Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Feb 29th, 2012, 09:28 AM
  #1  
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Bangkok and Chiang Mai

Hi everyone We will be travelling from the east coast (USA) to Bangkok. Taking jet lag into account and total unfamiliarity with Thailand, how many days should we plan to spend sightseeing in Bangkok and Chiang Mai? Many thanks
skye1153 is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 05:58 PM
  #2  
 
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How much time do you have? Are these the only two stops on your trip? What are you interested in?

My first trip to Bangkok I had nine full days there and it wasn't enough for me! On the other hand, after two full days in Chiang Mai, I'm bored. We're all different. We go to Bangkok (and other places in SE Asia) every year. I like to have a week in Bangkok each time, but definitely need at least 5 days.

If you are going on day trips from Chiang Mai, that takes some time. But if you are just seeing CM and shopping two or three days will likely be enough.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 08:53 PM
  #3  
 
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we are just ending our first trip of nine weeks to SEAsia. we spent one week in BKK in part to adjust to jet lag. We also came from the East coast. we thought a week was enough in BKK. we loved Chiang Msi and spent three days, drove the Mae Hong Son loop and returnd for another day in CM. We could have spent more time in CM as we really liked it.
yestravel is offline  
Feb 29th, 2012, 10:37 PM
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I have only flown from the US to Asia once (I live in the UK) and the jet lag really got to me. I would allow a couple of days to get over the trip but thta does not stop you seeing a lot over the first couple of days. Thai massages are a great way to recover.

As Kathie says, you really need to provide more info on the time you have available and you interests which will elicit more useful responses. I love both CM and Bangkok but they ae very different places. Bangkok is a vast urban metropolis with an amazing amount to see and do and can be overwhelming for the first time visitor. If you like cities then there is enough to keep your attention for a week but I would suggest 5 days minimum - the chances are you will be back for more! There are some truly great hotels which, if you schoose wisely can be fantastic value.

Like yestravel, we really like Chiang Mai and have returned several times. Our last visit was Dec 2011 when we spnet a couple of days chilling out in the city to recover from jet lag followed by a cookery course for 4 days and then a trip around the Mae Hong Son loop for a taste of rural Thai life. Although CM is much smaller, there is still a huge amount to see in and around the city. There are some fantastic restaurants (the food is different from that found in the south) and the shopping is a lot cheaper than BKK. I would suggest a minimum of 3 days, longer if you want to get out into the countryside. A good guide book will provide some ideas as will some of the trip reports on this forum. Here is a link to my own relatively recent reports:

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...k-171074-2.cfm

http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...n-thailand.cfm
crellston is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 01:23 AM
  #5  
 
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2 days minimum to get over jet lag for me last from Gulf Coast USA.10 days minimum for me but 2-3 weeks much better. Add
Angkor and Puket both are awesome. smartours.com
has nice itineraries to look at at good price points.

Happy Planning!
qwovadis is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 03:39 AM
  #6  
 
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The older section of Chiang Mai was a highlight of our trip to Thailand, and three nights wasn't enough - can't speak to Bangkok. It didn't have a big city feel. We spent hours every day wandering through the wats, sampling food, getting massages, attending weekend street fairs.... How much time you spend in each cit is such a personal choice though.
Cattail is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 04:02 AM
  #7  
 
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smartours is a tour company based in the States offering cut price el cheapo group tours to everywhere in the world.

What it has to do with the OP's initial question is quite beyond me. Why anyone would want to promote it is beyond me.
dogster is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 05:42 AM
  #8  
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How many days will we be in Thailand is really the question we're trying to answer. The primary reason (excuse) for this trip is that we are chartering a sailboat from Phuket for a week. Generally we only tolerate large congested cities whereas charming countrysides are our favorite areas. However, this being a major trip in terms of distance and a totally different culture we want to experience it all, so to speak. Any other recommendations besides Bangkok and Chiang Mai as areas not to miss? I suppose we are looking at a time frame of 2-3 weeks but not longer than that. You are all so patient and willing to share your experiences. I'm really grateful.
Thank you!
skye1153 is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 06:37 AM
  #9  
 
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I would also go to Chiang Rai which is north of Chiang Mai. Lot to see in that area. If you have the time the drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Hung Son is beautiful. We stayed in Pai along the way and then continued to Mae Hung Son. We drove ourselves, but I imagine you could get a driver if you are not comfortable driving yourself.

I would not consider CM a "charming countryside." But the drive to Pai and Mae Hung Son is just that.

If you want an excellent guide check out the posts on TA about Jermsak. He was recommended by a friend, moreweird on TA and here, and they spent a week with him. I also posted about him on Fodors and u could do a search to find it. We got him at the last minute for a day and he was fantastic. A very thoughtful man with much to share about the CM and CR area. I think he greatly enhanced our experience in the area. (I'm at the airport in Saigon and don't have the contact info for him.)
yestravel is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 06:54 AM
  #10  
 
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I think Bangkok is a must-visit. I agree with yestravel that the areas farther north from Chiang Mai are more intersting. Take a look at the Anantara at the Golden Triangle (you fly into Chiang Rai) as an options of a place to spend a few days.

Another thing to consider is whether you want to see the temples at Angkor - truly one of the wonders of the world and just a short hop from Bangkok.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 10:47 AM
  #11  
 
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i live in boston and travel frequently to thailand... we find day on (the day after arrival, which is usually late at night) to be a wasted day---one for adjustment... the next 2 days are slow days with an ever increasing array of activities... for this reason we always choose a bkk hotel with an excellent pool (anantara, royal orchid sheraton, peninsula, sheraton grande, chatrium suites, marriott mayfair among others).

i would find that 5-7 days total might be nice for bkk. often i stay there both at the beg. and the end of my trips...
rhkkmk is offline  
Mar 1st, 2012, 12:05 PM
  #12  
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You are all so helpful.I shall research the area north of Chiang Mai which I had not thought of doing. The temples at Angkor are a great suggestion. And so is hotel with an excellent pool. Thank you all.
skye1153 is offline  
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