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Leaving soon for Thailand and Cambodia: antiques, guides, and food

Leaving soon for Thailand and Cambodia: antiques, guides, and food

Aug 1st, 2005, 05:11 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 33
Leaving soon for Thailand and Cambodia: antiques, guides, and food

I am leaving for Thailand and Cambodia in less than a week. I would like to know where the best quality, high end antiques can be found in Bangkok (and Chiang Mai). I would love recommendations on good antique shopping areas or specific stores that I should go to. I am looking for various things, but in particular, blue and white china (even though it is not often found in SEA), antique secretaries/desks, and antique jewelry (recommendations on high quality new jewelry would be appreciated as well).

My second question is for Cambodia. As of now I have a guide for Angkor Wat booked through my hotel, but I do not know how good a guide we will get. I know there have been past posts for guides in Angkor, but I did not really find anything there. If anyone could recommend someone who knows a lot about the history of the region and the ruins I would greatly appreciate it.

My third question is for Chiang Mai. We plan to mainly stay at the hotel and relax, but we would like to go around and see a couple of things. Is a guide necessary, or should we just book this through our hotel. Does anyone know how the food is at the Four Seasons in Chiang Mai? We were thinking of going to the new Mandarin for dinner one evening. Is this recommended? How far are they from one another? Thanks for all your help.
Sargent is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:47 PM
Join Date: Jul 2005
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I can't think os any stores that specialize in the items you listed. Not that any of them are uncommon items (you may be surprised at the amount of blue & white china you find here) but rather I can't recall any place that sells real 'antiques'. In case you haven't already been warned, you should know that the word 'antique' in Thailand refers to the style of an item rather than it's age. That antique vase may well have been made yesterday. The recognized center of the Bangkok antiques trade is River City shopping center, on the river next to the Sheraton Hotel.

At Angkor, the main value of a guide is to keep away all the self-appointed guides -- most under the age of 13 -- who will mob you at every temple. No matter how good your guide is, you'll get the most out of him if you do some homework before you get there. The Angkor complex is huge. Decide which temples you really want to see and discuss them with your guide when you first meet. A good guide will accommodate your wishes, and if you've booked him through your hotel, you can always ask for a different one if you're not happy.

The Four Seasons in Chiang Mai is very nice, but it's a bit too far from the city (about 15 minutes) for my taste. Chiang Mai is an easy place to walk around if you have a hotel in the city, but from the Four Seasons you would at least have to get a ride into the city before you could begin exploring. You might want to have a look at the Ratchamanka. It gets rave reviews and it is within the walls of the old city. The new Mandarin is about 30 minutes from the Four Seasons by car.
MichaelBKK is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 05:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,988
Bangkok: For "antiques" some old, some not so old, River City is the place to go.

For new jewelry, I always recommend SJ International. If you tell them Kathie from Seattle sent you, they give you better prices. Call them from your hotel and they'll send a car for you (no charge, no obligation).

Angkor: Prepare for your trip by buying a copy of Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor. It will give you good background on the temples as well as great details. We used her book to plan our days.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 1st, 2005, 06:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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if you can find it before you go (amazon quick delivery) ron krannich's book, the treasurers and pleasurers of thailand and myanmar, is a great shopping guide book with specific store suggestions which are very reliable....river city is great for antiques---top floors....also along new road, not far from river city....BUT BE VERY CAREFUL AND DON'T BELIEVE MUCH OF WHAT THEY SAY....LOTS OF FAKES... also in OP place in back of the oriental hotel there are some nice places...

your guide arranged from the hotel will be good in SR...

the 4 seasons is much more like 30 minutes + plus from downtown and oriental is on the far side of town...its a long way to go for dinner....the 4 seasons will be fantastic for food...good place to relax....make sure you visit doi sutup wat outside of town if you do nothing else...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:45 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,892
I think most of your questions have been addressed adequately in the above posts. You do not need a guide in Chiang Mai but you will need a driver - your hotel can provide one (at great expense) or you can find one in town. Highlights of Chiang Mai include Wat Doi Su Thep mentioned above, the handicraft villages on the outskirts of town and possibly the elephant camp.
Craig is offline  
Aug 2nd, 2005, 06:51 AM
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 12,918
Yeah...pick up the Treasures and Pleasures series for a really good book on shopping. I've used it for years. Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
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