Do I need to know the language

Sep 26th, 2003, 11:17 AM
  #1  
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Do I need to know the language

Hi!
My husband and I are planning a three week vacation in February to Thailand- we thought that we should go with an adventure tour group (small numbers) because with such a short stay it would be tough to get around on our own and do stuff because of the language barrier - is this the case? We are still ironing out the details - I would like to see Angkor Wat as well as central, northern Thailand - thought we might see Laos or Vietnam also but now think that we will be to rushed.
Any advice on the language or itinerary would be appreciated.
lilly is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 12:42 PM
  #2  
 
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There is absolutely no need to go with a tour. If you've traveled independently in other parts of the world, you'll find travel in SE Asia easy to arrange. Language is really not a problem, as most of the people you come in contact with will speak some English. Picking up a few phrases of the local language is always appreciated.

In three weeks, I'd agree that you can see Angkor (minimum of three days) and a couple of places in Thailand. Don't try to do too much, or you'll miss the charm of the place.

Where to go in Thailand depends on your interests. I love Bangkok, and always spend at least 5 days there. If you want beaches, there are lots to choose from in the south. If you are more interested in hilltribes, go north. I'm not fond of Chaing Mai, but if you go north of Chaing Mai, the hill country is lovely and there are interesting places to stay, and treks (day hikes or overnight) are readily available.

Travel within Thailand is very easy whether by air, rail or bus. You should fly into and out of Siem Reap to see Angkor (Bangkok Air). Travel withing Cambodia or Laos or Vietnam are much slower and more difficult..
Kathie is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 12:46 PM
  #3  
 
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I agree, you really do not need an agent, it is so easy. Unless you head well off the beaten track language will not be a problem.
Plan where you want to go, use local sites for hotels, flights and other transport easy. For Angkor Bangkok Airways has several daily flights. It really is easy. Sure we are glad to help with tips/ideas.
JamesA is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 07:06 PM
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you have heard from the experts so now i will add my views....language is no problem at all...someone always understand english...maybe in a small town in the middle of no where you might encounter a problem but other than that it is easy, especially in bkk and chiang mai and the islands...

places to go....kathie is accurate in her estimates....i think 5 days is a minimum for bkk....remember when you arrive you will be beat...its a long flight and thus day 1 is lost...just rest by the pool and have a couple of nice meals and regroup...
angkor is a minimum of 2.5 days with one day total for travel to and from....i would select either a trip up north to CM/CR areas or south to the beaches but not both and forget the other destinations for this trip
my suggestion

day 1-2 air from usa
day 3 regroup
days 4-6 bkk
days 6-8 CM chiang mai
days 8-10 CR chiang rai
days 10-12 bkk
days 13-17 angkor (come back to bkk on late 7:30pm flight)
days 18-20 hua hin seaside (2.5 hours drive south of bkk--look at marriott hotel or hyatt hotel

i'll put my plug in now for the bangkok marriott resort and spa on the river....our overall favorite hotel--best pool area...second choice is the peninsula hotel--stay 2-3 days for a true luxuary time at a reasonable rate---maybe $170 nite at that time of year...look at their web-site.....marriott about $115 +/-
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 08:31 PM
  #5  
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You are all so awesome ? thanks for the quick responses ? one side note ? I am Canadian, but how were you to know J
SO I don?t need to go on a tour ? but should we book anything in advance ? I have seen some posts for good guides to Chiang Mai and the hill tribes, or to Angkor Wat ? should I book these in advance? Not so interested in flying all that way to hang out at the beach so I think that we will do central and northern Thailand. Again my concern is for wasting time ? as 3 weeks isn?t that much!

Thanks again for your help!!!!!!!!!!!
Lilly
lilly is offline  
Sep 26th, 2003, 11:44 PM
  #6  
 
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if your a bit adventures you can go too Luang Prabang, Laos. via chaing rai.. and take a bout down the mekong river too LP..

maybe a cirle tour would be good. BKK, chaing mai, chaing rai, loung prabang, fly too (angkor) via bkk. and back too bkk..

in the the north ther are plenty of adventure tour opperators that will do bike, hiking and rafting trips for a cuople of days..
orgy7 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2003, 08:03 AM
  #7  
 
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If I were you, I'd book my hotels and flights in advance. You can easily do so on the internet. You don't really need to book guides in advance (you hotel can always set you up with a good guide), but can do so if you wish.

One caveat. While you might want to book a special guide in advance, don't schedule every minute of your time. You want time just to soak up the expereince. The pace in SE Asia is different from the pace in, say, Europe.

I've been to Luang Prabang and it is lovely. It's a sleepy town filled with active wats and old French colonial architecture. It could be a substitute for Northern Thailand, but realistically, you'd want to fly from Bangkok. The boat orgy refers to operates either as the "fast boat" (eight hours in a tiny space with the engine blasting in your ear - renowned to be dangerous, a few people die on it every year) or the slow boat - two days in a space so cramped you can't straighten out your legs). There is talk of a new boat service that will transport you in comfort and safety.

So if you wanted to do Luang Prabang rather than northern Thailand, you'd fly in and out of Bangkok on Bangkok Air. LP is much more laid back, much less developed than northern Thailand.

Continue to ask questions on this board as you plan. As you can see, there are lots of people here who have been to the places you're interested in. Some of us have become addicted - James lives in Bangkok, rhkkmk has been visiting the area yearly for a number of years, and I've been to SE Asia more than 20 times.
Kathie is offline  

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