Chiang Rai help

Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 03:22 PM
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Chiang Rai help

After puzzling for a long time about how much time to spend in Vietnam on our 5 week trip, I totally switched gears and decided to ditch Hue/HoiAn and go to Golden Triangle Anantara instead. We thought we had too much city time and not enough countryside/views. So now I need to decide whether to spend 3 or 4 full days there. I can't find any driver/guide recommendations- - how did you all get around? We want to take it slow but also do some interesting activities: river ride, Doi Tung, etc. From what I have read, it seems like booking thru the hotel is outrageously expensive. Suggestions? Glorialf, I couldn't find a report of your trip - - didn't you go recently? Thanks everyone.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 05:40 PM
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anantara is not listed on all the discount sites....i ended up booking directly with them...

i also rented a car at the chiang rai airport....driving is very easy up there....i suggest that.....avis, budget are there...
it gives you tons of flexibility...there are only about 3-4 turns from the airport to the hotel if you can believe it...
the hotel has car service but it is very expensive...

bob
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 06:07 PM
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Just happen to be researching the same thing....Asiarooms.com has deluxe rooms at the Anantara for $150 per night till October 31, breakfast not included (700 baht pp extra)

I found a reco from DebbieandSimon about a driver named Eric, but it seems his rates are about the same as the hotel, still researching that. Will post again if I find someone.
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 08:28 PM
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that's a fantastic rate!! grab it..
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Old Jul 23rd, 2008, 10:14 PM
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For a guide and driver in the Chiang Rai area, I highly recommend Eric and his wife Som. His email is [email protected]. He speaks great English and Som speaks good English, but came along with us for her Thai language help. They were most gracious hosts and went over and beyond helping us to find what we were looking for. It was also important to them to introduce us to more Thai ways. They also have a homestay which I would not hestitate to do, and I'm not a homestay kind of person.
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 06:46 AM
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We booked a guide in Chiang Rai with Sgt. Kai who is a highly recommended guide in Chiang Mai. He sent us Sutthi who was a wonderful guide and very sweet man. We did GT Anantara for 4 nights between 4 nights in BKK and 4 nights Siem Reap. I loved the Anantara and really enjoyed the slower pace there. Here is a link to my trip report with more details and pictures:
http://www.fodors.com/forums/threads...7&tid=35121993
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 07:57 AM
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Yes, Judy, I remembered your report-really enjoyed reading it. Looks like you didn't do a riverboat ride. Any particular reason? And I think I am one of the few people on this forum who did not have a good experience with Sgt. Kai. We used his service for a day in CM a few years ago. The driver had a really terrible car that had to be held together with a bungee cord and we were taken to an elephant camp for a ride that was just too "shady" (and I don't mean out of the sun).
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 10:23 AM
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We didn't do a river ride because most people on fodors recommended not going to the border towns of Laos or Mynamar. We had done quite a bit of river stuff in and outside of BKK so didn't really feel the need to just ride on the river. In retrospect I kind of wish we had just done one of the short river boats across to either Laos or Burma. You can catch them in Sop Ruak and not have to pay the high Anantara prices.

Sorry you had a bad experience with one of Sgt. Kai. I guess you can never tell what will happen!
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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I wasn't thinking about a tour of Burma and Laos as much as a relaxing trip to nowhere in particular. By tonight, I have to decide whether to do 4 nights or 5 nights - - and take a day away from either Penang or KUL if we spend one more at the Anantara.
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Old Jul 24th, 2008, 03:25 PM
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Offwego, our stay will be early Nov (during the election!). Am trying to find a reasonable package. SLH has a great one but when you try to book it, it doesn't show up. I will call the office tomorrow. Otherwise, Agoda and AsiaRooms look about the same. Let me know what you find.
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