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Bangkok: Ratt: Recevied her itinerary for us: please look over and comment

Bangkok: Ratt: Recevied her itinerary for us: please look over and comment

Sep 14th, 2004, 02:24 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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Bangkok: Ratt: Recevied her itinerary for us: please look over and comment

Hi all!

I already contacted Ratt for our Bangkok part of our trip in August 2005. She already e mailed me back ( you guys were right about her promptness!). She gave me a tentative itinerary and wanted all of you to comment and make suggestions.

After receiving the itinerary, I wrote back to tell her we will want to have dinners late except for when we go to the Night Masrket. I also told her only one Night Market is necessary. I really only want her a maximum of three days and leave the other days on our own, so perhaps you can help me decide what to get rid of and condense.

She has our time frame as August 10-16th ( departing back for the US on August 16th). After flying in from Hong Kong on the 10th, we will want to settle in at the Peninsula and check things out. We'll start onthe 11th with her. Sound good?

Here is her proposal which she even said can be altered; she wanted to give us some idea of what we can do:

Here goes:

August 11th; 8am: Grand Palace( Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho, Wat Arun, the canal lfe ( was not sure what she meant by this), Royal Barge, feed Fishes, Lunch, Wat Saket, Jim Thompson House, Erawan Shrine, back to hotel, Dinner, Patpong Night Market

August 12th: The National Musuem, Vimanmek, Thai Buffet vegetarian food ( 65 baht), Chinatown, hotel. Dinner, Lumpiny Market ( I am thinking about skipping this)

August 132th: Day trip to Ayutthaya

August 14th: Floting Market, Royal Thai Hany Craft, Ratansin Plocelane ( do not what thse two events are)lunc on the way, Chom Pon Cape ( ?) hot spring shower for 20 minutes, dinner at Mai Long river, see fireflies, hotel. Not sure about any of this, so this might be the day we cut entirely, unless you guys say it is a must do!

August 15th: Museum of War, Bridge over River Kwai, Sing City, Dead Railway, hell fall, Seafood dinner near the crab farm, hotel

She has covered indeed all my requests, but I also need a day or two on our own ( which is the 10th, I suppose) and some pool and shopping time. Also I want to work in a cooking class and massage appointment.

Soooo...

Not everything on this itinerary needs to happen. We can be most flexible. But I do want a cooking class with market tour and a massage and some shopping time ( don't need tons). My husband may want to play golf.

thanks for your help!!!!!!!
tripgirl is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 04:57 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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I just got back from Bangkok. I've been there several times and to tell the truth...your schedule sounds exhausting.I don't understand why Ratt is being hired for the Days One and Two . All those things can be done, very easily, either by boat, sky train, or taxi.One of the hotels I stayed at was the Peninsula and it doesn't take that long to go to the Grand Palace by public boat and it would probably only cost about 12Baht...or maybe a little more...It was only 6 baht (15 cents) between the Royal Orchid Sheraton...across the water from the Peninsula... and the Oriental public pier...one stop. The Grand Palace is in the opposite direction, but isn't that far. I could see getting a driver for the other days..if it's reasonable enough..although some years ago I paid $40.for a 12-hour excursion to the floating market... and had a local day-tour company pick me up at my hotel and I went on a bus with a small group of people from various hotels and it was great. We went to the places in the floating market area and beyond and lunch was included...a lot was covered.Have you bought a copy of Nancy Chandler's map of Bangkok? Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 14th, 2004, 05:36 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
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I would suggest u combine the museum with your grand palace, wat pho, wat arun day as they are all in the same vicinity. In terms of order stick with Grand Palace first as that tends to get crowded. Then do the museum. There are English tours at the museum by volunteers certain days of the week - pull up earlier threads or google as u may want to go one of those days. It is just an hours tour and generally the volunteers are good. If u plan to get a massage at Wat Pho factor in an extra hour for that.

Jim T house and Erawan shrine are easily accessible by BTS so I would drop that from your sightseeing day. Also, I would consider doing the night market on another day as this sightseeing day looks very packed, loads of walking around outdoors then you may not want to do the same thing again that evening/night. The night market is great and u will enjoy wandering about if u are not very tired IMO.

I assume u are making day trips to Ayyuthya and Kanchanaburi - both great and must dos but also both entail up down travel time of 4+ hours so those 2 days are pretty much going to be write offs. Are u sure u want to do both? U may want to do only Ayyhuthya and save K'buri for another trip. If u are sure u want to do both then your 3 days of sightseeing are pretty much taken care of and drop all else!

The night market is a convenient BTS plus taxi ride so don't worry too much about Ratt taking u there - an earlier thread u can pull up gives u various permutations and combinations for BTS stops, taxi rides and walks.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 04:35 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Your schedule is very ambitious and will likely be exhausting. My advice:

Plan mornings for sightseeing with Ratt taking you around to the various sights in town. Yes- you can get to these by skytrain,boats,taxis-but as I have often said on this forum- Bangkok is hot and humid and it makes sense not to try to pack too much into any day- also your energy will be saved by having Ratt take you to these sights- hey she is very reasonable on he fees- why expend your energy getting to these sights- believe me you will thank me for this advice.When you have walked around the grand Palace for an hour- are beginnning to tire, are hot and thirsty - its great to get in her a/c car, be handed a cold bottle of water and towel and then be driven to the next sight. Come back to the hotel by mid day- rest up, freshen up, swim,spa for a few hours or so until the mid day heat subsides and then head out in the afternoons for shopping venues. For the afternoon shopping excursions you may be ok getting to these on your own- so you won't need Ratt for these trips. We usd her in this fashion.
I would have Ratt take you one evening to the night market. (not Patpong but the other one)
For the day trips- although I have not done it- I have seen a number of posts that suggest that doing the River Kwai thing is not worth giving up an entire day.

While Ratt of course would prefer to be used for full days - I would advise using her mornings or afternoons/evenings. (usually in 3-4 hour blocks is ok with her)
Pace yourself, give ytourself a rest in the middle of the day, I believe this will esult in a better experience overall.
Make sure when you go to the Teak mansion that you see the Thai dancers at 10:30 am- its part of the tour but only happens at that time of the morning.
BillT is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 05:06 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 7,689
While I have not used Ratt and I know a lot of people like her, I have been to Bangkok more times than I can count and would first say that you really don't need a driver to do all of this, and some of it cannot be done by car (Royal Barges, canal tour, Wat Arun).

It also sounds like Ratt has scheduled a number of things for you that you know nothing about. You are paying her to go where you want, but the places she seems to have put on the list seem to be shops or "handicraft factories/markets" which is another word for shop. I would read a guidebook and figure out where you want to go. If you don't know what her reference to "canal life" means, then I think you have not done near enough research to properly understand what Bangkok has to offer and what you might be interested in seeing. While this board is a good resource, it should not be used in lieu of a guidebook.

You could easily spend the 5 days in Bangkok itself without trying to see things further afield. My other comments:

1. First day: it is not possible nor advisable to do all this on the first day. Even without jetlag you will not be able to see all this. You need a few hours at the Grand Palace and the National Museum as it is. Traffic takes up more time than you think. It will be in the 90s F and very humid which will slow you down more than you think as well. I would spread your first day itinerary over at least 2 days; preferable over three mornings through lunch and then take the afternoon off for cooking classes, massage, etc.

2. National Museum: English tours are usually in the mornings on Wednesdays and Thursdays. I would try to arrange your schedule to be able to take the tour and then see the other exhibits you may be interested in. A trip to the Grand Palace or Wat Po can easily be combined with a visit to the National Museum.

3. IMO you need a tour guide for the Grand Palace or a very good guidebook, I prefer the former. I don?t' believe Ratt's tours include guided commentary of the Grand Palace or any other location. I would hire a private guide and bring him along or arrange for him to meet you at the entrance gate. You hotel can arrange for a guide. You need at least 2 hours at the Grand Palace.

4. Vimarnmek Palace , is interesting, but the things listed on your fist day are more interesting and you will need this day to see them. If you do go, it is very large so either plan on a half day or plan to cut out some bits. They have an excellent handicraft shop.

5. Wat Arun, the Royal Barges and the "canal life" can be done on your own by hiring a long tail boat. A guide is not necessary for any of this, and it is very impractical to do this by car. Where are you staying, if on the river, your hotel can arrange a boat and tell the driver where you want to go, of not, go to the pier at the Oriental Hotel and find your own boat and driver, with a map and guidebook you should be able to indicate where you want to go. Plan 3 hours for this trip. I would do it in the early morning when it is coolest and markets are more lively. Do the Royal Barges last as I believe they open later. Take a ride up the river to see the Grand Palace from the river and the other temples along the river.

6. Ayyuthia: again, without a guide this will not mean much to you, as there is not a lot to see and the ruins are hard to interpret without some explanation. Are you going to the Summer Palace as well? IMO a much better way to do this tour is on the boat run by the Shangri La hotel (I have taken one run by the Oriental several times, I don't think they run that anymore.) Take the bus up, get the tour of Ayyuthia and the Summer Palace, take the boat back (lunch on board) and leisurely enjoy the River of Kings. Take a look at www.shangri-la.com, or call, fax or e-mail the hotel at Tel: 66-2- 236 7777, Fax: 66-2- 236 8579 , Email: [email protected]. The ship is called the Horizon Cruise II. Others on this site may have more other suggestions for day cruises operated by other companies.

7. I am not a fan of the floating markets, as they are very touristy, and you can see plenty if you do your own klong/canal tour.

8. If your husband is interested in golf, first check with your hotel to see if they have privileges anywhere. I would advise playing as early as possible in the morning to avoid the worst heat. Also, some courses offer night golf which is even better as it is much cooler.


Cicerone is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 05:26 AM
  #6  
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Thanks all!

I actually have done more research than you know! I have a ton of books and have read and read and read.

All I was asking was the order in which to do things and that you have provided, so thanks.

I'll begin re-arranging everything.

BillT, I'm with you; I know us too well and your way of doing sightseeing is very much in line with the way do things too, so thanks, thanks, thanks!!!

tripgirl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 05:40 AM
  #7  
 
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Again- you don't need a driver to do many of these things- that is not the point being made- my point is that for the small cost of having Ratt take you around (4 hours- $20) you can get to all of these places in comfort and have far more energy to explore these sights.
You are on vacation- treat yourself to a driver- I'm not saying have Ratt every day- mix it up- do some things on your own, have Ratt take you around on other days/times. Its a good mix.
Ratt has a lot of ideas- but you must do your own research and set the agenda for her.
BillT is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 06:28 AM
  #8  
CFW
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
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So much great information. Can we get an English speaking guide at the Grand Palace or is that something we should arrange in advance at the hotel? Also, taking jet lag into account, do you recommend renting a long tail boat and seeing the Klongs the first morning? Thought that might be relaxing for the first day, though since this is our first trip to Asia we will not yet have a sense of the city. What do you think? Is there something else you all would recommend for first day until we overcome jet lag a bit? We are staying on the River (Marriott) & will have 5 days in BKK before going north to CM & then south to Phuket & Lanta.
CFW is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 06:47 AM
  #9  
 
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I think you are better of either getting a recco on this site for a guide or having the hotel arrange it. You will be inundated with offers for guides at the entrance gates to the Grand Palace, and I can't vouch for their quality. (Plus having a guide already by your side is useful in that other guides will leave you alone?) I actually had the Marriott arrange a guide for me some years ago and was very happy with the guide.

A klong tour is not a bad idea at all for your first day, it will give you an idea of the city and where things like the skytrain stop and the Oriental Hotel pier stop are. The Marriott is a bit downriver so you will get a nice ride up the river on the way to the Royal Barges. Definitely go up to the Grand Palace to see if from the water, it is not far from Wat Arun and the Royal Barges. With jet lag you may in fact be up earlier than usual and so an early start is not a bad idea; it is around 4 pm that you start to flag, but resist the temptation to nap. If you can stay up to a decent hour on your first day and get a good nights sleep that, in my experience, goes a long way towards helping get over the jet lag.

Depending on how you feel, you could arrange for the boat driver to drop you at the Grand Palace or the Wat Po area after you had done the klong tour. (You would have to arrange this with your Grand Palace guide beforehand.) Another idea is to have the boatman drop you at the Peninsula, Oriental or Shangri-La where you can have lunch and walk around these great shopping streets, and then go on from there to wherever you want. An afternoon suggestion would be going from there by taxi to the Jim Thompson house, with a stop at the Jim Thompson shop after that. The taxi could wait for you or you could get another one from the Jim Thompson house. Taking the skytrain is possible as well, I think there is a bit of a walk to it from Jim Thompson's house. Take a look at www.jimthompsonhouse.com. There is also a restaurant at the house which would be nice for lunch. I very much doubt that the boatman could take you to the klong on which the house is located, but that would be a very nice way to go there if that is possible.. ..I'd love to hear about it if you are able to do this!
Cicerone is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 07:00 AM
  #10  
 
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Not to beat this subject to death but Cicerone's suggestions are all well and good if the heat and hunidity of bangkok won't tire you out- we live in Houston and we get the same heat and humidity for 5 months each year- when we went out on our own we were tired and did not get much accomplished. When we went with Ratt we were able to last a lot longer and were not worn out by the heat. Ratt stays with you and she does know about the sites. She is not a professional guide but she does relate things about the places you visit- for us it was plenty so that we did not need the services of a professional guide. You know yourself so make your choice.
BillT is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 10:19 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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I think you're trying to do too much -- especially the first day.

First day -- relax. Take a klong trip maybe stopping at wat arun. You'll be very jet lagged and it is going to be VERY HOT AND HUMID in August.

Be flexible because you are there in the rainy season. Do things based a bit on weather. If it's pouring it's a good day to go to the museum or Jim Thompson's House. Grand Palace should be seen on the coolest, least humid day possible.

I'd suggest doing only 1 or 2 day trips out of Bangkok. Especially at that time of the year. Unless temple ruins are your passion you may want to skip Ayutthaya as it is all outside and the weather might be unbearable. Same could be true of River Kwai.

glorialf is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 11:53 AM
  #12  
 
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The weather must be tempermental in August. I just got back...August 31st and I thought it was going to be hell hot, but it wasn't. It was cooler than it is here in L.A. this time of the year. It was not bad at all. I usually go to Bangkok at the end of March...hell hot...or December which is supposedly the cool month, but this trip was definitely cooler than December and as for the rain...the downpours came twice...but I wasn't caught in them. Plus they were short downpours. I've experienced worse ones in Singapore in April. But,one must always take the weather in consideration when planning excursions.Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 11:57 AM
  #13  
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Thanks all!

Bill T especially thanks as I do wholeheartely agree with the way I will handle Ratt. Yes, of course I will set the tone. Her itinerary just reflects all that I was originally interested in based on my extensive readings and studying the Nancy Chandler map we received a few weeks ago. So Ratt was just going by what I was interested in. Basically I really wanted to see how she put things together, so I have some place to start the re-arranging from.

Also, please note, we are the kind of travelers that do not need endless hours in one place. We are such overview people that seeing alot does not bother us. And in this case, using Ratt as suggested originally by BillT made sense to us so we could go from place to place easily. However, of course, we'll do things on our own, we don't need hand holding; we are not that type of travelers!!

We will not be jet lagged on the first day as we are coming in from Hong Kong, perhaps Gloriaalf, you were referring to the other poster.

I am going to rethink the day trips.

thanks again for all of our wonderful advice, everyone!

tripgirl is offline  
Sep 15th, 2004, 04:29 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hello tripgirl,
I just wanted to add our experience with Ratt this past July. We used her for 3 days while we were in Bangkok. We used her to go to Grand Palace and she called ahead on her cell phone for a guide to meet us and tour Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Po, guides name was Jackie. We also had her take us to the Floating Market and she made a stop at the Royal Thai Handicrafts...a furniture and carving place we only looked around for about 10 minutes and continued on to River Kwai area. Looked at the museum and the bridge, had lunch at the floating restaurant there and then returned to Bangkok. We also had her drive us to the Jim Thompson outlet store, and the Jim Thompson house, then we mentioned that we would like to eat Phad Thai, so she said "I will take you to the best place" it was a little shop open to the street and they cook on big woks at the sidewalk. It was great fun and very good. Then we went to the Suang Lum night market. We had a very interesting time with her and though she is not a guide she can give you general information and we really enjoyed spending time and talking with her. She will suggest places for you to see but if you are not interested just tell her...she does not push them on you. Like previous posters have stated you can do these things on your own, but it was so nice to have her drop you right at the entrance and she will meet up with you or wait outside and when you are done she is there with cold water and the A/C car waiting. The heat and humidity are a real killer. We also used her to go to the airport she charged 400 baht including tolls. I would use her service again, we thought it was well worth it.
bizzyb is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:48 AM
  #15  
 
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Two comments:

Don't miss Ayuthaya. We did the bus up/boat back daytrip that included Bang Pa In. Well worth it. With a guide you could spend more or less at each of these, but to be honest the boat trip was terrific and relaxing. The food was so-so -- but the ride down the Chao Praya was worth it!

There are number of hotels and private people who do cooking classes. The one I attended and LOVED was at The Blue Elephant Restaurant. Take the morning class as it has the market trip and a leisurely lunch. We wefre there from 8:20am to 2:30pm! for $70 US. Here is their website:
sfowler is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 09:51 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 100
Can anyone tell me how to get in touch with Ratt? I'm sure it has been mentioned here but I can't find it.
Thanks!
stockexchanger is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 10:25 AM
  #18  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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She has a website:

www.ratservice.com
BillT is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 05:33 PM
  #19  
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sfowler,

Yes, the two cooking classes I am looking at are the Blue Elephant or the Oriental's.

In my Oct 2003 issue of Saveur magazine, they had a wonderful article on Bangkok chefs and they profiled both the Blue Elephant restaurant and school and the Oriental's chef and school. I think I will be happy at either.

I am going to reconsider the day trip, I did also research prior to Ratt's offer to take us to Ayutthya, about the bus/boat way. Perhaps what I will do is to leave it off of Ratt's responsibility and when we get there, if we decide we'd like to do it, we'll do the boat thing so we don't hold Ratt up from perhaps another client.

Thanks for the advice!!
tripgirl is offline  
Sep 16th, 2004, 05:53 PM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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i also went to the blue elephant cooking class, and concur with sfowler. it was great, and included a glass of wine with lunch and dessert on the house. location is very convenient to the skytrain.
kuranosuke is offline  

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