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RHK's Fall SEA Trip

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Nov 16th, 2017, 11:33 AM
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RHK's Fall SEA Trip

2017 Fall SEA Trip

Soon we will embark on our 21st trip to SEA. This year we will visit both Thailand and Vietnam and the trip will last for about 6 weeks.
Many of you know us as veteran travelers with a love of SEA. We are in our early 70’s. On this trip we will be joined by two different groups at different times: for the first 3 weeks 2 asia newbies, from Maine will join us; and later our youngest daughter and her family will join us for 2.5 weeks over Christmas and New Years---they have never been to Asia before.
We are booked on Emirates Air and our friends are on Cathy Pacific, both arriving into Bangkok the same morning. We will taxi to Anantara Riverside Hotel and they will use AAC Limo.
The Anantara (formerly a Marriott) has been our favorite Bangkok hotel for many years. It’s pool is the best in Bangkok. Adjacent to the Anantara there is a new mini-mall built to replace the older one so we are anxious to see what it offers, as well as visit the new Avani hotel built on top of the mall.
Our friends have never been to Thailand so this is a unique experience for them. We have arranged for them to spend two days with Tong’s group touring Bangkok and nearby attractions. We have known Tong since she started her business and feel that she has presented Bangkok at its best. We are hoping to have Nina as the guide. A van will be provided for each day’s touring for easy access into and out of the vehicle. Google: Tours with Tong. Telephone her to make reservations to avoid long delays or no reply to emails..
Because one of our lady friends and myself both have some mobility issues we will also employ Rat as a driver several days. She will use an SUV or van for us. Google: Rat in Bangkok. She will drive us only in Bangkok and will be taking us shopping and to restaurants. She is not a “guide” but does conduct some sightseeing. She is very personable.
Both of these groups will also provide services for my daughter and her family.

After spending 6 nights in Bangkok, group 1 will fly to Hanoi, Vietnam on Qatar Air (they have a daily flight---cost r.t. about $175). We will spend 4 nights there at the JW Marriott, Hanoi. Most would find it not centrally located but I love this hotel (especially the club---I am Platinum Elite, so automatically get upgraded to club). The hotel is also an excellent place to use your points.
I have arranged with Tonkin Travel in Hanoi to provide us with all of our airport runs and for daily van service in and around Hanoi (all day)---incredibly inexpensive imo. I have used them on 3 previous Hanoi trips.
From Hanoi we will fly on Viet Jet to the island of Phu Quoc, located west of Saigon near to the Cambodia border. Here we will stay in the new JW Marriott Resort (opened 3/17). Read the trip advisor reviews—it is amazing according to most reviewers. The hotel is expensive, so using points here is a windfall. We will stay seaside for 5 nights. BTW, Ty Collins, former GM of the JW Marriott, Khao Lak, Thailand is the GM (Dean, they call him) here. This will be total down time after our busy time in Hanoi and Bangkok.
Following the lux at the beach we will have a final night of lux back in Hanoi at the Sofitel Metropole Hotel in the older colonial wing. The hotel is considered by many to be the best in Hanoi. Fodorites have been singing it’s praises for a decade or more. It’s not cheap, but is centrally located.
Following this stay we will fly back to Bangkok and the ladies will end their stay with 5 nights at The Peninsula Hotel. We are all looking forward to this. The Penn never disappoints.
I will now review plans for my daughter’s stay, followed by highlights of individual days activities and of course outstanding MEALS.

My daughter, her husband and their 12 year old daughter, arrive into Bangkok on Qatar Air on December 16. This will be their first trip to Asia. Other than a trip to So. Africa, they have not had this long of a flight.
They will be met by AAC Limo and brought to the Anantara Riverside Hotel. They will want to relax, but no not today. From 10-3 this day the Thai Craft Organization will be holding their annual Christmas Fair at the Jasmine Center, corner of Sukhumvit and Soi 23, Sukhumvit. We must go…
After 5 nights in Bangkok we will fly to Phuket using Thai Air. Khao Lak Discovery Tours will transport us north to the JW Marriott Resort in Khao Lak (private van,1.5 hours, $90 r.t.). We will stay there for 8 nights, including Christmas.
From K/L we will return to Bangkok for 3 nights at The Peninsula (outrageous price over New Year’s). We are really looking forward to the fireworks on Dec 31. They will fly home on Jan 2 (0200).
Karen and I will stay 3 more nights at the Conrad Hotel in the center of town before flying home on Jan 4.

Side note: Originally, another lady, Nancy, was going to be part of group 1. Unfortunately, she had a small stroke this spring and her doctors will not allow her to take long airline flights so she had to cancel from joining us. She would have flown on Cathy Pacific to Bangkok. This airline refunded most of her ticket price, save a cancellation fee. Qatar Air did the same for the Bangkok to Hanoi flights. Viet Jet has refused any refund. We will miss her.

We will take the C&J bus service from Dover, NH to Logan airport on Nov. 20. This is a very comfortable ride on their big buses. There are only 2 stops along the way and you need to plan 2 hours for the ride. You are dropped off directly at your individual terminal. $96. r.t. for the 2 of us.
Our Emirates flight makes one stop for a couple of hours in Dubai, UAE where we change planes to an A-380 super plane. Total flight time about 21 hours, all in economy. In the past we have had good luck in requesting to have the seat between us left empty, fingers crossed.
With any luck we will escape some snow while we are away from NH. We invite you to come along with us via Fodors (if anyone is still reading it).

NEXT STOP BANGKOK…
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Nov 16th, 2017, 11:34 AM
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postings should begin about Nov 23
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Nov 16th, 2017, 11:59 AM
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Sounds like a great trip! Have a wonderful time!
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Nov 16th, 2017, 12:31 PM
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Still reading Fodors and looking forward to your trip. Sounds absolutely amazing! Excited for you, your friends and your daughter and fam!
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Nov 16th, 2017, 01:20 PM
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Always enjoy your reports, Bob and look forward to this one. Have not spent much time on Fodor's Asia recently but Fodor's has been extremely helpful in our New Zealand trip planning for February...
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Nov 16th, 2017, 02:24 PM
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good to hear craig..
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Nov 16th, 2017, 02:56 PM
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This should be a fun read. You leave the day I return.
Bon voyage my friends.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 03:08 PM
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Looking forward to tagging along.
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Nov 16th, 2017, 04:12 PM
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fanny--we will miss you in bkk this time
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Nov 16th, 2017, 04:39 PM
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What a trip! I'm looking forward to follow along as much as I can (will be away around the same time ourselves).
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Nov 16th, 2017, 06:14 PM
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Still hope to meet you guys after new year for supper, I will know November 30th for sure...have a safe trip and will keep in touch
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Nov 16th, 2017, 06:44 PM
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Have a wonderful trip bob and Karen. We leave Bangkok tomorrow after a month in Vietnam. Did consider a return to the Anantara but decided to use points at the Sofitel on Sukhumvit - very impressed!
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Nov 17th, 2017, 07:55 AM
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clive---always use pts when you can, for sure
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Nov 17th, 2017, 09:16 AM
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Bon voyage our travel buddies! We will be following along in earnest. Sounds like a wonderful time with friends and family. Ok, yes we are jealous but very happy for you lol.

Have a drink for Linda and I in one of the street front tables at the Sofitel Metropole (can't believe you are staying there haha). Don't forget to ride the pedicabs in Hanoi. Will be awaiting your reports.

Aloha!
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Nov 17th, 2017, 09:22 AM
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2 hours reserved for a pedi-cab ride... remember what fun we had...
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Nov 17th, 2017, 10:45 PM
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Bob - I like your style. I'm about a month behind you this year. Have fun.

Dave
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Nov 18th, 2017, 08:19 AM
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Bob,I be in Bangkok in mid January.
I may use Tong for some temple touring. How do you pay her? I would use her for a half day tour of the temples?
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Nov 18th, 2017, 11:06 AM
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call her on telephone listed on her website for costs, with and without transportation. she is fairly reasonable
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Nov 18th, 2017, 02:09 PM
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our white lights on our outside Christmas tree just came on for the first time.

Let the holidays begin.
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Nov 19th, 2017, 10:45 AM
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Looking forward to your postings - we are taking our first trip to Thailand, will be there for just under three weeks, setting out on January 1. We're flying from San Francisco to Bangkok on China Southern - business class fare is pretty reasonably priced, and the reviews are good.

Any tips for Bangkok, Chiang Mai or Chiang Rai ... as well as Phuket will be appreciated. Not sure you're staying on the tourist trail, though, since this is not your first venture to Thailand. We'll be traveling through Phitsanulok, Sukhothai and Lampang, too.

This was a rather last-minute trip (decided to do this trip just a week ago), so I am scrambling to figure out logistics. So far have booked hotels and domestic air, but no local tours.

Hope you have a wonderful adventure!
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