Please Help 4 Days in Bangkok

Jan 25th, 2011, 05:38 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Dec 2010
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Please Help 4 Days in Bangkok

My husband and I will be making our first trip to Thailand in March. We will be staying in Bangkok for four days. We have done some research and are trying to be certain we include the "must see/dos" for first timers! Of course we have The Grand Palace and Wat Pho on our list as well as Chinatown. We are wondering what else to include. Should we plan a trip to Ayutthaya,the River Kwai,the floating market ? Any other suggestions? We would also appreciate any reccommendation of a tour company to escort us around Bangkok.
Your help and experience will be greatly .appeciated.
deejim is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
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A khlong tour is fascinating. Hiring a boat from one of the main docks is easy.

We also very much enjoyed the Jim Thompson house; easy to combine with a stop at MBK mall.

You'll get mixed reviews here on the floating market, but we had a great time there, so yes, for a first-timer, I'd recommend it. It IS very touristy (get there early), but it's fun and gives you a chance to get some great photos. As it gets later in the morning and extremely crowded with tourists it's less fun - so the earlier the better. Not sure what time it starts - someone else should be able to chime in.
althom1122 is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:15 AM
  #3  
 
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With only 4 days I would only plan on visiting Bangkok only. Apart from the attractions on your list here are a few more recommendations:

One of the floating market(on the outskirt of Bangkok) and I highly recommend Ampahwa weekend market.

A visit to some of the malls in Thailand which are quite unique and/or watch a movie in an ultra luxurious leather recliner with massage function.

Jim Thompson house or Kukrit Pramoj's house. Both are traditional Thai houses built on stilts and are very well preserved.

Klong tour either around Bangkok or, my favourite, Pak Kret.
http://wikitravel.org/en/Ko_Kret

If you are here on a weekend perhaps a day or half a day at the weekend market.

Thai massage after a hard day touring.

I can only think of the above right now but I'm sure someone else will chime in with more recommendations.
Hanuman is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:57 AM
  #4  
 
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Get a Nancy Chandler Map as soon as you arrive (unless you can find one in advance). The market (Chatuchak?) was the highlight of my trip to Bangkok. Chinatown was full of fumes and gold dealers- otherwise, nothing special to see, from my experiences.
I concur with the malls- the food court is nearly identical to any mall in the US, but the shops are quite interesting.
The water taxi is a cheap way to see much of the landscape from the water and drops you off at the Wat Pho.
Another good tip was to buy a metro pass for 3 or 5 days.
katlake is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 12:19 PM
  #5  
 
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jim thompson house is my #2 attraction..

wat arun is worth the time...

a klong tour is excellent..

take the public boats up and down the river... or take a couple of free hotel boat rides from taskin pier.... marriott is the longest and best... go there for lunch..

marble wat is nice

v-mek palace---the teak palace--combo ticket with grand palace..

siam paragon mall, weekend market, platinum fashion mall, pratinum market.... mbk---all good shopping places...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 06:44 PM
  #6  
 
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Good ideas so far. Ditto on getting the Nancy Chandler map, so useful for ideas and to get a layout of the city. Her map comes with a little booklet chock full of other very interesting info on Bangkok (her website is quite interesting too). You can it buy it on the web from her website, and in Bangkok virtually all hotels, bookshops and the airport bookshop also sell it. However, if you have time, I would order a copy before you leave so you have time to review it, it’s quite extensive. Order it from her, she will mail it to you, see http://www.nancychandler.net/; you need the latest edition IMO to make sure you have all the updates, for US$9 or so including postage it's worth it.

I also love the weekend market, and I am not really a shopper. But the range of stuff available is just mind-boggling and its enjoyable just to see it.

I don’t think you need a tour guide. A driver for getting to some places may be helpful and may save some time (traffic permitting). However, with a good guidebook and using public transport (boats and the subway) you can get all over the city on your own. You may know more than a guide if you have done some reading. If you want a guide to someplace like the Grand Palace, you can hire at the door. They may not offer a whole lot of insightful information, but can be helpful for navigating the rather extensive area covered by the palace. The Jim Thompson house provides guides as part of the tour. Otherwise, I am not sure how much a guide can add. I would not to an organized bus or van tour (other than perhaps the Shangri-La’s trip to Ayyuthia, see below)

Places that are always are my list are:

National Museum –excellent tours. English Wed & Thurs, but check with your hotel
Vimarnmek Palace
Temple of the Golden Mount, or 'Phu Khao Thong'
Wat Suwannaram
Erawan Shrine
Anantasamakom Throne Hall (Marble Palace)
Wat Arun
Royal Barges - can be done with trip to Wat Arun & klong tour
Thai Boxing match (try Lumphini Stadium)
Thai massage or spa treatment
Thai cooking lessons – try the Blue Elephant or Mandarin Oriental
Jim Thompson – they have a restaurant on site and also offer cooking lessons

It's a toss up whether you want to take a day to go up to Ayyuthia. With only 4 days and your first trip to Bangkok, I am not sure I would do it. However, the Shangri-La does run the boat trip, so it is done well, take a look at www.shangri-la.com, or call, fax or e-mail the hotel at Tel: 66-2- 236 7777, Fax: 66-2- 236 8579 , Email: [email protected]. The ship is called the Horizon Cruise II. Take the bus up and the boat back, as the ride back along the river is the highlight of the trip, IMO.

I would not do the River Kwai with your limited time.

I like the dinner on the Manhora Song a lot (operated by the Marriott Riverside). It is very small, I am not one for those big dinner barge cruises. Good food, nice atmosphere, maybe 10 tables in the place, quiet and the lovely river views.

As mentioned, a fun thing to do is to take a public water bus up and down the river. Cheap and cheerful and full of school kids and commuting monks. You can take it to any spot, get off, and wait for the down river one. For a map of the water bus route see http://www.chaophrayaboat.co.th/routemap_fare_e.htm).

Although a bit touristy, I am a big fan of the dinner and dance show at the Sala Rim Naan run by the Oriental Hotel. The food is good, the place is very nice, the dancing is good, and you ARE after all a tourist.

Not sure if this is your interest, but the Nelson Hays Library is a lovely old “colonial-era” building just off Silom and quite walkable from the main Jim Thompson shop. They have a gallery which displays and also sells art, and a nice little café, see http://neilsonhayslibrary.com/index.shtml.
Cicerone is offline  
Jan 25th, 2011, 08:07 PM
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A closer weekend water market might be Bang Nam Phueng. It's my favorite so far.
Curt1591 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 04:55 AM
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The dinner boat that is run by the Oriental Hotel is also very nice for an evening on the river. The food was better than we had expected for this sort of cruise. And it was so peaceful watching the city lights from the river. A bit pricey, but worth it. We've done it twice now.

I would not leave Bangkok with your short amount of time available. Ditto what others have said. Plenty to do in the city!

Don't forget the impact of jetlag, and the heat and humidity of BKK. You may have a long list of things to do, and only manage a couple of them during a day of touring in BKK!

Cicerone mentions river boats and subway. There is also the skytrain (my own favorite) for getting around the city. You can see where you are going. The subway is great (newer than skytrain) but you don't see the sights as you ride. Skytrain gets really busy, and you probably won't get a seat, but it's still a great way to get around.

Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 07:23 AM
  #9  
 
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Do the Calypso Cabaret located in the Asia Hotel. Check out their website where you can buy your tickets and pick your seats. Its a Ladyboys show- very classy and loads of fun for all ages. You can get there using the skytrain. Skip the dinner option. The show includes a drink. Its a small theater and not expensive. Bangkok Bob has been to it so you know its fun!
Take your camera and at the end of the show the "Girls" line up and you can get your pictute taken with them- but tip them as you do this- about 40 Baht should cover it.
BillT is offline  
Jan 26th, 2011, 07:20 PM
  #10  
 
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i've been twice now and find it entertaining
rhkkmk is offline  

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