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Cyn's Itinerary for the Great Adventure to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Japan

Cyn's Itinerary for the Great Adventure to Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Japan

Old Jan 26th, 2007, 07:26 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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Given your limited time in LP, I'd do the cooking class in BKK. There have been a number of discussions on here about cooking schools in Bangkok.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 07:52 AM
  #22  
 
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Cyn--
We did the combo of the Four Seasons Golden Triangle and Chiang Mai in November and I have to say that Golden Triangle was the absolute highlight of this trip (and most every other trip we have taken). We stayed 4 nights at each hotel and, if I could do it again, I would have added another night in the Golden Triangle. It is unique and wonderful and I do think that the Four Seasons Chiang Mai suffers from coming right after it. One note regarding your itinerary leading up to 4SGT. One of the activities at GT is a wonderful trip to the Mekong River and golden triangle. This includes a boat tour as well as travel on all kinds of local transportation, a tour of the local market and temple. It is a personal tour just for the 2 of you and is included in the cost of 4SGT so, if I were you, I would cancel the tour you have set up for March 1st from Chiang Rai. It will be a longer trip from Chiang Rai to get to the river (you are right on a river that leads to the Mekong at the 4SGT) and the tour Four Seasons does is great.
Also, you should book ahead for the Mahout recovery treatment at the spa at 4SGT for the end of the day you are doing your mahout training. This treatment is also included in the cost of the GT. The spa at Golden Triangle is so unique--2 sides of it are open and all you see is jungle. My husband and I had ours together and it was heavenly.
You will have a fabulous trip. I wish I was returning with you!
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 09:07 AM
  #23  
 
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cad....can you write a trip report for us so we can learn from your experiences....thanks

bob

loved meeting you and hubby
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 09:17 AM
  #24  
 
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Cyn....a fellow New Englander Yeah! We will be at the Four Seasons from March 8-12th. I think our paths will cross. Kathie's point is well taken . The Four Seasons is a beautiful place...it would be a shame not to hang out a bit there, rather than do so many trips out. (We were there last year and loved it!)
Hope to meet up with you.
Joyce and Don
originally from CT.
p.s. the La Paix is an incredibly beautiful hotel.
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 09:57 AM
  #25  
 
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Bob--
Loved meeting you and Karen too (as well as Kathie, Cheryl, Mirasia, Brad, Michael, etc. etc.). I have been trying to find the time for a report and have been inundated since my return (family matters and work). I am hoping there is a light at the end of the tunnel next month so I can get a report done. Stay tuned!
Marian
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Old Jan 26th, 2007, 04:52 PM
  #26  
 
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marian--can't wait...hi to hubby
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Old Jan 27th, 2007, 12:11 AM
  #27  
 
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KimJapan ~ not sure how else to reach you. I was at Joy's Guesthouse in Chiang Mai in November with my kids. Email me at [email protected] if you were still thinking of going there this year and want some info.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 04:19 PM
  #28  
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Florence: Great - I love antique markets - especially when I can buy! (DH, on the other hand... )

Andy: I'm sure we'll be well taken care of. We're bound to have and adventure (or six...) - we ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS do!

cruisinred: I was thinking it might be nice to be exposed to the cooking techniques of both Thailand and Laos, but perhaps they are not different enough to warrant the time? Plus, it seems like it might be a nice way to interact with some local people in a unique way?

cadwex: It's so nice to hear that you loved the 4S's. They both get such nice write ups over at FlyerTalk too. Did you do the photo-trek or craft class? They both sound like lots of fun! When were you there? Re: the tour on 3/1: This is what is included: "Depart your hotel for Mae Sai, the bustling trading town at the farther-most northern border between Thailand and Burma (sic). Drive on to the Golden Triangel afea, where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. Then visit Chiang Saen on the steep banks of Mae Khong river, opposite Laos where you will see some magnificent ancient ruins and temples. Then embark on a long-tailed boat trip along the mighty Mae Khong river." It's a half-day tour. Does this sound like it would be duplicating the 4S's trip?

jodo: You're referring to the 4S Chaing Mai, correct? (I tend to get easily confused ). Regarding our trips out - we'll be coming down from 4SGT, where we will have been "luxuriating" for 3 days, so it seemed like we would be ready for some activity when we get to Chaing Mai. We have 3 1/2 days of activity scheduled, and then 3 1/2 days with nothing planned. Yes, no, maybe? Yep, we're New Englanders - (actually from VT) although it's been such an easy winter so far that it almost seems a shame to be leaving! You said formerly CT - where are you now? Do you have your itinerary posted?

Thanks for the comments everybody - it's so helpful!

Cyn
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 04:38 PM
  #29  
 
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Hi Cyn,
Yes, we'll be at the FS Chiang Mai. I can't remember if I posted my itinerary...I sometimes forget what I posted, which means I repeat myself and the poor Fodorites have to hear my requests in triplicate.
Anyway, here's our itinerary:
BKK Feb 23-27
Vientiane Feb 28-March 1 Settha Palace
Luang Prabang-March 2-5 la Residence Phou-Pou)
Chiang Mai (in town) March 6-7
Four Seasons March 8-12
Home March 13

We have an excursion to the elephant conservation center North of CM on Saturday..
And we would like to visit Joy's House School For Life one day. Does anybody have info on that. I believe Italingua referred to it. Can you give us some details, if you're reading this post.
Otherwise we're still figuring it out. We'd like to spend 2 days just hanging out at the FS.
In town, we may book D2...not very Thai, but great reviews and good location. Or we might re-visit Pornping Palace....a very modest high righ rise near the night market where we fled after a terrible experience at the River View Lodge (can't understand why that place gets ** Frommers and aNancy Chandler nod...We shared our room with many bed bugs and other creatures, and the folks acted like they were doing us a favor to let us be there....so unlike every other place we've stayed, regardless of the $$ in Thailand) That was 6 or more years ago, so maybe things have changed. Anyway, based on the rave reviews, we'll probaby try D2.
To end, Cyn, we live in Virginia, and regularly return to Hartford Ct, where Don and I were born and raised. (Don's mom is still alive, and we visit.....that's why the CT GTG is so convenient for us.)
I would love to meet up in Thailand (and maybe even at the next Ct GTG!
I'm thinking we definately can meet in CM
Joyce and Don
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 05:07 PM
  #30  
 
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www.joyshouse.net
I e-mailed italingua but she hasn't gotten back to me.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 05:15 PM
  #31  
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Jodo: Yes! Yes! Yes! I meant to mention it in my last post - it would be great fun to meet in Chiang Mai. Shall we plan a specific time/date, or play it by ear?

I would also love to meet up with anyone else who's going to be crossing paths during this trip - we'll be gone for so long, it will be nice to meet fodor-friends!

Cyn
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 05:29 PM
  #32  
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Has anyone gone to boxing matches while in Thailand? How brutal? I think it might be something DH would enjoy, but I'm afraid I would be horrified. I do not go to US boxing...
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 07:32 PM
  #33  
 
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A travel agent put together the Japan part of your trip? If you've been to Japan and traveled around like that in the past then ok, you know what you are getting into (as far as the pace of travel and the distances involved).

The Rihga Royal is a very good hotel choice for Hiroshima.

The Gora Kadan is not in Odawara. It is in Gora, Hakone-machi. The train trip from Hiroshima to Odawara is 4 to 5 hours. It could be another hour or so longer if you choose the wrong train.

From JR Odawara station you will have to travel into the park to get to Hakone-machi. I think it is about an hour bus ride. You'll want to get there by 6PM at the latest, better if you got there earlier because it is an expensive place so you want some time to enjoy it.

So, you'll have to leave Hiroshima at 11AM or noon.

The day before that you will need to travel from Kyoto around noon, or earlier, to get to Hiroshima in time to get to your hotel and walk over to the Peace Park & see the museum.

I guess I'm going back in time in your itinerary, not by design. But it sounds like your flight departs Thailand on March 30 and arrives April 1. Then the one night in Kyoto.

If that is what your itinerary means then you will be arriving at KIX in the morning, traveling to Kyoto (by car, really?) and will have only that day for sightseeing in Kyoto. The next morning you will have a few hours too, I suppose (maybe 2?) before heading to JR Kyoto station to catch your shinkansen to Hiroshima.
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Old Jan 28th, 2007, 07:53 PM
  #34  
 
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I'll list your itin in order, as I understand it:

March 30 - depart BKK

April 1 - arrive Osaka Kansai airport. Guesing arrival is at 7AM. Get bags, transport arranged, ..., arrive Kyoto around 9:30A or 10AM. Leave bags at Hyatt, maybe get an early checkin. You now have 24 hours to see Kyoto, the cultural heart of Japan.

April 2 - Couple of hourse sightseeing in Kyoto. Train to Hiroshima. Figure 2.5 hours door-to-door between your Kyoto and Hiroshima hotels. So at about 1PM you would be able to start your sightseeing of Hiroshima.

April 3 - Better to leave Hiroshima at 9AM, not 11AM. Make it to Gora Kadan at 4PM. Relax, enjoy the ryokan (the description I've glanced at makes the place sound more like a resort), have a great meal.

April 4 - check out of Gora Kadan and move to the Hyatt (I don't know how much of a move this is). At some point you'll have some time to see some of Fuji-Hakone for a few hours.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 06:04 AM
  #35  
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mrwunrfl: Sorry - my itinerary looks confusing, I know.

On March 30, We leave BKK at 8:10am, arrive NRT 4:15; flight from NRT to Osaka arrives approx 7:30, and we are driving to Kyoto that night. I know it's a lot, but travel days are always so stressful anyway that we just try and get it all done in one day if we can.

So that then gives us March 31, April 1 and a little of the morning of Apr 2 in Kyoto.

We take a bullet train to Hiroshima, which leaves at 11:30, arrives at 1:45. It was important to me to go to Hiroshima.

We leave Hiroshima on April 3 at 11:30 to Nagoya, arrive 1:45, change trains to Odawara and arrive at 4:09. We are escorted to the train station to make sure we get on the right train, are met in Nagoya and escorted to the next train, and are met in Odawara to be taken to the ryokan. You're right - I wouldn't want to attempt this without help, but I think we'll be ok.

We were originally scheduled for 2 nights at the Gora Kadan Ryokan, but DH has an extremely bad back, and cannot bend over or sit without support for his back. I'm kind of worried about even the one night there - sitting on the floor for dining, and sleeping on the floor on a futon is going to be a real (and painful)challenge for him. We both really want the experience though, so he is willing to suffer. Keep your fingers crossed that he doesn't throw anything out of whack, or we may be there with him on the floor for weeks!

Thanks for the input - does this make more sense now, or do you still see problems?

Cyn
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 04:18 PM
  #36  
 
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Yes, this definitely makes more sense now. Like I said, the itinerary would be ok if you were experienced in traveling around Japan. With the escort you will have it should be pretty easy.

Your train to Nagoya is a Nozomi (#18). This is first rate. The train to Odawara is a Hikari (#372), absolutely the right choice.

Those shinkansen departure times are like those that are offered on the JR/JTB shinkansen packages. The train to Hiroshima, the night at RR, and the train back to Kyoto is part of a typical 2D1N package. And the rest of your tour is added on to that. Maybe this is so, maybe not. Either way, ok. This is just on observation.

Your hotel is next door to the home of the Hiroshima Carp baseball team. I was able to actually look down into the stadium from my room during one of my stays at the Rihga Royal. Maybe there is a game on the night you are there.

The only problem I see now is the part about the suffering.
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 07:28 PM
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Cyn..
Yes, let's plan something, but looking at your itinerary, you are pretty packed. Maybe dinner at the 4 seasons one night.
Remember, the Sunday Market in CM is wonderful (you have handicrafts scheduled that day, but I would suggest you make room for the market. it is different than the night market...local handicrafts, hill tribe folks from surrounding areas bringing their goods into the walking market.)
As for kick boxing, we did that in BKK 8 years ago....on our second night in town...actually fell asleep right in the middle of the match (ooooo...can you say jet lag) We actually have considered going again, since we missed it the first time. It's very local, and interesting.
Let's think about a night to meet at the four seasons. They have a lovely Thai restaurant. Maybe Friday night March 9?
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 07:28 AM
  #38  
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MrWunrfl: What a great thought about the baseball - unfortunately in Hiroshima they play on the day before and the day after, but not the night we're there! However, I checked, and there are some games at Jingu stadium while we're in Tokyo. I was looking at perhaps Sunday, Apr 8. 2:00. Is it difficult to get tickets? Seems like it would be a lot of fun! Yes? Anything we should know about?

Re: the "suffering" - it's chronic, and almost constant; and without fail 2 or 3 days before we leave he injures it, so that flying becomes agony for him...He has never once let it stop him, though. I have a great story about China and his back: We had requested bed-boards in the hotels, so he would have good support - he cannot sleep on a soft matress. Checked into our room, and there was a bed board - on top of the matress, and under the sheets. We both giggled and giggled until we had tears coming down our faces. His back was so bad that he could not help me "fix" it, so I had to call housekeeping to come and help. She got the giggles with us - such a fun memory.

He is much stronger than I am. He is My Mr Wonderful (took me until yesterday - well AFTER I typed your name, to figure out your name ).

JoDo: Would March 11 work for you - March 9 is the day we (or at least I will be cooking all day - and I can't imagine we'll be too hungry. Of course, we can do it on the 9th if that's the best day. Anybody else out there want to join us, and have a date preference?

Cyn
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 12:00 PM
  #39  
 
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Going to Jingu would be good but I suggest that you go to Tokyo Dome and see the Yomiuri Giants, especially the games against the Tigers that weekend. Those could be sellouts. Check with your concierge (in Kyoto) about tix.

I saw a Giants weekday game at Tokyo Dome last April and there was a good choice of seats at the box office at game time. Better to get them in advance though, esp. Tigers on the weekend. Or try the Thursday night game against the Dragons.

At a Japanese baseball games the outfield seats are separated by team loyalties. If you are a fan of the visiting team then sit in left field. If you are a fanatic of the home team then sit in right field. In either case, be prepared for noise! Or sit elsewhere and get a view of both sets of fans in addition to the game.

In some U.S. ballparks you can get some pretty good food. This is not the case, imo, in Japanese ballparks but beer is popular.
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Old Jan 30th, 2007, 05:05 PM
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Cyn--
I was at both of the FS's in mid-November, 4 nights in each. Your half day tour sounds exactly like what you will see with the included FS tour. I would definately pass on the one out of Chiang Rai. As I mentioned, the FS is right on the river that leads to the Mekong River and the tour is personalized for the 2 of you with terrific guides, etc. You will see everything that is included in your 3/1 tour and, since it will be just the 2 of you, you can spend as little or as much time as you want at each place. I didn't take either of the classes that you mentioned but my husband and I did do the FS Cooking Class which included an early morning tour to the local market. The cooking class was great. The school is open air and beautiful. It is pricier than other cooking schools but we loved it and and there was only one other person in the class besides my husband and me. I wish I was back there--especially in the Golden Triangle--RIGHT now!!
Let me know if you have anymore questions. I'm so jealous!
Marian
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