Last minute questions for Thailand

Oct 6th, 2004, 08:55 AM
  #1  
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Last minute questions for Thailand

We're off tomorrow, but not before hysteria sets in! Tipping- I understand you don't tip in Thailand. Is this true in the spas in nice resorts as well? We arrive at midnight into Bangkok. Should we plan on a hotel car for our first visit or go with the suggested ACC limo (seems too good to be true, price wise!). Is it worth booking a car for a day/ half day for sightseeing or more fun to muddle around and do it on our own? Probably want to do the obvious first time tourist things such as Grand Palace, Wat Arun and then flower market.. Any other thought and suggestions are greatly appreciated! Thanks to all who have helped!
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:16 AM
  #2  
 
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First of all, have a wonderful time!

Tipping is not expected. I do round up taxi fares, for instance. In spas at the nice resorts, there will be a 10% service charge added to your bill. No other tip is expected.

I'd say go with the Limo service from the airport. It's easy and inexpensive. A hotel car is even easier, I suppose, but much more expensive. I'll admit that I normally take a hotel car back to the airport from my hotel just because my flight home leaves so early in the morning.

I never hire a car and driver in Bangkok, though others on this board do. I don't remember where you are staying in Bangkok, but if you are on the river, you can get to the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Po (Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun by river taxi.

I do take a taxi to the Jim Thompson House and to the Jim Thompson main store and the outlet store.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:30 AM
  #3  
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Thanks so much Kathie! I was thinking of doing the car the other way around to the hotel because of a first time arrival, but if it's a decent service, we'll go with it! Perhaps we'll use the hotel service returning to the airport for our 6AM flight! We're staying at the Four Seasons, which I understand is very central. I'm game to take the Skytrain and would love a long tail boat ride- just for the experience. Perhaps that would take me up river to the Grand Palace effectively. Can't believe I forgot to mention Jim Thompson! Absolutely high on the list!! I enjoy getting the feel of a city/country as much as doing an all out grand "sightseeing tour".
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:45 AM
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Have a great time and RELAX....! You seem a bit hyper. You'll love Bangkok and won't want to go home. I've been there several times...the last being just in late August...and I'm constantly dreaming of being back there instead of here at home in L.A.area. The Four Seasons is an excellent choice...it's my home-away-from-home hotel and you'll absolutely love it...guaranteed! On one trip I almost missed my flight down to Singapore because I got so relaxed at the Four Seasons and forgot what the date was. Had I not glanced at the date of the newpaper I was reading one morning at breakfast it never would have hit me that I was to fly to Singapore the NEXT day...not the day after that. So Have a ball...and have fun eating...all the restaurants at the hotel are excellent. Please post your experiences when you return. Many Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Oct 6th, 2004, 09:47 AM
  #5  
 
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Get in touch with Ratt- private driver in bangkok- do a search on this forum for "Ratt"- there is a wealth of info about this driver.
BillT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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you will have a great time, but relax and enjoy it...

i use ACC all the time and it works great....make the res now and they will have a sign greeting you outside of customs....turn left as you exit...if you can'tr make it now then just head to their stand which is way down the hall to the left as you exit and then on the right just before you go out to the taxi stand...you must pay in cash and there are atm's just past the stand on the left...pay round trip and you will save a bit...hotel cars are more expensive and not any nicer....except the rolls at peninsula..

ratt will speed up your touring as she does all the organizing for you and knows just where to go...she is often booked up however...she may have room for you at the last minute too...if not you can do it easily with taxis...have the hotel explain to the taxi driver what you want to do...make sure you take a hotel taxi card with you to show the taxi where you want to return to...amazingly helpful...
don't forget to visit jim thompson house as well....#2 attraction imo
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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For the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Flower Market, you can take the Skytrain to the end and hop on the river ferry, it's the last stop. You can ride that to Grand Palace and Flower Market (different stops). To get to Wat Arun, you need to take a cross river ferry. Most BKK maps have the ferry stops, preceded by the word "Tha". It would be easier to see Wat Pho than Wat Arun. WP is very close to the Grand Palace.

Don't Panic. BKK is very welcoming and you'll have a great time even if NONE of your plans work out. Remain flexible. If you're like many of us, you'll be back and can see and do anything you miss. Time is a different entity in Asia. Nevermind!
Gpanda is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:45 AM
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Tipping is always appreciated, many service staff are on salaries of around USD100 a month(!) B20-50 (50c to $1.25) is usual. I certainly 'do' tip and always have done so but of course that is on the basis that service was nice and friendly, it really 'is' appreciated. If I have had great service from places that don't have a service charge, such as a local restaurant B 50-100 is always appreciated.
JamesA is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:49 AM
  #9  
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Thank you all for watching my post so carefully. Sorry to sound overwhelmed. Probably has something to do with leaving 3 businesses and a 16 year old!
I don't like to over plan. We have 4 nights in Tokyo before arriving in Thailand and I intend to relax in 3 days in Chiang Mai before arriving to spend time in Bangkok! I will email ACC now (thanks rhkkmk- you're the person I got the suggestion from) and wing it with the car in BKK. As long as the heat isn't too miserable, we'll be fine!
Guenmai- any last minute restaurant suggestions for a fellow Californian from your latest trip? I'd love something in an "old house" setting and I'm amenable to most kinds of food.
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 12:03 PM
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Hey folks. Will you please give me the email/site for ACC limo? Arriving in BKK after 10p, it would be nice to have someone waiting for us instead of working our way through the crowd. Thanx a bunch
cjackson is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 12:09 PM
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Welch...fellow Californian...as for restaurants...I'd say try Thanying Thai restaurant off of Silom Road....a few blocks away from the Sri Manriamman Hindu Temple. Take a taxi there.I've eaten at the Bangkok one and all three locations in Singapore. I really like it. I don't have the address...I'm typing from work and since you're leaving tomorrow...well...anyhow...it's listed in Nancy Chandler's map packet....plus the folks at the Four Seasons can help you out. If you go there at late lunch time, you'll probably be there alone since it's usually crowded at night...reservation recommended at night. But my Thai friend and I liked being the only two there at late lunchtime. If you go around 2PM then when you leave there will be a lot of street life since there is a school next door and kids are getting out and the vendors are all on the street cooking food and parents are running around buying vendor snacks for their kids...a very festive scene. Then check out the Sri Mariamman temple not far away.Someone posted something today I think it was on restaurants and I would go with the suggestions that rhkkmk made. I think it was posted under a special place to go on a birthday. I just read it this morning.And Biscotti at the Four Seasons is great for Italian food. My Thai friend and I also had a great meal at Spice Market in the Four Seasons although some folks in this forum have had both good and fair meals at that particular restaurant.Restaurants can have off days.What part of California are you in? I'm in Pasadena. Oh, when you go to the Emporium shopping mall...there is a GREAT cake cafe on the top floor over next to the towel section. Fabulous cake!And Grayhound Cafe is good in Emporium if you get hunger pains and need to eat right away. I can never plan meals at proper meal times when I travel.Have a ball...I wish I could get back on the plane and fly back...but I'll have to wait until August...since I'll be vacationing in Ghana again in winter and Paris again in spring. I'm back at work and the way I look at life...I'm just at work between vacations! Have a great time! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Oct 6th, 2004, 02:11 PM
  #12  
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For the limo it's [email protected].
Thanks for all the suggestions, Guenmai.
I'm in Oakland. You are quite the traveler! I'll look for your restaurant suggestions and try to be sensitive with tipping. Looking forward to an exciting trip!
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:18 PM
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Hi Welch, I always tip too esp in spas. You don't have to tip a %age of bill esp for exp spa treatnents _ a lump sum does nicely. Options for Thai food in house settings are Baan Khanitha, Sukhumvit or Ruen Mallika again in Sukhumvit. To your sightseeing list I would add

(1) Erawan Shrine - can walk down from the Four seasons - the corner outside the Grand Hyatt - try to watch the Thai dancers - en route a walk to Central Chitlom or Gaysorn

(2) Suan Pakkad - the lacquer palace

(3) Vimanmek - teakwood mansion

Add 2 and 3 only if you are not "sightseed" out.

Def go to the Night Market at Suan Lum - reasonably close from the Four Seasons so just cab it there (which I LOVE by the Four Seasons - and on the same line so I would do it by train.
hobbes is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:20 PM
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Sorry - part of my post just vanished - last line should have read "JimT house is reasonably close to the Four Seasons and on the same train (BTS) line so I would go by train - you can budget 2-2.5 hours for the activity including the train ride.
hobbes is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Just spoke to a coworker who returned from Bangkok yesterday and who tells me I'm crazy not to stay on the river the first visit..
I know there is much controversy on this sight- and only the Oriental is available- so reassure me the Four Seasons is the right place to stay (I'm a hotel hopper if I'm not happy!)
welch is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Welch....Keep your reservation at the Four Seasons....trust me on this one!You can take a boat up and down the river for fun. About my above mentioned restaurant...Thanying...it is in an old Thai house...forgot to mention. Relax.....breathe in...breathe out...don't change any plans and just GO WITH THE FLOW...where is your California..ish calm? Have fun! If you're in the Emporium Mall, there is an internet cafe out in the middle of the mall around the third level and it's only 40baht for half an hour. If you're in there it would be great to hear how things are going.All will go well... Many Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Oct 6th, 2004, 07:05 PM
  #17  
 
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Welch...I forgot to mention that if you want some really nice pieces of already cut fabric...for using for everything from nice sarongs...if the fabric isn't long enough for a sarong or skirt....the owner will add a piece to the waist to lengthen the fabric...she did mine in 24 hours and I got gorgeous raw Thai woven silk for $30.The fabric here is great for table runners,too. The store is called Come Thai...it's in the Amarin Plaza...walking distance from The Four Seasons....walk out the front door...turn right...walk out the street to the corner...where Erawan Shrine is...and turn right at the corner and walk straight. The mall will be on your right...The store is on the third floor. This is kind of a well-kept secret store although it's been there for 10 years. The owner is Nong. This isn't your regular run-of-the-mill generic fabric.The owner says she also has another store in the Gaysorn Mall....a great mall... almost right across from the Amarin Plaza. If you need to take the skytrain anywhere,the skytrain is right across the street from the hotel. You just walk out the door....go left and walk about 3 minutes and it's there. Hop on and go to the last stop...river direction and you can jump on a public boat and do all that river stuff...stopping along the way and then reboarding to continue up the river. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is online now  
Oct 6th, 2004, 07:33 PM
  #18  
 
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i tip every person who provides service...in hotels it is added on at 10% but i sometimes leave a bit more if it was exceptional...i round up the taxi fare if he is good/reasonable--maybe if it was 74B, i give 90 or 100..

the four seasons is just fine...good location too, but nothing compares with the river....try the peninsula if you get bored...they will have last minute rooms -...a regular or grand deluxe is fine...
the pool at the 4 seasons is disappointing to us...for that reason we will never stay there....make sure you eat at biscotti in the lobby area...also many like spice market...

try the thai rest. in the garden at the peninsula also...

at the conrad in back of the 4 seasons, try the dim sum lunch on the 3rd floor every day for lunch...flat fee, all you can eat and very unusual things...the best we have ever had...

ACC limo: [email protected]

touring from the 4 seasons is easy as the skytrain is right across the street...try the mall next door and the one by the conrad...many restaurants along the street a full block in back of your hotel---suan ____?___ rd.... the marriott mayfair is on it....

don't kid yourselves it is going to be as hot as hell and humid...

enjoy and relax
rhkkmk is offline  

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