Please offer Thailand suggestions

Jul 25th, 2004, 02:20 AM
  #21  
 
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We did an excellent day trip to the River Kwai a few years back. The Jeath musuem was thought provoking and the prisoner of war graveyard we visited, which is beautifully maintained, was very moving. It may have been more significant to us as we were English and perhaps there is more of a historical connection, I dont know.

If you are in Bangkok at the weekend, you must try to get to the famous weekend market - probably one of the world's biggest markets selling everything. I have been to a couple of the floating markets, including the one that is supposedly the least touristy, and they are all, in my opinion, very touristy!

As for Phucket, a very special smallish hotel is the Royal Meridein Phuket Yacht Club. It has about very large rooms and balcony's - all overlooking the sea and a virtually private beach (Nai Harn). Its not the cheapest sleep on the island but is not in the stratospheric price range of Amanpuri.

As for Northern Thailand, I'd reccommend the Baan Boran area. There are excellent day trips to Hill Tribes, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos available. The Anatara hotel (formerly Le Meridien at Baan Boran) is excellent
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 11:01 AM
  #22  
 
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If you want just a short elephant ride of 30 minutes, you can do this on Phuket. I've done this myself. Believe me, 30 minutes was enough! The seat is a hard board, and yes, as someone else mentioned, there is a bit of a balancing act involved. But, that said, I can now say that I have ridden on an elephant!!!

I think Kata Beach on Phuket would be a good choice for you. lf you do not require a place right on the beach, you might look at Pop Cottages. It is located very close to the beach and the price is more reasonable than some beachfront properties. I have stayed several times at Mom Tri's Boathouse and the Villa Royale villas. They are NOT what you would call a bargain, but they are really lovely, and the main Boathouse property is right on Kata Beach.

Another thing I did on Phuket was parasailing on Patong Beach. It was awesome!

I think you will have a lovely time in Thailand. It is not a place where you will feel threatened, as the people are mostly very friendly and helpful. It is a place that I could visit alone, without the support of my husband and/or grown son, as I know the places I like to see!

Enjoy your trip!

Carol

(PS... my next visit to Thailand will probably be in February!)
simpsonc510 is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 11:05 AM
  #23  
 
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I've also stayed at the Phuket Yacht Club and thought is was lovely.
glorialf is offline  
Jul 26th, 2004, 11:24 AM
  #24  
 
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I wouldn't want to start a debate on the subject but personaly I think travel within Thailand is a great deal easier than many European countries! I think you will find getting between places even in Bangkok easier than say getting around from A to B in Paris! Flights are highly efficient and of a good quality, especially Thai Airways and Bangkok Airways who both provide domestic service levels that would shame many European and N.Am airlines, and I 'think' many would eagerly agree with me on that one. Hotels overall are efficient and staff pleasant and eager to help. If you have traveled in Europe you will find Thailand easy!! Mangosteen resort at Nai harn is nice too. I don't think you have mentioned your budget because that of course is relevant to suggesting accommodation. Phuket and Pattaya both have lively nightlife and Shows that are well worth seeing. If your budget is around the $70-100 range then you will find 'very nice' accommodation, though many are happy with air-con basic clean rooms in hotels with pools etc for under $50/60, what I would call 'mid-range tourist hotels/resorts'. February is a fairly busy time so you are wise to plan now. I am sure you will have an amazing time.
JamesA is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 10:10 AM
  #25  
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Hello everyone! Thanks for all the great recommendations. These all help so much and we're really looking forward to our vacation! Part of the fun is planning of course
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 27th, 2004, 10:33 AM
  #26  
 
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I agree with james. Travel in Thailand is very very easy. Planes are excellent and cheap as opposed to internal European flights which can be very expensive. You can hire a driver for the day for a lot less than a group tour for one in Europe.

Gloria
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Jul 27th, 2004, 11:32 AM
  #27  
Dot
 
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My husband and I did all three (BKK/Golden Triangle/Phuket) on a trip to Thailand in Oct 2002, and we had an amazing time. I'd suggest 3 nights in BKK, 3 nights in Golden Triangle and 3 nights in Phuket. We stayed at Marriott Resort in BKK (courtesy of priceline.com). Baan Boran near Chiang Saen (http://www.baanboran.com; went on an elephant trek, visited a hill tribe, and cruised the Mekong, stopping off in Laos); we stayed one night at the Chiang Saen River House (?), which was fine, but we then negotiated a cheaper rate at Baan Boran and moved hotels. In Kata/Karon, we stayed at Marina Phuket (http://www.marinaphuket.com) visited Koh Phi Phi, etc. and partied in Patong at night. It was an awesome trip.

Intra-Thailand flights work great and they are affordable. Trust me; go to all three places or you'll be missing out. Go to the beach last & relax. Try out priceline.com for some hotel deals; research on biddingfortravel.com (http://p070.ezboard.com/fpricelinean...abiddingfrm262)


Dot is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:44 AM
  #28  
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Thanks to all for great information. We're looking at Kata Thani Beach Hotel if we stay at Kata Noi; or Mangosteen Restort and Spa if Nai Kara. It looks like Nai Kara may have better snorkeling, but Mangosteen is a drive from the beach vs. Kata Thani right on the beach. If you have better suggestions, please let me know. I reviewed the hotels from JamesA link on another post. Also, I don't believe we'll stay in Chiang Mai (yes, we're extending our stay!), but Kathie suggests the Golden Triangle and flying into Chiang Rai. Should we settle in there and take day trips, or stay in a different location (Baan Boran as Walter suggested)? We will do the 2 hour elephant walk as GPanda suggested. Thanks Dot for the links. I will check them out next! In Bangkok would like to spend less on hotel, but still stay on the river...suggestions?

hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 11:45 AM
  #29  
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p.s. Carol -- have fun in February as well! Do you know your itinerary?
hipvirgochick is offline  
Jul 31st, 2004, 04:18 PM
  #30  
 
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The hotel in the Golden Triangle that used to be called the Baan Boran has been totally redone and is now the Anantara. I highly recommend it. I did a long report on it after I returned from my stay in November (right after it opened) and Bob did a report as well as part of his longer report on his recent trip.

On the river in Bangkok, there are several options for getting good prices. A number of people have gotten the Marriott Resort and Spa or the Shangri La on Priceline. I've often seen the Sheraton Royal Orchid for good prices on the Starwood site.
Kathie is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 07:40 AM
  #31  
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Kathie -- I just checked out the Anantara ----OH MY GOSH!----We're going to try for that. I will check out the trip reports for day trip ideas. Would you recommend the train from Bangkok or flying? Not sure if we should do Bangkok, Phuket to Chang Rai or Bangkok, Chang Rai to Phuket (if it makes any difference flight/organization wise). Thanks for your help.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 08:42 AM
  #32  
 
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HVC-When you ride the elephant, be aware that you will be in a wooden platform that is parallel to the ground. There is a pleasant rocking sensation when travelling on flat ground, however this changes when there are hills involved. My experience was that when we went up the hills, it helped to hang on to the front of the platform, going down, the back of the platform. The tricky part is that the walk through the hills with noone else around, literally noone, was super. Would not have missed it for the world. I'm sure that the Anatara can arrange an elephant ride to meet your needs.

Typically, people go BKK-Northern Thailand-beach. I think the beach last gives you a chance to unwind and soak in what you've just done. Last year we did a couple of days in BKK at the end (like rhkkmk) after the beach and really enjoyed it. We're repeating the extra BKK time this year.
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Aug 3rd, 2004, 08:50 AM
  #33  
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GPanda - Thanks for the elephant advice I can't wait! Do you ride with a partner or by yourself? All the pictures I've seen show someone accompanying.
hipvirgochick is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 10:13 AM
  #34  
 
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HVC-on our ride, my wife and I were on the afore-mentioned wooden platform on the elephant's back. The mahout sat on the elephant's head with his (the Mahout's)legs tucked behind the elephant's ears. Try to get a ride that wanders through the hills. It's amazing, you'll love it.
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Aug 3rd, 2004, 05:14 PM
  #35  
 
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Gpanda,
we will try elephants too from Chiang Mai. I looked at pictures and saw this wooden platform. Don't laugh! Is it possible to fell off the elephant?
Sophia
emtravel is offline  
Aug 3rd, 2004, 06:49 PM
  #36  
 
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it could be very easy to fall off...there is lots of sudden lurches, etc...especially on rough ground or going up hills...a short ride was enough for us....glad we did it but once was enough and that was at CM...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 03:32 AM
  #37  
 
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It's not easy to fall off, but possible. The wooden platform has a "railing" around the sides, back and a little of the front. Your legs go through the portion of the front not covered by railing. Even going up and down hill the jostling is not so severe that you will fall off unless you have squirmed into an unbalanced position. Remember, these platforms carry zillions of tourists so it won't be overly adventurous, Bob notwithstanding.
Gpanda is offline  
Aug 4th, 2004, 03:46 AM
  #38  
 
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thank you gpanda and bob.
I might opt for short 30 min ride.
We have it at Chiang Dao elephant camp. I wonder is it flat or not. My husband is easily bruised (on blood thinners). I might leave him behind and ride myself.
Already tried horseback riding, donkey and camel, elephant is next on my list.
sophia
emtravel is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 09:28 AM
  #39  
Dot
 
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Be prepared to be a little scared on the elephant ride. I rode with my husband and I really, really wanted to sit on the middle part of the platform (in the middle of the elephant's back) so that I wouldn't be hanging over the edge, which felt unsupported. My husband weighs about 100 pounds more than me; so, if I was in the middle, and he was on the edge, we would've been in worse danger of being unbalanced and falling off!!
Dot is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 10:08 AM
  #40  
 
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I've done the elephant rides at various camps in thailand and also did a full day ride in the central highlands of vietnam in 1991 -- long before they knew how to deal with tourists in that area. In the latter experience, they did not have rails, they did not have platforms to get on and off of and somehow I survived. And, I should add, I am an overweight, completely non athletic person. In other words, you won't have a problem!
glorialf is offline  

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