first trip to Thailand

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May 22nd, 2014, 10:06 AM
  #1
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first trip to Thailand

We are taking our first trip to Thailand. We are 2 adventuresome middle age women. Looking for historical and cultural experiences. One of us is passionate about photography and hoping to capture some beautiful/ intriguing views. We appreciate a little night life, interesting dining and shopping experiences. Any suggestions on locations? We have about 4 days in Thailand following an initial visit to Hong Kong.
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May 22nd, 2014, 12:08 PM
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With a mere 4 days in Thailand you will want just one location. Bangkok is the place you will get to see amazing wats (Buddhist temples) and will find the best dining and shopping. Stay at a hotel along the river to enhance your experience of the city.
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May 22nd, 2014, 12:21 PM
  #3
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Thank you Kathie, any suggestions of hotels?
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May 22nd, 2014, 12:45 PM
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What are you looking for in a hotel? How much do you want to spend?

IMO you should choose a place with easy access to local transport. The Shangri-la is within walking distance to the Central Pier/Sathorn and the BTS/Saphan Taskin. It is a beautiful property but not cheap. We stayed almost next door to this hotel for $60 per night but If I wasn't on a budget I would have picked the Shangri-la.

You don't say when you're going but if it's not for some time get Nancy Chandler's Map of Bangkok. It is an excellent source of info with a great map, etc.

Have a great trip!
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May 22nd, 2014, 01:44 PM
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I second the Bangkok and Shangri-la recommendations. If your budget allows, stay in the Krungthep Wing. With 4 days, you can't do too much else, however a day trip outside of Bangkok with Tong (a guide frequently mentioned here) or one of her people would provide great photo opportunities.
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May 22nd, 2014, 03:20 PM
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Thank you Craig.How do you get a hold of Tong?
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May 22nd, 2014, 05:16 PM
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Tour with Tong-I sent emails and got no response. She's so busy. What had been suggested to me by others on the forum was to call her when I got to Bangkok. I did that on Jan. 30, 2014 and talked directly to her (I called early in the morning) and was able to arrange my tour for the very next day. I did get a follow up e-mail from her asking how the tour went and I had nothing but positive things to say. I'm working on my trip reports and will post reviews on Trip Advisor but it's going to take me a while to do that. In the meantime you can go to TA forum Asia, Thailand and type in tour with tong in the search box and read the reviews already posted. She has an excellent reputation.

Here's her website and under contact there are phone #s listed.

http://tourwithtong.com/index.htm
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May 22nd, 2014, 06:26 PM
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My sister and I stayed in Bangkok for 4 days at the Shangri-La. Loved it, the location, the property, the staff. One thing we did that we both enjoyed immensely was a cooking class. It was an excellent way to learn more about the flavor nuances in Thai foods, spend a day with locals, and eat some great food.
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May 23rd, 2014, 05:18 AM
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The best way to get to Tong is look at her web site, decide what you want to do. Then phone her...remember the time difference. The further in advance the better to get one of her better guides. If the site does not have phone numbers we have a couple for her. She will customize trips for you also. all of her guides are excellent..
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May 23rd, 2014, 07:03 AM
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I received this recently from my friend tong:

Dear all,



We try our best to get back to you within 48 hours. But since we have new emails endlessly flowing every a few minutes everyday, it's impossible for us to cover all requests as we customize tour individually, all emails are answered by the owner only. Not by any other staff and we'd prefer that way.




For quicker response, pls go to our homepage, and you will see QR code for anyone who use smart phones, you can download the program named "Line" and scan our QR code there or search for "tourwithtong" ID. (Phone +6689 204 0412 : this phone number is used just for Line App. ONLY)




This way, you can chat with Tong on your mobile phone. It could be more efficient as sending the msg and making a phone call through Line program will be clearer and free of charge in case you wanna talk to me on real time..but please consider the difference in Time zones before doing that.




We will take bookings from ones who understand us and really want to tour with us only. So if you meant to just shop around, we apologize if we can't answer you as quickly as you expected, so please go with any other tour operators and please don't be angry with us as we don't take any of your money or business. We didn't mean to neglect you, but there are really overwhelming requests here.





We apologize for any inconveniences caused.





Thank you for your kind understanding.










Kindest regards,

tong
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May 23rd, 2014, 07:06 AM
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I also prefer riverside hotels: anantara riverside is our #1 fav; Shangri-La; peninsula, royal orchid Sheraton; Hilton is ok; ibis for budget.

you must visit the royal palace for photos, wat arun, klong tour in thornburi, V-mek palace among other places..

with 4 days stick only to bkk.
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May 23rd, 2014, 10:17 AM
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I would skip Bangkok for a while. Why not try someone different away from the tourist trail.

Try Ubon or Khon Kaen.

Bangkok has been done to death by photographers.

You could fly to Ubon do some temples then drive to Khong Chiam. Great scenary out there for photos. 4 days is perfectable doable out there.
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May 23rd, 2014, 03:54 PM
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Warm greetings Mirables and warm, belated greetings to Fodors.

Should you decide on a few days in beloved Bangkok, do stay abreast of ongoing developments. Never a dull moment in the City of Angels.

Now, wholeheartedly concur with the above suggestions of the Shangri-La. Mind you, it has been some months since my last business-related stay with her. (Four Seasons and St. Regis of late for meetings; quite convenient.) Will say, always so enjoyed my corporate bookings in the Shangri-La's Krungthep Wing. Nothing against her Main Wing; over time I appreciated the KW's relative quiet and lovely lap pool.

Will also give ongoing promotions to some riverside dwellings I've savoured in the past for work and occasional holiday: The Siam, Mandarin Oriental, Peninsula and Royal Orchid Sheraton. I mention these properties, as have received targeted emails from them these past few days (and months) with various 'frequent guest' promotions. Suspect the immediate future will hold even more attractive rate offers for those BKK corporate and holiday travellers.

As for (potential) Bangkok activities for you, will leave that to other esteemed Fodorites, as my ongoing BKK business trips consist almost entirely of hotels, office buildings, business dinners, and Suvarnabhumi.

Also concur with the suggestions of time outside of Bangkok; greater Thailand has so much to offer. (And, there is always our fine home of Singapore; a pleasure to welcome you - and your cheque book. Honoured to offer lodging, dining, aviation suggestions.)

Have fun planning, Mirables. Warm and early weekend wishes to you and all from SE Asia,

macintosh (robert)


... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
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May 26th, 2014, 01:02 AM
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In view of the coup and anti-coup demonstrations, I'd give Blkk a miss.
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May 26th, 2014, 10:38 AM
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I agree with others who say that you should spend your entire 4 days in Bangkok. Since it is your first trip to Thailand you don't want to miss one of the most exotic and amazing cities in the world! Bangkok is an excellent introduction to Thailand people and culture.

Staying on the river will keep you well away from the areas where anti coup demonstrations are happening. Who knows how long the demonstrations (and curfew) will continue? You might look at Chatrium on the river. I have not personally stayed there, but it gets great reviews. It has a shuttle boat to the skytrain station and river taxi dock.

An interesting tour that would present many photo ops would be a klong tour. A klong is a canal. Bangkok is the Venice of the east, with many canals. You can arrange a 1.5 hour (or more) longtail boat ride at the river taxi dock.
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May 28th, 2014, 08:29 AM
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You can ride the khlong boats for 10 baht. Just jump on and off. No need for a tour. Tis fun. They fairly scoot along.

Bangkok is mainly a night city though. While the daytime attractions are worthwhile its a hot smoggy city and the nights are more fun for walking around.
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May 28th, 2014, 09:10 AM
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The klong tour will take you into the smaller canals where the 10 baht boats do not go. It is interesting to see life along the small canals. You can also arrange to stop at the King's barge "museum" stop. A few of the royal barges are on display there. We also stopped to buy bread and feed the fish in one spot.

Weather during the daytime is hot, yes, but I love to go exploring in neighborhoods, hopping off the skytrain at more remote stops for a look around. Evenings are also still quite warm in Bangkok. Time for a relaxing meal/conversation, perhaps dining on one of the outside terraces. The Oriental Hotel has in the past had (I assume they still do) a buffet right along the river. You can also go to Asiatique, a night bazaar along the river. If you can get to Saphan Taksin skytrain station, you can catch a free shuttle boat to Asiatique and dine there and have a look around in the shops.
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May 28th, 2014, 11:17 AM
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I personally thought Chiang Mai was the ideal place for me (I am 57) and my husband. It was the one place I recommended to my 30yo daughter who travels alone. The people were friendly, helpful, never came across a scam situation. It was fun, markets at night every night and temples...oh my....so many temples with the old city surrounded by a real moat. We stayed at Bodhi Serene right in the old city, it is mid range and was very convenient for so much. We actually went bare back elephant riding while there, what a hoot!!! I didn't feel threatened there at all, Bangkok I thought was a little too crazy, a little edgy and yes there were "lady want a tuk tuk only 20baht" and you knew you would get scammed....Yes Chiang Mai for me.
I think just do some homework, look at places and find your comfort zone....that's my advice anyway. It's sure cheaper than Hong Kong there, the food is good and I actually prefer it.Good luck.
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