Leaving Thursday for Bangkok/Phuket

Apr 14th, 2015, 07:05 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 113
Leaving Thursday for Bangkok/Phuket

Despite the heat advisory from seasoned Thai travelers, my husband and I are heading to BKK (4 nights- Mandarin Oriental) and HKT (4 nights - Twin Palms) to celebrate our 10 year anniversary on the 23rd. I have been staying up late reading the forums trying to pin down a flexible itinerary. The Nancy Chandler map is also on being scoured nightly. This is what I have so far.

Day1 - 4/18 - Arrive BKK at 6:30am - car service pick up through the hotel
10 am Jet lag massage at MO
Lunch and lounging by pool to help adjust to heat and time change
4 pick up for jewelry shopping at SJ (seem to be the most recommended)
Dinner at Sala Rim Naam (MO)

Day 2 - 4/19 - Market Tour followed by cooking class (MO) 9 - 2
More relaxing by pool or nap in room
Chatuchak Weekend Market Shopping for Souvenirs
Dinner - Maybe Chinese (any recs?)
Night Market (which is best for Sunday - still researching)

Day 3- 4/20 - Grand Palace
Wat Pho
Wat Arun
I haven't decided if we are doing to get driver and guide for this
We will see how day 1 goes and decide day 2 if we hire a guide
Catch sunset on Wat Arun - Maybe Eagle Bar (other suggestions?)
Dinner at Lord Jim's (MO)

Day 4 - 4/21 - Jim Thompson House
Indoor Shopping - MBK, Siam
Dinner - Nahm

Still working on Phuket

Day 5 4/22 - Fly to Phuket

Day 6 4/23 - Andaman Cruise for the day - weather dependent
Special Celebration Dinner (Maybe we research this on the plane)

Day 7 & 8 - spa/beach/Gibbon rehabilitation center/temples/or just relax

So this is what I have. I usually put together a rough plan and we often go off course.

Thank you to all of the active contributors in the Asia Forum. Such a wealth of information.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 07:45 AM
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"I usually put together a rough plan and we often go off course." That's good in this case, as I think you will need to be flexible.

Day 1 - please say hello to Lily for me. Telling her (or anyone else) that Kathie from Seattle sent you will get you the best possible price.

Day 2 - forget Chatuchak. It is hell-hot there in the best of times (early morning in Dec/Jan) I can't even imagine it in an afternoon in April. Personally, I'm not enthralled with the night markets. If you want lovely crafts, let me suggest a more humane shopping environment (i.e., cooler) such as the top (?) floor of Siam Paragon where the Thai-made items are. Other large shopping centers also have whole floors of lovely Thai items. You will find better-quality items here. For fine Chinese food, the China House at the Oriental can't be beat - I recommend the Peking Duck.

Day 3 - I'm not one who uses a driver/guide in Bangkok. If you decide you must have a guide, ask them to take you to the wats via public transport (water taxis). You'll avoid traffic and you'll get the quintessential Bangkok experience of the water taxis. But you can do this easily yourselves - just catch the water taxi at the pier at the Oriental. You will need small change - something in the area of 20 baht per person, depending on which boat you catch. And the return is similarly easy. If you go by yourselves, be aware that the most common scam is someone near the Grand Palace telling you that the Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha is closed, but they can take you to a jewelry store, tailor, another wat, etc. in the tuk-tuk they have waiting. Laugh and wave and keep going.

Day 4 looks good. See if you like MBK... I can never get out of there fast enough, but there are those who think it is just great. Siam Paragon is lovely and has lots of interesting shops.

Phuket: One recommendation, forget the Gibbon "rehabilitation" center. Such places never rehabilitate any animals and the treatment of should-be wild animals at such places is pretty awful. Spend your time on Phuket relaxing and enjoying... no need for any tours. The Andaman cruise is a good idea.

Taxis are cheap and easy. Just make sure they use the meter. If a driver refuses to use the meter, just get out. (I've had to do that exactly once in more than two dozen trips to Thailand, but they do assess whether you are new to all of this.)

Have a wonderful trip!
Kathie is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 11:46 AM
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Thanks Kathie. Do you have an estimate of travel time between the MO and SJ? I want to schedule our pick up early enough so we have plenty of time to shop but still allow some relaxation time in the afternoon.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 12:06 PM
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days 1 and 2 seem overbooked to me..

yes, forget the weekend market..

we prefer platinum fashion mall for shopping.

I would go to SJ when you are thinking clearly, like day 4
rhkkmk is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 12:12 PM
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I absolutely WOULD go to Chatuchak, but go first thing in the morning and be out by lunch,,, there are some fabulous things to buy there you could do the grand palace in the afternoon. It's also great for watching Thai life. Go to Viva bar in section 26 for an ice cold beer/ milkshake and to give your feet a rest.....
Smeagol is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 01:12 PM
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Don't forget the will be there in April - the hottest time of the year!

It will take good half hour to get to SJ. And Bob is right - if you are going g to be spending big bucks you want to be thinking clearly, which is not day 1 after flying halfway around the world. And I would make sure to visit the Grand Place/Emerald Buddha and Wat Po as soon as the GP opens in the morning, about 8:30.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 01:18 PM
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I have been then Kathie and yes it's hot but I still think it's worth a visit but then I am a shopper ( although I loathe MBK and places like that in BKK) anyway it's always hot at Chatuchak . If you do go get a nancy chandler map or a luxe guide, essential to miss out the dross.....
I don't like markets as a rule but Chatuchak I make an exception for.. Although when we go November will be the first time in a few years as we don't seem to have had time in the last few visits to BKK
Smeagol is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 01:26 PM
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I scheduled SJ for day 1 in case we need to go back or if the can turn around the items we are interested before we leave for Phuket. Nothing over the top. Another wedding band, some earrings and maybe a pendant with stones. I am also interested in some thicker gold bangles for myself and a few for gifts. I know SJ is good for stones but how about gold?

I will let DH make the call on the market. I can't decide. I prefer quality vs quantity so we may be better off at Siam Paragon.

I have read many reports that recommend GP first thing so that is definitely the plan.

I am happy to hear China House is good. I love Peking Duck.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 01:36 PM
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Siam Paragon is a totally different experience ( it's a great mall) if your not that bothered then I wouldn't go, I just think it's a fun experience and actually has some good things ( amongst the dross) and better than the night markets....
As Kathie says Be mindful of the "helpful" people telling you the GP is closed!
Smeagol is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:21 PM
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Smeagol - I am also a shopper. I love all kinds of shopping. It sounds like my husband would appreciate the "spectacle" of it. Seeing that we have to bring backs tons of goodies for the kids and all of the people helping out while we are away (and the random people the kids want me to bring presents for like the dance teachers), it might be worth checking out. Maybe we can squeeze it in on day 4 before Jim Thompson house in the afternoon. It sounds like we may have to go back by the hotel so we don't have to lug treasures around.

I need to remember to debrief DH about GP closed scam. We both need to have our game faces on.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:29 PM
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I think you have a good handle on it all. Go - enjoy - and play it by ear.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:40 PM
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Warm morning greetings from Singapore to the OP and congratulations on your anniversary.

You have chosen well with the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok -- and your jet lag massages upon arrival. (And the Oriental employs some wonderful drivers, as you will experience upon BKK arrival.) The MO spa programmes are rather rejuvenating, as noted on the Bangkok spa reviews on my profile page.

The Mandarin Oriental is special; great times there, from childhood to present. With luck, you will meet the MO's current General Manager, the gracious Ms. Amanda Hyndman. My most recent Bangkok business trip was ~ two months back and one evening had the pleasure of speaking with her again at a reception. Lovely woman with delightful humour.

Shopping, will leave that to others, as my BKK business trips always seem to be rather rushed. Will suggest some Jim Thompson silk products. As of ~ two months back, a JT shop was still operating within the MO.

Dining, you appear well sorted. Will add that the Oriental has made some positive enhancements to its outdoor dining venues over the past several months. Class operation, that hotel. Always a pleasure staying with her, work and holiday.

More Thai thoughts to add, but work beckons on this fine morning in SIN. Savour your planning; should our home of Singapore ever factor into your future journeys, honoured to assist with lodging, dining, aviation recommendations. Enjoy,

macintosh (robert)

... Singapore Airlines, You're a Great Way to Fly ...
AskOksena is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:49 PM
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Thanks Kathie. I am finally getting excited now that our ducks are getting into their rows.

My two younger daughters (6 and 4) have requested golden elephant necklaces. Best place for quantity purchase of something like this?
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:58 PM
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Robert - Thank you. It is amazing how quickly 10 years have zoomed by. The first time I ever went on fodors was when I was planning our Italian honeymoon.

I have my eye on a few other treatments at the MO spa we may fit in if the heat is too much.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 06:23 PM
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Years ago, I purchased little gold elephant pendants paved with rubies as gifts for my nieces, who were similar to the age of your daughters. I still remember one niece, when her mother wanted to look at it (saying "you're just jealous of my ruby collection, mom." I bought them at SJ, and they remain treasured items even though my nieces have now graduated from college.

SJ has a broad variety of items, all are in real gold with real gemstones, but some are very inexpensive, others quite expensive. I expect you will find what you want at SJ.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 09:59 PM
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This is a good link for the River Ferries (called water taxis by Kathie. The map lists all the stops, and what attractions are close to each stop. Orange Flag are usually the quickest and most freqent...


And info on the BTS (Skytrain), which will get you around quickly, but try and avoid peak hours as the trains are sardine cans...


Also the MRT (Subway)...


I too, would definitely visit Chatuchak weekend market. Like Smeagol states, go early, and have a map for which areas you want to see. You can get to Chatuchak quickly by either Skytrain or MRT (see links above). A lot of the big malls in the Siam area don't open until 1030/1100, so you could easily do Chatuchak and then the big places later on.
LancasterLad is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 11:12 PM
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You're smart to go early to SJ. I often have rings sized or items modified and it is nice to have time to either go back or have the pieces delivered.

SJ also has a lot of sterling silver jewelry, plated in yellow or white gold, with semi precious stones. I always get a few of these as gifts in the 15 to 40 dollar range. I often get home and decide to keep them!

They have silver elephants with or without stones, silver/gold plated ones with stones and solid gold elephants. Plenty to choose from!

That said one of my biggest impulse buys there was the day after I fell in Bangkok last fall (ha Ha!) I was on some pretty powerful pain meds, and stopped in again on the morning before my flight. I'd been there a few days earlier with Mr & Mrs Hawaiiantraveler and mr & Mrs Kuranosuke, but went back to see if they had another chain like one Mrs HT bought. They didn't, but somehow I walked out with some quite extravagant earrings. I was tempted to put it on my travel insurance claim and blame Bumrungrad Hospital!
lcuy is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 06:23 AM
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So far the trip is terrific! Thanks for the help with the planning. I can't wait to return to bangkok and Phuket has been perfect relaxation. Thailand may be our new favorite destination. Thanks again.
cjamigo is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 11:47 AM
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So glad you are having a great time, I hope you will give us some details....
Yep, Thailand does that to a lot of people ��
Smeagol is offline  
Apr 24th, 2015, 04:02 PM
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The temps were pretty beastly for a few days here in Bangkok when I first arrived last Sunday evening. We have since had a shower or two and that has helped a lot. The week end market wil still be hot and crowded, but worth a look! I do agree with rhk that some of the best shopping is at Platinum Fashion Mall and not at the high end shopping venues like Paragon, Central Embassy or Emporium (s). Paragon is interesting because they also have car show rooms. Think really high end here!

Thailand is my favorite destination! I am officially addicted to Bangkok and its lovely people.
simpsonc510 is offline  

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