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Here we go again: Bangkok, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang Itinerary

Here we go again: Bangkok, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang Itinerary

Apr 5th, 2005, 08:12 AM
  #1  
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Here we go again: Bangkok, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang Itinerary

We will be redeemning miles for our direct flight from JFK to BKK on Thai Airways shortly. Due to the limited availability of free business class tickets for weekend flights, it looks like we will be departing JFK on a Thursday and will return on a Friday 15 days later. I think this will actually work out well as we are adding an extra day and will have an entire weekend to recover from our trip when we get home.

After much deliberation and discussion with my wife, who refuses to fly on her birthday which occurs in the middle of our trip, we have come up with the following revised plan:

Day 1 Depart JFK 12:00 Noon
Day 2 Arrive BKK 16:10
Depart BKK 18:30
Arrive REP 19:40
Day 3 REP
Day 4 REP
Day 5 REP
Day 6 REP - BKK 09:30 - 10:40
Day 7 BKK
Day 8 BKK
Day 9 BKK (Jeane's birthday)
Day 10 BKK - LPQ 11:30 - 01:20
Day 11 LPQ
Day 12 LPQ
Day 13 LPQ - BKK 13:50 - 15:40
Day 14 BKK
Day 15 BKK
Day 16 BKK - JFK 00:40 - 06:35

Note that we are connecting straight through to Siem Reap when we arrive at Bangkok. Having done this a month ago switching from United to Air India on the way to Delhi, I think we can do it in the time alotted. As we are arriving BKK in the late afternoon, I do not expect a crush of international passengers going through immigration all at once. Once through customs, we will hit the ATM for Baht for the departure tax, drop off some our stuff at left luggage and check in for the Bangkok Airways flight. As I recall all of these things are within reasonable proximity to one another at the airport. I realize if the flight leaves late from JFK we will have a problem but we would probably be able to make alternate arrangements while we are on the ground.

If we do it this way, we will not have to come back to Bangkok from Siem Reap, stay over one night and then get back on a plane to Luang Prabang. We will also pick up an extra 1/2 day in Siem Reap, which I think we will need.

Any feedback?
Craig is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 08:49 AM
  #2  
 
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Craig, I also think you can make the flight to Siem Reap. As we all know, there are times when it won't work, but I think it's worth scheduling it this way.

Overall, I think your itinerary looks good. If it were me, I'd opt for one more day in LP.

It sounds like a wonderful trip.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 09:07 AM
  #3  
 
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The connection 'should' work but after the trip to JFK and the flight has you though about overnight in BKK and then fly next a.am?
An advantage is that if you stay in the hotel that you plan to stay in when you return from REP you could leave all your things with the hotel and then just head off to REP, so not having to leave at the airport.
My 'fear' is that you may watse a lot of your 1dt day in REP if you are thired, I know it's a toss of a coin but at least you won't have to worry about making that connection.
JamesA is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 09:51 AM
  #4  
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Kathie, I am actually thinking about an extra day in LP since we do have a lot of time in Bangkok - in that scenerio we would return from LP on day 14.

JamesA, my wife and I talked about staying overnight in Bangkok the first night. Our feeling is that we can recover from jet leg in Siem Reap just as easily as in Bangkok. If we arrange our Angkor Wat guide and driver in advance, we'll be ready to go first thing in the AM. I don't think its a big deal leaving a couple of bags at the airport as long as we have them organized before we leave from home. I guess I will have to worry about making the connection but once we are in the air from JFK, we'll know the timing.
Craig is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 10:35 AM
  #5  
 
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craig--i have a couple of thoughts and will post tonight..

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:19 PM
  #6  
 
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I took a look at the Thai Air schedule between BKK and LPQ thinking that you might be able to get those flights on the award ticket too but the schedule doesn't quite work out, esp. because routing would be BKK-CNX-LPQ and could take 5 hours.

So, you will have 2h 20m to make the connection. Same terminal (international) which is good. Can stash stuff at the left luggage office.

In January, because my Bangkok Air ticket BKK-REP-BKK was purchased at their website, I had to go to a window behind the big main area where all the checkin counters are at to get my tickets. Then into the painful check-in lines.

I think that the refund policy on the Bangkok Air tickets is pretty liberal so if you did miss the flight it wouldn't be a total loss.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:24 PM
  #7  
 
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craig...day 6 still bothers me...if you left on the last flight the nite before you could pick up a whole day for LP and not loose a single thing in SR....staying in bkk that nite, even arriving late, is far preferable to the nite in SR i should think...i don't yield easily...

the rest of it i really like...now i have to start the plans for the birthday dinner....what cuisine?? how many candles? which restaurant?? how many violins?? how many courses?? or will it be mcdonalds...you could have the whole party room.....

see you on the 17th
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 07:29 PM
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i have to say that the connection in bkk on day one makes me very nervous, the more i look at it.....my flights are always on time in bkk, so i have no reason to doubt it will work, but it is a variable...is it enough turn around time for bkk air, with immigration, changing airlines, baggage colletion, etc?? bkk air is in the same terminal as thai so that is a saving grace....
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 5th, 2005, 11:08 PM
  #9  
 
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Hi Craig,

Like Kathie - I'd have an extra day in Luang Prabang. Its a lovely relaxed place and I'm sure you will get a lot out of it. Re connection BKK to REP - I think if all goes well, your way is good - you don't have to leave the airport and pay out for an extra lot of departure tax and as you say a night in Siem Reap will actually be more relaxing than worrying about dashing off again the next morning for a flight. Only reservation I have should the worst happen and the flights not connect is whether you will be able to get on the plane the next morning. Bangkok air is often fully booked and the early plane is the most popular so it could be a problem. Maybe if it looks like the flight is going to be late leaving JFK then you'd better try getting though to Bangkok Air straight away. It is leaves on time you shouldn't have a problem in Bangkok airport.
MaryW is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 04:38 AM
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The 18:30 flight is the last of the day. Like you said, if it looked like you would miss it because of a late departure from JFK you would have time to get your air and hotel changed.

You'd be within 24 hours of your planned arrival at your SR hotel and hopefully there would be no change/cancel charge.

MaryW is concerned about the next day flight being full. If it was the first week of January you could expect all of the flights to be full. You're travelling off-season, so you might have some options.

Supposing that you had arrived BKK today to late for the 18:30 flight. It is now about 19:30 in BKK. I checked for flight availability for two passengers for tomorrow through the weekend.

According to bangkokair.com for BKK->REP
April 7, 2 of 7 flights have 2 available seats (3 of 7 have at least 1 available seat)
April 8, 6 of 6 flights have 2 available seats
April 9, 3 of 7 flights have 2 available seats
April 10, 6 of 6 flights have 2 available seats
April 11, 6 of 6 flights have 2 available seats

Note that April 9 is a Saturday, the same day of week that you would be making the trip if you missed your Friday PM flight. On April 9, only 2 of 7 have 3 seats available now. Both of those have 6 seats but only one has 7 available.

Interesting that all of the REP-BKK flights on the 9th are full and most of the flights on each of the other days 7th-10th are full.

Looks like Saturday might be a popular day to fly between BKK and REP. It will be 9 or 10PM Bangkok time on a Thursday when you might need to get a couple of seats on a Saturday (hopefully morning) flight from BKK->REP. Might be too much of a gamble even for me.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 05:33 AM
  #11  
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Thanks everyone for your efforts. I redeemed Mileage Plus miles for our JKF-BKK tickets a few minutes ago. It turns out that Thai changed the flight time since I last checked. We will now be arriving in Bangkok at 17:00 - definitely not enough time to make the connection. So...we will spend the night in Bangkok, catch the 07:30 flight to Siem Reap and have our guide/driver meet us at the airport.

The rest of the itinerary remains unchanged with the exception of adding an extra day in Luang Prabang. Bob - I am considering your recommendation to return to Bangkok on the 19:40 flight the evening of Day 5 - would I have my guide/driver drop me off at the airport after our afternoon tour?

If we do it as outlined above, the itinerary looks like this:

Day 1 Depart JFK 11:30
Day 2 Arrive BKK 17:00
Day 3 BKK - REP 07:30 - 08:40
Day 4 REP
Day 5 REP - BKK 19:40 - 20:40
Day 6 BKK
Day 7 BKK
Day 8 BKK
Day 9 BKK (Jeane's birthday)
Day 10 BKK - LPQ 11:30 - 01:20
Day 11 LPQ
Day 12 LPQ
Day 13 LPQ
Day 14 LPQ - BKK 13:50 - 15:40
Day 15 BKK
Day 16 BKK - JFK 00:40 - 06:35
Craig is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 07:18 AM
  #12  
 
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the way we did it is that the hotel did our airport transfers, gratis...so we had the guide return us to the hotel in the late afternoon and we picked up our stored suitcases---had a quick swim if i remember, and had the hotel car to the airport...it all worked out great...will never forget the thousands of bugs on the ceiling of the airport while we were waiting for our flight....they were attracted to the flor. lighting....ugh!!

glad the thai timing is changed...i would be worrying about you making the connection...will it be the amari again??

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 03:36 PM
  #13  
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Bob - Not sure if I will do the Amari or the Penn for the first night. It would be nice to leave some of our stuff at the Penn. I think we have plenty of time and, given the 12 hour time difference, probably won't sleep that much. By the way, for the birthday, we are thinking a Big Mac with many candles...
Craig is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:03 PM
  #14  
 
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jesters will make the best big mac in town and you will love eating it in such serene surroundings with the river just through the window...

or le normandie will do their 'la big mac countessa' and serve it high up in the building

don't forget to bring the floss
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 6th, 2005, 06:05 PM
  #15  
 
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given those times and your luck with amari, i would do it that first nite...or would you consider the jw marriott...it has the only easy highway access in the city....but that 7:30 is the killer really...
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 07:15 AM
  #16  
 
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Go to the Penn. Being able to store your luggage is a huge plus and the Amari is a dump. You'll have time for a decent dinner before going to sleep. When is this trip planned for?
glorialf is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 08:22 AM
  #17  
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glorialf - the trip is planned for the last two weeks of February, 2006. We stayed at the Amari last month on the executive floor and I can tell you that it is very expensive but it is not "a dump". It was the 4th time we had stayed there on the executive floor - we have never had a bad experience. As for luggage storage, it is no big deal to use the left luggage office at the airport. It doesn't take long to do it and it doesn't cost a lot either. It may be a plus to store it at the Penn, but not a "huge" plus. That being said, I really haven't made up my mind. It would be nice to stay at the Penn on our first night in Bangkok. I am not sure we will be in the mood for a full dinner when we arrive. It will be 5 in the morning Connecticut time and we will have had three meals on the flight in business class. At the Amari, they will have a pretty nice spread (free drinks too) in its very comfortable executive lounge. Of course, if the new airport is open, that changes everything - I think the latest estimates are for a March 2006 opening, though.
Craig is offline  
Apr 7th, 2005, 07:20 PM
  #18  
 
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if it were not for the flight times, i would stay at the penn as the money will end up being about the same, but given the times, i would stay right around the airport....by the way the new airport might be open by then and this would present another whole set of issues which might make an in town stay more practical??? jamesA will be advising on this as time goes forward i am sure...
rhkkmk is offline  
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