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CFW Dec 11th, 2004 06:32 AM

GPanda
 
Hi, You now get your own posting. Well, we couldn't make our mind about a driver/guide for Bangkok and now have waited too long & Ratt is booked for the days we wanted. You mentioned a guide you used for the Grand Palace & I think Wat Po & Wat Arun. Who did you use & were you pleased? Any info would be appreciated. I think we'll just use river boat combined with taxis and/or sky train for the rest of the sights. Looking forward to those Thai massages!

Gpanda Dec 11th, 2004 01:47 PM

We used "Pong" from East-West Siam, arranged through Innovasian. com here in the states. He was good, but if you're going to use the river ferry and taxis to get to GP, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, you can probably just arrange for a guide when you arrive, especially at GP. There have been many posts by people that have done this. I do not know how you would sort out the genuine guides from the touts, but you definitely want to do that. Alternatively, I'm guessing you could arrange for a guide to all 3 spots through the cncierge at your hotel. Don't sweat this too much. The Grand Palace is so stunning and presents so many beautiful sights that just wandering on your own would be super. If you end up doing that, go into the museum just before you enter the official grounds. Upstairs they have replicas of the Emerald Buddha that you can closely examine. You won't get anywhewre near the real one. Good luck.

Gpanda Dec 12th, 2004 01:42 AM

Upon reflection, perhaps you should Fodors post a specfic request for guide info for these Wat spots. This might provide a wider base of experience from which to choose. Again, you'll have a great time even if you don't use a guide. our sense was that it was the actual visual experience, rather than the information that was so special.

CFW Dec 12th, 2004 05:20 AM

GPanda, We have been going back and forth about "to guide or not to guide" and had decided, as you mentioned, that since we were most interested in the visual experience rather than the details and history we would just use a good guide book rather than a guide. Then you posted about your experience with the newbies and got us to re-think! I think we will just go back to our original decision -- no guide.

We also initially planned to just use river boats to get to these sights, but with all the raves about Ratt, we started thinking about the heat, humidity, and touts, and thought perhaps we would use her (with cold water & cool towels!) just to make it easier to visit those sights. But since she's not available anyway, perhaps we should just "wing it" and see how we feel when we get to Bangkok. I'm sure we can always find a nice driver if we decide we'd like to have one. We've been planning this trip for months and maybe over-planning as you can tell from my posts!

Gpanda Dec 12th, 2004 01:27 PM

If you're going to do this without a guide, I suggest you go to The Grand palace first, in the morning. I think it opens at 8:30 a.m.. After you're done there, you can walk to Wat Pho. It's to the South of the GP. If you're not exhausted you can then cross the river to Wat Arun. Don't worry if you don't get a chance to see Wat Arun. The other two are more impressive witrh the GP, the most magnificent. If you have a free day, a great way to spend it would be a wander through the flower market in the morning (accessible by river ferry) and then a walk to Chinatown with a Dim Sum lunch. Check out the Nancy Chandler Map.

CFW Dec 12th, 2004 09:46 PM

Perhaps we'll just do Grand Palace & Wat Po in one morning and leave Wat Arun for another day when we do a Klong tour. Any suggestions for a place for lunch to cool off and revitalize around GP & Wat Po?

Gpanda Dec 13th, 2004 01:58 AM

We've never eaten around there. Most of the commerce is very tourist oriented. Both GP and WP can be viewed without a meal break required. Check the Nancy Chandler Map. Thisa really is a great research tool. We've gone to restaurants listed thereon, with no other input, and been very pleased. You can buy this map online at her website.

CFW Dec 13th, 2004 04:14 AM

I bought the map on-line awhile ago (for Chiang Mai, too), but found it difficult to follow -- a little too "busy." Will try again. Anyway, it sounds like we will be fine on our own. We've traveled all over Europe and never even dreamed of taking a tour or using a guide (or doing so much planning!) but I speak enough Spanish and French to get by wherever we are, and I have picked up other languages easily. Or so I thought until I tried to learn a little Thai by tape and couldn't tell one sound from the next, let alone remembering the words. So much for my linguistic skills. I also got nervous when I read one poster's account of being stuck in a taxi and not being able to find Jim Thompson's house.

BillT Dec 13th, 2004 05:08 AM

CFW- save your ticket to the Grand Palace as it is good for the Teak Mansion - I think its good for several days. You also want to finish your tour of the Teak mansion by 10:30 as that is when they have the free Thai dancers on their stage- its a great show you don't want to miss.

bniemand Dec 13th, 2004 08:47 AM

Hi CFW. If you're still looking for a guide, I have a suggestion. We used a fabulous guide that I found via this message board for our 2 days in BKK. Her name is Tan and she speaks excellent English. She is freelance, and will customize your day however you wish. She can hire a car/driver to help with transport, or if you prefer (as we did) you can use public transport such as taxis or the river ferries to get around. We thought her rates were extremely reasonable and our 2 days with her were completely stress free. It was nice to have her at the Grand Palace -- she told us many stories of Thai and Buddhist history, and showed us the attached museum filled with the crown jewels. If you'd like her contact info please email me at [email protected]

CFW Dec 13th, 2004 06:44 PM

Couldn't find any reference to Tan on this
site. Can you post her contact information? When did you visit BKK? Thanks.


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