotel looks nice. Not too far from you If you have time.
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Apr 17th, 2014, 04:56 AM
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Patricia, Bangkok is a wonderful city. I hope you enjoy it even half as much as I and lots of other fodorites do.

Karen, I will see if I have time for the new hotel. Sounds like it must be close to Emporium? I like to stay around soi 6 to 16 so Cabochon is a bit off my own beaten path.
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Apr 17th, 2014, 02:01 PM
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Have a wonderful trip, Carol!
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Apr 17th, 2014, 11:56 PM
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Narita is cool, rainy and grey. Next stop BKK. I'm flying ANA for the first time ever. I'm in business/first class on a 2 class aircraft. I will be doing it again in July, so hope it lives up to its reputation (although reviews are mixed).
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Apr 18th, 2014, 06:25 AM
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ANA is a great airline. We have done the Trans-Pacific flight a couple of times in Business and were not disappointed. Fab lounge at Narita also...

Enjoy your time in Bangkok!
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Apr 18th, 2014, 07:46 AM
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Have a great time... Wish brad happy birthday from us and squirt him twice with your squirt gun.

Bob
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Apr 18th, 2014, 06:22 PM
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Bob, Songkran is over! I deliberately wait until it's over before arriving in Bangkok each year. But I shall pass along your birthday wishes. It will be a great party. You should come sometime.

Craig, I frankly was not that impressed with ANA biz. I slept about 2.5 hours though, even though the seat is the barcalounger type. I am spoiled by United's real lie flat seats. I was also concerned about eating food I could not identify, what with my food allergies. I sort of nibbled at it rather than diving in to the dinner meal. I will settle for ANA again in July unless I can make a switch to Thai! Note to self if I do ANA.... EAT before leaving Narita!

It's Saturday morning and I have had a good breakfast. Feeling happy to be back in the city again. We have a lunch meeting at Terminal 21 and then will connect with friends around Sukhumvit in the early evening. Beer Vault at Four Points is on the agenda, as friend Lee is entertaining, and then off to BKK, picking up more birthday partiers arriving from the USA.
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Apr 19th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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One of our options to get to Japan this past November was ANA. But when I researched it, the plane they use from Seattle has the old-style seats Biz seats and there are hundreds of people complaining about them on on the web. So we opted for United in First. Our next trip to Thailand, we'll have to figure out which airline to use.
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Apr 19th, 2014, 07:09 AM
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If I can get it, I would book Thai on the A380 from NRT to BKK. Or I would fly to Hong Kong and take the short hop to Bangkok on Cathay.
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Apr 19th, 2014, 08:05 AM
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Carol, ANA's trans-Pacific flights from ORD and IAD have lie-flat seats in Business. They also serve "normal" food...
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Apr 19th, 2014, 02:57 PM
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Thanks for that bit of info, Craig. I knew there had to be something better than the NRT-BKK experience! haha

Up early this Easter Sunday. Gotta love jet lag. I'm hoping to go back to sleep for another hour or two after checking in with folks back home, on my computer.

More friends arrived from the USA last night. I have not seen them yet as I was sleeping when they landed, just past midnight.

The schedule is beginning to take shape for this trip. After yesterday's luncheon meeting, it looks as though we (3 of us) will take a driving trip to Phitsanoluk (sp) and then on to Chiang Mai for about 5 days. I look forward to the adventure! Lots of sights to see, and friendly Thai people, along the way, plus you know how I love stopping at the many local markets. Should be a lovely leisurely drive. We will be ready to relax a bit after the birthday party, and all the revelers have once again gone back to the USA and other locations they call home.

There is a 50/50 chance we will drive down to Pattaya for the day today, just to make sure our USA friends get to "see" a Thai beach. I know, I know, Pattaya is a poor example! Phuket or Samui would be much better, but would require lots more time to accomplish. Plus, we want to visit a friend in Pattaya anyway. Like I say, 50/50 chance it happens.

After such a long C-O-L-D Illinois winter (first snow came in October, and we had snow just before I left home in April) I'm thrilled to finally be warm! Bangkok is in the 90s. Just what I needed! Thank goodness for air con though!
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Apr 19th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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Karen, I see back up-thread that you mentioned the political situation. There was supposed to be a big red shirt rally in Bangkok, but it did NOT happen. Not sure why. I'll see what I can find out. Right now I see nothing happening, but I've only been around Sukhumvit area so far.
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Apr 19th, 2014, 03:41 PM
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what?! am i missing another brad birthday party again? past on my best wishes to the bd guy.
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Apr 19th, 2014, 05:28 PM
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Lovely dinner with fla1 tonight in ft Lauderdale area before we depart for Rome via ship tomorrow.g

Then a few days in Berlin then 12 days driving around Poland, then home from Dresden.

Bob
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Apr 19th, 2014, 05:30 PM
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85-90 in fla.. No snow yet
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Apr 19th, 2014, 08:14 PM
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Ken, I will pass along your good wishes. When are you coming back for another one of these galas? We're up to about 70 attendees now!

Bob and Karen, enjoy your trip! Sounds lovely.
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Apr 20th, 2014, 04:37 PM
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Mmmm, mmmm, mmm! Just got up after a loooong sleep. Maybe the jet lag will begin to fade.

Today is the first of two birthday parties on this trip. A very dear Thai friend will celebrate her birthday with a small private party in the Bangkok home she shares with hubby and daughter. I am pleased to be included in the celebration!

I believe some shopping may be in order this afternoon before the party.

Looks a bit hazy out there today, but no rain in the forecast, just hot hot hot in Bangkok!!!
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Apr 20th, 2014, 04:41 PM
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Weird. ANA is legendary for having some of the best airplane food in the world. I speak to this from experience. They have a kaiseki meal on their 777-300ER service from LAX to NRT that is, honestly, pretty damned good food even by restaurant standards.

I'm shocked to hear that their regional service would be all that much different than their trans-pac service.

When we flew domestically in Japan in biz class in November, they provided (even for a 45 min flight) freshly made cakes and chocolates from a leading high-end bakery in Japan. Very nice touch.

Sorry you didn't enjoy it. Could be worse. Could've flown on United and eaten that "food".
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