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Bangkok & Chiang Mai - 1st time visitors

Bangkok & Chiang Mai - 1st time visitors

Nov 9th, 2006, 03:17 PM
  #1  
hpn
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 14
Bangkok & Chiang Mai - 1st time visitors

We need help with travel arrangements from Los Angeles to Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Our schedule allows only 6 nights in Thailand. We are thinking of 3 nights in Chiang Mai, and 3 in Bangkok. We plan to travel in mid-January.

We like to stroll around local markets that sell fresh fruits and produce, or mingle among the locals in food courts. Seeing one temple is enough for us. Shopping for goods and souvenirs doesn't hold much attraction for us, either. We enjoy watching the daily activities of the local people and learning more about their lives.

We have free miles for round trip tickets to Asia, with the option of flying from LAX to either CNX or BKK, and returning from either city, back to LAX.

We can pick any airline. We'd like to fly Eva Air, and upgrade to its Evergreen Deluxe class for more comfortable seats. Problem is, Eva only flies to BKK, not CNX.

It seems that all LAX-CNX flights are at least 5 hours longer than the LAX-BKK flights, and there are far fewer flight options.

Question 1: Should we forget the comfy Evergreen Deluxe seat on a round trip LAX-BKK ticket, and go with a less comfortable LAX-CNX-BKK-LAX option?

If we book Eva's LAX-BKK flight, we should arrive in BKK around 11 a.m. We can hop on the next available local flight from BKK to CNX, and hopefully, arrive at CNX in the early afternoon of our 1st day in Thailand.

Question 2: Is the new BKK airport user-friendly enough for 1st time visitors like us to do this: get our luggage, get through customs, find a local airline counter, buy our round-trip CNX-BKK tickets, and get to the right terminal on time for departure to CNX?

Question 3: If the above plan is feasible, should we buy our CNX-BKK ticket in advance via the Internet? We're afraid to miss our pre-paid local flight because of a delay in our international flight.

For Chiang Mai, we're debating between staying at Baan Orapin and Yaang Come Village. Via e-mail, the owners of Baan Orapin seem very warm and welcoming. However, their location seems less convenient than Yaang Come Village.

For Bangkok, we're debating between Centre Point Silom and Bangkok Marriott. Our concern about Centre Point is being stuck in a room that reeks of cigarette smoke. We understand they don't have non-smoking rooms. Our concern about Marriott is the extra time it takes away from our limited schedule to travel to and from places.

We look forward to receiving your advice. Thank you.



hpn is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 07:33 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 2,844
Basically, all your LAX - CNX flights are through Bangkok. You have 2 - 3 hour layover in BKK to catch a 1 hour clight to Chiang Mai, so it's all the same no matter who you pick. The only direct international flights into CNX are from Singapore and South China.

The new airport is friendly enough, but don't wait until you get here to book your tickets!!!! After spending all that time getting here, the last thing you want to do is hang around the airport waiting for an open flight. Chiang Mai is very popular with locals, so most every flight is full (esp. Friday to Sunday). Book online with 1-2-Go, Nok Air, Bangkok Air or Thai. Give yourself 2 - 3 hours to make your connection. Most international flights are early, in my experience. If you book with Thai or Bangkok Air, you can get a changeable ticket, in case there are delays.

For what you seem to be interested in, Baan Orapin might actually be more convenient. Right across the river is the main fresh market, and just up from that is the wholesale market. Go in the morning, sit and have some coffee and Chinese fritters, and watch the action. These markets are a long walk from YCV.

Sorry, my 15 minutes are almost up. I'll write more when I move to another open PC at Changi.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 07:36 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 658
If, as I think you are, you intend coming to Chiang Mai first, then the easiest way is to book the Bangkok Chiang Mai flight as part of your initial trip. Your luggage then goes through to Chiang Mai and all you have to do is change planes. You clear Immigration and Customs in Chiang Mai -- which is a lot easier and quicker than doing it in Bangkok.

You cannot fly direct to Chiang Mai, you will have to go through Bangkok.
Tangata is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 07:39 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 421
I canot answer questions on flights, but on BKK airport I do not think you should have any problems getting around on your own. easy to get taxis/limos.
On Centre point Silom, I am actually here now in a one bed suite overlooking the river. I too read about cigarette smoke problem & was concerned, but the room is great, very large, kitchen, table & flour chairs, couch & 2 chairs. It is easy to move around from here, easy access to Sky Train & water taxis etc.
janev is offline  
Nov 9th, 2006, 07:45 PM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 1,900
Baan Orapin is very convenient. It is right across the foot bridge from Warorot Market and the flower market. I just stopped by there the other night on the way home from Regina's Restaurant. Be sure to eat there! It is right on the river, delicious food and much quieter than the Good View and Riverside.

I stayed at Center Pointe Silom in Feb. and loved it! No problem with smoke smell in our room.

eurotraveller is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 10:08 AM
  #6  
hpn
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Thank you so much - MichaelBKK, Tangata, Janey, and Eurotraveller - for your responses and very helpful advice. Please share more insight with us if your time permits. We do appreciate your help very much.
hpn is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 01:29 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,100
Since you have to transfer in Bangkok to get to Chiang Mai I would take Eva's LAX-BKK flight. I would also book the BK/CM portion, alowing about 3hrs between flights, with either Thai or Bangkok Air as they will put you on the next available flight should you miss your connections. Banghoh Air has a special fare until March/07 for 2245 baht ($61) but they have only 2 morning flights. Coming back to BK you could book one of the discount airlines for a cheaper fare.

Comparing Baan Orapin and Yaang Come Village is like comparing apples and oranges. Baan is a great guesthouse and has excellent reviews while the Village is a delux hotel but costing more than double. Unless you want to be near the night bazzar, which IMO is overated, I would choose the Baan.

If you are there on the weekend there are two what are called walking markets that are much better.
The Wualai community known for its fine silver and lacquer wares have a saturday market that runs until 10PM and has good buys. Get there after 4 when it is cooler.
The other market is the well known sunday market in the old city. Enter at the Tha Phae Gate and walk along Ratchadamnoen Road. Open around 4PM and runs until 10. All kinds of merchandise at good prices along with local food, music and other attractions of all kinds with special theme events. Not to be missed if in CM on a sunday. Much better than the NB
Scotters is offline  
Nov 10th, 2006, 06:09 PM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If you're flying directly to Chiang Mai from the US, you don't need to go to Bangkok. You can connect in Tapei for flights to Chiang Mai on China Airlines (Tues-Fri-Sat only). Leaves Tapei around 8:30 am and arrives in Chiang Mai around 11:30 am.

Several airlines, including Eva , China Airlines and SIngapore, fly nonstop to Tapei from LAX and SFO.
JohnH is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 10:57 AM
  #9  
hpn
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 14
A heartfelt thank you to all of you who graciously offered your helpful advice.

We are taking your advice to heart, and are finalizing our flight and hotel reservations.

We hope to return to this forum again, and follow your lead in sharing our experience with other travellers.

Wherever you are, we hope you'll have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

hpn is offline  
Nov 16th, 2006, 05:01 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 3,237
I, too, stayed at Centre Point Silom and noticed no smoke smell in our apartment. I'd definitely stay there again. Wonderful location - a block or so to the Skytrain and pier. Centre Point's restaurant is a hidden gem for dinner - very cheap and also very good. Centre Point is also within walking distance of Tongue Thai, another great restaurant.
I also second the recommendations on Baan Orapin - terrific location, as others have said. The owners were wonderfully helpful and nice. And our room (we had one of the newer suites in the back) was great.
Both Centre Point and Baan Orapin are excellent deals.
Karen
althom1122 is offline  
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