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-   -   RHK's & GPANDA'S in Thailand (https://www.fodors.com/community/asia/rhks-and-gpandas-in-thailand-814431/)

Gpanda Nov 27th, 2009 02:52 AM

Bob has no idea how to get online at the Plaza Athenee, so you're safe until light dawns on Marblehead. The BKK GTG was great. Bob went from one end of the table to the other. I was seated in the middle and could be heard everywhere (probably even downstairs. Pandas are loud.)

ET, I'll pass your good wishes on to Beth and Karen.

MichaelBKK Nov 27th, 2009 03:26 AM

Actually, Andy probably still has Bob's notebook.

Carol, I did say Kinaree was good, for Thai that is aimed primarily at tourists. I didn't see any Thais there when I arrived or when I left. It's not the kind of place I would expect Thais to frequent unless they were entertaining foreign visitors. But, I *really* don't want to start another one of *those* discussions.

Hanuman Nov 27th, 2009 03:44 AM

ฉัน เห็น ด้วย กับ Michael!

simpsonc510 Nov 27th, 2009 04:24 AM

No problem, Michael. As long as WE enjoy it, it's fine with us. I agree, no more discussions like *that* anymore! (hello from Zurich... just arrived about 2 hours ago)
Carol

DonTopaz Nov 27th, 2009 10:25 AM

Hanuman, I agree with him, too.

rhkkmk Nov 28th, 2009 12:05 AM

remember michaelbkk picked 1/2 of the food--- so whose fault is the tourist food???

rhkkmk Nov 28th, 2009 12:07 AM

Another nice dinner at the Terrace… People continue to glare at Andy when he coughs…

We enjoyed the varied thai meal and the service we receive from the “varied “ gender wait staff—let your mind wander, it’s Thailand.. At the end of the meal we said our good byes and they presented K & B with a small memento, a small Lucite obelisk with etching inside …



Wednesday



K & I went to the buffet in the hotel…good but not fabulous—about 625 B each or $20 each.. . We thought the buffet would tide us over into bkk…
We left the hotel about 10:15 for the 35 minute ride to the krabi airport. We left our rental car in the parking lot with the keys on the floor…. The Honda jazz was a perfect car for us and had the bonus of being automatic…

Our air asia flt was right on time: 1225…. The advance seat assignment in the very front is well worth the 500 B fee… You get on first and are in the first 5 rows ( 3 + 3) with only 2 per row…

At bkk the bags came out in less than 15 minutes and we had to walk a few doors down to find our van driver---always door 5 for Tong’s drivers…

The van is huge and very comfortable, and whisked us into the city…. First we went to the Marriott where we all had left things, and then he dropped us at the Plaza Athanee Hotel on Wireless Rd, just across from the American Ambassador’s house… Our room was not ready, so A put our stuff in his room… We dashed over to Chang’s shop (Mr Tong) near to khoa san rd to see if he could fix K’s sun glass frames, which she had broken in Krabi---she had bought them from him on a previous trip… Not fixable… After some looking she settled on new frames---white with a purple outline. Luckily they took the same sized lenses, so they just popped in… very reasonable… So we each have two new sets of glasses… Traffic was terrible getting there and even worse getting back--- our driver had medical problems which was a bit off putting….

We got back to the hotel at the time we were already supposed to be at the GTG, many blocks away… Quick change and we were out the door… This time we had a fantastic driver… He knew just the way to go---speaking of going, he had to stop at a gas station for the toilet for him---- 1 minute and we were on our way again… We were next to last to get there… We were 13: Andy and Beth; Maureen; Karen and me; Hanuman; Ken (kurosake); Nywoman; Offwego; Tong; Michaelbkk; Kathie and Cheryl…. Pook nicely started the evening off with some chilled bubbly from his cellar and from there the conversations flowed…. NYW talked about Myanmar as did Kathie and Cheryl…tong spread hugs all around and met several previously unknown to her… We had tons of fun, great food chosen by Michael and Hanuman, the two locals…. Great wines chosen by Ken… some gifts totes were provided by Katie at Fodors--- think monk orange… NYW and Cheryl took lots of pictures--- standby for them.

We very much enjoyed the evening and everyone gave great hugs as we departed… Who was it that said we never met a fodorite we didn’t like?? Along that line, we did have a toast to some infamous fodorites, all of whom shall remain anonymous, which drew boos and clapping as names were mentioned… Let the guessing begin…

Michael paid with his plastic, and stuffed wads of cash in his pant pockets…

We had our latest nite of the trip…



Thursday


We woke up fairly early again today…. We all met for breakfast about 8:30… A&B were blown away with the breakfast selection…. Virtually everything you might want was available and all was delicious….. We rank it #2 breakfast after the Shangri-la in bkk…
Jack was to have come to the hotel for a fitting, but rescheduled for 9:30PM on his way home… This freed us up to go shopping.. First all 5 of us jammed into a taxi and headed to Platinum Fashion Mall again…. We hit floor 5 for some more costume jewelry, then down to 4 for shoes and more shoes---199 B to 399 B was the target….Oh yes, a new rice bag to hold clothes or purchases was secured as well… K now has at least 6 new pair of shoes…

Next we took a taxi to siam paragon mall. We went up to the 3rd and 4th floors to visit a number of home fashion and clothing shops…. K bought a wonderful over shirt/wrap (silk) to wear to an upcoming wedding, over some previously purchased thai silk clothing… B received an early x-mas gift of a lovely necklace and M bought a number of things… We visited a number of shops, but our return visit to The Indigo Shop on the 4th floor (shop 418B) is our favorite…. K bought a number of things here for herself and for gifts, and I purchased a nice cotton scarf dyed with natural greenish/blue …. In fact, I am wearing it now as the a/c is drafty where I do this typing… Everything in this shop is quality and the husband/wife team owners could not be nicer… Visit them and buy!!! We spent quite a bit of time in Exotic Thai as well—4th floor.



From there we headed to the food court for some late lunch… Tons of variety and they use a pre-pay card service making purchases from the different stalls very easy… Surplus B is returned upon surrender of the card…

A decided to return to the hotel and lugged all the purchases with him…. Both his taxi and ours got stuck in a huge traffic jam going along Plenochit…. We sat for 20 minutes, only advancing 3 car lengths, near central world on Plenochit… We all decided to leave our taxis and walk… We were headed to the new narai prand (sp) craft store behind the Intercontinental Hotel. The new shop is much nicer than the old one and larger. Goods are displayed more attractively also…. But they have the same old antiquated check out system….
After this visit we took a quick taxi ride back to the hotel.

K & I went for a swim… The PA pool is on the 4th floor and is quite large for a pool located above the ground floor. It is nicely landscaped and has a decent amount of seating… The water must be cooled as we found it a bit chilly

We all met in the lobby at 7:30. We took a taxi to soi 12 via rama IV. Crepes and Co was our destination. I really like this small Swiss owned place… There is inside and garden seating. They serve huge (maybe 16”) fresh crepes with a variety of fillings---I had the ‘Sukhumvit’--- chicken, peppers, mushrooms, flavorful gravy… For dessert I had the banana and chocolate crepe---same size and not too chocolatee…. Taxi back to the hotel..

Jack came at 9:30 for a fitting…. My shirts need some tweaking as do K’s slacks. We will see him here again at both 9:30 AM and PM tomorrow… Fitting took about 30 minutes I think.

A busy, but fun day…



Friday


Another busy day ahead… We were up and down to breakfast early, as the tailor was coming for a fitting for Karen at 9:30--- the shirt had arrived in the middle of the night as we saw the phone message light come on the telephone… A few tweakings here and there but basically good… She liked it so much she ordered two more in other colors… We will see him again tonight at 9:30 or so, for final slack fittings and my shirt fitting again…
Jack at monet il sarto (Marriott plaza) is such a nice guy to deal with and we like his creations very much… His prices are good as well..

Just as soon as he left we went down to the lobby for our 10AM pick-up by Pat from 5th Element…. He and his family own a small stainless steel company which creates many of the fabulous stainless items you see at many upscale thai restaurants and hotels. They use to have a shop at the Shangri-la, which is where we met them…
K had a whole list of gifts we needed for the next 6 months… Christmas, engagement, wedding, and others, plus additions to our collection..… Their stuff makes fabulous gifts and it lasts really well… show room is by appointment only on soi 93, new road… Pat----(662)-(0)292-1968 or [email protected] .. I have a CD of their line if you wish to take a look… A few hundred dollars later we were on our way… The son drove us to the skytrain (they will pick you up at your hotel) and we were off to Emporium where we had lunch at a sort of greek place (Olive) in the food court area-- very good. From there we walked down soi 24 the the brand new Marriott executive apartments (just opened last month). WOW are they nice… We looked at 4 different configurations… btw, they are directly across the street from the seafood market restaurant…. Great neighborhood location…. They have a free tuk tuk to sukhumvit where the skytrain station is…

From there we took a very slow taxi to soi 4 to the jeweler, but most of our stuff is not ready… It will be delivered to the hotel tomorrow… Then a taxi back to our hotel … we had hoped for a swim, but we have to leave again soon to go visit Ken at his Marriott apartment on sathorn, also recently opened… From there we are going almost next door to the Banyon Tree where we will be joined by Nywoman for a drink at their rooftop bar. Ken’s apartment was very nice (he got it on Priceline, btw)--- not as nice as the new ones on soi 24.

He served us some wine and was disappointed that the others did not come along. We walked from there to the Baynon Tree and met up with NYW….We went up to the 59th floor and then climbed the rest of the way to the Vertigo Bar. After a few minutes we found a table for 4. There was a lot of smog so the views were not as extensive as some times, but still it is dramatic. The bar was quite busy. I had a beer and they shared a bottle of wine.

After drinks we took a taxi with NYW to Harmonique where we were joined by the rest of the Boston group. The taxi ride was slow so we were only about ½ hour late… They had ordered some pomello salad and we joined in with enjoying it. K and A did the ordering. The kitchen was a bit slow but the food was good.

We took a taxi back to our hotel and NYW continued on to where she is staying.

rhkkmk Nov 28th, 2009 02:29 AM

Saturday


Up about 7 and down to breakfast as we again had a 9:30 appointment with jack. He brought me another shirt and brought K a second pair of slacks for fittings…. He will return tonight with the final products I think---he called a while ago to recheck our initials for the monograms…

After he left and with a breakfast under our belts, we headed to soi 23, sukhumvit to the jasmine ctr building. The Thai Craft Assoc has adopted the 3rd floor for their periodic sales venue. In fact for the whole month of December, there will be a show each Saturday from 10-5… BillT---they still have no schedule yet for January… they advise watching the web site… it took us about 25 minutes to get there this AM as the driver was confused over the directions he was given… fare: 65 B…We went wireless to rama IV to Asoke to sukhumvit…

We met one of the volunteer coordinators, a long time bkk resident from Canada. It was interesting talking to her while we waited to get in—no entrance before 10… The new space is quite fabulous for a show of this kind, with space and natural light…plus good a/c…

There must be at least 50 exhibitors… from stainless steel to sterling silver jewelry to woven baskets to hand silk screened blouses to Christmas decorations to bathmats to dolls to large woven boxes, bags and hampers to greeting cards, etc… K managed to help the cause along… It is such a good cause to… Check their website for the sales during your visits: www.thaicraft.org

From there we returned to the hotel—driver was nice but did not know the hotel or the American embassy or wireless rd or its thai name…

K & I went in search of wi-fi and some lunch… We found a nice bistro in back of the hotel in a little block of stores and had some thai food and tried wi-fi but could not get it to work… We moved on the all seasons place (the Conrad hotel complex)… Went to starbucks and bought one hour wifi card for 150 B--- neither I nor they could get it to connect…We had some dessert and returned to the hotel. I decided to buy 24 hours of hotel direct connect internet for 632 B… and here I am…

K went to the pool and swam with the others… I had quiet time with the computer and the a/c..

Tonight will be our splurge dinner at Biscotti in the Four Seasons..
After that Jack will arrive about 9:30 and we may go for a drink with friends..

I may post tomorrow or maybe not until I return home after Sunday





Some notes about the Plaza Anthanee Hotel: for BillT

The location is fabulous. We did not use the skytrain from here, only taxis, but it is quite close… ½ block from Plenochit (sukhumvit), next door to the Conrad and All Seasons Place Mall, the Viet Nam embassy, and across the street from the American Ambassador’s house (we look directly down into the complex from our room)…

Last time we stayed here taxis were slow to arrive, but this time we never waited more than 3-4 minutes if at all… The driveway is a bit weird as you have to loop around to get to the front door…

The lobby is soaring, lined with marble and a grand staircase, tons of flowers and orchids. The reception is very efficient… The desk furthest in is for starwoods members….. The concierge is the best and most friendly and knowledgeable and willing to help that we have ever encountered in bkk.

The elevators are fast and efficient and well located… The corridors are wide and attractive. The staff you encounter all wei and speak to you in a very friendly manner (a la Marriott)

The rooms are a standard size---more than adequate. There is plenty of storage and work surfaces… a nice flat screen tv—maybe 32”…very good lighting. One comfortable chair and a desk chair. Full length and other mirrors, including a moveable saving (makeup) mirror. The bathroom is large with a full tub, glass shower stall (full water pressure) a huge mirror… two or more bottles of free water per day…. Nice towels…nice gels, soaps etc… no fan but a decent draw to remove steam…lots of light in bathroom, but no nightlight..

The bedroom seems large even with a huge king bed. Two sized pillows for comfort. Bedside lighting and a/c controls… a remote for the tv which works like it is supposed to…a reading light next to the arm chair and a desk lamp, plus a few high intensity ceiling lights… The windows are waist high and ours look out over the city…. The carpet on the floor is spotless… Two telephones, plus one in the bathroom—only one line---personal voice mail… Master electrical switch by the door---leave it on or the a/c goes off when you are out—maid often turns it off… nightly turn down and towel refresh---no orchids or chocolates or cookies however…
Drapes are attractive, but only blackouts and sheers close completely…
Bed linens are first rate and crisp, changed daily. A duvet is the covering as most hotels have adopted lately---often too hot we find so we crank the a/c.. One electric outlet on each side of the bed, two on the desk…

Safe in closet big enough for a notebook although I have been leaving mine out….Internet 632 B per day or a huge hourly fee as an alternative…
Mini fridge in the hall along with two large wardrobes, incl an ironing board and iron.. plus fire extinguishers… Yesterday they changed the a/c filter and I asked how often they do it and was told monthly--- I usually think most have not been changed for years

On-site parking—fee I suspect…
The hotel is both a business hotel and a leisure hotel. Most of the clientel are Europeans or Asians at this time..

There is a small bakery just off the lobby should breakfast noty be included in your room fee.

Breakfast: We find it to be the #2 breakfast experience in bkk, #1 being the Shangri-la…. It’s really soup to nuts---dim-sum to asian soups, to smoked salmon, to freshest fruits, to yogurts, jams, honey to eggs of any sort custom cooked to fresh pastry to Peking duck to 6 or 8 cheeses to 10-15 kinds of breads to hot dishes to sautéed mushrooms and broiled tomatoes to baked beans and on and on…. Juices of at least 5 fruits and coffee and teas, plus ice water… The breakfast room is adjacent to the lobby on several different levels with carpet and shinny wood floors. An indoor/outdoor pond is on one side with small fountain heads keeping the water moving and providing a small water noise… We find it a very comfortable setting to start the day off… there are a few tables outside, largely for smokers I think or for someone who likes car fumes.

The hotel is very quiet despite a very busy lobby area. Yesterday a large wedding was held here. The lobby floral displays were amazing… 5-6 people spent all day constructing a floral arch perhaps 12 – 15 feet high. Each flower was added separately---think Pasadena Rosebowl parade… They also had arches over the grand stairway and a white carpet for guests leading through the center of the lobby to the greeting area…

I can’t think of anything missing other than an additional easy chair in each room. We can’t wait to return here…. The hotel often participates with the starwood cash and points scheme…

BillT Nov 28th, 2009 06:19 AM

Great report on the hotel Bob- wow Peking Duck on the breakfast buffet! My wife will be in heaven and won't want to leave!

rhkkmk Nov 28th, 2009 10:56 PM

we leave for the airport in 45 minutes... great trip

Cranachin Nov 29th, 2009 09:55 AM

After you have recovered from your trip, I think you should host a party to celebrate 2010 as the Year of the Panda.

ekscrunchy Nov 30th, 2009 04:49 AM

Nice report on the hotel, Bobster, but what about the most important feature----or doesn't the PA have a swimming pool?

Waiting to hear any tidbits about the Four Seasons,including about the dinner there...

Glad you guys are back....

Craig Nov 30th, 2009 04:53 AM

eks - if you scroll back to "Thursday" you will see some comments about the pool, including the fact that the water may be chilled...

rhkkmk Nov 30th, 2009 03:45 PM

back home....drove through the rain from nyc to boston...not bad and hardly any traffic...

stopped in hartford for some late lunch....did not see craig selling pencils in his usual place...

cigalechanta Nov 30th, 2009 08:10 PM

Welcome home Bob and Karen!

simpsonc510 Nov 30th, 2009 10:26 PM

I was wondering if you were home yet or not. Which way did your route take you home? Was it back thru Europe? Did you see me waving at you from here in Lucerne? haha

Carol

Craig Dec 1st, 2009 02:31 AM

I'm selling them on-line now...

ekscrunchy Dec 1st, 2009 04:15 AM

Thanks, Craig..don't know how I missed that piece of pertinent information. Something really must be done about these frigid water temperatures in the City of Angels. I must get word to my local agent to pursue all relevant diplomatic channels to get this remedied before my arrival in February.

rhkkmk Dec 1st, 2009 05:43 AM

in feb, they turn up the a/c on the pool water...

yes we saw you waving, but a stop at Rein's seemed more appropriate...

rhkkmk Dec 2nd, 2009 07:42 PM

here are some pics....i do not have any of the GTG because my camera was locked in andy's room


share.shutterfly.com/action/welcome?sid=8BauXDJw2aqPrw

easytraveler Dec 2nd, 2009 09:11 PM

Great, great pics, Bob! thanks so much for sharing. It certainly looks like a wonderful trip!

My fav pic: #184

magical Dec 2nd, 2009 11:39 PM

Great pics. Great trip report.
Looks like you had a great trip.

Thanks for sharing.

simpsonc510 Dec 2nd, 2009 11:58 PM

Great photos, fun memories of Krabi, for me. Thanks!

Gpanda Dec 3rd, 2009 02:59 AM

It's always great to bring your own personal photographer along on these trips. Usually, they aren't quite as bossy as this one. Nonetheless, the sacrifices were worth the brilliant pictures.

Nywoman Dec 3rd, 2009 05:17 AM

My pictures of the GTG are on http://picasaweb.google.com/nywoman

Hanuman Dec 3rd, 2009 05:21 AM

Thanks for the pictures Bob & Fanny!

rhkkmk Dec 3rd, 2009 05:22 AM

fanny---thanks for posting these pics...

rhkkmk Dec 3rd, 2009 07:05 AM

Saturday (cont)


We took a taxi to the Four Seasons… We were a bit early so walked around a bit looking at the wonderful shops… At the appointed hour we presented ourselves at Biscotti. Oddly enough the restaurant was over ½ empty and remained that way for most of our meal… It was the clearest sign thus far to me that the recession has affected bkk too….

We had an excellent center table. As usual we were presented with a chef’s hors d’ouvre and the usual bread…. Drinks were ordered… K was again, for the 100th time, able to order her soft shell crab appetizer which made her very happy…. I had the most fabulous porcini mushroom soup and the others had various choices… K’s main course was a risotto with fish and I had a calzone, to which I requested some red sauce to moisten it… K had sorbet for dessert as did the others, I had a fantastic raspberry tart with sorbet. Thank God I do not remember the bill, but this was our splurge meal, and Maureen nominated it for best meal of the trip… The rest of us liked some thai meals more, but it did not disappoint… Taxi back to the hotel and K did last minute packing and organizing….

A good nite’s sleep…



Sunday-- our last day


We met Gal and Cherry for breakfast at the hotel. Cherry is doing very little guiding anymore, but still does some Israeli families and special US Navy groups…. She has 5 dogs (huskies) to take care of and 2 houses in bkk to manage… We had a pleasant visit and ended it on the porch off of the dining room to enjoy the relatively non-humid air bkk blessed us with for most of our trip…

It was after noon when they left so we decided to have a swim before the van came for us at 2:45. The water was too cold for me, so I returned to the room to finish up with my 24 hours of internet (over 600 B)… K enjoyed her swim as did A&B… Maureen had gone to church and had checked out…

The van was on time and the traffic was light so we arrived early to the airport and the Singapore check-in was not even open until 30 minutes later… Smooth check in…
A bit of lunch and we were ready..

Flights were relatively smooth, although there was some turbulence. SA staff were efficient. Meal from Bkk to Singapore was inedible, but the others were quite good, including one fillet which actually was still pink… We arrived in NYC via Frankfurt about ½ hour early… Our van was waiting for us at Hertz ($216) and we next stopped at Rein’s Deli in Vernon, CT for a late lunch and arrived back home about 6PM….


A fun trip overall, despite the feigned sickness of one member and all the irritation along the way with the same individual…. On to Bali in May, 2010…

cigalechanta Dec 3rd, 2009 12:44 PM

Wonderful slideshow, Thanks and welcome back1

Gpanda Dec 4th, 2009 10:41 AM

His B-ness failed to mention that he expressed his dissatisfaction with the Franfurt connection to Singapore Air staff. In truth, he did not make a scene, he merely mentioned it. It was entirely appropriate. Us guys in the peanut gallery were quite disappointed. The terminal and gate were really substandard. Completely unacceptable.

rhkkmk Dec 4th, 2009 02:32 PM

i spoke both going and coming home with the staff at frankfurt...SA should be totally ashamed of their facilities....not even enough chairs for 1/2 the passengers to sit down among other things...

rhkkmk Dec 5th, 2009 07:16 AM

ATM's--- for the first time i had quite a few problems with making withdrawals from my TD Bank accounts.... They are my primary bank and i called them before i left to record my destinations and my dates....
Every time i tried to withdraw money i was limited to 3000 B or about $90. That is a real pain and now with the new 150 B fee on what seems like all thai atms, it can get expensive...

I emailed the bank from thailand....no response, as i thought, and i laid it off to not responding to ramdom overseas e mails... then i e mailed them again and i did receive a response that thailand is considered a 'dangereous' asian country for financial transactions, and as such all withdrawal limits are automatically small. HELLO.... I called you and no one told me this... It can be overridden by specifically asking for higher limits....i thought i had informed them with my initial call...

they asked for a response from me, which i sent, and then i was all set for withdrawals of any amount i requested, but of course that was at the end of our trip....Andy had no problem with his account and withdrew $$ for me as i needed it... of course he has a 300 B fee he charges...

They refunded all my charges and added a $25 goodwill gift too, without my asking...fine, but what if i did not have other options while there.... AND HOW ABOUT NOTIFYING ME OF THIS CHANGE... i have used both of my TD cards in thailand before without problems...

So, beware and speak forceably to your bank in advance of any trips to "dangereous" places....

rhkkmk Dec 5th, 2009 07:24 AM

i am already working on a return trip to thailand for next november/december....we just can't get enough of it...

this time i think we will try some serviced apartments....the new marriott on soi 24 is simply fabulous with a very nice pool area as well.... i have already made reservations, randomly for the new JW Marriott in khoa lak--- it looks fabulous and has a very cheap rate just now which includes next fall--- about $100 ++...

btw, i am loving my new shirts from jack... the cottons are soft and lovely and the fit just right...

simpsonc510 Dec 5th, 2009 12:44 PM

Any chance your dates would be about the same time I'd be back in BKK for the Christmas/New Year holidays? Probably not. I am sure you want to be home to celebrate with family.

I will most likely be in Switzerland until the 8th of Dec, and then home for a week, before flying off to BKK about the 15th or so (December 2010). No plans yet, but that would be the typical scenario.

Too bad you did not find time to meet Maeng. I'm sure NYwoman mentioned the time they spent together. Maybe next year.......???

Back to Zurich tomorrow afternoon. We are currently in Lausanne. Home Wednesday, but only for one week... and then off to BKK! Can't wait! It's cold here. We had snow!

Carol

rhkkmk Dec 5th, 2009 01:12 PM

we had pickled liver on our list but that nite something else came up and we had to delay it until another trip...

i suspect we would come home by about 10 december...


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