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Anna Dec 9th, 2001 09:16 AM

Help with Thailand Itinerary
My husband and I are leaving for Thailand January 3rd. We just bought our plane tickets this week. I have never had to plan a trip this quickly before, so I am looking for advice and recommendations. <BR><BR>Here's a little background information, we are 29 and 31 years old. This is our first trip to Asia (other than Turkey). We have traveled to Europe pretty extensively and prefer to stay at family run hotels rather than big Western chains. We normally take backpacks and pack light. We can spend an average of $100 or so each night, but our budget is flexible.<BR><BR>Here is what I have come up with so far with help from this board and our guidebooks:<BR><BR>Jan 4 - We plan on spending the first night at the Amari Airport hotel since our flight arrives Bangkok around midnight. We'll fly to Chang Mai the next morning.<BR><BR>Chang Mai (3 nights or 4?)<BR>Stay at River View Lodge<BR>Need Suggestions on day trips, we think we'd like to go to an elephant camp.<BR><BR>Fly to Phuket<BR>Phi Phi Island (3 or 4 nights)<BR>Need suggestions on places to stay<BR><BR>Krabi Area for 4 or 5 nights. We are thinking Ao Nang Beach or Railay Beach. Need suggestions on places to stay or other areas to stay or visit. Also need suggestions on what to do for activities.<BR><BR>Fly to Bangkok<BR>2 or 3 nights at the Peninsula Hotel (our splurge hotel for the trip)<BR><BR>Jan 19th 10 PM - Fly home<BR><BR>Another question I have is do some of the street vendors take dollars? I normally purchase items in the local currency, but in Turkey vendors widely accepted dollars. If so, I would bring some small bills along.<BR><BR>Thanks!<BR>Anna

James Allen Dec 9th, 2001 09:46 AM

Currency use Thai Baht. Turkey is different as they have a vastly 'fluctuating' currency, Thai vendors would not want the dollars as they would have to change them and loose on rates/fees.<BR><BR>Your schedule looks fine. Probably on a first trip wise to stick to the main tourist places.

Apiwat Dec 9th, 2001 04:16 PM

Chiang Mai, elephant camps etc. are nice for tourist. While you're up there try Northern Thai food - "Khan Tok" style(sitting on the floor watching classical dancing).<BR><BR>Phuket, I think all the good places are booked all ready for the January period. Southern Thai food is also worth trying if you can bare the hot stuff. There is a very rustic local restaurant that serves good seafood it's call "Laem Sai". Right by the sea and inexpensive, try "Hoi Chuck Teen" - sort of like a small conch boiled and served with a really spicy dipping sauce. Go there for lunch and don't expect too much in terms of decoration. To get around in Phuket you can hire a minibus with driver for the day and don't pay more than 1,500 baht.<BR><BR>Bangkok, Peninsular hotel is very nice with ultra modern high tech rooms. Lots of touristy stuff in Bangkok for you to do.<BR><BR>Money, carry Thai baht. Exchange at a bank for best rate. As of today you should get 43.5 baht per 1 US$. Becareful of vendor food, I'm a local and I get stomach problems eating from these guys - hard to resist!<BR><BR>Lastly, if you need more help email me!

amy Dec 11th, 2001 05:36 AM

I also stayed at the River View Lodge when I was in Chiang Mai. They have about 6 different day trips that you can sign up for. The one that we elected for was an 8am to 2pm...we went and saw the Maesa elephant camp. Our driver took us to a different location further up in the mountain for an elephant ride and then we stopped at the Regent for lunch on the way back and an orchid farm. I would recommend taking one day to do a tour. It was worth it!<BR><BR>We also spend a full day walking around the old city. It was a far walk from the River might want to get a tuk tuk. <BR><BR>Also - the River View is off the beaten path a bit, it is down a side lane, I would recommend taking with the little map that they have at the front desk when you go out so that if your driver is unsure where the lodge is, you can show day we had a hard time getting back to the hotel....<BR><BR>Have fun!

lynn Dec 11th, 2001 04:21 PM

Anna -<BR><BR>2 Nights in Bangkok is way too short. Please try to spend 4 nights!<BR><BR>There is so much to see, do, shop and eat!<BR><BR>Lynn<BR><BR>:-)

Michael From New York Dec 11th, 2001 07:06 PM

3 or 4 days in Koh Phi Phi is too long. 2 Days might be better. In Ao Nang I stayed at the Ocean Garden Resort. Quite nice. Exchange dollars for Baht when you arrive. <BR><BR>I have some photos of Phuket, Ao Nang, and Koh Phi Phi you can check out.<BR><BR><BR><BR>Michael

JoJo Dec 12th, 2001 10:19 AM

The mae sai (or some similar spelling) elephant camp near chiang mai is excellent -it's near the Regent Hotel. <BR>Like someone earlier said, definitely go to a Khantoke dinner, I went to one at the Cultural centre which was really good - the food was amazing!<BR><BR>Krabi-I've been to ao nang and really didn't like it that much, friends have stayed at railay and LOVED it, so that's my recommendtaion!<BR><BR>Here are some recommendations from another website of things to do in Bangkok which are slightly differnet from usual touristy stuff:<BR>hit the southern India temple on Silom, on the end of Silom near the river, very close to soi Pramuan<BR><BR>Next walk down the soi behind Robinson Dept store, to where you are sort of behind the Shangri La. ARound here is a warehouse for Art Asia postcards, where they cost almost nothing.<BR><BR>Take a river express boat up river as far as you want, for no reason, or get off at the Singha brewery for a tour and free beer.<BR><BR>Head to Sathorn (south side) and get a cocktail in the bar up top of the Thai Wah II tower. <BR><BR>Go visit the Giant Swing area. Skip the swing if you have seen it, but face City Hall, and walk along the street that goes alongside the left side of city hall. Along here are a couple of duck and satay restaurants that have perfected these dishes. <BR><BR>More food, if you stay in the KSR area, for lunch only, walk down Phra Arthit road, north, and cross the small canal bridge near the new park. Go past the ice warehouse, turn left at first small soi. Sit at outdoor tables near bird cage and get sukothai noodles. Sublime.<BR><BR>next, head up Samsen road from here, away from KSR, check out the old National Library.<BR><BR>then head to the zoo, depressing animals, but quiet tree-filled environment.<BR><BR>then head to Mah Boon Krong, crazy mall, enjoy if you like this. Walk down the road from here to Rama IV road. When almost there, peel off into the side sois to your right, and visit the car stereo district, where some truly innovative autophonic work gets done.<BR><BR>Cross Rama IV road, Roll down Suriwong road to the Neilon Hays library. then head back up suriwong toward rama IV road, and peel off into the sois between suriwong and Silom. Look for the Green Mango restaurant, good food, and cool camera collection.<BR><BR>Cross the pinklao bridge, way back near KSR and go to the top floors of the Pinklao Shopping mall, and visit the very weird zoo with giant bears. this one is realy surreal, and very worth it that way.<BR><BR>Head out to Soon Buddhamonthon, great park out of town.<BR>Come back to the town and go to the Siam Intercontinental, next to Siam Center, and visit there large gardens, due to be replaced by a giant mall in six months.<BR><BR>Head out to Ramkamhaeng and walk the street with the future of Thailand. Follow these kids to the largest disco you can find (phoebus?)<BR><BR>Go see if Club 20 is open, site of a recent example of how privilege turns destructive and criminal. Go to the Royal hotel near the Grand Palace, visit the marble floored lobby, and imagine is covered with blood from the 1992 democracy demonstrations, as an example of hope collides with privilege.<BR><BR>

Anna Dec 12th, 2001 12:01 PM

First of all, thanks to everyone for their help and opinions! My husband and I are getting really excited for our trip. <BR><BR>We have reserved 3 nights at the River View Lodge in Chiang Mai, a deluxe room with balcony for 1800 Baht. We will spend our last 3 nights in Bangkok at the Peninsula, $120 + service and tax; this includes breakfast and 6PM checkout which is great since our fight leaves around 10PM. I hope the Peninsula isn't too far out of the way though.<BR><BR>We'll have to spend one night in Krabi or Phuket before transferring to PhiPhi. Our friend is going to meet us on PhiPhi where we'll spend 3 nights, still haven't decided where to stay. <BR><BR>We'll spend 4 nights at Railay Beach. For Railay I'm leaning towards Railay Village or Sand & Sea. One of my books also liked Sunset Bungalows but I can't find it on the web. Does anyone have any feedback on any of those?<BR><BR>Thanks!<BR>Anna :)

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