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whitters Oct 6th, 2006 12:21 AM

Guide or D I Y

12 months ago I became an avid reader on all things Thai after purchasing 2 tickets for a not to be refused price. In approx 5 weeks we will be flying out for 3 weeks and we canít wait,. Bangkok, Chaing Mai, Phuket, Bangkok.
Knowing very little about Thailand the information from this site as been invaluable and I would like to thank each and every one of you.
My question is; for the first 4 days we will be in Bangkok staying at the Shangri-La.
We have the option to hire a driver to show us the main tourist sites. Is this something we should do, or should we go it alone, given the location of our hotel
Any advice would be most welcome.

rhkkmk Oct 6th, 2006 05:28 AM

your hotel is well positioned because it is right next to the skytrain....

there is no need to hire a guide but if you are a first time thai visitor it often helps you in understanding the lay of the land in bkk....because it is so hot there always, it is very nice to leave a site, have a cool face cloth handed to you and a cold drink and step into an a/c car and be whisked to the next site...the a/c gives you a chance to cool down and regroup for the next site...

because of this i believe that you are able to see more things in one day than you might if you went from one site to another on your own...

Gpanda Oct 6th, 2006 05:54 AM

You can do it either way. With your Thai reading, you know the major sites. They are all easily accessible from the S-la. However, if you were to engage a guide or a driver, it would be more efficient, i.e., you could probably see more in a day than on your own. This may or may not be a good thing. One of the things that delights us about BKK is the wandering. This would not happen with a guide/driver. Efficiency may not provide the best experience. With 4 days in BKK, you will be able to see all the major in-town sites without being efficient.

Even if you do elect to hire someone, make sure you take the river ferry a few times. The stop is right behind the S-la. For instance, you could take it to and from a walking tour (self-guided) of Chinatown.

Kathie Oct 6th, 2006 12:21 PM

You can do it yourself. I'm a do-it-yourself type traveler. I like to learn and use the public transportation systems. The water taxis are great - and a cheap - way to get to sites along the river. It's my favorite transport in Bangkok. The Skytrain is also very easy to use. I also use taxis judiciously.

You can hire a driver or guide to take you around. This is an efficient way to see things if your time is very short. There are those on the board to enjoy having a driver in Bangkok and hire one regularly.

There is no wrong answer to this one. Do what you are most comfortable with.

susncrg Oct 6th, 2006 03:05 PM

I would do it yourself at least for the temples along the river. It's so easy to take the river ferry right near your hotel, and gives you more of a local feeling. That way you can spend as long as you want staring at what you want, and whizzing by what doesn't interest you. I could have spent all day with the reclining buddha, and you can't really do that with a guide! Ditto others' remarks re convenience of the skytrain to your hotel.

tweety817 Oct 6th, 2006 03:54 PM

I have done BKK both ways. It is very hot so a guide with cool towels is always nice but BKK is very navigable by air conditioned skytrain and water taxi. I have met very interesting local residents on the water taxi.The land taxis are cheap and air conditioned but the traffic is so bad that a ten minute sky train ride could be an hour and a half in a taxi.

whitters Oct 8th, 2006 01:54 AM

Thanks for all the replies.
We think we will use the guide if only to get our bearings. We will be back in Bangkok for a further 4 days before flying home so may be thatís the time we will use to explore. We intend to give a full report on our return.
Bob thanks for the list of restaurants. We will feed back in our report.

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