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salcho Apr 11th, 2013 08:26 AM

Need Help with my Thailand Itinerary
My wife and I are going to SE Asia for the first time this November (17 nights). I would like hear feedback on my schedule. This is my first post so I apologize in advance if my itinerary makes no sense. Here it is:

Day 1: Leave Chicago at 2:00pm (Night 1 on plane)

Day 2: Arrive in Bangkok at 11:55pm (Night 2 Hotel: Undecided)
Day 3: Bangkok (Night 3 Hotel: Undecided)

Day 4: Leave for Chiang Mai (Night 4 Hotel: Undecided) (Nov 17 is Loy Krathong Holiday)
Day 5: Chiang Mai (Night 5 Hotel: Undecided)
Day 6: Chiang Mai (Night 6 Hotel: Undecided)

Day 7: Leave for Luang Prabang (Night 7 Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao)
Day 8: Luang Prabang (Night 8 Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao)
Day 9: Luang Prabang (Night 9 Hotel: La Residence Phou Vao)

Day 10: Leave for Siem Reap (Night 10 Hotel: La Residence D'Angkor)
Day 11: Siem Reap (Night 11 Hotel: La Residence D'Angkor)
Day 12: Siem Reap (Night 12 Hotel: La Residence D'Angkor)

Day 13: Leave for Bangkok (Night 13 Hotel: Undecided)

Day 14: Leave for Krabi (Night 14 Hotel: Rayavadee in Railay Beach)
Day 15: Krabi (Night 15; Hotel Rayavadee in Railay Beach)
Day 16: Krabi (Night 16; Hotel Rayavadee in Railay Beach)

Day 17: Leave for Bangkok (Night 17 Hotel: Undecided)

Day 18: Leave for Chicago (Arrive same day to Chicago because of time change)


3 nights and 3 days in Chiang Mai
3 nights and 2.5 days in Luang Prabang (.5 taken off for travel and customs)
3 nights and 2.5 days in Siem Reap (.5 taken off for travel and customs)
3 nights and 2.5 days in Krabi (.5 taken off for travel and speedboat transfer to hotel)
4 nights and 2 days in Bangkok

Do you think this is too much or is it doable? Is there a way of getting from Siem Reap to Krabi directly? Do I need more time in Bangkok? What hotels would you recommend in Bangkok and Chiang Mai? Thanks for the help!!

Kathie Apr 11th, 2013 08:57 AM

Personally, I think it's too much. You don't really have much time in any one place. Dawn Rooney, (author of Angkor: A Guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples) says it takes three full days in Siem Reap just to see the major temples. We spent a week and would have enjoyed even more time. Likewise, I would want more time in Luang Prabang and in Bangkok. If it were me - and it isn't - I'd cut out CM and add those nights elsewhere.

There are no direct flights from Siem Reap to Krabi. However, Bangkok Air does have a flight from Siem Reap that stops in Bangkok and goes on to Phuket and counts as only one leg on the Discovery Pass. You could also make a connection in Bangkok and fly to Krabi the same day rather than having an "orphan" night in Bangkok.

Hotels: So many choices in Bangkok. I like the river hotels. You could consider the Peninsula or the Oriental as the top end river hotels, though there is a new hotel called the Siam that looks over-the-top.

salcho Apr 11th, 2013 09:21 AM

Thanks Kathie. I think I'm going to go from Siem Reap to Krabi on the same day so that I don't have that orphan night in Bangkok.

I'm still torn between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. I want to experience something different on my trip and I don't know if Bangkok is just a great big city just like my hometown of Chicago. We don't plan to do any shopping in Bangkok, just the famous landmarks and good restaurants. I want more nature related stuff and Chiang Mai seems to be more in tune with that.

Have you heard of the Sukhothai Hotel in Bangkok? Is it good? I'm also open to suggestions to hotels in Luang Prabang and Siem Reap. I haven't reserved any yet.

Kathie Apr 11th, 2013 10:30 AM

Your La Residence choices in LP and SR are lovely. I'd stick with them. The Sukhothai Hotel in Bangkok is lovely, but I don't like the location. Bangkok, like most big cities can feel like canyons of tall buildings, which is one reason I suggest you stay on the river - a guarantee you won't mistake it for Chicago!

With a mere two days in Bangkok, you won't even cover the major sites.

Chiang Mai is a big city. If you want nature-related experiences, you have to stay out of town. It's up to you, of course, but I would feel like I was being rushed from place to place. My first trip to Thailand was 9 days in Bangkok - I've been back more than 2 dozen times since and still can't get enough!

At a minimum, I'd want another day in LP and another day in SR. I expect you will return to Bangkok. you may not get back to LP or SR.

yestravel Apr 11th, 2013 12:07 PM

I agree, you need more time in both LP & SR. If you like big cities you will enjoy Bangkok. Also if you are going when it is very hot, the heat really slows one down when sightseeing so you might want to take that a andtjet lag into consideration.

Hanuman Apr 11th, 2013 05:27 PM

IMO you will like Chiang Mai and it does have a different culture, Northern Thailand, than the rest of the country. November will be the start of our winter and the weather should be very pleasant in Chiang Mai as well.

For Chiang Mai I suggest the Four Seasons which is outside of town or my current favourite 137 Pillars House. Another option in town is the Mandarin Oriental Dhara Dhevi which is beautiful and I have stayed there multiple times.

salcho Apr 11th, 2013 08:44 PM

Thanks for all the help Fodorites! I'm really torn about what to do. I might just have to extend my vacation an extra 3 days. What a problem!!

Kathie Apr 12th, 2013 06:17 AM

Yes! That would be the best solution!

yestravel Apr 12th, 2013 07:14 AM

I really enjoyed CM so much so that we are going to visit again in 2014. Extending your trip 3 days is a perfect solution.

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