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Help with upcoming family trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap

Help with upcoming family trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap

Dec 5th, 2005, 02:51 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2005
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Help with upcoming family trip to Bangkok and Siem Reap

Hi Asian travelers,

I am a new Fodorite and am amazed at the number of you out there who are obviously so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about BKK! Your enthusiasm is quite contagious, and, thanks to you, I am getting more excited about our upcoming trip!

My husband, our 18 y/o daughter, and I are going to Thailand the last two weeks of December. We are re-uniting with our 22 y/o daughter who, after graduating from college here in May, is teaching in an int'l school for the year in Bang Saen, which is one hour SE of BKK. Our itinerary:

Pattaya/Jomtien Beach - 4 nights at a villa right on the beach which our daughter found for us. We will stay there while she is still teaching school that week before her own vacation break.
Siem Reap - 3 nights at Angkor Village Hotel and Resort, a small boutique hotel in the Cambodian tradition.
Bangkok - 4 nights at the Marriott Resort and Spa with riverview rooms.

My questions mainly concern our time in BKK:
1. As I am the family travel planner, I thought that we would take it easy the first night (coming in from Siem Reap) and have dinner at the Riverside Terrace at our hotel. Since we will be in BKK for 5 evenings, I am wanting to mix our evening dining up a bit with both casual and elegant (meaning, memorable and the "wow" experience) experiences. The choices are a bit daunting and confusing for those of us travelers new to Asia and BKK so I am grateful for this service! I am considering the following choices: a French restaurant so that our Thai-based daughter can eat some western cuisine (us too by then!). Le Normandie would have been our big splurge and bec of its location in the Oriental, but bec they require a jacket for my husband, we are opting not to go there (him bringing a jacket for one night is not worth it). Therefore, would Le Banyan be a good second choice? My daughter is interested in Cabbages and Condoms restaurant. Salathip at the Shangri-La is another consideration, but I wonder if it would feel too similar to our dining experience at the Marriott (given both are out on terraces by the river)? Any advice or recs on big splurges or smaller restaurants that would have great food and a nice ambience would be appreciated!

2. Besides the well-known outdoor markets and Emporium Shopping Mall, any other places to rec to me (in search of silk blouse/jackets; small antique or good Thai reproductions for the home; nice, small gifts to bring back to women friends) or for our young adult daughters to explore?

3. It is my hope that our family will have a blast in BKK. Therefore, any other recs to see or do besides the usual tourist sites which we plan on? Any karaoke clubs or other wholesome evening entertainment?

4. Lastly, if anyone has returned from Siem Reap recently, can you recommend any good restaurants there?

With gratitude and appreciation,

terryr
terryr is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 03:03 PM
  #2  
 
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First I would definitely go to Bed Supper Club. For a big splash dinner I would go to either Lord Jim or China House for peking duck to die for. Face gets excellent reviews. You can do better than salathip in my opinion. Biscotti is a nice italian.
glorialf is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 03:15 PM
  #3  
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Hi glorialf,

Can you tell me the difference between Lord Jim or China House? I will definitely go to one of these for the big splash, as you say. Unfortunately the Bed Supper Club does not allow people under the age 20 so our family will have to bow out of that one (it was on our list until we read that rule). I will look up Face; it must be quite new as I don't see it in the guide books. I needed to hear that about Salathip. Thank you.
terryr is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 03:27 PM
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Although I haven't been to Asia yet
the Red Piano restaurant in Siem Reap comes highly recommended by Frommer's.
althom1122 is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 03:53 PM
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If you aren't totally exhausted you first night, I'd recommend against eating at the Marriott. Even the board's best Marriott booster, Bob, says the restaurants at the Marriott are mediocre and overpriced.

China House at the Oriental has the best Peking Duck - absolutely unbeliveable, and in an elegant atmosphere with impeccable service.

Face has two restaurants, one is Thai and one is Indian. The food is excellent, the atmosphere delightful. They also have a spa. If you like spas, let me recommend this one. The prices are about half the price at the hotels. Check out the website www.facebars.com

Another Thai place to consider - lovely setting and sumptous costumes - is Mahanaga. The food is called Thai fusion, but at least what we ordered is more Thai than fusion. Excellent food.

Salathip at the Shangri-La has gootten luke-warm reviews. There is a Thai restaurant at the Pen that has gotten good review.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 04:27 PM
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In the Oriental Hotel, China House serves Chinese food and Peking Duck is the specialty, as many have said. It is located in a small house just outside the grounds of the hotel. Lord Jim is on the first floor of the hotel overlooking the river, so there is a lovely view. It is modern in setting. Specialty is seafood with some japanese dishes. It is quite expensive.
In Siem Reap, I would recommend the Khmer set menu at Hotel de la Paix, one of the best meals we have ever had. We also ate at Khmer Kitchen, which was good and inexpensive. We ate at Abacus for lunch, it was fine, very nice setting in a garden.
FromDC is online now  
Dec 5th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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ok...marriott dining??? all the restaurants are expensive and only so so, but i can understand not wanting to leave the hotel...may i give you an alternative...in the mini mall in front of the hotel there is a wonderful family thai restaurant...as you come out from the hotel go down to the lower level of the mall (open parking level), turn left and go almost out to the street...there is a restaurant that juts out...the rest. i am referring to is just before that on the left and up about 5 steps...it has two names------???? dinner for two with beers about $15 and delicious...tons of thais eating there...

you could also go to the terrace restaurant or better still the chinese restaurant is very good---on the left as you head towards the river---just before the terrace...

kids might like benni-hanna but i hate it...

you could also take the boat over to the shangri-la and eat there...nice ride and easy to do...the hotel is right next to the boat stop...

i have a bkk restaurant listing if you want a copy let me know:

[email protected]

anglini in the shangri-la is an excellent splurge--italian

the thai al fresco rest. at the peninsula is also a wonderful take...res necessary--dinner only

biscotti in the four seasons hotel is our favorite in bkk...

if you go to cabbages make sure you go next door for dessert at crepes and co...directly next door...

L'Opera also excellent on soi 39, sukhumvit

face restaurant on soi 38, sukhumvit has both thai and indian restaurants and is also a lovely unusual venue...

in SR: red piano is fun and good...la noria is excellent also...

we stayed at angkor village....very attractive but very uncomfortable beds....we found their lunch and dinner foods not good, btw....breakfast was fine....
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 06:42 PM
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We had excellent food at the restaurant at Angkor VIllage - much better than any of the other places we tried. They have a set menu and an a la carte menu. We always ordered Cambodian food from the a la carte menu.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 5th, 2005, 08:54 PM
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Thank you to all who have responded to my restaurant questions. I am making up a new list for our upcoming trip! All of your recommendations sound fabulous...now, how to choose?!

terryr is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 05:09 AM
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If I've read your post correctly, you will be arriving in BKK after being in Asia for at least a week. You will have adjusted to the time change and probably not be as tired as you envision. If this is accurate, on your first night there are several restaurants close to the Taskin Pier where the MArriott boat drops you. They are a very short Taxi ride (make sure they use the meter). These are Harmonique, Tongue Thai and Gallery Cafe. All are moderately priced and very good. If you go to dinner early, you can take the river ferry to them, Oriental pier for H and TT. The Royal Orchid Sheraton pier (it has a different name, I think it is Tha 3) for GC.
Gpanda is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 08:07 AM
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Kathie, Will be at Angkor Village next month--any recommendations regarding meals there since they are included in our rates? Thanks
kathrynj is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 08:28 AM
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My recommendation is to eat off the a la carte menu. Bob, who didn't like the food ate the set menus (he didn't even know they had a la carte). The Cambodian items on the menu were very good.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:14 AM
  #13  
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Hi Gpanda,

Given what you, Kathie, and Bob have advised about the food at Marriott vs. other places close enough by down the river, I am going to plan just that for our first night in BKK! Thank you for your tips on getting over to the Oriental pier for H and TT. You have already given me a game plan and made this very easy for us. This way our family can also take a look at the China House and Lord Jim for another night of fine dining, thanks to glorialf, FromDC, and others. You guys are incredible. Farewell to all those guide books that I have been reading and trying to make sense of the restaurants from!
terryr is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:29 AM
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Thanks for your thanks. Do not abandon the guide books. Many of us use them to give a skeletal plan for our trips. Also, there are often restaurant recommendations and activity recommendations that are not emphasized on this form. For example, Tongue Thai was a restaurant that we got from a guidebook. We liked it and badgered Bob into trying it. He loved it and has sang its praises on this forum. Plus, soem of the guidebooks have delightful walks. We took one in Thonburi from Frommers and one in Chinatown from Fodors citypak. Both were great.
Gpanda is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:36 AM
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Are Harmonique, Tongue Thai and Gallery Cafe walking distance from the Taskin Pier or would you need to get a taxi from the pier to the restaurant?

Sorry to butt in on your thread terryr! I haven't eaten at the Marriott - although we are going to eat there at the Riverside Terrace on our next stay as we got a free dinner there as part of our booking deal with www.sawadee.com (book 4 nights, get a free dinner) - but have eaten at Salathip. Although the setting is very pretty, I found the food a bit bland (but I do like my spice and chili!)
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:40 AM
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It depends on how much walking you want to do. Both Gallery and Harmonique are close to the Royal Orchid, so a water taxi ride to the Si Praya (sp?) pier next to teh Royal Orchiswill make them very close. Tongue Thai is next to Oriental Placec, so a water taxi to the Oriental Pier will be closest.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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yipes! it posted before I edited. You can see just how bad my typing is!

By the way, the pier is Si Praya
Kathie is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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Great thank you - would you have any concerns with walking from the piers to the restaurants at night?
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:50 AM
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If you don't want to walk around a lot you could also have your first night dinner at the thai restaurant at the royal orchid or any of the restaurants at the Oriental -- the two most casual are the riverside buffet and verandah. Food is much better than at shangrila or marriott and easy to get to.
glorialf is offline  
Dec 6th, 2005, 09:51 AM
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Kathie is right, both GC and H are walkable from Si Praya. GC is just up Soi 30 after you get off the river ferry. To get to H, you must walk up to New Roar (Charon Kreung), take a right and walk down past the post office. Walk on the river side if New Road and look carefully down the SOIs, H can be hard to find.

One point that is important. If you go to dinner later, the river ferry may not be running. From the Marrriott, you will dropped off at Tha Tsskin. This is close to the Shangri-la. TT is somewhat near, 5 or 6 blocks up New Road and left towards Oriental Place. H is a few blocks farther and GC a few blocks farther yet. Taxis are cheap. Probably $1.50 max from Taskin.
Gpanda is offline  

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