Off for our honeymoon in Thailand!

Old Jun 1st, 2006, 10:19 PM
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Off for our honeymoon in Thailand!

I have not been around here in months because I have been frantically finishing up all the wedding details and traveling all over the place for work. However, I just wanted to stop in and say that we get married on Saturday and are off to Thailand on Sunday!!!

8 days on Koh Samui at the Sala Samui
5 days in Chiang Mai at the Four Seasons
4 days in Bangkok at the Peninsula.

We are really going first rate on this trip! Anyway, we are hoping to post a travel journal everyday while there, but will probably do it on a blog site so we can include pictures for friends and family. I will try to copy the trip report over to this site as we go, or at least do it all when we get back.

I want to extend a big thanks to this board. Though I have not been reading lately, when I was putting the trip together a year ago, I devoured the advice on this board on a daily basis. I am sure that I will be searching here everyday while in Thailand for good advice too! (my fiance would not let me create an itinerary since it is our honeymoon - he does not want to have any activities scheduled ahead of time. For instance, last night, I compiled a list of books that others have recommended in various threads that I hope to purchase while there and read on the beach.
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Old Jun 1st, 2006, 10:23 PM
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It sounds like you will have an awesome trip to Thailand. I'd love to stay at those hotels one of these days. Congrats on the upcoming weddding too. Enjoy!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 01:02 AM
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Congratulations, have a GREAT time !

How are you flying?
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 02:13 AM
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Looks like a wonderful honeymoon! Gongratulations and have a great trip!
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 03:23 AM
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Have a wonderful time on your HM and in your marriage. Look forward to your blog.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 05:34 AM
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With such an extended stay in Koh Samui I suggest you take the speed boat (that takes up to 12 persons) to Koh Tao and NOT the big boat even thogh it is air conditioned. The speed boat keeps you cool when moving and when stopped you are snorkeling much of the time. You will snorkel much more than the big boat tour and the price is about the same. They entice you with a buffet lunch on the big boat vs. sandwiches. Take my word the buffet is not that good. I believe both speed boat and big boat are run by Skytran. For some reason the Sala Samui pushes the big boat but we just spent 5 nights there in early April and I am not steering you wrong. If you are not in a deluxe pool villa. I would suggest you upgrade before you leave, if possible, if not upon arrival, by asking what is the availability and their best price considering you are there 8 nights you could get a good rate. You may find that a long stay, though it is lovely, so you might want to see if there is a 4-5 star resort on Koh Tao for 3 nights. If you have paid 100% then you will be fine.
Eat at the CoCo China House(good food, reasonably priced but not gourmet), Bellini's (good [email protected]$90USD/couple), Samui Seafood Restaurant($110/couple if you both go for a 2Lb. lobster)
The Four Seasons in CM is lovely as you have read in this forum but you know it is 20-25 minutes from the town where most of the restaurants are. The food at FS is quite good but over-priced, in my opinion. You might want to also eat at The House among others suggested here over the past 6 months just not the Gallery). You have enough time to take a 12 hour day and drive to Chiangi Rai and have 4 hours there. I used Poon who is Ratt's sister (can be contascted through Ratt)she is lovely though her English is not polished and you loose 25% in communication but she makes it a good time. She would cost $100USD with gas for that trip. We found Hong Dong (about 30 miles from downtown CM but 45-50 from FS) worth the trip if you like to browse through antiques of 17th and 18th century. There are about 15 shops who have much smaller shops in the night market in CM but variety limited and prices slightly higher. The prices in Hong Dong are 25% less than in Chiang Mai's fancier shops and 40% less than the fancy shops in Bangkok.But you should not buy anything more than $250USD without a certificate of authenticity. There are 2 shippers in CM to send it DHL for you and if you do this make sure delivery is to your home NOT the port of entry or a depot. It cost a bit more but worth it.Also, you will not have that as your declaration upon entry back to US. I think the other Fodorites have given you enough ideas to do in Bangkok.
But let me put an extra plug in for eating Peking Duck at the China House at the Sheraton. Along with a soup to share it may well be one of the best meals you will have. With a bottle of wine it will be $150USD but it is worth it.You should have a ball.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:14 AM
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Oops, Stan, you have the wrong location for the China House. It is on the grounds of the Oriental Hotel. If you opt for a bottle of wine, it might cost you as much as Stan says (US$150), but that's not a traditional accompianiment to Peking Duck. We had the duck, their best quality jasmine tea (which is brewed one cup at a time for you) and shared a fresh mango pudding for US$44 in November 2005. The exchange rate isn't quite as favorable now, but the price wouldn't be more than US$50.

Also, if I were paying the price for the Four Seasons, I certainly wouldn't take a full day away from it to drive to Chaing Rai... but to each their own.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 08:40 AM
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Kathie & SJLBK; You are absolutely correct it is the Oriental for the China House.

The duck alone was $50-$52 now (3.7 ti $1) plus tax and service. The wine was $45USD, soup was~$10 and tea so with tax and service on all it was just under $150USD.
The $500/day at FS does make it a place that is hard to leave but 5 full days there may be too much,SJLBK, that is why I suggested Chiangi Rai. If you left at 7:30AM you could be back for dinner and have an entirely diffrent experience than CM, Koh Samui, or Bangkok.
SJBK; Do not go full tilt at Sala Samui and sign up for a whole message/spa program. My wife and I had messages and were not very satisfied even though we had different people. A $14 one on the beach, yes it is a little hot, my wife said was better and more fun. Hope that helps.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 09:11 AM
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have a fantastic time!!!

STAN---WHERE IS YOUR REPORT????

let us know the blog address sj...
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 10:06 AM
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I am not sure I am good at writing a report that would be comprehensive enough. We do not keep diaries on trips nor do we take that many photos.
But, when someone asks a question and I have what I think may be helpful I Reply.
We spent 5 full days in Bangkok with Ratt. Four days in and around CM with Poon 4our days in CM, 5 in Koh Samui, 4 in Kaula Lumpur and 6 days in the Redang/Prehentan Islands on the East Coast of the Malaysian Peninsula and 3 days in Borneo (did want to visit but with political unrest elsewhere in Indonesia did not want to pree our luck). That was 26 full days and 27 hotel nights. We were there Oct 14-May 14 (lost days on 17 hr. Thai Airways flight). I will tap into the Asia Forum 2-3 times a week for a month and provide my experiences to any questions I think I am qualified to answer or offer an opinion on, ask away.
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 10:41 AM
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stan---tell us about your shopping??
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Old Jun 2nd, 2006, 12:37 PM
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In order to become a bone fide member of Le Club here on the Aian Forum we require an in depth report on your trip.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 04:19 AM
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Actually in terms of shopping we browsed more than shopped in Thailand. The only modest shopping were some impure jade (real, because I know a little about minerology)pendents for my wife at the weekend market and some silver (at least it was marked 92.5)pins with rough uncut stones from Myamar and some cloth from Jim Thompson's Outlet. My wife does not like silk so she purchased several yards of cotton of fair quality but at 12 yards for about $28 US we could not complain. The only major purchase was at Monet Sarto Tailors with Jack. Even here I only had 6 pair of slacks made of 120 and 140 superfine lightweight wool from Zegna mills in Italy (averaged about $50 each), 1 sport jacket of 140 superfine Valentino wool( $135). Probably the slacks in New York of this quality go for $175-$225 and the jacket $400-$500 based on looking prior to going and clothing I had purchased of comparable quality in the past.
I basically struck out looking for antiques in Thailand but in Malaysia I found what I was looking for.
My guide introduced me to a fellow who was Editor-in-Chief of the major martial arts magazine as well as an Assoc. Prof at one of the larger universities in Kuala Lumpur. He went with us to a in a small shop in a shop about 4 miles out of KL ( I could not tell you just where it was) where I was able to purchase several 17th and 18th century warrior swords (called kerises). They were swords finely carved with intricate silver designed handles in very attractive wooden sheaths. While the swords were 17 % 18th century the sheaths were only 75-100 years old. I was able to purchase 3 for about $1000USD and in Kuala Lumurs better shops I say the same ones for $2000-about $2500 each. I also purchased an 18th century buddha head in fine condition and several early 19th century Chinese tea pots made of pewter in octagonal shapes woth glass panels finely painted, though a bit faded, of Chinese landscape scenes.After getting a permit for the anitiques which was a 3 hour process in 95 degree temperature/80% humidity I had DHL ship it to my home.
While I was also lookig for 1 or 2 quality paintings on this trip the only ones I saw that I would like to own were in a museum in KL by a well known Malaysian artist named Tan.
My wife had Jack make her 4 outfits (casual-slacks and shirt-like tops) they were $40 each using material we bought and $60 with his material.
In our opinion, he is a good tailor of mens clothing but leaves something to be desired in womens wear.
we expected 3 fittings but ended up with 5 which was surprising and we did not change very much from start to finish. But being at the Pen he was a 10 minute $2 taxi ride away.
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 06:45 AM
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sounds like you did quite well....we feel that the more fittings that you have for clothing the finer the fit...many tailors are not willing to do all the fittings and thus you end up with a lesser product, imo...

thanks for sharring this with us...
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Old Jun 3rd, 2006, 06:47 AM
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did you bring the wool with you or did jack supply it for you??
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Old Jun 4th, 2006, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for all the tips and well wishes! We are finishing our packing right now and leaving for the airport in three hours!

I know all about the expensive massages at Sala Samui, and the fun ladies on the beach. We will probably splurge for one Sala in-room massage right when we get there, but other than that, we will go to the less expensive places. Actually, I just had shoulder surgery about 2 1/2 months ago, and my surgeon told me he wants me to go swimming and get massages every day!

Anyway, our 5 days in CM will be great without having to venture out. We are doing the full one day elephant mahout training at the conservation camp, and we will probably have a day where we don't leave the fabulous Four Seasons, so that means we only have 3 days to explore CM and do a ton of shopping. That should be great.

We want to take a cooking class, and I know there are fabulous schools in CM, but since we have more time in KS, we will probably do it there. We don't have a set itinerary, but we do have lists of things we would like to do in each location. For instance, this is our second trip to BKK, so we are going to see all the things we did not get to last time - Jim Thompson's house (and lunch there with the pomello salad!), a klong tour, and DEFINITELY the Peking Duck and probably Lord Jims for lunch some day.

I am a little torn because we are not really experiencing much culture and Thai life on this trip. Instead, because it is our honeymoon (and because we know we will return to Thailand and the area every few years for the rest of our life), this trip is really about great pampering, fabulous food, and relaxation with the most friendly people on earth!

I do have one question - when going for the Peking duck, do we need to call ahead and order it, or can we just show up and hope that they have enough for us?
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Old Jun 4th, 2006, 12:46 PM
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You do not need to call ahead for the Peking Duck. And they do serve it both lunch and dinner.

Enjoy!
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