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Cooking Classes & Private Tours- Bangkok

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Feb 9th, 2016, 07:38 AM
  #1
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Cooking Classes & Private Tours- Bangkok

Hi all,

Thanks again for the many tips you gave on my last thread about Bangkok. Due to unforeseen health reasons, I will be spending a week there solo instead- April 2nd- 8th (well, 2am on the 9th...) To keep my family happy I'm trying to plan as many tours and classes as I can (even though I really don't want to) because obviously that will keep me from getting hit by lightning again *sarcasm* (It's backwards tho, since had I been traveling solo in Burma I wouldn't have gone on the lake in the storm!)

ANYWAY-
I read through hundreds of reviews on TA- settled on on school, but wait! They're moving locations a week before I get there and will now be 45 mins+ outside the city. No thanks.
Any recommendations for cooking classes that won't break the bank? Cooking with Poo? Sompong Thai Cooking school?

Also contacted Thai Private Tours, waiting on a response, but I feel like I don't need a tour guide for Grand Palace/Wat Po/National Museum (GP and NM both have free tours!) - true?
Also, I just happened upon the fact that I'll be in town the one day a year that the Royal Pantheon is open in the Grand Palace- April 6th- worth it to go that day? Anyone been?
I think I may use them to go to a floating market, but at $200+ for the day, that seems a bit steep. Not sure if I want to do a super touristy tour, but if it'll save $$$ I may be open to it. Recommendations?
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Feb 9th, 2016, 08:24 AM
  #2
 
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I, personally, recommend against tours in Bangkok. There may be some utility in a private tour going somewhere outside of Bangkok that is difficult to get to via public transport or taxi. (Off the top of my head, I can't think what that would be, but I expect someone can come up with a suggestion). Ok, I came up with one - the tour to Ayutthaya would be worthwhile. While you can get there on your own on public transport, a tour will give you a boat ride back to Bangkok which is lovely.

Stay somewhere along the river and take the water taxis to the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha/Wat Pho. There are tour guides available at the entrance - not free, but very low cost. I haven't been when the Royal Pantheon is open, but I would think it would be worthwhile. I agree, absolutely no reason to have a private guide for these. Sorry, I can't remember if the National Museum has a free tour.

Cooking classes: The Blue Elephant is excellent, I know several people who have done that class. The Oriental has cooking classes, but I believe they are all multi-day classes.

A "guided tour" that might interest you is to visit the Prasart Museum, outside of Bangkok. You must reserve ahead of time, and you will have a docent to guide you through the treasures. They only allow one party at a time there, so you will have the place to yourself.

I do understand that your family is worried about you after you got hit by lightening on Inle Lake, but as you correctly point out, you wouldn't have been out of the lake in a storm if you had been traveling solo.

If you visit the Jim Thompson House, you will get a tour as part of your admission.

I am not a fan of the floating markets. I consider them tourist traps (and considered them as such when I visited in the 1980s - I have not been back.
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Feb 9th, 2016, 09:15 AM
  #3
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Kathie- as always- so very helpful- thank you!

I was planning on doing to water taxis to GP/NM/Wat Po/Wat Arun with Mom, so going solo should be fine I think! I'll either grab a guide or wait for the free tours inside @ GP/NM- glad this isn't too far fetched!
I read that the National Museum has free English tours at 10 on Weds & Thurs. And that JT's house has them hourly.

I was thinking of heading to Ayutthaya, but decided to come home a day earlier, and couldn't really fit everything in BKK plus that, so will have to save it for next time! Too bad about the floating markets, they look interesting, but have read they can be 'touristy'- but if they were that was 30 years ago, I can only imagine now!!

Will have to look into the Prasart, sounds very intriguing!
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Feb 9th, 2016, 09:31 AM
  #4
 
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No guide really needed for grand palace, it speaks for itself.

If you are alone, and if your time is limited I always suggest a guide/driver if for no other reason you will save time and aggreviation.

I prefer tong and her group but I have also used rat

You might find them both on google or trip advisor. Both do trips outside the city as well... I'm thinking $100 not 200. Tong you can usually also call the day or two before
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Feb 9th, 2016, 10:02 AM
  #5
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Thanks Rhkkmk- was thinking having a driver would add more time with the traffic, not true?

I've heard about tong here, and on TA, but seems getting a response from Tong can be challenging, so went with the #2.
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Feb 9th, 2016, 10:12 AM
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IMO (and this opinion is not shared by Bob) there is no reason to use a driver in the city - only for trips outside the city. Your car and driver will be just as stuck in traffic as all of the taxis and other drivers. For people who are concerned about learning how to use public transport, a guide who takes you on the water taxis, the skytrain and the subway may be worthwhile. But I found them all easy to figure out on my own.
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Feb 9th, 2016, 10:21 AM
  #7
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Thanks Kathie, from what I've read public transport seems pretty straight forward. I think the BTS and water taxis will be my main transport, with tuk tuks & taxis filling in when absolutely necessary!
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Feb 9th, 2016, 11:16 AM
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I avoid tuk tuks, as they are unmetered and therefore, more likely to cost more than taxis. I always make sure the taxi driver turns on the meter. Lots do as soon as you get in, almost all others will if you ask. In my 30+ years of traveling to Bangkok, I've only had to get out of a taxi once because the driver wouldn't turn on the meter.
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