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Better to use a Thai travel agency or to book hotels on Internet?

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Oct 10th, 2011, 08:48 AM
  #1
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Better to use a Thai travel agency or to book hotels on Internet?

We will be in Bangkok, Siem Reap, Hanoi and Luang Prabang Dec. 24-Jan.5. I've made contact with a reliable Thai travel agency. Just wondering if they will be able to get better rates than I can get over the Internet during the peak season. I also asked them to check flights for me rather than booking myself. Good or bad?

Also, we arrive from US to BKK at nearly midnight on Christmas Eve. Should we take the train or a taxi to town? Don't yet have a hotel...
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Oct 10th, 2011, 09:08 AM
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My advice is to use both resources and see what comes back. Let the travel agent quote you hotel prices,flights and do the same on the internet.On arrival take a taxi- you will be tired, with bags etc.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 09:29 AM
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Thanks, Bill. How do you know you're getting an honest cabbie at the airport? Also, I need to book a Bangkok airport hotel the night before our departure for the U.S. Any recommendations for under $100 a night ($50 would be better!)
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Oct 10th, 2011, 09:30 AM
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I agree with BillT, the obvious solution. Get quotes from the agent (but not bookings, don't give them your credit card # unless you've made the decision to book with them) then check the choices online to see if they seem to suit you, book if they're less online or with the agent if appropriate.

The agent might get you better deals on hotels but if you use the low fare Asian airlines like Air Asia I think you might do better yourself online.

http://www.whichbudget.com/
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Oct 10th, 2011, 10:03 AM
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Caba at the BKKL airport- just make sure you get in the proper cab line, then tell the cabbie to use the meter. You will need to pay the tolls but that is not a lot of money.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 10:35 AM
  #6
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Just heard about a new starwood hotel, Aloft, opening this month at Sukhumvit Soi 11. Introductory rates are about $80 and it looks like a fancy hotel. What do you think of the location? Says it's a 5-minute walk to BTS.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 10:49 AM
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I had recent correspondence with an agent I've used in the past to get plane tickets that were not purchase-able on the web. He said that anything you can book yourself on the web, you'll get a special web discount from the airlines that he can't match. And of course, travel agents can't book the budget airlines for you.

My experience is that I can get the best prices at one of the online hotel booking sites, www.sawasdee.com for Thailand, and www.agoda.com or www.asiarooms.com for all of SE Asia. Make sure you are comparing apples with apples - tax and service add 17.7% in Thailand - so check and see whether all of your price quotes include tax and service. If possible, you want breakfast included as well. The lavish breakfast buffets at Thai hotels typically run US$16-20 pp, so having it included in your room price makes a difference.

Someone here recently found that Eddie, an agent many of us have used from time to time, could get them the best price at the Anantara at the Golden Triangle. He's at the AmEx agency in Bangkok - email [email protected]

BTW, when you can get a promo rate on a new property that is usually a great deal!
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Oct 10th, 2011, 11:54 AM
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oops - I see that I typed Eddie's address wrong. Corect address is [email protected]
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Oct 10th, 2011, 12:16 PM
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i used www.latestays.com for my last trip to Thailand and the price is the cheapest quote among the quotes i got from travel agents.
DIY travelling in Thailand is very easy.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 12:44 PM
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betterbidding.com big cities 5* amari.com/watergate $50/nt

bidding priceline booking.com otel.com asiarooms.com agoda.com

best no bid sites sawasdee.com for local ageents usually

more for me good for tours.

theangkorguide.net good exp also for tours...

cheapair.com kayak.com/buzz best for air agents

cannot beat it usually Have fun!
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Oct 10th, 2011, 01:59 PM
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Latestays is a great deal if you are traveling within a month - or better yet, within a week. But at the time you are traveling, it is the busiest and highest priced time of the year. You need to make your reservations soon - even now many places will be fully booked.

My flight from the US always gets in about midnight, and I always go right into the city. No reason to stay out by the airport, you'll just have to move in the morning and I'd rather get settled in.

qw is fond of priceline. But you have to be comfortable bidding on a hotel you don't know. And you have to understand that what priceline calls 5 * I might call 3.5 star. And their definitions of areas are probably not yours.

Yipes! I just realized you are going to 4 places in 11 days... you might want to reconsider. Three places is really max for that amount of time. Remember that 3 nights somewhere is just two full days. Do you want to spend a third of your vacation in transit?
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Oct 10th, 2011, 02:26 PM
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The temporary itinerary I put together includes early evening flights from one city to the next, which should give us 3 full days in each place, with the exception of Bangkok at the beginning. I lived in Bangkok for 2 years in '69-70, revisited in 1995 and will be showing my son the highlights in two full days. Someday I hope to do this trip leisurely, but for now, it's highlights. For example, we would arrive in Siem Reap at 9 on a Tuesday morning and not leave until 7 p.m. Thursday for Hanoi. Not ideal, I know, but a taste will whet our appetite for more. After all the posts I've read here, I'm beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have asked a Thai agency to put together some sort of itinerary with hotels and price it out for me. I guess I can compare from that what I might get on my own. I have friends who used Blue Smile travel and recommended them highly. They responded to me immediately and remembered taking care of my friends. My big concern was getting someone reputable and that my credit info would be secure.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 02:31 PM
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if the aloft hotel is new, then it is waay down soi 11. it is not a five minute walk, more like 10-15. soi 11 is very congested, but, its a fun walk, as you walk past lots of clubs, shops, and pestering taxi/tuk tuk hustlers.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 05:09 PM
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Personally, I would book my own hotels and airlines. Its so easy and I used Agoda for the hotels. I found they had the best rates and good cancellation policy. And we ended up with points for some free nights. Airlines are also simple to book on your own. Just check around to the different ones available for the best rates. Bangkok taxi drivers are notorious for ripping off. Know the going rate from the airport and decide if what they offer with no reciept is less than the chit price.
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Oct 10th, 2011, 08:39 PM
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best to have all your hotels done before leaving usa...kathie has given you some good sites..

the $80 on soi 11 would be perfect... grab it..

you might also check out centre point silom... marriott mayfair... marriott courtyard... marriott sukhumvit park...
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Oct 10th, 2011, 08:40 PM
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taxi for sure...insist on the meter as you leave... should be about 300B
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Oct 11th, 2011, 03:45 AM
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question regarding the taxi, where can you get one when coming out the arrival hall in BKK airport? I'll be in BKK jan 3rd 2012, in the afternoon I'll be travelling alone, as single woman, so a little cautious with taxis or such. Prefer a taxi than the train as its my first time in Asia and alone. Can someone advise how to get one? I'd rather have it metered then haggle on price, price is no issue for me (and the taxis are cheap anyway compared to UK rate)
Thanks
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Oct 11th, 2011, 05:48 AM
  #18
 
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Just look for the overhead Taxi signs...they direct you to the taxi line. You could use ATO, it is an airport car service , that is also well signed, but more money. As a single female you may be more comfortable with that option.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 06:34 AM
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As Karen says, just follow the signs. You'll get in a taxi line, and an English-speaking supervisor will give your destination to the driver. The driver should turn on the meter - if the driver does not tell him to turn on the meter. If he wants a fixed price, I'd still insist on the meter. Any time a driver won't turn on the meter, get out of the taxi. You will have to pay expressway tolls, about 70 baht, as I remember.

Bangkok is very likely a safer city than where you live.

AOT is an option, but will cost about 3 times as much as the taxi.
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Oct 11th, 2011, 06:47 AM
  #20
 
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thanks. Do you still have to pay toll if the meter is on? I think I'll take a taxi, it seems reasonable enough.
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