Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Asia
Reload this Page > Going with Smart Tours to Thailand. Which of these optional tours to sign up for or should we hire a private guide.

Going with Smart Tours to Thailand. Which of these optional tours to sign up for or should we hire a private guide.

Reply

Jan 10th, 2008, 07:40 AM
  #21
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 672
Directly across the street from your hotel in Chiang Mai is a small local restaurant (you can't miss it, always busy), which serves the best noodle dishes I have ever had. They are sooo cheap, less than $2 pp. They also serve an incredible shaved ice and fruit desser that is amazing. Don't worry about the ice, it's fine. We and friends of ours ate it several times without a problem. My husband and I crave the pad thai and other noodle dishes from this place.....don't miss it.
dperry is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 12:21 PM
  #22
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 206
Watching with interest!

dperry - do you know the name of the noodle bar?

Have a grat time travelegs.
vhs100 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:40 PM
  #23
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
Thanks for all the replies & good wishes. I am sooo excited about this trip.

Now, another question, what are you're thoughts about the floating market? Is it worth giving up several hours to see it or do you think staying in BKK is the better option?

I have been in touch with Tong for a full day tour one day, but I'm not sure if I want to take up precious hours. Tong is booked of course but will have one of her people do the day tour for us. It seems as if she's very busy & it's been at times difficult communicating with her, as she doesn't seem to have our first few messages. However, she's gotten some great reviews here.

The noodle bar sounds wonderful. Anyone know of any places near our hotel in Bkk--Century Park Hotel.
Travelegs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 03:57 PM
  #24
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 549
On the subject of Tong, I emailed her about touring with her and the response was quick. But then I replied (four times now in the last week or two) and no response at all. We don't leave till March 31st, but I would like to get all my ducks in a row. How far in advance is she booked, if anyone knows, and while I don't want to assail her with emails, any suggestions on getting in touch with her any other way?
susncrg is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 04:17 PM
  #25
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,399
People either love or hate the floating market.

Personally, I'd stay in Bangkok, but I'd suggest you read about it in your guidebook, do a search here, and see what you think you'll want to do.

There is so much to do in Bangkok, consider whether you'd rather do something like visit the Prasart or visiting wats off the tourist track or some less-visited house museums.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 05:04 PM
  #26
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
Kathie ( and others )--how would you compare Prasart to Vimaanmek?
And--are they both out of the center of town?
Travelegs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 10th, 2008, 06:23 PM
  #27
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,821
there is no comparison....prasart is trully a museum....V-mek is a former royal palace...

V-mek is in town and easy to get to...prasart is outside town about 30 minutes and you have to have a car and driver who will wait for you...

both are very worthwhile...v-mek can be done in an hour or two if you hit it right for an english tour...prasart takes a 1/2 day with the travel...
rhkkmk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 11th, 2008, 04:18 AM
  #28
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 350
Travelegs, we took all the included tours with ST and found them worthwhile. We genuinely felt like we got more than we paid for on this trip. We did not go to the floating market - a long drive to see something that has become touristy, IMO. We enjoyed getting little boats to take us up and down the river ourselves and walking in the markets better. We did the full day with Ratt's taxi/guide, worth every penny. The only optional tour tha we took with ST that we paid for (as I recall) was the visit to the Karen long-neck and other ethnic tribes. I agree, there's a bit of a feeling of exploitation here, but at least these tribes have some opportunity to make money and send it home to their families in more remote, non-touristed areas. I enjoyed the trip and learned from it.

In Chiang Mai The noodle 'restaurant' that is across from your hotel is unnamed. Really. The no name restaurant is what the locals do call it. I agree - quite good and very cheap. I would get a late night snack of stick rice and mango to go and take it back to the hotel most nights. Remember to ask for a spoon.

Enjoy.
jkgourmet is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 11th, 2008, 06:15 AM
  #29
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,399
The Prasart is really special, and is little visited in comparison to the V-mek. The Prasart is a private "museum" with really wonderful arts of SE Asia set in a beautiful garden. You must have an appointment to visit, and they take only one party at a time. You'll have a docent show you around. Plan a couple of hours there. You would need a car and driver to take you there, so it does take advance planning. Photos of the Prasart: www.marlandc.com Click on the Bangkok 2005 photo, and you'll go to a page that has a link to the Prasart photos.
Kathie is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 11th, 2008, 10:42 AM
  #30
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
THANK YOU for the beautiful pictures on your web site. They just about took our breath away. No matter how much reading I've done, this has really excited me. Can't wait to see all this beauty & history in person.

As we've mentioned before, we are an 'older couple', DH nearing 80. We just hope the heat& crowds don't get to us.

So many, many thanks.
Travelegs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 11th, 2008, 10:53 AM
  #31
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 672
I found the business card from the 'unnamed' restaurant, it only has thai writing on it. I read on Fodors somewhere that on some maps this place is actually listed as "unnamed restaurant".
Anyway, be sure to check it out
Happy Travels.
dperry is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 12th, 2008, 02:21 PM
  #32
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 547
Travelegs,
I notice that you have asked several times about places to eat in the area around Century Park Hotel, but I don't notice anyone aswering you yet. My daughter & I took the Pacific Delights tour in July 04 and had an itinerary similar to yours. We also stayed at the Century Park Hotel. I thought the hotel was decent, but a bit isolated. We walked to the Pratunam area to shop one evening, but couldn't find anyplace open to eat on our way back to the hotel (it was kinda late). We ended up having room service for dinner that night. It's also a little bit of a walk to the Victory Monument skytrain station (not bad, but just not right outside the hotel door and kinda dark and isolated if you come back later at night). Once you get to the skytrain though, it's very easy to go just about anywhere to find places to eat. Then again, you could easily hop on a taxi to take you anywhere to find someplace to eat.

To be perfectly honest, I don't remember much about the Victory Monument area other than it was fairly busy, more brightly lit and plenty of open shops and street vendors. We mainly went there just to get to the skytrain station though, so I can't tell you if there were places to eat there.

That said, everything could be (and probably is) different since 3.5 years ago.

Have a great trip! We loved it!
jlaughs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 12th, 2008, 03:34 PM
  #33
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
Yes, I had heard that the Century Park Hotel was a bit out of the way & that's why I wanted to know some options for eating nearby ,as after a day of sight seeing I know we'll be tired--after all we're up there in years.
Perhaps someone else can answer this question for me.

We looked at the Pacific Delight tour after having gone to China with them in 2000, but the Smart Tour trip was more in our present budget.

Thanks for taking the time for your reply. Looking forward to this trip!!
Travelegs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 12th, 2008, 05:25 PM
  #34
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,821
the key for you is going to be to take taxis as often as you can...this really helps on the heat front which you mention and also on the hotel issolation.....just make sure you take a card from the hotel for the return trip...ask at front desk for some or from the doorman...they have directions in thai....you also can tell the driver: pratunum mkt
rhkkmk is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2008, 04:45 AM
  #35
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 133
Thanks rhkkmk, but what does pratunum mkt mean?

While on this topic of 'words', when saying 'thank you' --Khaawp Jai Ja, are the 'J's' pronounced as J or H ? Also the first word, do you say the k or just the h?
Travelegs is offline  
Reply With Quote
Jan 13th, 2008, 05:41 AM
  #36
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,821
this is a huge thai market place in that area of town....

i do not speak thai....i always say thank you and they understand perfectly....a wei is always appreciated...
rhkkmk is offline  
Reply With Quote
 



Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:43 PM.