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Bought tickets to Thailand! Itinerary below

Bought tickets to Thailand! Itinerary below

Apr 2nd, 2007, 09:18 AM
  #1  
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Bought tickets to Thailand! Itinerary below

We bought our tickets last night, for our trip to Thailand, leaving May 27th and returning June 18th.

On Delta, ATL, SFO, Seoul, BKK, arriving May 28th.

May 29 - June 2
Five days in Bangkok. Still unsure of accommodations. We are trying to book Tong for at least one day of touring. The only other must do is to take in a Thai boxing match. Everything else we'll just plan out when we wake up.

June 2
Flying to Chang Rai and hotel pickup to Ananatara.

June 2-7
Ananatara, including the three day mahout training.

June 7-10
Bus to Chang Mai, three days in Chang Mai. Definitely want to take a cooking class and do perhaps a day trek.

June 10-11
Sleeper train to Bangkok, spend the afternoon in Bangkok

June 11-12
Sleeper train to Surat Thani, then transport to Koh Samui

June 12-18
Koh Samui, accommodations are still uncertain here as well. Maybe take in some diving, but no real plans other than to rest and relax.

June 18
Fly back to Bangkok then back home

Is this too rushed? Too much or too little time in any one area?

We're really overwhelmed by the hotel choices in Koh Samui. We'd like quiet, beach front access would be nice, under $100 a night. Any suggestions?

kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 10:12 AM
  #2  
 
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take a look at peace resort in samui....we really liked it there....ask for beach front...slightly more money but worth it---maybe $75-80??

i love marriott resort and spa in bkk...look at asiarooms.com

delta means korea air, which gets great marks...

anantara and marriott are owned by same company, btw

i would not take the sleeper trains and i would fly both legs to save time and be more refreshed upon arrival...it costs more, yet, but would be worth it in the long run...

going to samui you will waste tons of time doing train then bus then ferry then taxi/bus in samui....i bet it will take 20 hours....fly and its about 2 hours total....door to door...

bangkok air owns the airport....use them to fly north also and you may be able to take advantage of their special pass requiring 3 flight segments...well worth it!!
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 11:20 AM
  #3  
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We will definitely check out the Peace - thanks for the rec.

The only issue with Bangkok Air is that they don't fly into Chang Rai, so if we flew them into Chang Mai, we'd have to get transportation back to Chang Mai. Then, they don't fly directly from CM to KS, you have to make a connection in Bangkok, which I believe is the equivalent of two of your flights. And the Bangkok to CM route is also more ($66) as opposed to their normal discovery pass rate of $55. So in total, we'd spend $242 per person do do the BKK-CM-KS route, and still have to arrange transportation into Chang Rai.

Unless I'm reading the website wrong and the stopover in BKK on the way from CM doesn't require an extra ticket.
kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 12:57 PM
  #4  
 
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Sorry, kat. I think there is a direct flight Chiang Mai to Samui. PG 242, if I read the Bangkok Air timetable right.

In my opinion 5 days in Bangkok is somewhat too long. 3 or 4 days should be enough to see the main temples, make a khlong tour and some shopping as well.Even Damnoen Saduak is doable in that time.
If you dont use the so often recommended Old Bangkok Inn ( somewhat to expensive for my budget) try my last choice Best Western Elegance Suites. sawadee.com is offering it now for 1750 Baht (around 50 USD), end of last year it was only 1400 Baht.
By the way, the real Thai boxing matches in the big stadiums are at weekends only.
wolfmisc is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 02:24 PM
  #5  
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Thanks Wolf - unfortunately the direct flight isn't included in their discover pass. Oh well, we'll figure something out!

We will consider your advice on too much time in Bangkok and maybe cut a day out at the beginning and add it in at the end, so we get a good night's rest before the hellish flight back.

Thanks also for the heads up on the weekend fights - we'll make sure to time it so we can catch one!
kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 03:26 PM
  #6  
 
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You could fly Chiang Mai to BKK on one of the budget carriers, then take the train to Surat Thani. I wouldn't want to be spending 2 nights in a row on the train. They aren't bad, but they aren't that nice. www.seat61.com has good info, including photos.

Cooking class in Chiang Mai...look at www.alotofthai.com We did a custom class there for only our family of 3, picked our own complicated dishes, and had a ball. Yui is wonderful.


KimJapan is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 04:16 PM
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5 days is not tooooooo much time in bkk...moving around is very slow and you will need every bit of 5 days just for the city sights themselves, imo...
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 05:43 PM
  #8  
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Thanks for the link to the cooking school Kim - we're definitely going to explore that!

Gah, we may just suck it up and pay for a flight into Koh Samui. That may be something we just wait and figure out when we get there.

RHKKMK - what are your favorite sites in BKK? We know the JT house, emerald Buddah, reclining Buddah, etc. What others would you recommend? Is the Bridge over River Kwai, et al worth the day trip?
kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:17 PM
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Koh Samui decide if you want very quiet beach or lively, mases of accommodation, June is a quiet time before the busy summer on samui so rates would be good.
Bophuet is ok, is close to busy/nightlife important or just relaxation ? http://www.beachsiam.com/koh_samui.html has the long Sawadee list plus some suggestions.

One-2-Go can do you CM-BKK-Surat Thani (URT) but it's a few hours wiat ad Don Muang but that is not that bad as you could take a cab to nearby mall, the fares are cheap and although a 'discount airline' it is not a 'budget airline', vague difference, except they give you full baggage allowance, drink etc.

If you are taking the sleeper train to Samui do note arrival times of the trains as many are in the night(!!).

Diving is off island the trips to Koh Tao are good.
JamesA is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 06:20 PM
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If yuo have a few hours at Don Muang betweeen One-2-Go flights you can always make your way to the Amari Airport hotel, relax and have something to eat to kill the time.
That is if you still wanted to fly and do it cheap.

www.fly12go.com

1st a/c and 2nd a/c on trains fine but 2 long journeys I think you would find yourself pretty tired out.

You can also bus/jet-boat to Samui with Lomprayah, overnight or daytime, it's a long journey but you get to see quit a lot, costs about USD 30 o/w

www.lomprayah.com

JamesA is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 08:22 PM
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Just to add to what James and others have said. If you deceide to fly from Chiang Mai to Surat Thani and onward to Samui by bus/ferry it will take a whole day. Discount carrier One-Two-Go leaves CM at 8.40, arrives BK at 9.50, leaves at 12.50 and arrives at ST at 14.05. From the airport a bus/ferry will take about 4 hrs. All flights out of Bangkok's old airport Don Mueang. Cost this way would be around $65 cheaper than taking a direct flight from CM to Samui. I think I would go for the direct flight
Scotters is offline  
Apr 2nd, 2007, 08:27 PM
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i found the trip to kanchaburi a total waste of time....others will disagree but i stand by this...

the prasart museum just outside bkk is very nice...

the m.r. kurkik house near to sathorn road is well worth an hour or two...

the v-mark palace is nice as is the suan pakkard palace....

the zoo can be fun also...

i love riding on the river and highly suggest a klong tour by long tail boat...400=-600 B per hour---2-3 hours is perfect--go in the afternoon...

the turtle wat near to memorial bridge is interesting...

i love the flower market...and also the amulet market and the alley where monk bowls are made...

these will keep you busy for about 3 weeks...haha
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:21 AM
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I think 4 full days in BK is enough unless you are going to "shop till you drop or you are going to River Kwai (not worth the long day in my opinion).If you can get Tong, Ratt or Cherry for 2 days for the extra $75-$80 for 8-9 hrs. you might make better use of your time.. In Chiangi Mai I would go to the Elephant Conservatory in Lampany (you can leave CM ay 8:15 ad be back in CM by 11:30-12). Ratt's sister, Poon, is a guide/driver with adequate English just get her to talk slow and quite knowlwgeable. She is ~$85 for 10 hours with tip.If youare there on Sunday the market starts at about 4-12 midight and is bigger than daily night market.Diving around Koh samui as well as snorkeling is just o'k. You need to take a 1 day dive outing to Koh Tao it is wonderful.Enjoy.
StanKase is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 07:31 AM
  #14  
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Again, thanks oh so much for all of the feedback!

We're still undecided on how we'll get from place to place, as we are on a bit of a budget, and had to make room for Anantara - but who wants to pass that up!

rhkkmk - I can't wait to go to the flower market! Is it possible to bring plants back with you, or would that be a customs nightmare? The turtle wat sounds fascinating - just by the name! And I'll keep the Prassart on our list of things to investigate as well.

Stan - we're not *gasp* really that in to shopping, so we may very well end up booking Tong for two days. Do you have any recs on where to stay in Koh Tao? We're not 100% committed to spend all (or any even) of our time in Koh Samui.
kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 08:54 AM
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No, you can't bring back plants with you. But you can buy armloads of cut orchids and fill your hotel room with them.

If you are interested in SE Asian arts and antiques, the Prasart is wonderful. You must have advance reservations, they only take one party at a time. You might want to look at our photos at www.marlandc.com You want to click on the Bangkok 2005 album - there is a section on the Prasart.

I like to visit wats that are off the tourist track. I visit a few new ones each trip to Bangkok. If you hire Tong she can take you to Wat Ben early in the morning to make merit. It's a lovely experience.
Kathie is online now  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:35 AM
  #16  
 
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If you are just heading to Koh Samui for diving and are not into the nightlife etc then you can just go straight to Koh Tao if the diving is important.
In that case it is easy on a budget, the Lomprayah A/C Bus and Jet-Boat combo goes twice a day from Bangkok to Koh Tao. The bus take you as far as Chuphon and then it's about 1 hr 30 on the boat to Koh Tao. Same boat continues to Koh Phangan and also to Samui, you could perhaps bus/ferry to Koh Tao, then perhaps head to Samui for a couple of nights and fly back to Bankgok.
Dep 0800 arr 1445 or dep 2100 arr 0845, THB 850 one way ( about USD 25 )

Here's the route map:

http://www.lomprayah.com/E/route.htm

The bus:
http://www.lomprayah.com/E/facility_intro_car.htm

Ships:
http://www.lomprayah.com/E/facility_intro.htm

Charm Churee is quite expensive, some reviews for Feb/Mar-
http://www.res24.com/review/posts.ht...=beachsiam.com

Sensi has a wide range from basic to top price, but the comfortable accommodations on Koh Tao can be pricey, reviews Feb/Mar-
http://www.res24.com/review/posts.ht...=beachsiam.com

Pics:
http://www.r24.org/beachsiam.com/kohtao/sensi/pictures/

That should give you a good sense of difference, but accommodation on Samui is cheaper, depends what you are looking for, but if diving is a big part of what you are after.....
JamesA is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:36 AM
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Typo - That should be : Bus to Chumphon
JamesA is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:40 AM
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If you do go to Koh Tao make sure you go to Koh Nangyuan too, these places are all beginning to move away from being budget places to being upscale, a trend is starting.
JamesA is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 09:43 AM
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JamesA - thank you!

We are definitely not into the night life - much more into lazing by the beach/pool, doing some snorkeling and diving.

Any recs on places to stay? Would prefer 75 to 100 USD.

While the bus/boat does eat up a large chunk of time, I'm sure it would be a pretty cool way to see some of the scenery.

kat_in_the_hat is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2007, 10:52 AM
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ttt for soulseven

Kat - soulseven is looking at something similar to you so am topping this for them too.

You are not going peak time, it's a quieter time, so my tip would be look into Koh Tao a bit more, remember is is 'quiet' and snorkeling, chill-out, but it might be 'too quiet', odten people want quiet but then the reality is 'too quiet'.
Thinking again, Koh Chang also would be an option, you have to go off to snorkel but it is quiet but not 'too quiet' and for a first visit it might be an option to considor. It's an express bus south east from Bangkok, closer than Koh Tao, we were all in the Samui area mode as that came up from your orignal post, we like barali and other have stayed too but the general feeling is that Paradise is better nowadays at least, you can also fly in 40 mins on Bangkok Airways in addition to express bus, in that case if you are going to Chiang mai and returning from there then the Bangkok Airways Discovery Pass could work for you also.
Although guide books can be out of date they are still good to get an overall feel and for maps too, perhaps pick one up or get from library to browe these places and it is easy to relate to them from maps.
JamesA is offline  

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