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My Thailand questions - Bangkok & Islands - Please help this first-timer!

My Thailand questions - Bangkok & Islands - Please help this first-timer!

Sep 9th, 2004, 06:36 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 13
My Thailand questions - Bangkok & Islands - Please help this first-timer!

Hi everyone

I have been eagerly reading the posts in this forum - you guys are extraordinarily knowledgeable about Thailand, and I thought I might ask my questions in the hope of some much-needed guidance and clarification.

We are planning to go to Thailand (after changing our minds from a Europe holiday) in April 2005 (or possibly July 2005).

I have so far figured probably 5 nights in Bangkok, 6 nights in Koh Samui or Phuket. I have also been considering 2 nights extra in Chiang Mai. Here are my questions:

1. I am leaning towards to Marriott Resort & Spa in Bangkok. So many great reviews, and seems more reasonably priced. it does, however, seem a bit off the map - am I right in saying that it is not very central?

2. Are there any other moderately-priced but clean, safe, air-conditioned resorts I should look into for Bangkok?

3. Should I bother about Chiang Mai, or save it for next time? If I do go there, what is a recommended resort/hotel, that is in the 3 or 4 star range?

4. The big question is Phuket or Koh Samui (or somewhere else)? And what resort?

To help anwer question 4, here is what we are after:

- Shopping and sights
- Not too much rain (April or July)
- To relax and unwind, but to also have the option of partying and things to do.
- We want to experience the "pristine" beaches that you see in catalogues and TV travel shows.
- Not too much sleaze and not overly-touristy (touristy in general is fine though - just not over-the-top and tacky).
- Resort has to be close to the action, but MUSTS are beautiful beach, good amenities in room, 4-star, and not too far away from the main center.

I am really looking forward to your travel tips!
robertlicuria is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 03:21 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 6,664
The Marriott is farther down the river than the Oriental, Peninsula, Shangri-la or Royal Orchid Sheraton, the other river hotels that get much ink on this board. However, the Marriott has a boat that will take you to the skytrain and river ferry stop. We always stay at the ROS, but everyone has their favorite. Several people have had good luck getting a very reasonable rate at the Shangri-la through Priceline. Bid for a 5 star in Riverside location. You may need to be somewhat flexible about dates.

On the Chiang Mai question, there will be many opinions, but I would suggest that you cut down on the beach time and give CM a look. The usual tourist split is 4 days BKK, 4 days CM and 4 beach days. I love BKK, so I would do 5, 3, 4. Don't agonize too much, T-land is great and you'll have a wonderful time no matter where you go.
Gpanda is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 04:26 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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If your budget does not allow for staying at say the Peninsula or the Oriental- then go for the Marriott/ShangriLa or the Sheraton- but do stay on the river as it really adds to the vacation. I also would do more Bangkok time than the beaches or CM. Plenty of people on this forum can advise you on the beach question- but from my research- I think Phuket may offer a better balance of beach and shopping/nightlife.
I would also advise getting Ratt as your driver in Bangkok at least for a few days. April or July its going to be extremely hot/humid there. Unless you are used to such humidity (spoken from someone who lives in Houston Texas and knows what I'm talking about)- a driver will really help in getting you around. Yes there are plenty of modes of transportation in Bangkok- but believe me walking a few blocks to get to these will wear you out before you even get to your destination. For $5/hour- Ratt is worth every penny. A lot of people on this forum swear by her- but you must reserve her time far in advance as she gets booked up. By the way - great choice skipping Europe and going to Bangkok. I have given up on Europe and now concentrate my travels in Asia. Better hotels, lower cost, outstanding service and you won't be insulted and or ignored (read France).
BillT is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 05:08 AM
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 45
I can't answer all your questions, but I think Koh Samui beaches are nicer than the ones in Phukets.
fOsh is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 05:12 AM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 4,282
I should start by saying I'm not a beach person but if you are going to travel all the way to Thailand I would increase your time in Chiang Mai and decrease your time at a beach. The beaches are beautiful but are not as "unique" as Bangkok and northern Thailand. My suggestion would be 6 or nights in Bangkok, 3 or nights in Chiang Mai and 2 nights at the beach.

As for bangkok -- there is a huge amount to do there and if you only have 5-7 days I'm not sure how much time you will really spend at a "resort". However, if you really do love resort amenities I would say the Marriott would be great. Otherwise, I would see if you can get a more convenient river location as noted above.

Having said that, I should add I have never stayed at the Marriott and most who do love it and find it convenient enough. And the price seems to be great.

Bill -- come back and tell this person why he should stay at your favorite hotel. No one will "attack" you!!! I miss your reports.

Amd Spygirl -- come back and let him know why you think Chiang Mai is so wonderful. I miss you too.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 05:49 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
Per Glorialf's prompting:
We love the Peninsula hotelin BKK for the following reasons:
1) Its on the river- we love the water views, riding the boats.
2) Its a new lux hotel with all river views
3) It has big rooms 45 sq. meters
4) It has big bright dual sink bathrooms- this is a must for the wife as she needs a big beautiful bathroom with lots of counter space for her make up and lotions etc.
5) It has outstanding service
6) It has great restaurants- we had Dim Sum in their Chinese restaurant and it was great- price was very reasonable given its a 5 star hotel.
7) Everything works- its new!
8) We even had people say hello to us in the shopping malls- turns out they worked at the hotel and remembered us (no they were not touts).
9) While you don't get a lot of "Thai" influence - the wife really appreciates 5 star quality and so it works for us.
10) When they did a special on Bangkok last year on tv guess which hotel was featured?
11) Their breakfast buffet was fab- included in the price of our room package.
12) Pool was nice- maybe not the best/biggest- but we are not pool people so that was not as must. (Marriott may have the better pool)
13) Everyone friendly and bows to us- now can you get that in Paris- I think not!

There you have our input.
BillT is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 06:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,604
Glolriaf.. you don't miss me...

pesonly I have signed a truss on some of the hotel/and restaurant Touting issues. for the time being. lol

orgy7 is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 06:48 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 658
"pesonly I have signed a truss"
Orgy, I am trying to work out what this means! Could it possibly be a "truce"?

Yes we do love you, but signing a truss -- yuk!
Tangata is offline  
Sep 10th, 2004, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,604
WOW i mispelled somthing... the story of my life. well at least thier is some love shown too this grammer impaired(sp) guy.

sory my spell checker retired on me. hmmm why.
orgy7 is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 05:53 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 13
Thanks guys.

Who is this Ratt perosn, and how do people get in contact with her?

I think I'm pretty much set on BKK 5 nights, CM 2 nights, PKT 5 nights.

Would you go in April or July? Is there much of a difference? The heat/humidity is a real worry of mine - we are Australian, so are used to heat and humidity, but I know I will suffer over there if it is that bad.

My wife is a bit concerned about terrorism - I keep assuring her Thailand is pretty safe - is that the consensus?
robertlicuria is offline  
Sep 12th, 2004, 08:58 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 13
Forget my question about Ratt above - I did some research and know enough about her that I will try to track her down.

I am most concerned with what time fo year to go - April and July are the most convenient for me - can someone give me some guidance as to what to expect. The extreme heat is playing on my mind somewhat.
robertlicuria is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 12:28 AM
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,753
weather wise both months are pretty much the same - hot with high humidity. i would say u may prefer july as april is the month of a large thai festival songkran and everything tends to be that much more crowded.
hobbes is offline  
Sep 13th, 2004, 04:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,242
We were there in April- possibly the hottest month of the year- but the crowds were no problem- have Ratt take you around- this will extend your energy levels to do and see more. The humidity is bad so go slow and pace yourselves. Don't try to accomplish too much in a day. Go back to your hotel for a mid day siesta/swim/spa. Try to go out early mornings and then late afternoons.
BillT is offline  
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