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Help please with trip order -Thailand, India, Cambodia, Hong Kong

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Sep 9th, 2007, 07:51 PM
  #1
cwn
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Help please with trip order -Thailand, India, Cambodia, Hong Kong

This is probably a strange request, but board members gave us so much help several years ago, during the planning stages for our 1st SEA trip and trip to Japan, the trips were truly dreams come true. So, we are going one more time!

We are in the very early planning stage again. This will be a long trip with some set arrival/departure dates. We plan starting the trip early 2009. I would love to have holds on hotel space through Amex so I can book flights as soon as they open. We will not use FFpts this time as we are using them up for our 2008 trip!

We love to drive or be driven in a private car, sightsee, stay in nice places, eat good food and shop (special experiences). We are not spa people, but like laid back and scenic settings. Donít really like to stay longer than maybe 3-4 nights in any given place. Also my knees are a much bigger pain than 3 years ago so try to avoid stairs and do only easy walks. Also I need to be careful food wise as I am allergic to soy. Really made things interesting in Japan! We look for places to eat that offer more than just Asian food. So far it has worked for me and my husband who likes hot, spicy, etc is a hppy camper.

Ok, we want to visit:
Thailandís Bangkok again for tailor, dressmaker and a few places we didnít see the first time, also Chaing Mai, Chaing Rai or both- first time for sightseeing and cooking school(s).

Indiaís Golden triangle-Delhi, Agra, Jaipur first time with a car and driver for sightseeing.

Cambodiaís Angkor Wat, first time - this can not be temple intensive-I just canít do it. But want to see a few of most interesting places.

Hong Kong again, for a few days to relax. Plus we will use HK as a stagging point a short trip to Xian to see the Warriors, probably 2 nights from the looks of current flights-evening going afternoon coming back.

OK, time frame:
Starting say early March from Perth, Australia to either Siem Reap or Delhi on Singapore Air. Canít figure out the best approach to visit Indiaís Golden Triangle for a max 7 days, 3 nights on road, 1st ,5th & 6th night in Delhi; Bangkok for 5 nights/split?? and points North?? nights??; Siem Reap for no more than 3 nights winding up in Hong Kong say by April 1 allowing a day or two on each side of the 2 night trip to Xian.. We will depart HK on April 7 (pm) for a leisurely cruise to Athens.

I need some help with the order of the stops to minimize the time in airports and unnecessary backtracking. Ideas please...

Thanks for any suggestions as to best trip order and any special places along the way!

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Sep 9th, 2007, 08:20 PM
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april is the hottest time of the year in most of the places you will visit....so its good that you want a driver with an a/c car...that will help...

i think i would start in india and you need about 8 days minimum for that in the 3 major cities (delhi, agra and jaipur)....a dedicated car and driver are perfect for this for the entire time....
i suggest you contact a delhi agent, like compass tours, to arrange the whole thing for you....

from there i would take the thai air flight from delhi to bkk.....stay at the peninsula or any of the riverside hotels...i really question how much time you have for visiting the northern places....two days is suggicient imo, for chiang mai---stay at the four seasons or the oriental....move on to the anantara for 3 or 4 nites....or to the four seasons tented camp....

then back to bkk for a nite and then fly on the siem reap.....3-4 nites is suggested and you can do it easily with limited walking....angkor itself is quite a walk however....you will need a guide and driver for the entire time....look at the hotel de la paix or the sofitel....

lastly on to HK....tons of upscale places to stay there.....i prefer to stay at kowloon...
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Sep 9th, 2007, 09:44 PM
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cwn
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Thanks for the reply.

If we were doing this starting this late Feb-early March 2008 I have to major paths-

Perth to Siem Reap, Singapore Air - then to Thailand, all cities served by Thai Air or BangkokAir - then to India, Thai Air and on to Hong Kong, Cathy Pacific. All daytime to evening flights, all long hops 6 hours or less plus several short hops Siem Reap to Chaing Mia to Bangkok.

The other major path is as you say starting with Delhi on Singapore Air, an all day and evening long haul with a fairly long layover in Singapore, then the flight to Bangkok is over night.

Actually this was my first thought, but on paper it has worst flight times. Then when you add the back and forth for Siem Reap and Chaing Mai, just seems like lots of trips(time) to the airport in Bangkok.

I want to see the Thailand GT country, but 4 nights? is there enough to stay busy? Better cooking school? What is the interest? (other than my husband wants to see it if we can work out a nice trip)

At this point, I am planning on the Peninsula in Bangkok and Hong Kong. Like the reviews for the Oriental in Chaig Mai. Seems like there are several nice day trips there also. But must admit, I have mixed feelings about the Anantara for 3-4 nights-the comments on the food have not been very inspiring. Other than a trip on the river, cooking school(1/2 day) and a look at the elephants, activities seem limited. We are not into elephant training or trekking. Read that it is not really a day trip from Chaing Mai even with a private car and driver-true? But can you get a car/driver up one day then back in a day or three?

Until I can set the order of the intinerary, it is just hard to figure number of days we want in each city.

Thyanks for your help.

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Sep 10th, 2007, 07:04 AM
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There is certainly plenty to do/see in the Golden Triangle area. There has been one disappointed review and many, many stellar reviews of the hotel (and the food) over the several years since they opened. In addition to the cooking school (the class includes a morning trip to the market in Chiang Sean), we hired a car and driver for a day and visited a number of places including Doi Tung.

I would not do the golden triangle area as a day trip from Chiang Mai. You'd spend at least 6 hours in the car to and from, and that doesn't include the driving within the Golden Triangle area. It would basically be a day spent in the car.
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Sep 10th, 2007, 01:38 PM
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cwn
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Kathie, thanks for your reply. I think iam having a really hard time with the open air dinning thing there. The cooking school is somrthing my husband really wants to do.

When we were planning our first trip the love affair seemed to be with Chaing Mai. I read many posts that made it sound like a great area to visit.

But it seems to sound more like Bankok now. I think time in bath places would be worthwhile. If we flew to Chaing Rai, can we get a driver to take us to the Oriental in Chaing Mai from Anantara sightseeing along the way. Stay maybe 3 nights Anatara and 2 nights Oriental, then fly on to Bangkok. We have driven all over Europe, Britian, Irland, and by the time we get there New Zealand and Austrailia, just not sure it is a good idea in Thailand
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Sep 10th, 2007, 01:51 PM
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cwn
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Sorry for all the typos, can't seem to hit the right button. It posted its self!!

Anyway, what about the Oriental in Chiang Mai?

You seem to think the cooking school at the Anantara is good? What about one in Chiang Mai also? This is an activity my husband would love to do in several different places. I might even be able to adapt some of the foods so I could eat them also.

And, of course, I still have to pick a starting point - Dehli or Siem Reap! Still drawn to Perth to Siem Reap - seems like better flight schedules over all.

Thanks.
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Sep 10th, 2007, 02:17 PM
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The cooking school at the Anantara is excellent. Ther are many cooking schools in Chaing Mai as well. One that has gotten good reviews is A Lot of Thai, another is the Chiang Mai Cooking School.

If it is open air dining you are worried about, you should know that a great many places in Chaing Mai also have open air dining.

The Mandarin Oriental in Chaing Mai - I guess you either love it or hate it. One of our esteemed regular postere, Gloria, visited it and thought it was just ghastly. And she always stays at the Oriental in Bangkok.

You could certainly find a driver to take you to Chiang Mai from the Anantara.
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Sep 10th, 2007, 04:13 PM
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cwn
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Thanks,

I just had a good laugh, thanks. I though I remembered that commemt from somewhere! The pictures do look somewhat over the top, but sometimes that is not a bad thing if the service is good and you are prepared.

We went to the Bangkok Oriental for dinner and a look around when last there(possible future hotel) but were not too impressed with anthing about the hotel. Thought it kinda stuffy. I had been reading all the rave reviews and wondered if we were making a mistake in our choice. We were staying next door at the Shangri-La which we did enjoy- pristine room with a to-die-for view plus great service and food, so we were not disappointed. That was 3 years ago. Things can change. We will try the Peninsula this time as we difinitely want to be on the river..

Glad to hear the good rec for Anantara's cooking school. Thanks for the other two also.

Do you arrange with the hotel for a driver- hotel to hotel? or how? and when? Before you get there or after?
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Sep 10th, 2007, 05:17 PM
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The hotel could certainly set you up with a driver. When we stayed at the Anantara they recommended a driver to us who we used for a day trip. That's probably the easiest thing to do. We made our arrangements after we arrived at the hotel.
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Sep 10th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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two must visits from the anantara are the opium museum, just across the street (3 hours maybe) and doi tung, the princess grandmother's estate about a 40 minute ride away---1/2 day...

cooking school is fantastic and so is their spa....

its your relax place....

the italian rest. has a/c and is nice...i bet they would serve you thai in there to if you pre-arranged it...
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Sep 10th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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also room service??
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Sep 10th, 2007, 10:45 PM
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cwn
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Ok that sounds good. I am not an open air dinner even in France if I can help it. Much less if there's a chance of mosquitos!! Thanks for the comments/suggestions.
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Sep 11th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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I agree that you should start in India and work your way east. It's going to be a lot of unnecessary flying to do Bangkok, then India, and the Hong Kong. India and the Thailand-Cambodia-Hong Kong makes more sense and are connected by convenient flights (Bangkok Airways for example where you can even use their Discovery Pass).
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Sep 11th, 2007, 09:42 PM
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cwn
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You all are seeing something that I am not. Please help.

It is a LONG 16 to 18hr- 2 flights & long layover time from Perth to Dehli, then a mid night to 5 am flight back to Bangkok. All of which turn me off. Plus the FOUR flights BKK-CM-BKK: BKK-SR-BKK then an ~4 flight to HK.

I know Bangkok Air/SR Air have a connection SR through PP to HK on a smaller plane, but then we are mucking with possible over weight luggage on three flights and have a layover/plane change (even thought about over night in PP.) This would cut out the leg back to BKK. But, I actually would rather go back to BKK to fly Thai Air to HK.

It is a SHORTER 8hr- 2 flight and short layover Perth to Siem Reap then the THREE SR-BKK: BKK-CM-BKK short flights, then the reasonable timed evening flight to Delhi and a ~6 hour daytime flight to HK. Down side is we may have to pay for over weight luggage on the SR-BKK leg. I would rather pay than fly more any day. This plan just seems like less airport/airtime which is a plus for us.

What am I missing. My goal is least amount of airport/airtime. Major carriers and BClass for the longer segments.

Thanks
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Sep 12th, 2007, 03:50 PM
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cwn
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After my post last night, I spent some time looking at flight times and cost- at least I can check the info as if we were flying March 18 through April 1, 2008. It will, of course, be more when we actually do the trip same time in 2009.

It is more expensive by about $100pp to go Perth-Dehli-Bangkok-Sien Reap-Hong Kong plus, depending on the actual flight time on the SP-HK leg, 3 to 4hrs more airport/air time plus that last segment is in a smaller plane with the over weight issue/cost.

We will have the over weight issue/cost on the BKK-SR leg no matter how we do it.

I know this is not much time or money on a trip like this. Our goal is to send the least amount of time possible in airports or on planes.

Actually, if I can determine a way to leave the extra luggage at the airport or have someone meet us and take the extra bag/s on to the hotel, I would fly SR-BKK-CR on the same day to save the wasted time on the extra airport roundtrip especially in BKK.

It is not so much the 44pound checked limit, it is the 10 pound pp carry on issue on Bangkok Air. We will be traveling about 4 months total with camera stuff, laptop and a lot of asthma medicine/eguipment for me. This alone is more than 20 pounds. This is always a painfor us. That is the main reason we just go BClass and try to avoid smaller plan connections. Getting old is.....

Thanks for you imput.
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Sep 12th, 2007, 05:24 PM
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a couple thoughts:

- there is a flight on Bangkok Airways directly from Siem Reap to Hong Kong. no need to go back to BKK.

- going to India is a long flight. there is no way around it. from US to Bangkok also takes that long and we all do it. there is no way to make the continents any closer at this point

- don't worry about the luggage restrictions. you can always pay for an overage or ship some of the purchases home.
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Sep 12th, 2007, 05:26 PM
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p.s. from a recent post here "He also did the Bangkok Air Discovery Air Pass portion for us (including the smart and free suggestion to sign up for their frequent flyer program to double our luggage allowance)."
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Sep 12th, 2007, 08:38 PM
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cwn
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Good to know about the extra allowance with the FFlyer sign up. Will look into that as I think we will be able to use the Bangkok Air Pass if we go with a round trip to Chiang Mai. Thanks

But unless I discover a good reason to do otherwise, I will stick with the shorter flights, avoid a terriblely timed overnight flight on Thai Air- Dehli to Bangkok and start in Siem Reap arriving mid afternoon.

Since neither of us like to fly the smaller planes and both Cathay Pacific and Siem Reap Air fly to HK only certain days, currently Cathay Pacific offers more options. The over all distances, starting with Singapore, either way are about the same.

Thanks for all the imput
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Sep 12th, 2007, 09:22 PM
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Only Siem Reap Airways (partner of Bangkok Airways) fly REP-HKG non-stop. They do that twice a week, and a REP-PNH-HKG routing once a week. Cathay doesn't fly this route.

Siem Reap uses the Airbus 320. So, it's not a small turboprop or regional jet.
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Sep 12th, 2007, 09:53 PM
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The flights are hell any way you do it, but I would want to be fresh for India, so would do it first. Any thing after that will be so much more relaxing.

I'd also allow an extra road night in India for road problems, bad weather, illness, etc. India requires a lot of walking, often on uneven surfaces. You might spend one extra night in Jaipur as a rest stop in the middle.
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