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

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Hello to all,

Our two week 'Amazing Thailand' tour with Smart Tours leaves on Jan. 27--the date is fast approaching.
Here are my concerns. We are a couple, ages 70 & 78 who have done a fair amount of travel on our own & with tour groups. Given our ages at this time & the hot weather in Thailand, we're just wondering how to see the sights in the best way for us. Also, of course, we want to get 'most for our doller' & we're not sure if taking Smart Tours optional tours make sense.

Here is what they offer.

Bangkok:
Staying at Century Park Hotel

Day 1 Tues.--Included: Wat Trimitr,WatPo,
see White Marble Temple. Afternoon at leisure or $25 pp for canal boat ride across river.

Day 2 & 3 Wed & Thurs.-- free days or two optional tours : $55 pp full day to Damneon Suduak floating market, rose garden & Thai village, with lunch -or-Grand Palace tour $30 pp.

Day 4,5,6 Fri. Sat. Sun. travel by bus to Chiang Rai. Stop at places along way

Day 7 Mon.-- Chiang Rai Rimock Resort. Day at leisure or optinal tour, $30 pp boat trip to hilltribe villages.

Day 8,Tues.
Drive to Chiang Mai.Staying at -Chaing Mai Plaza
Optional: Kantoke Dinner ( what is this??)with songs & dances by hilltribe- $25 pp.

Day 9 Wed--included--elephant camp & orchid farm. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 10 Thurs.--nothing planned. optional tour: Morning visit to 'interesing temples' & Wat Doi Suthep. $25 pp

Day 11 Fri. nothing planned--fly back to Bangkok late in day.

Day 12 Sat. Fly home early A.M.

So all in all, it's 11 days to see Thailand! We want to make the most of it, but not exhaust ourselves at this age & stay in good health--for more trips to come.

It seems to me, after reading these boards that Bangkok is easy to get around, but the heat & time limits have me concerned. Smart Tour optional tour prices seem a bit high, am I right?

Day 1--in the afternoon, rest or take canal boat ride.

Day 2 --is it worth to take the full day tour or would we be better off with a private guide?

Day 3--take the optional tour to Grand Palace for $60 for the two of us, or could we easily do this using the skytram or find a driver near the hotel?

Where would 'easy places to get to' be suitable for dinners Bangkok?

Day 8-- what kind of dinner is this? or should we just get some dinner near hotel?

Day 9-- afternoon to rest

Day 10--does it pay to take the $25 pp morning tour or hire a guide for most of the day?

Day 11--seems as if we have most of the day off before flying back to Bgk.

Fogive the length of this, but I do want to max our stay, health & of course, money. Would appreciate any names of guides at this late date--any help at all. Close places for a massage in either city--or both!! Like music, dance , art & learning about Thai culture & customs. Not too interested in animal places--except the elephant camp.
Any & all information will be GREATFULLY APPRICIATED!!!

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