BKK City Tours - DIY or Guided?

Aug 15th, 2006, 12:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2006
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BKK City Tours - DIY or Guided?


I'll be in BKK and Chiang Mai for my honeymoon in a few months and am currently looking at the tours. Is it worth doing a city and temples tour type thing or is it just as easy to do a self guided tour?

I wasn't sure how much you actually got a a guided tour. Lots of information and extra things? Are we generally talking a personal tour or in a tour bus of 30?

Is getting lost a primary concern, ie just easier to let someone who knows the place to drive you around rather than trying to get from place to place?

Any thoughts or info ppl might have would be appreciated.

Mighty_Liam is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 01:34 AM
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I am not a Bangkok expert, I was there only once and plan to go there again next February but I can tell you what I thought of Bangkok.

I had a hard time to go from one place to another to visit the main sites as Bangkok is very scattered and toooo hot! I remember walking a lot under a terrible heat to get to the Grand Palace.

Next time I will book with Tong or another guide raved here in Fodors for a tour of the places where I wasn't the first time.

I wasn't in Chiang Mai yet but I am also going next time. From my research and what I read here in Fodors I don't think you need a tour to see the temples in Chiang Mai city but you could need one if you want to get out to the forrest and see the tribes and do some trekking.

That was just my opinion and I will leave the advice for the Fodors Thailand experts. It will also help me with my planning and I am sure you will soon get replies from them.

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage and have a wonderful honeymoon!

Tere is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 07:10 AM
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The city tours you book ahead are typically a bus load of 30 people or so and they always include a shopping stop. It's my idea of deadly.

You could hire a car and driver for the day, as Tere recommends. I prefer to go on my own. I always stay along the river, so taking a water taxi to the Grand Palace - Emerald Buddha - Wat Po - Wat Arun is easy and cheap. I tend to divide my sight-seeing time so that I don't spend all day sight seeing. After some time at the wats, I might return to my hotel to freshen up, then head back out for a massage and lunch someplace. I might schedule one other place to see in the afternoon - such as the Jim Thompson House. Pace yourselves, decide what you really want to do and see and don't pack your schedule too tightly.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 09:43 AM
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I would not get on one of those dreadful tours. I've always done it on my own...even pre skytrain days...Get a Nancy Chandler map....nancychandler.net and get aquainted with the city....or if you want... a driver for a day or two... then do as Kathie has suggested and hire someone like Tong...you can type it in the search box...or Ratt...also type in the search box. There's a lot of info on this subject in this forum. I've had few problems getting around in Bangkok...post skytrain era...The skytrain is very fast and convenient and cheap...and the rest I do by taxi,boat, or foot. It's not that difficult...just takes organization....but I find it very rewarding. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 09:55 AM
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i hate to disagree with my fodors lady friends, but one rarely sees standard tour busses in bkk....you see many more of the mini van type thing which carry 6 to 13 people....there are tons of those however...

you can easily do the sites on your own...it can however be very confusing as the signage is not good and you waste tons of time going to the left when you should be heading to the right...for this reason a guide makes tons of sense on a first trip and especially on your honeymoon...

along with the regular guides mentioned here (tong, ratt, ming, etc) an additional person is cherry ([email protected])...she comes highly recommeneed and i will be using her in november...

usually these people charge a flat rate for a standard number of hours and some include lunch and entrance fees as part of the package....the advantage of these people is that they know where they are going, they provide you with decent, comfortable vehicles with tons of a/c, and often cold drinks....the downside is that the traffic in bkk often slows them down in comparison what you would do using the skytrain...

for your first trip i would suggest a day or two using a guide/driver....well worth the $$ per day....it will get you to many more places....

ratt has a sister in chiang mai who many like to use and sgt. kai is liked by many fodorites in CM as well...

you can find all of these people by doing a fodors search...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 09:56 AM
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cherry is:

[email protected]

rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 11:04 AM
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Bob, I've certainly seen plenty of big tour busses, not just the vans. The city and temples tour often is a big tour bus.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 11:55 AM
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Bob...the first time I went to BK, years ago, I signed up, through my hotel, for a tour to the floating market and that huge Buddhist temple on the way there...can't remember the name of it...but...we were taken in a big tour bus...although we were a VERY small group from various hotels. I wanted to get to the floating market, and could only go the day before I was to fly home, so that's the only reason I signed up for that 12-hour, packaged day trip. But, I couldn't imagine doing one in Bangkok proper. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 02:56 PM
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I would definately recommend a guide in Bangkok. We were just in Bangkok and used Tong. She is a great guide and will give you information you couldn't get on your own.

In Chaing Mai, we only used a guide for seeing sights not in the city. Transportation around the city is easy and cheap.
JennPBD is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 03:56 PM
Join Date: Jul 2006
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Our first time in BKK was a DIY, and I am sure we missed a lot. We will go back later this year and have already booked Tong for a BKK Tour. Her itinerary covers a lot we missed, and some places we would not know of to DIY.

Whatever you choose -- maybe a little of both -- don't try to cram too much into a day. It is hot!
rbmshm is offline  
Aug 15th, 2006, 08:34 PM
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O.k, so thats good, this is the kind of info I'm after. I definately want to avoid the touristy thing, its not our style at all. Having said that we don't want to miss out so a guide like Tong etc. might well be the perfect solution to the problem.

Considering the heat etc. we were only planning to do like a morning temples tour and take the afternoon off. Can these guides only be organised for full days or would it be possible to have just a couple of hours? I understand they are trying to maximise their day/income etc.

We too were planning a tour to the floating markets, would you suggest Guenmai that we once again use an individual guide rather pre-book a tour? I was envisaging two or three of us in a boat with a guide, is that the sort of experience you had from the big tour you booked?

Mighty_Liam is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 08:30 AM
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Tong's address is [email protected].

She quoted a rate of 3000 bhts for a full day, private tour, and less for a half day. I don't remember exactly.

Have fun!
mcbeanie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 02:28 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 435
I have never used a private guide in Bangkok, but I have in Chiang Mai & Samui. It is definitely the way to go. And it costs so little for what you get.

Just don't let them talk you into places you don't want to go. Especially if it involves shopping. They all get commissions for over-priced merchandise you buy. The Gems Gallery (Also in Pattaya, Chiang Mai, & Phuket) is the worst.
BradinBangkok is offline  

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