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Need Help/Suggestions for first time Thailand trip

Need Help/Suggestions for first time Thailand trip

Jun 28th, 2011, 10:51 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Need Help/Suggestions for first time Thailand trip

I've enjoyed reading the trip reports and discussions about Thailand, and now I need your suggestions. My husband and I are planning our first trip to Thailand for December 15-31. We've traveled extensively in India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, but never Thailand. I'd appreciate specific suggestions for itinerary, hotels, and transportation methods. We'd like to spend some time in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and also go to Angkor Wat. We're interested in purchasing jewelry and tailored clothing, so shopping hints are appreciated. Thanks for all of your help!
Karen8 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 11:08 AM
  #2  
 
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Chaing Mai, Bangkok and Siem Reap are certainly enough to fill your time, but if you want a few days at a beach, you could fit that in as well. Do note that you will be traveling at the very busiest and most expensive time of the year. In particular, beach locations will be very expensive from just before Xmas to NY. Also, they will likely have a mandatory (and very expensive) Xmas dinner.

With limited time, I think it makes sense to fly. Bangkok Air has a Discovery Pass that may save you some money, as the flights to/from Siem Reap are expensive. If you have three flights on Bangkok Air, you can get your tickets for much less.

The place for both jewelry and tailoring is Bangkok. You'll get both the best quality and the best prices there. I have a jeweler in Bangkok I've been buying from for over 20 years, SJ International. You call them and they will pick you up at your hotel and return you to your hotel after your shopping. If you use my name (tell them Kathie from Seattle sent you) you'll get a "wholesale" price.

Tell us more about what kind of tailoring you want done, and people will have recommendations for you.

Also, you'll need to give us a price per night range for your hotels for us to give you specific recommendations.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 11:15 AM
  #3  
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Kathie,

Thanks for your quick reply. I've particularly enjoyed reading your comments. I know that we're going at the most expensive time, but we're academics and the Christmas break is the only time we can go. This is our 35th anniversary celebration, so we're going to splurge on hotels ($300-400 per night). I'd like to have some dresses and suits made, and my husband wants shirts, pants, and maybe one suit. I definitely want to check out your jeweler!
Karen8 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 11:25 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
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With that budget, stay on the river in Bangkok! The Peninsula or the Oriental or the Shangri-La or Royal Orchid Sheraton would all be good choices. I 'think' you can get a room for your price at that time of year. Don't quote me on that! I've not checked prices for river hotels in a long time.

Weather then will be very nice! I'll be in the city at the same time, as my family spends the Christmas/New Year in Thailand every year, three years in a row thus far.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 03:19 PM
  #5  
 
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I agree with Carol, stay on the river in Bangkok.

In Siem Reap, you'll have lots of lovely options, La Residence d'Angkor or Hotel de la Paix.

Tell us about what you want to do in Chaing Mai do you want to be in the city or outside of town? Another option to consider is going to the Golden Triangle and staying at the Anantara there if you want an experience of northern Thailand countryside instead of the city.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 03:27 PM
  #6  
 
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For silver visit the main street behind the Oriental Hotel. Many shops and you can't beat the prices. Some shops are wholesale which just means they want you to buy 5 or 10 of an item, other shops are retail. We always go there when we are in Bangkok.
BillT is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 05:02 PM
  #7  
 
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lim silver behind the oriental on oriental lane has lovely silver...

look at the peninsula for your hotel... also the royal orchid sheraton and the shangri-la... chatrium suites riverside is nice also..

in town the plaza anthanee, jw marriott, renaissance, intercontential, 4 seasons, hyatt and many others...

i would spend up to 5 days in bkk, skip siem reap, visit CM for a couple of days and the rest at krabi, khoa lak or samui... end one day in bkk
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 10th, 2011, 09:28 PM
  #8  
 
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The Plaza Athenee is wonderful and in a great location - very central to shopping and resturant areas in Silom, Pleon Chit, Sukhumvit and close to a BPS station. Great relief from traffic in taxis. The JW Marriott is also in good location, near BPS, and has a wonderful gym (if that's a need.)

As for jewelry, Johny's Gems. They came highly recommended from people who have been using them for year. I have since become very happy with the quality, service, and prices. They are highly trustworthy - I even brings friends' jewelry to be repaired and redesigned. Don't be fooled by the simple surrounds, they can create or get spectacular jewelry. It’s also a couple block walk to Wat Po, so can do some site seeing on the same trip.
yesmeanr is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 10:49 AM
  #9  
 
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If you get a chance and you are in Bangkok at the weekend, visit Chatuchak market adjacent to the Kamphaengpecth Station (MRT) about 5 minute walk from Mochit Skytrain (BTS) Station and Suan Chatuchak (Chatuchak Park) Station (MRT) Also Jim Thomson's house is a peaceful oasis one train stop from there. http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com/museum/index.asp.

Chiang Mai was my home town for 6 years and is wonderful. The old walled city area has a moat around it. Full of interesting old wat's (temples) under the lovely mountain Doi Suthep which has a lovely temple on the top. Don't forget to take a taxi out to Ban Tawai Wood Carving Village - everything imaginable out there and much cheaper than the night market. They also have a walking street one night a week with arts and crafts among the other normal souvenirs. Try the food stalls in the temple there, cheap and wonderful food. There are some really romantic Lanna style hotels that have recently been built in the old style. If you read magazines online like Citylife or Chiangmai News you can find out a lot of what is happening while you are there.
Ajarnhilary is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 10:59 AM
  #10  
 
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I forgot to add that San Kamphaeng is one long road of elegant handicraft shops and factories - teak, silver, gem factories, silk, pottery, leather, lacquerware etc, also Nimmahaemen Road has all the individual galleries, although I think the famous Gong Dee Gallery has moved to a new location. Airport Plaza is a huge and delightful shopping experience with traditional items, mixed with department store and little shops, cinema and food halls.

They have a night safari, zoo - with pandas, the site of the national garden festival, and many other things for the tourists. The tourists visit the elephant camps and hill tribe villages, but the locals go elsewhere to hire bamboo rafts and picnic at the many lovely waterfalls and national parks. Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain - you can camp there. Have fun.
Ajarnhilary is offline  
Jul 19th, 2011, 01:45 PM
  #11  
 
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Plenty of tailor shops in Bangkok, and also Chiang Mai. Keep in mind that tailoring takes time, as you want to be having fittings so that everything is just right for you! You need to allow that time in your schedule.

I loved visiting Doi Inthanon about an hour or maybe 1 hour 20 minutes outside of Chiang Mai. My Thai friend who lives in Bangkok said she had 'never been that cold' as she was at the highest point in Thailand. There is a very nice waterfall nearby, and the gardens at Doi Inthanon are really beautiful! We did not camp there, we just did a day trip of out Chiang Mai, with our regular driver.

The hotel where we always stay used to be the Westin Riverside, then it was a Sheraton, and it has changed names several times. It is an older structure, away from the old town a short taxi ride. I think it is either a Crowne Plaza or a Holiday Inn right now. Probably not what one would think of as very lux, but I have to say that their suites are some of the nicest I've ever ever ever stayed in anywhere. I always look forward to staying there when I'm overnighting in CM.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jul 20th, 2011, 07:54 AM
  #12  
 
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the best tailor for men is about two doors to the right of the entrance to the landmark hotel on sukhumvit at the nana skytrain station. i don't have the spelling correct but it is something like suriwongse---in any case it is victor and jessee who run the place...

two ladies clothing places are ts thai silk on the 2nd floor of river city shopping center, next door to the royal orchid sheraton on the river and cotton house on the ground floor of OP Place directly behind the oriental hotel, also on the river...

go early in your trip to start the clothing process... you will need fittings...

our jewerler is thai stone jewerly in the very grotty nana hotel on soi 4, sukhumvit, near nana skytrain station (located behind the gas station on the corner)... ask for porn and tell her bob and karen sent you... like kathie, we are long term customers...
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 01:53 PM
  #13  
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Thanks to everyne for their suggestions and advice. I've bought our tickets and firmed up our dates. We arrive in Thailand on December 19 and leave on January 5. Based on the recommendations of many of you, we have reservations at the Royal Orchid Sheraton from December 19 to December 24. After that, we want to go to Siem Reap and to the Golden Triangle. This part of the trip is where I really need help. Any suggestions? Should we plan that part of the trip on our own, or can you recommend a tour guide or travel agency? We aren't interested in beaches. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Karen8 is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 03:26 PM
  #14  
 
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Wasting your time in Chiang Mai. You would be better served in Krabi or Koh Samui. Save it for another trip!
GeminiRising is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 03:42 PM
  #15  
 
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if they aren't interested in beaches, Krabi and Koh Samui aren't appropriate suggestions. They've said they want to go to the Golden Triangle and Siem Reap....no time "wasted" in Chiang Mai as they aren't even including it.

Siem Reap is very easy. Hotels and guesthouses galore for every taste and budget. You can just get a car/driver or a tuk tuk when you get there, and a guide if you wish. If you want to book them ahead ask your hotel or you can ask here for recommendations, too.

Golden Triangle- beautiful area. Also easy. Decide if you want to stay in Chiang Rai or the Golden Triangle area or perhaps Mae Salong, which is less tourist developed but beautiful hills and tea fields.

You need neither an agent nor a tour, but if you wanted you could also have a driver and/or guide there. Same way to book as Siem Reap, or leave it until you get there.

The only hardship you will have is that you can't get from REP to northern Thailand without going through BKK.
KimJapan is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 05:22 PM
  #16  
 
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From Bangkok I would go to Chiang Mai and the North of Thailand first and then to Siem Reap at the end. When you are ready to go home you can just do a transfer at Bangkok airport for your home flight without having to go through immigration again.

Watch out for the Christmas and New Year surcharges and try to avoid all the required parties or dinner at hotels unless you would like to attend. Nice time of year to be visiting and the weather/temperature should be good.
Hanuman is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 05:40 PM
  #17  
 
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You don't have to go to beaches when going to Krabi or Samui. The whole area is beautiful!
GeminiRising is offline  
Sep 15th, 2011, 06:51 PM
  #18  
 
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My first suggestion is to upgrade to a Towers room at the Sheraton Royal Orchid if it is within your budget. Breakfast, evening canapes and dessert and cocktails are all included in your room rate than as well as internet access in the Lounge, afternoon tea, etc.

Do you know where you want to stay in the Golden Triangle area? We loved the Anantara at the Golden Triangle. It may be hard to get reservations there at this late date. Check and see what is available.

Siem Reap will be easy. There are so many lovely properties there now. Browse some of the booking sites, and look at places like Hotel de la Paix, La Residence, the Victoria and other boutique properties.

You have chosen three great destinations. I'm sure you'll have a wonderful time!
Kathie is offline  
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