BKK and Singapore - More Help

Oct 26th, 2003, 09:39 AM
  #1  
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BKK and Singapore - More Help

Dear Bob and JamesA: Feel like I will never stop "picking your brains".. Very much appreciate all your help not just to me but all the others also. We seem to have settled on 7 nights in BKK and 4 in Singapore.. booking through Singapore Airlines.. they have a tremendous list of hotels (you pay your money and takes your choice!!).. However.. sometimes one doesn't necessarily get what one pays for! So.. you like the Marriott - does it have large rooms, AC, close to river (I know you said ugh!).. ALSO have no idea where to stay in Singapore?? My husband is older and prefers a more traditional style hotel (couldn't talk him into the apts!).. Looking to go in February. Is this a good time? Thank you again. It is so good to receive unbiased opinions and help.
Skaye is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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I'm not Bob or JamesA, but I have been to both Bangkok and Singapore many, many times. Here's my advice:

As everyone says, stay along the river in Bangkok. Bob loves the Marriott, which is on the river, but away from the main cluster of hotels along the river, which include the Oriental, the Peninsula, the Shangra-La and the Royal Orchid Sheraton. All are fine hotels, all are different from each other, and everyone has a favorite. You won't go wrong by choosing any of them. Persoanlly, I would stay any place that wasn't one the river.

In SIngapore, I think one of the most important factors is to be close to teh MRT. There are many, many wonderful hotels. I'd recommend either a place close to the Orchard Road shopping area (the Hyatt, the Marriott above Tang's) or a place by Raffles Center (Raffles Hotel, the two towers which used to belong to Westin but now are owned by Swisshotel and the other is managed by Raffles). The Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton are both lovely, but not as easy for transport. It's much harder to give a firm recommendation in SIngapore without a lsit to choose from as there are so mnay wonderful hotels.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 03:33 PM
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Oops - I posted before I proofed as I was in a hurry. Looking at the post now, I see that the last sentence about Bangkok is totally garbled. It should read:

Personally, I wouldn't stay any place that wasn't on the river.
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Oct 26th, 2003, 03:34 PM
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Kathie: Please don't think I was short listing to Bob and JamesA!! Advice is gratefully accepted.. I am a complete novice in Asia - born in London, travelled in Europe and now live in the US! Have only visited HK, and briefly Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore on a cruise. Just enough to say "I wanna go back!!" Singapore Airlines does have the Bangkok Marriott and if all experts agree that it is very good we will probably settle on that one. It would certainly save us $$ from the Shangri-La - although as I have said, my husband is 76 and at this stage in our lives I don't want to save money and ruin what could be his last "big" trip..
Singapore hotels seem to have a good selection from Fullerton, RC, Gd. Hyatt, 4 Seasons, Conrad, Goodwood Park (also the Raffles you spoke about) down to the one they offer as a sort of "standard" the Marina Mandarin. I would definitely like some advice on the best location as well as the best hotel! Also, if anyone has any favorite restaurants.. don't see us eating from stalls (don't do it in Mexico and we've been going there for 20 years!) So.. Thank you all again..
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Oct 26th, 2003, 04:10 PM
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Hi,
I live in Singapore, so I thought I would stick in my two cents worth.

Cabs are plentiful and quite cheap here and traffic is very seldom a problem. I would travel around town that way and don't worry about staying near an MRT station. Not worth the hassle, for the money saved, especially for a 76 year old. Plus you will see more of the city traveling ABOVE ground.

Regarding hotels....if you are looking for history, colonial charm and atmosphere,along with 5 star service, Raffles definitely wins the prize. The location is convenient for visits to Chinatown, Little India, Botanical Gardens, etc. Very expensive, but a good place for a splurge, if that is in your budget. One of my favorite restaurants, Doc Cheng's, is located in Raffles, as is the historic Tiffin Room, one of the best places in town for a fabulous afternoon tea. (Be sure to make a reservation, especially on the weekend.)

Fullerton is also historic and it's a beautiful location, right on the river. Do a search on Fullerton on this board to read specific comments from people who have stayed there.

The Goodwood Park is about the same vintage as Raffles, and also quite historic, but not quite the same level of service and accommodation. (More like a 3.5 star vs 5 star). I'm sure the price is much lower as well. Goodwood is on Scotts Rd, a five minute walk from Orchard Rd.

Hyatt is just off the crossroad of Scotts Rd and Orchard. The absolute center of all shopping, and near quite a few restaurants, but really just reliable big chain accommodation. Nothing special.

Marina Mandarin is not a great location and just run of the mill service. Ritz has great rooms and service but not such a great location. Four Seasons has absolute top class service and rooms, and it's about a 5 min walk to Orchard Rd.

Hope that helps you with hotels. If you tell me more about your taste, I can recommend some more restaurants.
BTW, it's perfectly OK to eat in stalls (called hawker stands here) and in fact it's very much part of understanding the huge diversity of culture in Singapore. But if you are not comfortable with that, much of the food you get in hawker stands is available in regular restaurants, just at a much higher price.
Lindsey is offline  
Oct 26th, 2003, 06:39 PM
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Lindsay: Thank you.. The Fullerton is on Singapore Airlines list.. YES.. I did look at Raffles.. showed the resulting $$ to my husband and his comment was - we'll go and have a drink there.. that's about all we could afford!! We like good food.. not trendy.. doesn't have to be in a hotel (figured after my comments on street eating I had better say.. we are not foodie snobs) if possible we would like the local good places - not the one the travel magazines say you MUST try!! Of course, unfortunately, they also have to have some kind of English translation for the menu!! Thanks to all..
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Oct 26th, 2003, 07:22 PM
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The Hyatt is only worth staying at if you are in the Regency Club. The Regency Club rooms are special - they are all suites, and the breakfasts and "dinners" (drinks and hors d'ouvres) in the club room are lovely.

I've not stayed at the Marriott in Singapore. The location is great - just above Tang's depatment store on the corner of Scott's and Orchard.

Like Lindsay, Doc Cheng's is one of my favorite places to eat in Singapore.
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Oct 26th, 2003, 08:11 PM
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ok so i am a marriott fan...i have to boost my stock price somehow..

here's the situation as i see it at the bkk marriott --there are two---the jw which is on sukumvit rd and is very lovely but not near the river---it is 5* or 4.5 and is a lux business hotel, right in the middle of everything...

the resort and spa on the other hand in on the river directly (low rise hotel--4-5 floors), about a 20 minute boat ride south of the other hotels mentioned in a lovely landscaped garden setting, but surrounded by less desirable neighbors...you will not bother to walk out into it---its not dangerous, just grotty...
the rooms are decent sized and recently have been totally redone...the baths are above average in size and have a combo tub and shower (with full curtain), single sink (marble), and commode.... the decor is a combo of marriott and thai...each room has a balcony---make sure you have a river side room, overlooking the pool if possible....the hotel is quiet...
there is the best pool in bkk and a very nice health club...there is lots of room for your husband to sit around and relax while you are out shopping....the staff is very friendly...i would rate it a 4* or just under....there is a series of restaurants: chinese (very good), japanese (beni-hana), trader joes, relaxed thai/american coffe shop/restaurant, in-house bakery with pizza and sandwiches, patio dining with buffet with these nites; lovely breakfast buffet (american marriott style with asian extras {dim sum, japanese soups, etc})...toward the street there is a mini-mall which shields the hotel from traffic noise...there are many shops, tailors, jewerly shops, mcdonalds, burger king, pizza hut, swensons ice cream, korean restaurant, thai family style restaurant (has green awnings on first floor--very very good and cheap), bank, florist, queen's shop, newstand, bakery, film processing, tailors, dry-cleaning/laundry (2nd level and 50% of in hotel price--same company does both--the hotel)....
i would not consider it a luxuary hotel, just a very nice comfortable hotel---price $100-125 for regular room

secondly i love the peninsula...same side of river as marriott (opposite side from most hotels)...very lux...voted best in asia and certainly one of best in world...open for only a few years--5 at most...all rooms face the river (hi-rise hotel), international decor with thai accents...lovely lobby which marriott does not really have, although marriotts lobby is very open and large but plain...all hotels of this rating have excellent a/c of course....
excellent restaurants mostly quite expensive, but not usa cost....there is one mid-level restaurant where breakfast is also served (delicious breakfast--great smoked salmon), that has an ordinary menu...lobby is lovely and overlooks river...easy 1 minute acces via river barge to other side and 3 minutes to sky train via boat also...
cost in reg. room is about $160-180 in fall to spring season $140 in off season---a bargain...compare at $500-800 in usa....

would you consider splitting your stay between the two hotels...i always do that....go first to the marriott and finish at the penn (great 3 day packages on their site)....

i've lost it as usual and forgot you have to stay with singapore's list...

i have only spent a couple of days in SN so can only say that i doubt there is an unsuitable hotel on the list...we stayed in orchard road area in the orchard hotel which was adequate and very comfortable (a northwest airline choice at the lower end of the cost structure)...i would listen to the suggestions above....i found raffles to be cool...enough said....

when you get to restaurants let me know and i will bore you again :: [email protected]

hope this helps
\
bob

james is on vacation but back soon---escaped pres. bush etc in bkk
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 01:38 AM
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just wanted to add a note abt the hawker stalls. street eating in singapore is not what it is in mexico. singapore, the touristed and shopping areas esp, is one of the most developed countries in the world, more so than many parts of the u.s. there are strict health and hygiene standards. and the hawker stalls i saw were not really stalls at all, more like fast-food establishments, small bldgs w/ kitchens, counters and tables and chairs. i'd compare it to plate lunch places in hawaii, where many businesspeople eat.

if hotel people recommend hawker stalls, and u see well-dressed people eating there, it's quite safe (and reasonable and tasty!).

street eating in bangkok is a different matter entirely.
mari808 is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 06:20 AM
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rhk and other regulars...I too, thank you all for continued input on our trips. We are staying at the Royal Orchid 4 days (courtesy of hotel points.) Based on your recommendations, we just booked the Pen for the end of our trip...a second glance at BKK and a chance to stay at the Pen..our other option is to go up North for two nights---any thoughts on that? (also: about the Weekend Market..we went 5 years ago and were blown away...trying to organize this trip so we get to do that again---but now not sure whether it was just first time awe or worth a re-visit. Any ideas, everyone?
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Oct 27th, 2003, 06:26 AM
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Dear Rhk, James, Kathie and all others helping us to plan our trips....thank you for your help. We are staying at the Royal Orchid for 5 nights, courtesy of hotel points, but now have decided to stay at the Pen at the end of our trip...to get a different view of BKK and because you all say it's such a great hotel. Our other option would be to go up to Chaing Mai for a couple days...any thoughts on those two options? Also, we went to the Weekend Market on our last visit to Thailand 5 years ago, and were blown away...we're trying to work the trip so we get to do that again, but now are not sure whether that was just first time awe or something worth re-doing. Any thoughts. Thanks
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Oct 27th, 2003, 06:29 AM
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oops...ran my message twice...sorry. I must be brain dead.
J
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Oct 27th, 2003, 07:54 AM
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Thank you all very much.. Bob..Marriott should make you an "at-large" Ambassador.. get more from you than I ever do from any web site!! Leaning toward Peninsula in BKK and Fullerton in Singapore.. will do more research and post later!! I suppose it's about time I did some of my own work! OH Yes.. and eat at Doc Cheng's!!
Skaye is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 04:17 PM
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The Pen in BKK and the Fullerton in SG are two great choices. You will enjoy both. The Post Bar in the Fullerton is one of the most sophisticated in SG. It's the perfect spot for a pre-dinner cocktail, especially if you like martinis.
If you walk out the front door of the Fullerton and over the bridge, you will see Indochine Restaurant, which has excellent Vietnamese food. You can sit inside or outside, but either way you will have beautiful views of Boat Quay all lit up at night. Be sure to book in advance.

For a very Singaporean food experience, have a taxi driver take you out to the UDMC Seafood Center on the East Coast. There are a string of extremely casual restaurants, facing the water. I think the best of them is Red House. Dress in your most casual shorts because the specialty is chili crab and you will get very messy eating it.

If you like dim sum, the upstairs restaurant in the Four Seasons has one of the best dim sum brunches in town. For a very reasonable fixed price, you get a menu with about 50 different types of dim sum and you can order as much of anything you want.

If you decide to try hawker food, do NOT go to Newton Circus. It's an overpriced tourist trap. Head for the Maxwell Road Food Center in Chinatown. If you want to avoid the crowds, don't go right at lunch or dinnertime. There are dozens of stalls there, with every kind of food you can imagine. Very inexpensive, so if you get something you don't like, just pitch it and get something else.

Another fun thing to do while you are in Chinatown (besides all the shopping and temples and Chinese medicine halls) is to visit the Tea Chapter on Neil Rd. for a relaxing tea ceremony.

For excellent Indian food, try Rang Mahal in the Pan Pacific Hotel.

Let me know if there is anything else in which you are specifically interested and I will try to supply more info.
Lindsey is offline  
Oct 27th, 2003, 07:28 PM
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One of my favorite dining experiences in Singapore is Les Amis au Jardin, a French restaurant located in the botanical gardens. I recommed it for lunch, as you can see the gardens then. The food and service are impeccable, and the price reflects it. Still, I make reservations for a lunch there every time I'm in SIngapore.
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Oct 27th, 2003, 09:43 PM
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Les Amis is definitely an excellent restaurant for a special event or when you really want to splurge on great service and fine food.
If you want to dine in the Botanical Gardens in a slightly less extravagant way, there is another restaurant near the Orchid Garden called Halia. You can dine indoors or out on the deck. Either way, due to lots of glass, you are completely surrounded by the ambience of the gardens. Menu at Halia includes both Western and local style food at quite reasonable prices.
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Oct 28th, 2003, 09:51 AM
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Lindsay, Kathie, Bob - You are all unbelievable..This forum truly works well because everyone sort of bounces off everyone else.. thank you so much for sharing your favorites with us.. We are pretty definite (God willing and the creeks don't rise!) that we will go to Bangkok for a week and stay at the Peninsula (Bob - there is no way I could get himself to pack and unpack twice in a week!) and then to Singapore and stay at the Fullerton. Singapore Airlines has given us what I consider good prices (after checking directly with both hotels, etc.) and the flight schedule is excellent - they are starting a new non-stop direct from LAX to SIN using an Airbus (2-3-2 configuration) I could probably save money if I worked harder but Singapore is including all transfers and that means a lot in our position after a 17 hour flight! Will post again.. OK- SHOPPING?????
Skaye is offline  
Oct 28th, 2003, 11:58 AM
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Sorry have been on a trip! I haven't read all the messages but I will throw in my own very personal favorite place to stay in Singapore and that is the 'Royal Peacock' in Chinatown, right out of Somerset-Maughan or a Humphrey Boghart movie! Absolute classic place to stay, boutique style was orgiginally local Chinese shops-fronts converted into a boutique hotel, I love the service, the rooms, the whole atmosphere. Costs only US$60 a night and a bargain.

Our favorite hotel now in BKK for our business visitors is the Maenam Riverside, we are getting good reports and for $110 you can get a suite and the Thai Suites for $125 are a bargain.
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Oct 28th, 2003, 08:21 PM
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Skaye, please start a new message to ask about shopping. And let us know what you're looking for!
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Oct 31st, 2003, 12:13 PM
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Lindsey said: "If you decide to try hawker food, do NOT go to Newton Circus. It's an overpriced tourist trap. Head for the Maxwell Road Food Center in Chinatown".....

While I "generally" agree with this recommendation, I also believe that Newton has acquired a small bit of a bad reputation that it may not deserve. I have been to Singapore many times (and while not a local like Lindsey), and have heard Newton given short shrift from many people.

Here's my take: Its NOT as good as Maxwell Road, or UDMC, or even LaPauSat....BUT: its got some reasonably priced food if you know what you want (I like the Murtabak myself), and the last couple of times I was there, it was packed to the gills and I was literally one of perhaps 3 or 4 non-Asians.

Perhaps everyone else was a tourist from BKK or HKG, or even KL....but I don't think so....It was near midnite and my best guess is that they were primarily locals....

Hope this is of some help to someone, I'm NOT trying to be a Newton cheerleader, its just that I don't think its nearly as bad as others have said.....just my 2 cents!!
Best wishes, Dave
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