Itinerary for 3 days in Bangkok

Aug 16th, 2006, 10:49 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2006
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Itinerary for 3 days in Bangkok

Hi everyone-
I've been reading the advice on this forum for several months and your enthusiasm for visiting Thailand is so contagious that I have just booked a trip for my husband and me with Smartours for the last week in January and the first week in February. The tour spends 14 days in Thailand and 3 days at Angkor Wat. I have never used this tour company before, but it covered the destinations I wanted to see, so we will hope for the best. My husband and I have travelled extensively, and usually do so on our own, but since this tour was exactly what I would have planned on my own for considerably less than I would have paid, we decided to take a chance on this tour company. We will be flying from Boston and staying at the Majestic Grand Hotel for the first 4 nights. We have 3 full days in Bangkok, some of which is scheduled with optional tours (a half day to the Grand Palace and a whole day to the floating market and Rose Garden}.
As a first time traveler to Thailand I would like to ask a couple of questions of you seasoned travelers who seem so willing to share your knowlege and experience. After doing some reading, I think that rather than spend the day outside of Bangkok l'd prefer to spend it seeing the Jim Thompson House, Vinimik Palace, Suan Packard Palace, and the National Museum. Is it possible to do this in a day or a day and a half (in light of the traffic and heat)? If it is how would you get from one to the other and in what order? Are any of these places air conditioned?
Also, how do you cope with the heat and humidity? Do you think it is worth investing in polyester clothing that wicks moisture, or do you think cotton is ok? I am not a big fan of heat and humidity, but decided to bite the bullet and take the trip despite this.
What is the best way to go from the Majestic Grand to the Grand Palace? The tour goes there as an optional, but I would prefer to hire a guide at the Grand Palace and stay as long as I like, provided I can get there without getting heat stroke.
Any other comments or advice would be appreciated, and thanks for all the good advice I have gleaned over the last few months.

shelleyk is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 11:36 AM
  #2  
 
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I agree that it makes sense to spend the day in Bangkok rather than going to the Floating market and the Rose Garden.

From the Majestic Grand, you'll want to take a taxi to the Grand Palace-Emerald Buddha-Wat Po. Get there when it opens at 8:30 (walk right past anyone who tell you it isn't open!) Taxis are all air-conditioned.

You have a lot you want to do in the time alloted. Note that none of the places you mention are air-conditioned. Just do as much as you can, hop in an taxi and go have lunch or a break someplace that is air-conditioned.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 12:01 PM
  #3  
 
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Alternative suggestion would be to take the Skytrain to the end of the line at Thaksin and from there take the water taxi north to the Grand Palace. Much more fun and faster than sitting in BKK traffic. Also, once you enter the Grand Palace grounds, you can hire a guide for a very reasonable price. I have found that these guides add a lot in terms of anecdotes and history, although I have also found that the history sometimes has a tendency to change from guide to guide. LOL!
chiguy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 12:03 PM
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Shelley-welcome aboard. You can do all the things you listed in a day, but it would be a long one. The JT house and Suan Packard can be done in several hours. They are quite close by Taxi.

I saw that you are leaving from Boston. We are having a Boston Get Together in October. You are certainly welcome. There will be many Thailand veterans with semi-useful advice.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 12:06 PM
  #5  
 
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As for the clothing, personally, I never leave home without about 5, long-sleeved, Ex-Officio Baja-Plus shirts, two long,travel skirts, and two knee-length skirts....check out macabiskirt.com. My travel skirts are this style although mine are old travelsmith.com versions. In Thailand the air conditioning inside is set at artic frost while it's hell hot outside...The same in taxis...artic frost. With my Baja-Plus shirts I don't have to worry about temperature changes...the long-sleeved ones roll up or down and have hook tabs. They also have security pockets...couldn't live without them. I leave for Singapore/Bangkok next week and haven't even thought about packing since I know that I'll just toss my shirts into the suitcase and be totally packed within 45 minutes. I call it my travel uniform. Then, I'll add a couple of pieces of regular street clothes just to add a little flavor. I don't stress out about clothing when traveling to Southeast Asia...only when traveling to Europe...especially Paris...when I start planning the wardrobe up to a year in advance...because there I have a need to look fabulous everyday. Smiles. Plus,in Europe, friends remember what I wore the previous year...they look forward to creativity...so I mix it up and add a lot of flavor...Smiles. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 12:41 PM
  #6  
 
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I was in BKK this past May and my clothing suggestion to you is pack a few extra shirts. I say this because if you are outside for just a little while your clothes will absorb a lot of moisture. If you plan on going back out you will have to change. Next time when I go to BKK I will double the number of shirts I take.
Baltorep is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 12:46 PM
  #7  
 
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My packing is very simple. I take an empty gym bag and stuff it into a larger empty Gym bag. Then I toss in a couple sets of underwear. Everything else, I buy there. As for cotton vs. synthetics, my preference has always been cotton.
chiguy is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 05:03 PM
  #8  
 
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The material that's used to make travel clothes...like I buy...are usually not cotton. I've always been a big cotton fan,and my non-hardcore travel clothes are 100% cotton..., but in humid weather, cotton takes forever to dry. I remember washing cotton socks in Singapore and hanging them in the bathroom and three days later they were still damp. The fabric used for travel clothes does work and very well. I've been wearing them continuously since 1995.
One day back in Singapore, a friend who was traveling with me, and I were walking down Orchard Road and the sky opened up and incredibly strong tropical rain came down and in less than a minute we were soaked. She had on a cotton T-shirt and jeans and I had on my Baja shirt and travel skirt of the same fabric. She had to taxi back to the hotel to change while I stayed out and continued doing what I was doing and in less than 45 minutes, my clothes were dry. They had previously been so soaked until I stood out on Orchard Road, holding the bottom of it and ringing it out. So, I'd definitely dish out the money and go for the type of clothes the poster is referring to. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 05:36 PM
  #9  
 
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first to expand on gpanda's comments above...come to the hotel @ MIT at 11AM on saturday, october 7, 2006 and join with other fodorites and you will really learn a lot about thailand...and SR...present will be some of your favorites from this board:
craig, gpanda, simpsonc510, lcuy, rhkkmk (that's me), guenmai, laurieco, cruiseinred, althon1122, terryr and probably others i have missed..just send me your e address and shortly i will be sending out further info on the GTG:

[email protected]

now to your questions...

your hotel choice is excellent and well located about 2 blocks from the nana skytain stop and about the same from plenochit (i think)...tons of great restaurants nearby and one right in the hotel...

remember on day one (day after arrival) you probably will be quite tired so don't plan too much...what airline will you fly??

i would skip the floating market, etc and concentrate on bkk...outside the city takes a whole day really...its fun, but not when you have limited time..

remember our weather two weeks ago???....well that is bkk 24/7...

you need only loose fitting cotton clothing...i am not a wick believer and certainly not polyester...YIKES!!

comfortable shoes (i like socks too)....no shorts really for bkk...
as a man i wear polo shirts or camp style shirts and chinos and comfortable sandals (w/socks)....my wife usually wears slacks and a cool top with her shoulders covered...she also takes along a shawl type thing for a/c coverage and sun coverage and for some temple entrances---something very lite...sandals for her too....she sometimes takes one skirt, but only one...

jim thompson house is in my book the #2 site in bkk and a must....allow 40 minutes for the english tour (not offered as frequently as thai) and it is a good place for lunch...the waiting area and the restaurant have a/c...the house has no a/c...there is a small JT shop there now as well...so maybe two hours total...you can walk to it from the national stadium skytrain stop...10 minutes or less...

none of the other sites have a/c that i can remember....in the grand palace there is a snack shop with a/c if you can find it...the museum at the GP may have some a/c too...

v mark takes about an hour too and you often have to wait for the english tour (we went on a german one and understood nothing)...wait for english...allow 2 hours for there as well...see the throne room next door--out back along a path...

not many fodorites go to the national museum...most say it is not worthwhile...no a/c

suan pakkard takes about 30 min max unless you look at the ardifacts for a long time...

you might benefit by hiring a driver in bkk to take you to several places: ratt, cherry, tong or others...

i think you could easily do these things in one day, sans GP...but you have to be organized...

one problem...in the tourist areas it is difficult to get taxis to cooperate...they don't want to use the meter, they want to take you for a "ride",....same for tuk tuk drivers...don't even talk to them....i usually walk one or two streets away from major sites and then hail a taxi...this is where a driver comes in handy...

take a taxi to the GP from your hotel to save time....30 minutes or less and cost about $4 or less...

i have a restaurant listing if you are interested....ask at the same web site above...

where do you live around boston, btw...??

please keep asking questions and do come to the GTG, it will really be worth your while

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 16th, 2006, 08:27 PM
  #10  
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Thanks to all who took the time to respond for the useful information. Hope we can make it to the Boston get together.
shelleyk is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 06:53 AM
  #11  
 
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Bob...the travel clothes that the poster is referring to are usually labeled 90-degree clothes...keeps you comfortable in weather of 90 degrees. They are not like throwing on a regular polyester or nylon type of street garment where you would sweat to death. They are usually of nylon/polyester/ and some have a little cotton thrown in. They work.As I stated above, I've been wearing them continuously since 1995...and the new ones(as of around 2003)...the Buzz-Off ones that repell mosquitoes and also keep you cool are also an excellent choice. I wear them in SE Asia and West Africa.
The day that I walked from Jim Thompson on Suriwong to the Oriental Hotel area...the last week in March...when it's hell hot...I was wearing one of these shirts and was fine. I didn't pass out or anything. I was also wearing a skirt of the same fabric. Had I been wearing...even lightweight... denim...100%cotton...I'm sure I would have been miserably hot...so... like all cotton is not the same, neither is all polyester-nylon. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 11:17 AM
  #12  
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Guenmai-Thanks for the followup. I just returned from a shopping trip at a sporting goods store that sells all sorts of tops made of the "new" polyester and got a lecture from the sales person on how the fabric works to wick moisture and keep you cool. Definitely not like the "old" polyester. The fabric was engineered as a high performance fabric for athletes, as well as for travellers, who want to stay dry. I purchased several tops as well as socks and can't believe how light weight they are compared to cotton. That should help keep me under my 44 pound weight limit on Korean Airlines.
shelleyk is offline  
Aug 17th, 2006, 11:50 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: May 2004
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Exactly...incredibly light, wash out easily, keep you cool and dry fast after washing...two thumbs way up! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  

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