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First Trip to SE Asia...help with itinerary please!


Oct 20th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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First Trip to SE Asia...help with itinerary please!

Hello there

Hubby and I live in London UK and are frequent travellers around Europe, however we have never been to Asia. We are mid30s and big foodies. We aren't museum goers but love people watching, historic sites and enjoying local foods and culture. We are also big photographers. We also like slow travel and don't like wasting too much time changing locations...we like to get to know a place well.

I have read many threads here and have come up with the following. We have two weeks (leaving London Friday night, arriving in Asia Saturday afternoon, heading back to London the Sunday two weeks later. We are thinking of going late November 2013.

Day 1 Friday fly London to Bangkok
Day 2 Saturday fly directly to Siem Reap
Day 3 sunday explore the temples
Day 4 Monday explore the temples
Day 5 Tuesday explore the temples
Day 6 Wednesday explore the temples
Day 7 Thursday fly to a beach area (see questions below)
Day 8 Friday beach
Day 9 Saturday beach
Day 10 Sunday beach
Day 11 Monday beach
Day 12 Tuesday fly to Bangkok
Day 13 Wednesday bangkok
Day 14 Thursday Bangkok
Day 15 Friday Bangkok
Day 16 Saturday Bangkok
Day 17 fly back to london

Some questions:

1. What is the best way to get to Siem Reap from Bangkok - Bangkok air discovery pass?

2. We want a beautiful beach area...not too touristy so I had decided not Phuket...was thinking Krabi as it looks beautiful. But it seems there are no direct flights from Siem Reap...are there other beautiful beach areas other than Phuket that we can get to directly? We do not want an American style resort where the serve American food...we want a lovely beach and a hotel near a town where we can get local food and experiences. No scuba diving, but great snorkelling would be ideal...thoughts?

3. Thinking of using my spg points to book the Royal Orchid Sheraton in Bangkok...thoughts?

4. Any recommendations for guides in Siem Reap? We have the book Kathie recommends and figure we would like to spend 4 days there...a guide that specialises in photography would be great! Also any hotel recommendations here?

5. Is my plan reasonable?

6. Hubby has had dengi fever so we need to avoid areas where there are breakouts...do we need to avoid any areas in particular?

Thank you so much for your help! We promise a full trip report on return!

Jamikins (and Bikerscott)
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:03 AM
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Are you sure you want 4 days of temples??? My wifge gets templed out in about an hour and remember you will be out in the high heat and humidity which you are not used to living in London.

You might consider Hua Hin for a beach location- its only about a 2 hour drive from BKK and you can hire one of the drivers used here on Fodors to take you. (Ratt for example).

ROS hotel is fine- its a good value when using your SPG points.
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:10 AM
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We have done some research and do want to spend a good amount of time seeing the temples if we are going to take the time to be there. We assume we will have some jet lag etc so want to ensure we can see them in a relaxed manner. Thanks for the feedback though, I'll chat with the hubby and gt his feedback.
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:30 AM
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Your schedule is good especially if you like ancient ruins. 5 days and 4 nights in Siem Reap is fine IMO and you can explore the whole complex. You should have fun with photography at Siem Reap as well as Bangkok and the beach.

As for the beach I still think you should make an effort to visit the South of Thailand. No direct flight from Siem Reap but a quick change in Bangkok and you're off. IMO any where between Phuket and Koh Lanta will nice during that time of year.
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:44 AM
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Thanks so much! Is Phuket a tourist trap like I imagine? Or have I not considered it enough?
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:45 AM
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I think your plan for Siem Reap looks good. You've done your research, so know what to expect. We spent a week in Siem Reap and would have enjoyed even more time there. Remember that the traditional way to tour is to go out at dawn, back around noon to have lunch and cool off, take a swim, then back out about 3 or 4 until dusk. It keeps you out of the hottest part of the day and gives your driver/guide the ability to have the main meal of the day with their family.

There is someone in Siem Reap who does photography guiding. I'm sorry, I don't remember who it is, but someone here reported on it.

You can fly through Bangkok, change planes and go to Krabi. Also consider Koh Lak and Koh Lanta, as per Hanuman's suggestion. You might also consider Koh PhiPhi.

Dengue is endemic in the whole SE Asia area. Your own NHS travel website fitfirtravl should have info on outbreaks.

The Royal Orchid is my "home" in Bangkok. I love the location and the river view.

It sounds like a wonderful trip!
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Oct 20th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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A few of the beaches in Phuket are overcrowded with too many bars around them. However a lot of the good hotels have excellent semi private beaches but often at a very high price. Take a look at the Amanpuri in Phuket and if your budget permit then go for it. Further South along the coast will have very nice beaches as well and less crowded.
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Oct 20th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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Wow you guys are amazing! Thanks so much, will look into all your suggestions, please keep them coming!
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 05:36 AM
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The Aman is to stuffy for my taste and rih fr my pocket book but the Le Meridan was totally rebuilt and is a bit away from what ever hustle there is. The beach is lovely (2009) and 40% the cost of the Amn. Nicer than Krabi and Ko Samui and a short flight from BK.
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 07:27 PM
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Phuket might touristy but you can choose the beach to stay.
Kata,Kata Noi,Nai Harn, Nai Yang , Nai Thorn beach are less crowded.
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Oct 28th, 2012, 06:59 PM
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For accommodation in Siem Reap, a gentleman I used to work with in the hotel business (many years ago) in the States has opened 2 small boutique hotels in the center of Siem Reap.

Here is the link to The One Hotel Collection:


During my visit to Siem Reap last year I did not stay in his hotel(s), but I did visit the night club he also owns and it seemed to be well run. I do believe the hotels are located in a pretty busy area of the town center. Check out the website.
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Oct 28th, 2012, 11:25 PM
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Hi there, it’s nice to be able to 'pay it forward', you two have helped me in the past with Europe trip planning (you probably don't realize how many people you help out).

Anyway we did Cambodia & Vietnam in March/April this year, I've done a fairly thorough TR including the wonderful meals we had in Siem Reap and a description of 'our' great hotel. I hope it helps some.

(We’ll be back in London in 6.5weeks, yipeeee)
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Oct 29th, 2012, 01:34 AM
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I think your plan sounds great, the only thing I would question is your number of days in Bangkok. Do you really need 5 nights. I would only do about 3 unless you have your 5 days already planned out.

I also agree about Phuket. go somewhere else. Koh Samui or Koh PhiPhi would be good beach choices
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Oct 29th, 2012, 03:19 AM
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Awesome suggestions, thank you all so much!
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Oct 29th, 2012, 07:08 AM
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lol, millie, we all like different things. I could spend much more time in Bangkok. I consider 3 nights not enough to explore the city, so I consider 5 nights perfect for a first trip. My first trip to Bangkok was 9 nights there.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 08:18 AM
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We spent six nights in Bangkok and wished we had more time there.
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Oct 29th, 2012, 06:14 PM
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The best way to get to Siem Reap from Bangkok is the Bangkok Air flight. If you book 3 legs (BKK to Siem Reap to beach & back to BKK) the Discovery Airpass is the way to go.

November is a good time to travel but it is one of the rainier months in southern Thailand, where you’ll find the beaches. My brother and his wife were in Phuket earlier this year and while kind of on the touristy side, they did have a good time. We’ve never been to any of the beaches in Thailand so I can’t be of too much help but we are trying to work out a trip soon that will include a visit Ko Samui, the 2nd largest island in south Thailand, which also is served by Bangkok Air and can be booked via the Airpass.

A couple suggestions for guides in Siem Reap:
Dave Perkes, owner of Peace of Angkor hotel http://www.peaceofangkor.com/, is an excellent photographer himself and along with the typical Siem Reap tour itineraries, he offers special photo oriented tours. We met Dave when we stayed at the hotel a couple years ago but given the hotels you mentioned, I’m not sure you will want to stay there. However no problem in just booking the tours through them.

On our most recent trip to Siem Reap earlier this year we toured with the very knowledgeable guide Sowanna Yun. His web page is www.cambodianguide.com/ . While his tours were not photo specific, we came home with some very good photos and were very satisfied with the service. He knows everybody and every place in Siem Reap.

On that trip, we stayed at “The Kool Hotel”. It’s a small boutique property. We had a huge modern and very clean room at a very affordable price. The staff was very helpful in arranging tuk-tuk transport into the city center. They have a small pool but it is in a nice setting.

You’ll be there long enough that you’ll have time to do it, but we were kind of turned off by the “Tonle Sap Floating Market” tour. A bit too touristy and really kind of sad.

For sure you should have dinner at least once at Touich Restaurant. It’s a bit off the beaten track but the food was surprisingly sophisticated and the service was also terrific. We had a sour chicken soup & banana flower salad as starters and mains of a smoked eggplant with chicken and grilled tiger prawns. Everything was great and along with drinks and a shared dessert, the entire bill was about $20. You can see more details at http://www.se-asiatravel.com/cambodi...p-restaurants/.

In Bangkok, we always go out with Nook Tourguide (find her facebook page by searching for Nook TourGuide.) She is really an excellent guide. If you are interested in food; schedule a day with her to the “Train Market”, which includes a morning walk through an excellent food street market where she will guide you through some tasty treats. You can see some additional info on that at http://www.se-asiatravel.com/thailan...-train-market/. Also have Nook set up a lunch for you at Krua Apsorn, a place we absolutely love and hit every time we are in Bangkok. Another place we dream about when we think of food in Bangkok is Thip Samai Pud Thai. There are lots of places to get Pud Thai in Bangkok but this is one of the best. More on both of these plus other places at http://www.se-asiatravel.com/thailan...aurant-report/
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Oct 29th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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Actually, media, late Nov is lovely along the Andaman Sea side of Thailand. October is rainy, and into the first of November, but past mid-Nov you are likely to have perfect weather.
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Oct 30th, 2012, 06:06 AM
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I enjoy culture but I think you may have over done Siem Reap by 1 full day or possible two based on the walking you want to do throughout the ruins. If you back off 1q or 2 days I would tack them on to BK. I have not read hardly any posts stating that 6-7 days in BK was too much. The accpmmodations on Phi Phi were not as wide in 2009 as Phiket or for shore or even Krabi. You did not mention Kp Samui and that's good for that is too busy. As Phuket can be much of the year.
Just a heads up. The snorleling has been reduced by 30+% ober the past 3.5 years due to corasl bleaching andis is only adequate.
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