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Apr 23rd, 2009, 11:29 PM
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I suppose the first thing that I need to cover is the question “Why organise a trip to Thailand to celebrate a 43rd Birthday?”

That’s a very good question. It’s not a normal “coming, or going of age” type of birthday that you would normally want to do something special for. To answer it I probably need to give you a little background information about myself and my obsession. I first travelled to Thailand in 1989, as a wide eyed 23 year old. Not long out of home or school with no real need or desire to get out and see the world. I was always going to see all of my adopted country first, Australia (I am of Sri-Lankan heritage). But I had a slightly older friend who had just broken up with his wife, I was between relationships and easily lead, and he was looking for a travel buddy. He had been to Thailand previously with his then wife and had been bitten by the bug. We scraped together enough for an airfare and off we went on a 2 week trip to Bangkok, Chang Mai and Samui.

That first trip was almost like a rite of passage. I felt so many different emotions. Saw things that I didn’t know existed. Ate, drank and fell in love. Did things that I no longer have any recollection of and other things that I will never forget. I recall sitting on a plane, leaving Samui, thinking of 100 reasons why I wanted to stay and dreaming up 100 plans of how to get back there.

I have since returned many times. Firstly with my brother, later with my fiancé and many times with my wife and the last few trips with kids as well. At last count, including quick trips as part of a multi destination journey, I have been 12 times and am about to embark on lucky number 13.

In all those trips, I had never been fortunate enough to be there on my birthday. I had planned for years to spend my 40th there. I had countless meetings with friends and family and had drawn up an itinery, booked my holidays and at last count had 15 people coming with me. Then I did something stupid and bought a business that I had to relocate and unfortunately the “GRAND OPENING SALE” fell 2 days after my 40th birthday for complex reasons beyond my control. Part of the pain was the plan falling over and the knowledge that others had been as excited about the celebration as I was. In fact, some of the original party still went over and had a drink on me at Kata beach on the 14th of June 2006, the day I turned 40.

So this trip is in lieu of that missed moment. I have been back since, we spent last November in Thailand, but this trip will be special. Anyway, enough rambling, I have started this post to share with you all my still incomplete itinery. Only 5 weeks to go and try as I may to keep a lid on the excitement, I cannot seem to focus on anything else. There is a lot going on in my life at the moment and only some of it is positive. This trip will give me blessed relief from the daily grind of running a business in a badly drought effected rural community that relies on its agriculture.

Here is what I have planned so far…..

MAY 31ST...Flying Jetstar fom Melbourne to Bangkok, arriving late evening. Staying overnight at a yet to be organised hotel.

JUNE 1ST....Early pick up by Tong from our hotel and travel to K'buri, taking in the Floating Market and various other destinations on route. Overnight at VN Guesthouse on the river.

JUNE 2ND...Visit Tiger Temple (sorry Wilko) and Erawan falls. Late Afternoon travel to Pattaya to yet to be organised hotel....possibly Birds and Bees in between Pattaya and Jomtien.

JUNE 3RD to 6TH... Explore Pattaya and Jomtien areas with trips to amusement parks, swimming with dolphins and a few games of golf. Eat too much Green Curry and drink way too much Chang and Spanish wine (thanks Wilko).

JUNE 7TH...Catch late flight from U tapao airport to Samui...where it all began...for 12 nights at the White House Resort and Spa at beautiful Choeng Mon beach.

JUNE 8TH to 18TH...More Green Curry and the odd Tom Kha Gai washed down with copious amounts of Chang. Big Birthday Bash with Kerry and the two boys, Joel and Caleb at a venue to be arranged.

JUNE 19TH... Fly back to Bangkok, Staying at another yet to be arranged Hotel, somewhere close to a sky-train station for easy access to the weekend market.

JUNE 20th...Shopping, eating, massage and an afternoon visit to Lumphini Park before dinner somewhere in Sukhumvit area, possibly Kinnaree.

JUNE 21ST...Last Day in Thailand. Soak up the experience and start planning my trip report. Late night flight back to Melbourne.

That is the plan so far. Sorry to bore you to tears but I had to share it with someone.
shanek is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 06:40 AM
Join Date: Jun 2003
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Hi Shanek - you caught the Thai travel bug too huh? LOL.

just one comment regarding your itinerary:

June 2nd - looks like it is really packed. Were you planning to hike all levels of Erawan? If so, I would allot some more time to fully explore since you're there. Could you move Tiger Temple to the day before since you will be with Tong anyway?

Kanchanaburi to Pattaya is quite a drive (~300 km ~ 3 hrs - 4 if you incl. stops) and would make for a long day for the family. If it was me, I would stay in Kachanaburi a second night and depart early next morning for Pattaya.
bkk95 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 07:08 AM
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I really had to laugh when I saw your thread topic. Just last night (in BKK) my DS celebrated his 43rd BIRTHDAY BASH at our favorite BKK nightclub, Tawandang, along with 32 of his best Thai/ex-pat/business friends (and me ...mom)!!! I really thought you were reporting something from last night's party!! We were wild and crazy, but I didn't think we made the BKK newspapers..... lol!!!

DS has celebrated his last two April birthdays at Tawandang in Bangkok. I really can't think of a more fun place to celebrate.

Anyway, do have fun on your trip! Sounds like you've done lots of pre-planning to get ready. For a hotel (apartment building, actually) look at Adelphi Suites on Sukhumvit soi 8. My walk to the skytrain station at NANA is about 2 minutes, maybe less. VERY handy. Yes, you have to switch from the Suk line to the other skytrain route to get to the weekend market, but that's certainly no problem, as you probably already know.

simpsonc510 is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 07:15 AM
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Any thing is a great excuse for a trip to Thailand! I often celebrate my birthday in Thailand.

I became addicted to Thailand on my very first trip back in the mid-1980s. I've been back 20 some times since. I just can't get enough.

So none of us Thailand addicts are bored, we're all with you!
Kathie is offline  
Apr 24th, 2009, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for your words of encouragement.

Bkk95, I am still corresponding with Tong about our final itinery and will take your advice on board, I was originally going to spend a second night in K'buri but thought that there wouldn't be enough to fill the day as we have been there before and already done the railway,war cemetry and museum. I was concerned about packing too mauch into day one as I didn't want the kids too tired for the Tiger Temple.

Carol, I hope that your DS's Bash was a good one, sounds like it was a bit wilder and crazier than mine will be as I will be spending it with a 7 and 10 year old. I might slip into my favorite nightclub, The Green Mango, for a quick nightcap though. Will have to find a special restaraunt for the celebration.

Kathie, It is so good to have another outlet to share my obsession with. Most of my friends just dont get it. We have managed to drag a few family members down the road to addiction but none of them seem to have caught it as bad.
shanek is offline  
Apr 25th, 2009, 08:47 AM
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I won't be in Thailand for a while, so am living vicariously through other peoples posts.
Femi is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 12:48 PM
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That's exactly what I do between trips Femi. My longest time between visits was 3 years, not something that I wish to put myself through again. I certainly read alot of trip reports in this time.
shanek is offline  
May 20th, 2009, 08:42 PM
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Only 10 more sleeps. I cant remember ever being more excited about a trip to Thailand, even 12 prior visits doesn't temper the anticipation. I cant think of anything else, I'm basically useless at work, I've lost my apetite and I've had a killer flu for the last week....better now than in 10 days time.

I thought I would just fill in the blanks from my previous itinery now that everthing is booked and I couldn't help coming here to share my excitement with like-minded people.

I selected a budget hotel for our first night that is nice and close to the expressway exit/entry so we can get there fast and getaway quickly in the morning...The Royal view resort...sounds quite grand but at 1300baht inc extra bed and breakfast for the 4 of us I think the name will be the most opulent feature of this "resort". It is located around the corner from the Victory Monument, I am unlikely to go anywhere as we will probably only reach the hotel after 10pm but it is close to the skytrain just in case.

Tong is booked to pick us up un the morning to take us to Kanchanuburi via the floating market. We only have her for the one day so I am looking for suggestions in how to get the best out of our time with her. I have selected the Tiger Temple and the Elephant baths as our other 2 major stops but if there is any other experience that wont be the same withour her, I would like to hear about it. We have been there before and already seen the Jeath museum, the war cemetry and ridden on the train.

We have decided to stay 2 nights so we have a full day to explore the town and maybe get a local driver to take us to the Erawan falls. I will also need to find a driver to get us to Pattaya the next day. The travel agents in K'buri that I have looked at online dont include this trip in their list of taxi rates so it isnt a regular trip (some even list Chang Mai) so I may need to just get back to Bangkok and then transfer to anther taxi from there . Is there any other places or experiences that I should find time for whilst we're there?

We have gone another cheap option for accomadation here, 2 nights in a river facing "raft" room at VN guesthouse. As the rooms were only 400baht a night, we booked 2 so the kids can have their own. Tong recommended it so it cant be that bad..not that we are expecting much.

From there, our next stop is 4 nights in Pattaya and we have booked The Birds and Bees Resort that is run by the Cabbages and Condoms folk. We ended up with a 2 bedroom suite for 4200baht a night (about 2000 off their list price) inc breakfast for 4.

As previously mentioned, we then catch a flight from U tapao airport to Samui for 12 nights at the Whitehouse Resort and Spa. This is a mid range place set on a stunning beach and the deal we ended up with was fantastic value. It is complex to break down as it is a stay 12 pay 7 rate, where you pay for breakfast on the bonus nights, with an extra bed and breakfast for the second child added, but all up we got 12 nights in a junior suite for 32150 baht, less than 2700 a night for all 4 of us.

For the last leg of our trip we have settled on the Somerset Lake Point as we managed to get a 2 bedroom serviced apartment for only 4050 baht per night in the more upmarkrt of their 2 towers. It is located on Sukhumvit, half way down Soi 16. They run a complimentary tuk-tuk service to Asoke station if we are too lazy for the 10 minute walk. Only 2 nights in Bangkok to catch up with a couple of our favorite haunts and maybe find a new one. Getting closer by the minute...did I mention it was only 10 more sleeps?
shanek is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 05:29 AM
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If you are staying on soi 16, then you really MUST go to the Long Table restaurant. It is located on soi 16, probably close to where you will stay, at Somerset. Long Table is on 25th floor of the Column Tower. It has a great view. We ate outside in the bar area. There is also a very LONG TABLE inside (thus the name).

I'm glad you are getting to return to BKK and Thailand for your birthday. Oh, for your birthday dinner on Samui, take a look at the Cliff Restaurant. It is obviously on a cliff... right between Chaweng and Lamai beaches. Excellent food. Great views. It was probably the best meal we had during a 4-nt stay on Samui in the spring of 2008.

Sounds like you don't have to be told to have a good time! lol
simpsonc510 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 11:57 AM
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Hi Carol,
Is the Long Table "kid-friendly"? The bar area sounds like it would best for us.

I originally wanted to stay at Adelphi but Kerry really wanted a pool while we were in Bangkok. I will try to get to the Pickled Liver, it sounds like our kind of place.

The Cliff will definately be on the agenda for June 14th as well as a nightcap at the Reggae Bar.

9 more sleeps...
shanek is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 12:10 PM
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Thanks for sharing your excitement and trip planning details with all of us. We know how hard it is to focus on the minutia of daily life at home when your heart aches for complete absorption in travel planning! You are so close but it is good news that you have another 9 nights to take care of your health and get rid of that flu before departure so that you can savor everything while in Thailand.

Children ages 7 and 10 are a delightful age to accompany you -- old enough to be sturdy but young enough to be thrilled to be with you.

Birthday wishes!
marya_ is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 01:45 PM
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I just asked DS if he knows of any age restrictions at Long Table. He said to call them. He thinks there might be... best to check it out for sure first. It's a nice venue!

Adelphi has a pool (16th floor? maybe 17th). It is not very big though. You should have a look while you are in Bangkok. Most places, if not all, are more than happy to show off rooms to someone who comes in the door to inquire.

I'm glad you will include the Cliff on Samui! Right next door to the Cliff is a place called the Crystal Bay Resort. It is DS's favorite place to stay on Samui. Nice mostly private beach, no pool, small beachview "restaurant" that has a good seafood salad at lunchtime. You should take a look. I have not stayed there, but I've had a look around (I saw the big room with huge terrace... NICE) and I've eaten lunch there.

simpsonc510 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 02:44 PM
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Haha. I can't imagine what Bangkok was like in 1989. Do you have any photos of this 1st trip, Shanek?
Mango7 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 03:24 PM
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I think I might try Kinnaree for our "special" restaraunt night in Bangkok. Seems to be relatively casual and moderately priced, a place where we wont feel too out of place with the boys. Have you tried it?

Flu has gone thanks to my wifes supply of pharmaceuticals, its handy being married to a nurse. You are spot on about the boys being at the perfect travel age. They have been fantastic little travellers for the last few trips but we have had to be concious of not travelling around too much and making time for afternoon naps. This time we can be a little more adverturous. I do wonder if they will still get the same reaction from the Thai's as they have in the past, they may have lost some of that cuteness that makes the locals gravitate to them.

I do have pictures of my first trip but I will need to scan them one day as it was pre-digital. I was looking through them the other day and still cant believe some of the things we got up to. Got a great photo of us wading through the streets after a huge downpour. Does it still flood like that?
Unfortunately my camera skills were pretty limited in those days but I will get around to posting them one day so you can see them. We should have a photo section on Fodors, some of the other forums have them.
shanek is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 04:37 PM
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I've been to Kinnaree a couple of times. It's really lovely. I'm sure you will be fine there with children. You can opt to dine inside or out (let weather determine your choice). DH and I ate outside the last time we ate there, but it was in the lovely December/January weather!!

Re: Kinnaree: I've cautioned before (on other threads) that there are TWO Kinnaree restaurants in very close proximity to one another. The one you want is on soi 8. Soi 11 (which is right across Sukhumvit Rd from soi 8) also has a Kinnaree, but it is more like a coffee shop, and it is located inside (or right next to) the Business Inn. The Kinnaree on soi 8 is set back from the street. Walk down the lane to the house, which sits back maybe 100 ft? (I'm not good with these distances) Anyway, there is a sign on the street, right where the gate is. ENJOY!!

Re: floods... YES it still floods like that. DS says there were two times when he was wading home during this last trip that just ended this past Tuesday! So yes, you still might get photos (digital this time) of wading thru the streets!

simpsonc510 is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 04:45 PM
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you have only made one mistake......its at the end of your first post....you say you have to plan your trip report...that is wrong...you have to do a trip report, but YOU HAVE TO PLAN YOUR RETURN TO THAILAND...
rhkkmk is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 05:04 PM
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Yes Bob, I am sure there will be a 14th and a 15th trip. We have tried other places but Thailand keeps luring us back.
I am terrible with trip reports, I started one for our last trip 18 months ago and then gave up after day 2. This time, if I spend a bit of time taking down notes and then start putting it together on the journey home, I might get to finish it. That is what I meant by "planning".
shanek is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 05:32 PM
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*"JUNE 1ST.... Tong is booked to pick us up in the morning to take us to Kanchanuburi via the floating market. We only have her for the one day so I am looking for suggestions in how to get the best out of our time with her. I have selected the Tiger Temple (sorry Wilko) and the Elephant baths as our other 2 major stops but if there is any other experience that won’t be the same without her,"*

OK - Fodors seem to have deleted any negative publicity to the Tiger Temple - so for your benefit here's the update on the place.....

Letter to the Thai authorities....


The International Tiger Coalition is an alliance of 39 organisations and represents some of the world’s foremost
tiger scientists, conservation groups, animal welfare advocates, Traditional Chinese Medicine specialists and
zoos. We are united by a deep commitment to wild tigers and their habitats. On behalf of millions of members
and constituents, the groups named below express to you their concern about the captive breeding and transborder
movements of tigers by the Tiger Temple in Kanchanaburi, and about the facility’s claims to support
tiger conservation.
khunwilko is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 06:19 PM
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"so for your benefit" lol!


Have a good time in Thailand.
Hanuman is offline  
May 21st, 2009, 06:40 PM
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I don't do trip reports. I post "live" from Bangkok just about everyday. So far, gpanda has accepted my daily briefings as trip reports (smile)... maybe you could do the same. Just give us a live day-to-day "what I did" report and you will be fine. No penalties!
simpsonc510 is offline  

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