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Honeymoon in Thailand - Start or end at the beach?

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Jan 17th, 2007, 01:40 PM
  #1
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Honeymoon in Thailand - Start or end at the beach?

Hi all,

Heading to Thailand in June for our honeymoon. Our trip is around 3 weeks: 3 nights in BKK, 3 nights in Chiang Mai, 3 nights in Golden Triangle, 6 nights in Koh Samui, and 4 nights in Siem Reap.

We are trying to decide whether to begin or end our trip on the beach in Koh Samui. If we don't go to the beach first, we will spend a few days in BKK and then head for Siem Reap.

I know this is a subjective choice, but wanted input from people who've faced a similar decision. Will the jet lag make sightseeing in BKK in the first few days difficult? If so, would we be better of recuperating on the beach?

I'm not sure this changes things, but neither of us has ever been to Thailand, so there will be some cultural adjustment. Also, we are flying Chicago-Narita, Narita-BKK, arriving late at night.

Thanks in advance!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 02:11 PM
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We've done the Chicago-Narita-Bangkok route 3 times - originating from Hartford and ending in Bangkok, Bali and Delhi. Whatever you decide, the more sleep you get on your trip over, the better. On our first Thailand trip we chose to do Koh Samui last and it worked out well. I just wouldn't plan a lot on your first day in Bangkok if you do it this way. After that you should be fine. You could easily plan another day of flying to get to Koh Samui but you'd probably appreciate having the opportunity to adjust to the time zone and relax a bit before moving on.

On another note, consider spending one less night in Chiang Mai and Siem Reap and two more in Bangkok. Unless you are really into temples, 3 full days in Siem Reap is enough and Chiang Mai really doesn't have that much to offer - there are those on this board that may disagree.
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Jan 17th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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My wife and I spent our honeymoon in SE Asia last March (Singapore, Krabi, BKK, Chiang Mai, Hanoi, Sing.)

We landed in Sing. from New York... we did manage to get some sleep on the plane, but after landing in Sing. at 6:30AM, we definitely needed a nap when we first got to the hotel... after about an hour we were ok to leisurely check out Sing. for a day - but we definitely needed a relatively early night because we got sleepy... We then spent 5 nights relaxing in Krabi, which was a fantastic way to get over the jet lag...

BKK can be a very overwhelming city (wonderful though) - so much to see, smell, eat, etc... Unless I was just going to BKK only (or with one other city) for several days, I would rather have the let lag behind me for it.

I haven't been to Siem Reap (yet) but I do think 3 nights in BKK is not enough... we spent the same amount of time and I wished we spent a lot more there.

I think your time in CM is dependent on your plans there... We spent 3 nights in CM and it was barely enough time - but that was because we had one day filled by a cooking class, and another day filled with elephant riding and various other countryside stuff... we never really had time to walk around the city of CM, other than the Sunday Walking Market after our cooking class (both highly recommended). If you don't have lots of plans for CM, then 3 nights is definitely more than enough, in my opinion...

Thinking back on it, though, I definitely think starting out at the beach was the right decision - usually all that wedding planning is exhausting, so we thought it was nice to have some alone-time, and relaxation together. You'll spend so much time running around trying to see/experience everything, that it's good to get the relaxing when you need it most - after the wedding!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 05:45 PM
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I think I'd be opting for the beach first if you can make it fit.

After all the strain of getting ready for a wedding and the long trip you will need to relax a bit first. After all it is your honeymoon and time should be spent enjoy each other not rushing around trying to fit in all the new sights.

As khtodd says Bkk can be overwhelming to begin with. If you can increase your time there then split it so you have a night in Bkk before Samui rather than long hours at the airport after an already long flight.

I wouldn't go to Siem Reap first either as its fairly full on - lots to see, lots of walking etc. I could be tempted to go up to Chiang Mai straight away as its least hectic then on to Samui, Siem Reap and finish in Bkk.
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Jan 17th, 2007, 06:12 PM
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Given what else you are doing, it makes sense to me to go to the beach first. As others have noted, that will give you time to rest and relax after the wedding and give you time to get over the jetlag.

I would cut a night from CM and add it to Bangkok. You want to make sure you have three full days in SIem Reap. You might be able to cut a night there, depending on your level of interest. You do need more time in Bangkok. (Actually, if it was me, I'd drop CM since you are going to the Golden Triangle).
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Jan 17th, 2007, 06:24 PM
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It's hard to say whether to go to the beach first or last. Both have their positives.

I am always jetlagged for a couple of days upon arriving in BKK. But I don't have a heavy schedule planned so it really doesn't matter that much.

My only concern would be that you are arriving BKK late, and would then have to get up the next morning and travel AGAIN to get to Samui. It's worth the travel, don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure I'd want to do it right away after arriving in BKK.

I agree with adding on time to BKK, how ever you manage to do it. It's one amazing city!!
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Jan 17th, 2007, 07:03 PM
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first of all consider your first two days almost a waste....so for that reason i would stay the first nite in bkk---you will get to the hotel by 1:15AM probably.....then take a mid-day flight (2PM) the next day to samui after a nice swim in the AM in bkk....stay in the city not at the airport...then i would relax at samui....

i too would cut chiang mai out and add the days to bkk...so i would fly directly to chiang rai and rent a car there and go up to the GT....i am a detractor too of CM...just another big city!!

3 nites is plenty in SR with 3 full days....you can do this by leaving on the evening flt back to bkk about 7PM...
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Jan 17th, 2007, 07:04 PM
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choosing good hotels is the best thing you can do for a successful trip....work out your budget first and then make it work....warning: SR the hotels are all way over priced
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Jan 17th, 2007, 07:25 PM
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The Hotel de la Paix has a great summer promotion....Stay 3 Pay 2 for $190/night including breakfast but plust tax. 4 nights would be $570 + 32 (for one day's breakfast b/c free night does not include breakfast) + tax (12%) divided by 4 nights makes it a reasonable $168.50 per night NET. www.asiabesthotel.com offers a great summer deal as well, and that might work out better for you on a per night basis as you are staying 4 nights not 6 like us.
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Jan 17th, 2007, 07:27 PM
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You've got a great trip planned!

We faced a similar decision for our honeymoon - although we went to S. Africa. While the wedding was an exhausting experience, the 20+ hour flight time was pretty restful - the best sleep I ever had on an international flight, in fact!

That being said, I find the two most exhausting places on your list to be Siem Reap and BKK. Siem Reap because it does involve a lot of walking, tends to be hot, there's lots of information involved (an entire civilization after all!) and to be perfectly candid, although I spend lots of time in developing countries, I found the sheer poverty of Siem Reap to be emotionally exhausting. We found that two days was plenty in SR, three might have been nice for a more leisurely pace. You do begin to get templed out.

I'm going to disagree with other posters (that whole subjectivity thing!) in that I loved CM much more than BKK. Chiang Mai is charming, laid back and was the site of our most romantic activities - lovely B&B's, lunch at the gorgeous Four Seasons, elephant rides, wandering through the weekend market, cooking classes set in a beautiful garden, great massages. CM is a very pedestrian friendly city, and it feels very approachable - although it's the second largest city in Thailand, it doesn't have that feel. We drove the Mae Hong Son loop from there and had great adventures along that route as well!

But I also found that the people (in our experience, anyways) were just friendlier in CM than in BKK. If someone approached you with a cheerful smile in BKK, 9 times out of 10 it seemed like there was a scam involved. Whereas in CM, we spent a lot of time just hanging out chatting with the locals. No matter what anyone tells you, CM is not just about temples - we spent one day looking at temples and managed to keep ourselves occupied for several more with no problem whatsoever.

Of course, I did like Bangkok, there was great food and some wonderful activities. I don't think you can go wrong. But like big cities all over the world (and I'm a New Yorker whose relocated to DC, so I'm not speaking from a small town perspective), it can be tiring and overwhelming. And it has a lot in common with other big cities, which I think tends to make it less of a unique experience than other CM, the islands or the northern parts of Thailand.

As to what order to do it in, I think there is no right answer. In some ways, it's almost better to get the exhausting stuff out of the way first so you can feel refreshed when you get back!

You might want to think about whether you're interested in shopping, too, whether it be designer knock offs or artistry - BKK and CM are going to be your hotspots for that and you might want to consider if you want to lug things around.

Don't worry about cultural adjustment - Thailand is warm and welcoming and you're going to have a wonderful time! Eat some street food for me, somehow the hot dogs here in DC just aren't cutting it! Congratulations! Cheers, Carrie

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Jan 18th, 2007, 03:25 AM
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I would do your locations in the exact order you listed them in your question, BKK, CM, CR, KS, SR. Depending on your departure time from BKK coming back, you may need an extra day in BKK at the end. I would cut one of the KS days to add the BKK day. We've found that this last day in BKK can be a wonderful good-bye to Asia. Have a great time.

I also agree that picking hotels early will help. A good hotel can make all the difference. It doesn't have to be 5 star, but it should be a place where you can relax and recharge.
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