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Bangkok, Angkor, Hanoi: Questions

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Jul 5th, 2015, 03:21 PM
  #1
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Bangkok, Angkor, Hanoi: Questions

Hello,

Plane tickets have been booked. It is my first trip to Asia and I'm taking Mom along. I'm sure I'll return, but mom is using her retirement funds sparingly and wants to see snapshots of the world. So, we are cramming these three cities into about 12-13 days. I *think* I've figured out how I am dividing up the cities, but want some advice before booking hotels.

Also, if you have any specific recs for hotels (private bath, AC, wifi are our "must haves") that would be great.

We arrive very late in Bangkok on 12/22. We have a tight layover in Tokyo, but I've been assured it is doable. We also have a layover in a winter city in the U.S....so hopefully no storms delaying us. Barring any unforeseen circumstances, we'll be in Bangkok by 11:30 pm on the 22nd.

The plan was to tour around Bangkok 23-25 December. A solid three days, with one being really jet lagged.

Transfer to siem reap on the 26th, very early in the AM. Tentative plan is to depart on the 29th. That leaves us a solid 2.5 days (or 2.25 days) to explore the temples.

On the 29th we would fly to Hanoi. Depart Hanoi late on the January 4. That gives us 6 days on the ground in Hanoi. Thinking that is enough time to take a day trip outside the city.

Bangkok - 3 days
Angkor Wat - 2.5 days
Hanoi - 6 days

I'm thinking that this is off. Add a day to Angkor Wat? And a day to Bangkok? Pull them from Hanoi....

We will fly between cities to minimize travel time. Those have not been booked yet, but that was my plan after I finalize hotels.

Thank you!
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Jul 5th, 2015, 04:06 PM
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It depends on your interests and what you (or your mother) want to accomplish on this trip.

I think your time in Bangkok is very rushed, but then, for me, there is no such thing as too much time in Bangkok. And it sounds like you expect to get back to Bangkok.

You have an absolute minimum amount of time at Angkor. Personally, I'd add another day, but again, depends on what you want. Do prepare for Angkor by studying Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples.

Hanoi is a fascinating city. You've given yourselves a lot of time there. December isn't the best time for a side trip to Halong Bay, and you probably don't have enough time for SaPa or another mountain town. So I would take two days from Hanoi, add one to Bangkok and one to Siem Reap.

Give us an idea of your nightly hotel budget and we can help with that.

It sounds like a great trip!
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Jul 5th, 2015, 05:12 PM
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Thank you Kathie!


I'm not sure what to expect from this region....it's keeping me on my toes I usually like a balance of big cities and then getting out into the country, but I realize there may not be time for that.

December and Halong Bay - is that because of the cooler weather?

Budget - I have no idea what to expect from this region. In Europe I am used to paying 200USD or higher. However, I know that this region is MUCH cheaper. Is $100 or less unreasonable?

We routinely stay in B&Bs while traveling and I prefer non-American hotels. I don't need fancy resorts (I save those for beach vacations) either.
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Jul 5th, 2015, 07:55 PM
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Halong Bay will be misty and cool, maybe rainy. Halong Bay is much better when it is warm.

Yes, you can find hotels for $100 a night or less in all of these places. Indeed, you should be able to get a lovely room for that price.
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Jul 6th, 2015, 06:50 AM
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Thank you Kathie. The prices I see for hotels keep astounding me. I'm so used to US and Europe prices that I can't imagine a nice room for $35 or $60!
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Jul 6th, 2015, 09:35 AM
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Hotel prices are good in these areas of SE Asia. In Hanoi many people here have love the "Elegance" hotels, Diamond, Sapphire, etc., which are probably closer to $60 a night ++ (tax and service) than $35. There are good small hotels and guesthouses in Siem Reap for similar prices. In Bangkok, I'd suggest you pay up a bit and stay somewhere on the river. The Ibis is very inexpensive, but you might look at Chatrium for larger, more comfortable rooms.
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Jul 6th, 2015, 12:56 PM
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Personally I would prefer to see you spend $60-125... You will be rewarded.. In bkk $100-140 will give you very nice digs. Don't overlook the American chains ESP in bkk

I would drop a trip outside Hanoi. Personally I would drop 2 days from Hanoi and add the to bkk, but if you really love fab ruins, I would add 1 to angkor
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Jul 6th, 2015, 01:30 PM
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Don't spend 6 days in Hanoi at that time of year. Agree that the Elegance hotel chain is the one for lower budgets. I would add a day or two to Bangkok and possibly one for Angkor, if you are into the temples...
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Jul 6th, 2015, 04:37 PM
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Thank you all! I'm thinking maybe the following now:

Dec. 23 - Dec 27 Bangkok (arrive late 12/22 and depart early 12/27)

Dec 27 - Dec 31 Angkor Wat (arrive midday 12/27 and depart early 12/31)

Dec 31 - Jan 4 Hanoi (arrive midday 12/31 and depart later afternoon 1/4)

Bangkok - 4 full days
Angkor Wat - 3.5 days
Hanoi - 4 days

Better?

I will look into those hotel suggestions
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Jul 6th, 2015, 08:26 PM
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Yes, I think this is much better.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 12:45 AM
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A couple of thoughts on hotels.
We stayed at http://www.hollywoodangkor.com earlier this year when we took my wife's parents to Siem Reap for their wedding anniversary. A new place in a good location, close to the centre but far enough away from the mayhem of pub street to be very quiet but close to some good places to eat. At $50 per night pretty good value.

Also, when in Hanoi earlier this year this place was just about to open

http://www.apricothotels.com

In a great location at near the top of Hoan Kiem lake so great for ten old quarter. It looked fantastic!
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Jul 7th, 2015, 05:18 AM
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You can try looking on one of the discount hotel sites. Agoda, Asia rooms, booking .com etc. do you have any Starwood points? You can do well with cash and points in Asia.

Most of the places you are going to may be very busy with Americans and Europeans on holiday break. I would go with a reservations in hand. This include tours.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 07:46 AM
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Perfect
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Jul 7th, 2015, 08:26 AM
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Good itinerary. I also recommend the elegance chain of hotels. Loved being in the heart of the old city.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 05:18 PM
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Fabulous! Thank you very much. I'm going to start booking hotels shortly.

I appreciate the suggestions. I was thinking riverside in Bangkok, somewhere close to the old quarter in Hanoi, and then something that is close to the action in siem reap, but not on backpacker's row.

I do have some Starwood points, so if I stumble on a good cash & points I may do that to cut costs.

Yes, will definitely book everything ahead of time as we are going during peak time.

Bangkok riverside - any suggestions for staying around $100usd/night? If I need to go higher here, that is fine. I like clean, quiet, free wifi, air conditioning, private bathroom.

at some point I have to deal with the 2 night stopover in Beijing on the way home!
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Jul 7th, 2015, 05:29 PM
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You should be able to get the Anantara Riverside for around $100. We spent 5 nights there with my in laws at the suggestion of rmkkmk and loved it. ( thanks once again Bob!) A 15 min ferry trip to Saphin Taksin pier and the BTS which is a great way to start and end the day.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 06:34 PM
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I suggested the Chatrium in a previous post. You should be able to get it for about $100. If you use Starwood points, there is the Sheraton Royal Orchid right on the river. You can walk to Chinatown from there. If you can get the Anantara for $100 that is a good option.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 06:52 PM
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Hi psych4travel, Unless you have Starwood points coming out of your ears, I would save them for more expensive cities like Sidney, London, and Helsinki, for example. Southeast Asia is so cheap, that even with a combo award, the awards are not good value. Also, you can potentially convert your Starwood points to AA One World Awards. LOL, my whole family is a bunch of mileage junkies.

Have a look at the Hanoi Arts Hotel in Hanoi, I thought it was nice with amazing service in the Old Quarter. They respond practically instantly to emails sent in advance of your trip, sort of a free concierge service.

I recommend the Grand Hyatt in Beijing. It's in a great location, and they have uniformed drivers with Mercedes ready to take you out for that day you have in Beijing, for a suprisingly reasonable price. You and Mom will need some pampering by then.
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Jul 7th, 2015, 07:05 PM
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Thank you so much for the recommendations! I will start searching. Chatrium's rates for refundable rooms are a bit high right now.

Thanks for the Beijing suggestion....I have free anniversary nights with Hyatt that I can look into.

Miles junkie here too....the flights for this were all miles. In fact, all my overseas travel is miles
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Jul 8th, 2015, 03:32 AM
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In Bangkok, we stayed at Centre Point Silom, a very good "serviced apartment"-style hotel, very near the water, though not directly on it. Location is perfect - near the river ferry and skytrain.

There are many rooms with views, too -- we had a partial view of the river, facing south, which was great.
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