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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 6th, 2005, 01:34 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 319
No problem, Bella Bluebell, keep asking your questions! I continue to learn from this ongoing conversation with the group. It's all interesting stuff, and no doubt will save you and I a lot of aggravation when we are really there on the river by the pier. We will thank this group for their advice and tips. Besides, my mouth is watering already with all the restaurant choices that people have offered! Yum!

Now, any shopping tips given my original shopping inquiry?
terryr is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 01:55 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 15
Dear Terry,

In answer to your shopping query; the Thais are amazing at handiwork, and they have some amazing handicrafts all throughout the streets of Bangkok and in the usual malls, including antiques. Some recommendations: for beautiful antiques and nice small gifts, go to Chatuchak Weekend Market. The locals know it affectionately as JJ Market. There are 5000 stalls across 5 square miles, orientate yourself from the tower clock. This weekend market operates only on Saturdays and Sundays, and is non-airconditioned, so it's very hot. There are plenty of places you can buy water inside. Go to the antique secions, for some really good finds on antiques. In between the numerous paths and alleys, you will find plenty of gifts to take home : purses, candles, jewellery, tablemats, lovely ornaments for the home, porcelain, artificial flowers. Anything you can imagine is available in Chatuchak Market. You need to start early, maybe at 8am, as it gets progressively hotter during the day; the shops are zinced or tarpaulin roofed.

If your visit does not coincide on a weekend, try these places at Pratunam : Erawan, Gaysorn Plaza, World Trade Centre (since renamed) are at a cross junction. Some lovely pashminas are available in these malls, and the government's handicraft store Narayana Phand is at WTC. For your daughters, they will love Mah Boon Krong or MBK. It's a block away from the Pratunam junction : use the overbridges to walk directly from WTC to MBK. Eight floors of trendy clothing, accessories, bags, clothes, shoes and anything for the young and young at heart. 2 floors of MBK is dedicated entirely to mobiles and mobile accessories ! In all these malls, you will find many restauratns, from your ubiquitous Starbucks and Macs right up to high-end Thai restaurants.

For entertainment, get lots of foot or body (Thai, Shiatsu, Swedish) massages. These are located everywhere along main streets as well in the malls. An hour long foot massage is 200 baht approx USD$5. You can also have the same massages in top spas like in your hotel, or at Oriental Hotel, but trust me, all the masseuse ladies are trained in the SAME schools!

For tailored silk men's and womens' clothing, there will be a silk tailor in your hotel, and all major malls. For the very best, Jim Thompson was an American who revived Thailand's silk industry singlehandedly in the 1950's. He knew the editor of Vogue magazine ! Since his murder, rumoured by business rivals, his body has never found, but his legacy lives on in Jim Thompson shops throughout the city. You can tour his home and the huge shop they built on that site, by the stadium, or look for any of the other outlets located in the various malls. Local tailors will custom make something for you within 24 hours in the silk of your choice.

For evening entertainment, there is Muay Thai boxing, get your hotel to recommend the nearest.

If you've watched the movie "Bridge over the River Kwai", this is where the Japanese captured and made the Allied POWs build the infamous bridge to Burma. The statistics are mindboggling, like for every mile of train track built, thousands of PoWs died (guesstimate). The site is still there, and a train comes across it twice a day. There is also a musuem nearby commemorating the dead and a war memorial in the same vicinity. To do this, you need to take a tour, or hire a driver for the day.

Siem Reap: there are many fine restaurants in Siem Reap, I thought the Raffles Grand Hotel D'Angkor was fabulous. A superb meal in Cambodia costs USD$20-25, which is what the immigration offical stamping your passport earns - USD$25 a month. Raffles used to have a local Cambodian dance every Saturday night, but they've since stopped. Ask the locals where you can view the local Cambodian dance.

Bring an umbrella with you when you are at Siem Reap. When I pulled out one, my travel buddies burst out laughing, but after an hour, they wished they'd brought one in the 40-degree celsius heat. You will be clambering all over Angkor Wat, so don't bring anything you have to carry in your hands. Angkor Thom and Pra Thom are easier.

One last thing : when in Thailand, sometimes your tuk-tuk or taxi driver will take you to a jewellery shop because they earn 2 litres of petrol for bringing tourists there. Do not go, or if you do go, DO NOT BUY ANYTHING. Those are not diamonds, they are some imitation gems, and everyday the police station gets 2 frustrated tourists complaining on being cheated, but you will never, ever get your money back.
yvonne_c is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 05:22 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
terry---tell fodorites about your recent experiences with thai air...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
terry---i have now just reread your original posting and have a better feel for what you are doing....i lost it in all the posts i read...

biscotti at the four seasons would be an excellent dinner choice for one nite with the family...upscale, but yet modern and great food....everything from pizza to soft shelled crab and all excellent and in an interesting open kitchen space with a stream that runs through at one side of the place....beautiful hotel lobby as well....it is near the american embassy ......skytrain right across the street, but i usually take a taxi...

speaking of that....with 4 of you it will alsmost always be cheaper to take a taxi instead of paying for 4 skytrain tickets unless you have a skytrain pass----100B per day for unlimited use....available at the station....

tongue thai would be another nice thai alternative....in back of the oriental....china house also would be fantastic for the peking duck or something else....

great dim sum lunch at the conrad hotel daily on wireless road...3rd floor liu restaurant...fantastic....all you can eat for a fixed price....about $30 for two....select items from a menu....

great sunday brunch at the indian restaurant at the rembrandt hotel....top floor looking out over the city....

go for a drink at the sky bar in the state building which is at the corner of silom road and new roads....fabulous view....go at nite...that is where the fabulous restaurant sirocco is located...a splurge for you....not far from taskim pier, but i would take a taxi...
rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 05:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 28,925
i will be interested in your review of the food at angkor....karen, who will eat anything, thought the food was horid....kathie disagrees with that but maybe the chef changed between when she was there and when we were there....

red piano and la noria are two good choices....

i had the hotel line up a driver and a guide for us....$40 per day....they had toyota camrys....very worthwhile...i would consider it mandatory....

take passport pictures for your pass to the temples and for your visa...

talk to you soon

rhkkmk is offline  
Dec 7th, 2005, 08:54 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 319
Hi Yvonne C and Bob,

Thank you so much for all of your helpful shopping tips and continued restaurant advice as well as information on Siem Reap! I really appreciate your time and interest. I feel the most prepared than I've ever been before visiting a new country.
terryr is offline  

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