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Honeymoon Itinerary Oct 2007 & Flights question

Honeymoon Itinerary Oct 2007 & Flights question

Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:40 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Jun 2004
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Honeymoon Itinerary Oct 2007 & Flights question

Hi all,

This is a wonderful resource; thanks to all of you who post such helpful information! My husband and I are taking our belated honeymoon (we married in June) later this month. We're working with the following itinerary, but have a few questions/concerns.

9/20 - Fly JFK - BKK
Bangkok 9/21 - 9/25 (Oriental, 4 nights)
Angkor 9/25 - 9/27 (?, 2 nights)
Golden Triangle 9/27 - 10/1 (Anantara, 4 nights)
Phuket 10/1 - 10/5 (J.W. Marriott, 4 nights)
Bangkok 10/5 - 10/6 (Sheraton, 1 night)

1. We are planning to fly between each place, which appears to take a full day, as they all seem to connect through Bangkok. Is there a better way to go, time-wise? I didn't see direct flights between any of these places.
2. Friends recommended we book flights while in Bangkok, as it will be less expensive. Is this true? Even as compared with a Discovery Pass or some such?
3. We originally wanted to do only three destinations, but we feel like we cannot give any of these places up, based on what we've heard. We're particularly concerned about only 1 full day in Angkor, but aren't sure where to shave off another day.

Many thanks on any help/advice you can give!
Thanks!
Katie
ktlady is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 06:49 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 868
If you're going to use discount airlines, such as Air Asia, NokAir etc, which are cheap, you need to book ahead for best rates. Discovery Pass has to be booked before you arrive (it takes about 4-5 working days to get your e-tickets). Considering the fact that you would have to pass through BKK each time, it may make most sense to get the pass. I would call them and make sure the seats are still available for your dates. I would also check out the discount airlines websites and compare costs. It won't be any cheaper to buy once you're there since you're not flexible on dates. The flight to Siem Reap is expensive on its own, so I would do the Discovery Pass through BA airways just for that.
smartcookie is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 07:45 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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A couple of thoughts. I love Angkor, I think it's one of those amazing travel experiences. But I wouldn't go for two nights. You need three full days just to see the major temples. So if you can't take more time, I'd suggest you save it for another time. If you can eke out two more days, then do it.

If you do opt for Angkor, note that there is one flight a day that goes from Siem Reap to Phuket with a stop in Bangkok that only counts for one discovery pass coupon. So if you went Bengkok to Golden Triangle (no Bangkok Air to CR) to (change planes and airlines in Bangkok - use your 1st coupon to SR) Angkor to Phuket (use the 2nd coupon) to Bangkok (use the third coupon) it would work out.

Otherwise, you need to cut one destination. Note that you will be in Phuket when it is likely to be quite rainy. If you aren't dedicated beach people, you'd be better off to cut Phuket. Phuket will also be "Thailand lite" as one of our regulars says, with much less exposure to the Thai culture.

The Anatara is really lovely and will give you a relaxing resort experience as well as giving you access to a very interesting part of Thailand.

No, it is not true that your flights will be less if you wait until you get to Thailand. And you can't book the Discovery Pass in Thailand. Personally, I'm not a fan of the discount airlines. If you miss a flight for any reason (even if it is because they rescheduled the flight, there is no refind and no rebooking. They also have pretty restricted luggage weight. For your honeymoon, choose Thai Air and Bangkok Air, both excellent airlines.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2007, 11:02 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I agree with Kathie about the time in Angkor. Personally, I'd cut a night in the Golden Triangle, and maybe even one from Phuket, to spend more time in Angkor.

They (Bangkok Air) just started a flight from Chiang MAI to Seam Reap, so if you switched Golden Triangle and Angkor trips around, you could do something of a circle. The CM - SR trip is one way, so you'd have to switch the order. Plus, you'd still have to get from CR to CM, which is either a long drive or a flight. Also, the new flight isn't daily, so you'd have to check the schedule.

Absolutely, positively book your flights before you get here.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 06:53 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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There is only one carrier between BKK and Siem Riep, Bangkok Airways. Take a look ate their website and figure out which flights you want. Then call for a Discovery Pass 1-866-226-4565. They will book your flights, but you have to pay separately. You can save 5% by paying with a certified check rather than a credit card.

I agree three nights in SR is better.
Gpanda is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 07:54 AM
  #6  
 
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one day in SR is not worth the effort or significant cost to do it....it is a very worthwhile site but 3 days seems the minimum amount of time to spend there.....sofitel is an excellent choice in SR as is hotel de la paix....there are many at all levels of cost....you will also want a driver there and a guide....about $25 each per day....

i too would consider not going to phuket....substitute hua hin or pattaya if you must absoulutely have a beach time....

upon arrival you may be quite tired from the nyc flight as well and adjustment to SEA heat and humidity, so plan accodingly for that....day one is almost a lost day for this reason...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 08:47 AM
  #7  
 
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The problem with a beach in October is that all the major beach areas, the whole Phuket area, Koh Samui and even Hua Hin have more than 10 inches of rain on average in October.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 09:50 AM
  #8  
 
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There are flights all day long from Bangkok to Siem Reap. You can maximize your time there if you take the first flight out and have your guide meet you at the airport. Like the others however, I think you still need 3 nights/3 full days to do it right. Skip Phuket.

Do note that your flight from Bangkok to JFK leaves at 1 AM. I assume that is on 10/6 - that means that you will leave your Bangkok hotel at about 10 PM (or earlier) on 10/5. It might be worth having an extra day in Bangkok at the end because of this.
Craig is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 10:44 AM
  #9  
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CRAIG! Thank you SO MUCH! For some reason, we had in our heads that we were flying out at midnight on the 6th; we've made reservations around that and everything. I really appreciate the heads up; one less night makes this even more of a pressing issue...

We're really just torn, especially with the negative reviews of Anantara from KimJapan this week. Is there a chance that they don't keep the place up in the off season?

At any rate, we're feeling like we need to eliminate one of these locations, sadly. I'm not sure which it will be. We don't want to be the ugly tourists who blow into Siem Reap for the temples and blow out. We really would have loved to have time in Phnom Penh as well. I'm just not sure what we should give up, b/c we really want to do them all!

I guess I haven't solved a darn thing, other than if we're going to Siem Reap, we'll go for at least two days... Thanks for all your help, I'm off to rework this darn itinerary. I hate doing this at the last minute, too stressful!!
ktlady is offline  
Sep 4th, 2007, 11:08 AM
  #10  
 
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If you are anything like the rest of us, you'll return to SE Asia again and again. Don't think of this as the only time you'll get there. There is far too much to do and see to pack it into one trip!

Asia lends itself best to slow travel. You have to slow down to experience the place. If you don't cut one stop, you'll be on the run all the time, getting from one place to another and you'll never have the experience of being there.

I also wondered whether there was a problem at the Anantara because it's off-season. Certainly Kim had a much differnt experience than anyone else I know has had. (Kim is a reliable reporter, so I'm not questioning her experience, just noting that it appears to be the exception.)
Kathie is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 05:35 AM
  #11  
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We're definitely beach people, though we want to balance that with some available activities. We'd be at the beach the very end of Sept / first week of October. We're considering a switch to Koh Samui (our original choice b/c of monsoon season), but staying at somewhere like Sala Samui that wouldn't be in the midst of the Chaweng scene, which seems pretty built up / touristy. Does that seem like a better option than Phuket for our dates?

Also, we're taking your advice to heart and will likely eliminate the Northern Thailand portion of the trip in favor of a longer stay in Cambodia. The question is, given we're not "three days viewing temples" people, what else is there to do in Siem Reap or the neighboring ares?

Many thanks,
km

ktlady is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:02 AM
  #12  
 
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If you're not 3 days of temple people, I would skip Angkor wat for now. It's your honeymoon. The temples will be there on your next trip. I would stick to northern thailand and either switch to the 4 Seasons in Chiang Mai which will enable you to do country and city things in complete luxury or stick to the Anantara. Every hotel gets at least one bad review a year -- even the top ones. If you eliminate cambodia I would add the time to bangkok or make your northern thailand portion 3 nights in chiang mai and 3 nights in golden triangle.

Another reason to skip cambodia is that it's nice to really try to learn something about a country and you do that better by spending more time in it. Thailand is a perfect place for a honeymoon. Northern thailand is the heart and soul of thailand and bangkok (especially if you are staying at the Oriental) is fabulous.

Cambodia is also a fascinating country -- go there on your next trip and spend a week there visiting places outside of the temples.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:03 AM
  #13  
 
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very little to do in the SR area except the temples....you can spend some time on the large lake nearby and maybe a little in some local village....also you can visit a school with ponheavy---this has been a highlight for many....give bicycles, clothes, supplies to the kids...pay for schooling, etc....

i'm thinking samui might be as wet as phuket, but samui would, in my mind, be preferable to phuket at any time...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:27 AM
  #14  
 
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Both Samui and Phuket will be equally wet. The Phuket area has a greater range of accomodation than Samui. There are plenty of quiet, more remote places on Phuket. While there are quieter places on Samui, it's a smaller island.

And I agree with Gloria, if you don't want three days of temples, don't go to Angkor.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 06:40 AM
  #15  
 
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We spent 3 full days in Siem Reap and it was the perfect amount of time. Temple viewing is normally done in the mornings and late afternoon with pool time from about noon to 3 or 4 PM. The Hotel de la Paix or Hotel Victoria would be good choices. We did a school visit with our guide Ponheary to donate supplies - it took the better part of morning and was a highlight of our trip. We also visited the Vietnamese floating village at Lake Tonle Sap one afternoon, a very worthwhile experience - this takes about 3-4 hours. The Angkor Wat complex is huge and the temples are quite spread out. During our stay we probably only saw about 5 or 6 temples and did not feel templed out at the end of our trip.
Craig is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 07:18 AM
  #16  
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Thanks all. Craig, what you're describing sounds great to us. Did you do four nights there? We were thinking of doing two in Phnom Penh and three in Siem Reap; would you recommend doing all five in Siem Reap?

I've contacted Ponheary, and I'm crossing fingers she's available. We'd love to go to a school. Did you take supplies with you, or purchase there? We'd be very happy to help people while we're visiting.
ktlady is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 07:58 AM
  #17  
 
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We did 3 nights/3 full days in Siem Reap. We arrived at 9 AM the first day, taking the first flight out of Bangkok. We already had our visas so immigration went quickly. We left Siem Reap early on the morning following the 3rd night. I didn't think we needed to spend anymore time there than we did. We have not been Phnom Penh so I can't advise you.

As for the school, we took cash. Ponheary purchased the supplies before we came and we reimbursed her. This was two years ago. Now you can make a donation to the Ponheary Ly Foundation before you go - see the website www.theplf.org - there are accounts of other tourists' visits to the schools with photos. If you'd like to read about our visit, here's a link:
http://tinyurl.com/yom9tp
Craig is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 08:11 AM
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We spent a week in SIem Reap and just couldn't get enough of the temples. If Iremember correctly, we saw 26 or 28 temples, not nearly all of them. We also used the traditional schedule (it's traditional for good reason!) of early mornigs to the temples, visit temples until noon or so, then back to our hotel for lunch, a dip and sometimes anap, then back out to the temples around 3 until sunset.

It sounds like three full days at Angkor may well be enough for you. But if you opt for more time there, you'll find plenty to fill your time. In additon to the activities describes by others, consider a visit to the Artisans de Angkor workshops.

You''l want to prepare of Angkor before you go. I always recommend Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor (which has a long subtitle in the newest edition).

If you want to visit Phnom Penh, one full day there is enough.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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I'd spend 4 nights (3 days) in Siem Reap and add your other night to Bangkok. Phnom Penh is definitely worth visiting but not on a honeymoon and not without doing some serious reading about Pol Pot and the Killing Fields. Do it another time.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 5th, 2007, 08:14 AM
  #20  
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Thanks Craig and Kathie! I think we've decided to do one full day in Phnom Penh, and 3-5 in Siem Reap. I just posted about volunteering with the Green Gecko Project, as we'd really love to help out the children while we're there. Also, I ordered Dawn Rooney's book this morning, along with one called "First They Killed My Father", written by a survivor of the Khmer Rouge.

We are really excited about this itinerary.
ktlady is offline  

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