Guenmai, Rhkkmk, Glorialf

Sep 30th, 2005, 09:11 AM
  #21  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
You can do all of Bangkok on your own - but you miss my point. Its not that there isn't transportation to take you all over - there is- but just walking around the venues is hot and tiring, not to mention trying to get cabs, trains, boats etc. For some people its no problem, for others like myself and my wife - we really appreciated having Ratt ferry us around town. (and we live in the high heat and humidity of Houston Texas!). You need to take it slow in SE Asia. I would go a few days on your own- but have Ratt for a few days as well. Just doing the grand palace and then the teak mansion will consume a good part of the day. I would say have Ratt for the day and then strike out on your own in the evening.
BillT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:22 AM
  #22  
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Gloria--we will be in BKK from Dec. 15-Dec. 22.

We are interested in seeing temples, historical sites & markets.

BillT--I agree that a driver makes sense, but I would also like to explore on our own--I definitely want to take the Skytrain a few times.
robmac is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:39 AM
  #23  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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rat's address:

[email protected]

she is wonderful...she can be helpful with grand palace but we never use her for that...i only use her outside of town...with so few days you might want to concentrate on only bkk....if outside i would take a long morning trip to the floating market...but that will take 7AM to1-2PM...she could then take you around in bkk a little to finish the long day...

people have liked her because she will take you directly to sites without you having to figure things out....she will then pop up during your walk around at sites and will be right there to pick you up as you leave with the wonderful a/c car and cold water...time to cool down and then on to the next site...lots of people have taken full advantage of this type of thing...not to be taken lightly...keeping cool and comfortable between stops can really extend your stamina in bkk...

jewerly...i use thai stone jewerly in the nana hotel lobby on soi 4, sukhumvit road....very close to the nana skytrain stop...hotel is very grotty but you have to overlook that...we see ampron (a woman) or mr lee....family owned place...they do custom work or have limited items available in the cases...18 K gold and saphires of all colors are the real bargains in bkk...

kathie will chime in also....she uses SJ International which is very near to the current king's palace...it is a very large place with lots to choose from....many bus tours go there because of its ease of parking....

there are thousands of jewerly stores around bkk...most are totally honest...just don't buy from street vendors...i don't think i would buy in MBK either, but there are probably some good places there....all around siam sq in the shops and malls you will find lovely things as well...

one thing that we get from my jewerler is "saudi diamonds" which are quartz diamond looking stones which look very nice...a pair of "diamond" studs totaly weight of 1/2 C is only about $50 and set in 18K gold...blue saphires of the same size might be about $100-125 or less....

if i were you i would stick with the saphires as they are a thai product...they come in many colors...my wife's favorite pair is green....huge stones set in 18K yellow gold about $425...

places to visit:

grand palace
jim thompson house
v-mark palace
wat arun
wat pho
suan packard palace
klong tour in thornburi--a must
marble wat
many other wats
king's ceremonial boats

china town
flower market, especially at nite
suan lum nite market
prananum market

river city shopping center
oriental lane in back of the oriental hotel, incl. OP Place---also all along new road
silom road---tons of shops
jim thompson main store on suriwong rd
neillson library on suriwong rd
j thompson outlet store on soi 93, sukhumvit rd--great bargains--3rd floor
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:40 AM
  #24  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
robmac:
Agreed mix a few days on your own and a few with Ratt. I'll be curious to know how that worked out for you. As I said for a number of people the heat doesn't really pose a problem. Note that Ratt can get you a discount at the Nara Phand Governement craft store- this is a great place to shop- they have some nice stuff there. She also knows what time of day and in what order to hit some of the key sights- for example she will get you through the grand palace and then over to the teak mansion in time to take the proper tour (at the teak mansion) so that you catch the Thai dancers after the tour- it only happens once a day!
Ratt will also carry your packages, hold a sun umbrella over you. She will also give you a mobile phone to stay in contact with her as she parks the car and waits for you, or checks on the next venue, etc.- I'm telling you the service is fantastic!
BillT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:41 AM
  #25  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,604
"Having a driver with you all day is very common in Asia". yep it's called a public bus. bill ya should try one of those when ya come back too asia don't worry mercadez benz buses are very comon.
orgy7 is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:48 AM
  #26  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Great -- you have the time to not have to do 3 temples in one day which means you can really enjoy yourself-- here are my suggestions for 5 1/2 full days. If you plan on doing long lunches or shop or go to a spa or cooking class you can easily expand this to 8 days and be busy every second.

1.Klong tour including wat arun and flower market and, if interested, royal barges; Jim Thompson House (have lunch there) You can definitely do this on your own.

2. Grand Palace, and Vimamanek Mansion.

3. Floating Market and River Kwai-- definitely use Ratt

4 Wat Po; Marble Temple; Suaan Paakard

5. Ayyuthya/Bang Pa In and Chinatown. Use Ratt for this. She lives in Chinatown so can really function as a guide here as well as a driver. There are group tours to Ayyuthya but I find it much more pleasant to be on your own.

6. Prasart Museum
glorialf is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:51 AM
  #27  
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
As someone who doesn't own a car and who uses public transportation 95% of the time here in Chicago, I can tell you that I LOVE having a driver in bangkok. It enables me to cope with the one thing I loathe about thailand -- the heat and humidity.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:55 AM
  #28  
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All I can say is that you are all wonderful. Thanks so much for all your suggestions. We can't wait for our trip to begin.
robmac is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 09:56 AM
  #29  
 
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Right again Gloria!
Come on Orgy7 - most people of means can afford a driver in many Asian cities.
Of course if you are without means then yes your driver is the bus driver!
BillT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 10:36 AM
  #30  
 
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robmac, my jeweler in Bangkok is SJ International. I've been buying from them for 20 years. If you tell them that "Kathie from Seattle" sent you, they will give you the "wholesale" price.

I don't have the contact info with me here, but you should be able to find it by doing a search on this board. Note that they will send a car and driver for you - free, no obligation - and will return you to your hotel also for free.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 10:41 AM
  #31  
 
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SJ International is on the Nancy Chandler Map- which is a must- for first time visitors to BKK.
BillT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 11:06 AM
  #32  
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One more question--I feel like Det. Colombo--what about using cash/travellers cheques/baht/american dollars/canadian dollars.

I get the impression that unlike some countries we will not have to carry US dollars instead of baht.
robmac is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 11:11 AM
  #33  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Forget travelers checks- not many places take them. Most people get their cash either thru ATM's or they carry cash and exchange when they get there. Some use credit cards- especially for the hotels and fancy restaurants.
Personally I carry cash and exchange into local currency- I don't go the ATM route due to high surcharges being applied.
BillT is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 12:53 PM
  #34  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Bill is right, you'll use Baht, not dollars in Thailand.

Do your research about the best way to change money for you. Bill's bank charges $5 to take money out of a foreign ATM. Many credit unions charge nothing. Even though my bank charges $1.50 each time, it pays me to use ATMs, as I get the better bank rate for exchange, and get enough money out so I don't have to visit the ATM more than once or twice a trip. Both ATMs and money changers are plentiful in Bangkok. I haven't taken travelers checks along for many years, but Guenmai swears by them.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 07:34 PM
  #35  
 
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trav cks and cash can easily be exchanged at both banks, hotels and money changers in bkk and elsewhere in thailand but atm's are the easiest by far....many money changers do not charge a fee...my favorite is next to the gas staion on the corner of sukhumvit and soi 4...on the right...there is an atm across the street as well...

i find that using the bank of ayutthia (spelled wrong) that there are no service charges in thailand....you have to check with your bank for their charges...bring more than one card...credit cards are no problem but some places tack on 3-5% for their use
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2005, 08:03 PM
  #36  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Patumwan Princess is very close to the best currency exchange. I got a better rate than anyplace else there. I always exchange my currency at this one. I can email you the location.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Oct 4th, 2005, 04:54 PM
  #37  
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,837
I just noticed your post, but haven't had time to read all of the above replies. But as for a tour...of any kind...in Bangkok...book it when you get there. It's very easy. The hotel can help you or you can go down to the pier and hire a long boat. Ask your hotel about it. If you prebooked anything, I'd cancel it. As far as drivers in Bangkok, I've personally never had one. But if you can't get a hold of Ratt...I hear she's very busy... there's also julietaxi.com. I don't know their rates, though. If I think of anything else, I'll post to you after I've had time to read all of the above posts. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  

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