Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai

Old Mar 30th, 2004, 01:26 PM
  #1  
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Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai

I am having some difficulty in deciding on an itinerary and hotels for our trip in 2 weeks. So I am asking the experts for their advice. We will be flying into BKK on Wednesday, April 14 (late) and will be staying close to the the airport, maybe the Asia Airport Hotel. In the morning I would like to go north for a few days returing to Bangkok on Monday, April 19. In Bangkok I Pricelined the Shangri-La so those accomodations are set. I am looking to possibly experience Chiang Mai. If possible a place in the country overlooking the mountains to relax in and get adjusted to the time difference. Then maybe move to downtown Chiang Mai for 2 nights. I know people will say the Regent, and I agree this is a great property, but my budget for this trip will not allow it.

Another option, if it makes sense, would be to fly to Chiang Rai and drive to the the golden triangle. Stay 2 nights and then drive to Chiang Mai for 2 nights and fly back to BKK. Is this too much driving?

Any help is greatly appreciated. The accomodations do not have to be at the level of the Regent, but we are used to traveling and staying at better properties. Television is a must, yes I know I am on vacation, but hey, its my only addiction!!
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 02:22 PM
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I'd suggest the Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai choice. We did that the first time we were in Thailand and had a great time. The driving was not overly oppressive, although CR to CM was not scenic. We stayed at the Dusit Island in CR. It has a great pool. It was a little touristy, but so are we. We took a samlor (bike cab)into town. It's not too far. The Golden Triangle, Queen Mother's Chalet and Nothernmost point in Thailand are easily done in a day.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:17 PM
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Cask you most 'urgent' issue is that you are arriving bang on Thai new year!! The period April 12-19 is the absolute 'Busiest' time of the year for domestic travel. It is the time when literally millions move to and from various towns back to hometowns, and already you will find most flights/trains etc totally full. So you need to immediately fix travel dates and probably call Thai to see what flights they can get you on. They have a lot of extra flights to Chiang Mai and lay on extra 747's etc for these flights, but I honestly would do that like 'now' otherwise your whole trip could get into chaos. Sorry, but you need to know!
For Chiang Mai (if you can get a flight there) the Tamarind Village is about $60 and is great value for money good fairly central location, there are various other accommodations out of Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son/Pai are also worth looking it but I hesitate to suggest further until you have called and firmed some flights. Also accommodation is at a premium during that period, it's the biggest holiday of the Year. Plus be prepared to get wet with all the water throwing and other festivities, great time to be in Thailand but do firm up any domestic travel 'today'.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:37 PM
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The Suanthip Vana resort near Chiang Rai is about $85 a night, they can arrange transfer from either Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai. very natural, very Thai.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 04:38 PM
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James,
Thank you for your reply and concern!! You definitely scared me al little that is for sure. I just checked Thai Air's website and I can still fly to either Chiang Mai or Chaing Rai on those dates. Thanks for your help!!
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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If I were you, I'd choose one place for your four night, either Chiang Mai or Chaing Rai or the Golden Triangle (you might wan to look for my rave review of the Anantara at the Golden Triangle). That will give you time to settle in and enjoy rather than changing hotels, driving from one place to another, etc.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 06:45 PM
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as usual i am with kathie...we do not really like chiang mai...i can't exactly put my finger on it, but it just leaves me cold...doi sutup (sp) is nice and so is the long shopping street but other than that i have trouble with it...we went once and said what are people raving about...so we went back again and had the same feeling...it is not bad, it is just-- well, boring...

i have four days reserved at the anantara (1 hour north of chiang rai) in june....kathie has raved about it so i am sure it is lovely... i would suggest that to you...it is about $104-128 for the basic room...we have decided to rent a car at the chiang rai airport (avis or budget) and drive to the resort as it is $50 for them to collect you and i feel we will have lots of opportunities to drive out from the hotel once there, thus eliminating organized tours...
the drive from chiang mai to chiang rai is about 3 hours...it is hilly and windy from something that i read last nite, and here it is said to be boring...???

your plan for two days in each place sounds great, if you want both or i would fly to chiang rai and do the activities there including a visit to burma and/or laos.....far more interesting than chiang mai...i paid $136 r.t. for my thai air tickets...i booked through seatours in bangkok....

WOULD YOU DO ME A FAVOR...WHEN YOU RETURN WILL YOU PLEASE POST YOUR OBSERVATIONS ABOUT ANANTARA IF YOU STAY THERE...THANKS or e-mail me directly [email protected]

bob
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 07:26 PM
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Didn't mean to worry you but as you will realise it is mega peak time, arriving late 14th you have missed the night of 13th but you will see how busy everything is, Thai are putting on a large number of extra flights plus we now also have 2 budget carriers on the route too. Only one can be booked online and that is Air Asia ( www.airasia.com ) they are budget priced.
Remember Chiang Mai is Thailand's 2nd largest city after Bangkok and although a good 'base' to get to other places it is very much a city but again nice time to travel during the festivities.
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 08:14 PM
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james---don't forget ot visit us may 23 or after for a drink in bkk....send me an e-mail so we can arrange something

[email protected]

bob
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Old Mar 30th, 2004, 09:27 PM
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Absolutely ! Good timing as we are moving down to Jomtien Beach mid June. The BKK office keeps going but I am going to work from Jomtien now I can get a decent ADSL line connection. Tired of the big city..want a big garden and the beach nearby again!!
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 12:12 AM
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I?ve been away or I would have put in my two pence worth before.

Firstly, as James has said, you are here for Songkran, so accommodation will be difficult, particularly in Chiangmai.

For a place outside the city to unwind for a couple of days I would suggest Siam Garden see http://www.siam-garden.com/ It is very small but very relaxing. On coming into town, you can?t do better than the Tamarind Village, but I think you will find it heavily booked.

If you are not already aware of it, you should know that Thailand, in particular Chiangmai, goes crazy for the New Year. Do not expect to go outside your hotel without being soaked in water, so old clothes are a good idea and be particularly careful with cameras.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 01:26 AM
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I'm of the opinion that you should choose one destination and stay there for the four nights.

We chose to stay at the Anantara (when it was called Baan Boran) and totally adored the resort.

Things may have changed but feel free to read the Golden Triangle section of my travelogue to see what I thought about the Anantara.

Have a great vacation!

____________________________________
http://www.bangor.ac.uk/~fos007/travel.htm
Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Golden Triangle, Phuket, Krabi, Phi Phi
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 06:19 AM
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Glad to see you back, Tangata. Hope your vacation went well! While you were away, my wife and I enjoyed Chiang Mai and environs. The highlight of our time there was the Flower Festival parade, thanks in no small part to your help.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 07:11 AM
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Hi Tangata, do you know the 'Palm Springs' in CM? I just received some promo offer from them and wondered what it was like?

Tks
JamesA
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 11:05 AM
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We just returned Sunday.Contrary to the advice here we stayed at the Sheraton in Chiang Mai. We paid $90 per night to upgrade to an executive room. This included breakfast which was a plentiful buffet.The room was 2 rooms-Bedroom and a huge bathroom.At night, in the bar there was live entertainment. It is a 31/2 hr drive from the anatara to Chaing Mai.If you are not concerned with time, Nippon can take you on a 7 hr trip and you can see caves, temples and mountains on the way. We went up the long way and returned the short. I suggest the long as the short is boring. The Anantara was fantastic. We got a river view. The staff was extrmemely efficient. The tub was large enough for 2 americans to Bath at the same time.I suggest you take the bridge to Burma and rent a Longtail boat to go to Laos.Be sure to send postcards from Laos to your loved ones.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 06:41 PM
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Thank you all for taking the time to offer such wonderful suggestions. So here is the update of our plans. Four nights at the Anantara at the Golden Triangle!! Your reviews of the property made it an easy choice. It will be (we hope) the perfect place to rest and relax. I have been in contact with the hole via email and have confirmed the following (taken from her email)
* Arrival: April 15/ Departure: April 19
? Total stay: 4 nights
? Type of accommodation: Deluxe room w/ king-size bed
? US $256++ for 2-night accommodation including daily American breakfast for two
? US $99++ for each additional night including breakfast for two
* Total: US $454++

She said normally this rate is only for the standard room, but she upgraded us to the deluxe.

I guess my next question(s) would be what trips to take while at the resort, how to book them, and how to get there.

I can fly from bkk to Chiang Rai and back from 181 asiaair, 288 thai airways economy or 348 thai airways business class. I have status with United so will have access to any Thai lounge with my card so lounge access is covered. Is asiaair reliable and safe?

I have read all the reports about the hotel and am still not sure about how to get there. Do you contact the hotel or is it cheaper to find another source for car and driver?

Also, are there any tours that can not be missed? Do we book them now or wait till we are at the hotel? Also how hot will it be up north in April. Will it be ok to be outside on a trek all day? Thanks again for all your help!!
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 06:48 PM
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I had the hotel arrange my transport to and from the airport. They were exceptionally efficient and accommodating.

Wait until you get to the hotel to arrange any other activities. We hored a car and driver for a day, and took in all the things we wanted to see in teh area.
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Old Mar 31st, 2004, 07:06 PM
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looks like a good choice...try seatours for you [email protected] name is eddie and he got me those great $136 rates on thai air... easy credit card charge with no additional credit card fee...will deliver tickets to your bkk hotel for you....it is only a 1 1/4 hour flight...
the drive from chiang rai to the anantara is about an hour...
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