Thai travel - advice sought

Jun 12th, 2005, 08:58 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 47
Thai travel - advice sought

We are planning to travel to Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, and Sukhothai. Will someone care to comment on the itinerary and answer a few questions:

Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok in afternoon from Hong Kong. Take overnight train to Chiang Mai. Still debating whether to fly to CM or not to save some time. We love lux. train travel though.
Day 2: Visit CM. Doi Suthep and other wats. Stay somewhere near Night Market area.
Day 3: Proceed to Chiang Rai. Visit CR and surrounds like Doi Tung. Stay at Dusit Thani(?) or Anantara(?).
Day 4: Visit Golden Triangle. Proceed back to Chiang Mai. Night at Chiang Mai.
Day 5: Hire a car with driver and proceed from Chiang Mai to Sukhothai stopping enroute at Lampang. Visit Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai. Night at Sukhothai or Phitsanulok.
Day 6: Take train back to Bangkok in afternoon.
We will have 4 days in Bangkok after that to laze around. We have already been to Bangkok before and have seen the attractions in the city.

1. Any suggestions for places to stay at Sukhothai?
2. Is it easy to hire a car with driver and do the planned tour on Day 5? Any recommendations?
3. How much time do we need for Sukhothai and Si Satchanalai? Is one afternoon good enough?
4. Is it better to stay at Sukhothai or Phitsanulok? Which has better hotels? Any recommendations?

Thanks in advance.

missmuffet is offline  
Jun 12th, 2005, 10:28 PM
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Good idea going with car and driver thru Lampang to Sukhothai. The Pailyn is 2 star about USD 30, the Sukhothai resort Hotel is actualy cheaper around USD 26 but perhaps better, the 'in' place these days is the Anananda gallery Hotel, modern, superior rooms about USD 45, my brother-in-law does a lot of furniture for hotels and businesses and they did some work at the Ananda a while back and he said it was a nice place though I haven't been there myself, lots of write-ups in Thai magazines about the place. deluxe under USD 50, Top suite about USD 75.
You can find those Sukhothai and Phitsanulok and other local places with room photos and locations etc including Lampang hotels on:

Taking a train right after your flight might be tiring, although lux train travel is nice and First Class is quite good it's not 'lux'. Phitsanulok is very close to Sukhothai, the Thai Hotel is about USD 25 a night, 2/3 star, La Paloma about USD 45.

For Chiang Mai close to town the Tamarind Village, Rydges is good 3 star, still doing a stay 3 nights pay 2 nights deal, around the USD 40 area, but that works out as under USD 30 a night on that 3 night deal.

If you want spa type places outside of town the Jirung Spa resort ( all suite under USD 100 ) or the Baan Sabai
JamesA is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 04:20 PM
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we did a similar itinerary last october.
we hired Ratt's sister Poon who lives in chiang mai. she drove us 5 days 4 nites with this itinerary...

day one...left chiang mai early and made our first stop at an elephant camp on the river. we did not like this..the elephants had sores on their heads from their mahoots...after an hour we left, did not do the bamboo raft because a bus arrived just before us and we would have a 2 hour wait.
next stop was tha ton...the huge white buddha on the hill was incredible. we were invited into the monestary by the abbott when he found out we were from Hawaii ( he had visited here in his youth).
next stop was a village of longnecked women and akha tribes...Poon knew where all the important tourist stops were.
we spent the first night somewhere along our journey 2 rooms for $12 each,
dinner for all 4 of us (Poon ordered) cost $10.
the next day we ventured to the hill country...mae salong, queens summer palace, coffee and tea plantations and tribes people and villages...we had tea
with a local family where they tried to get us to eat fried crickets and worms..
we spent the nite at mae the wang hung hotel (i think that is the name...) right on the border with burma.
2 rooms with breakfast $40, dinner was across the street at a restaurant that had closed (we arrived about 9 pm) but reopened and fed us a feast for $12.
the next morning we went across the border for shopping. it is hectic, crowded, hot and alittle eerrieee...there are lots of boy soldiers with guns...but we found some great bargains on jewelry, rubies, jade and fabrics. i wanted to buy this beautiful jade buddha...approx 18 inches high, weighed 20 lbs...they wanted $80 US and i got them down to $60. i did not buy it for some stupid reason and i regret it...we are going back in october this year and i might just have to make it there to get this illustrious jade buddha (message::::if you want it, buy it...its only money and you dont want any regrets)
we departed in the afternoon and headed to golden triangle, did a boat ride on the mekong to laos...great fun. stayed somewhere along the highway on the way to chiang rai...not too much to do except eat and shop which we had done enough of.
the next day we headed to sukothai. poon took us to an ancient kiln and to the pottery markets on the back streets. we bought incredible souveniers there, green buddhas,
elephant vases, all made from the same source and method of ancient times.
we visited the ancient city, wonderful ruins, beautiful temples and wats.....
we loved it there.
i think we spent the night in lampang...
2 rooms $24 each, dinner in a restaurant with a live band playing the loudest thai rock n roll ever. dinner and drinks (ice cold beer) $12 for 4.

to be continued....
divediva is offline  
Jun 13th, 2005, 07:46 PM
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I'm really interested in hearing the rest!
LA_FadeAway is offline  
Jun 15th, 2005, 11:16 PM
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hi LA Fadeaway....
i didnt mean to jump on miss muffets tuffet...i mean thread....
just wanted to tell about my travels...we loved travelling by car...stopping at shopping areas, villages, restaurants that most visitors wouldnt venture into. Having Poon with us surely made life easier and
i would do it again.
this year we are going to bkk for 2 nites,then to vietnam...approx 10 days, no set itinerary except we begin our journey in hanoi....
then on to lao, luang prabang for 3 nites
then back to thailand...destination unknown.

we might go back to samui...or koh chang
dont really know..maybe pucket or phi phi
just because they need the tourism.
still...the tsumani is everpresent in my mind..
we had a tsumani warning in hawaii yest erday but it was cancelled an hour later.

luckily.,,. i built my house 1000 above the ocean,,,,and hopefully i have good karma too
divediva is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 01:37 AM
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Can anyone suggest how we might hire a small van and driver to take 5 of us from Bangkok through some northern towns to Chiang Mai?
Peteralan is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 02:07 AM
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The idea of going with a car and driver north is quite good, you could go west/nw to Kanchanaburi and river Kwai area, a couple of hourts, then head up to Sukhothai, then Lampang and onwards to Chiang Mai. Now, if you book a driver and van you are basically going to have to accommodate him etc, also if he doesn't suit you you are unfortunately stuck.
My suggestion is just decide your route, when in Bangkok get the hotel concierge to sort you a van and driver to say Kanchanaburi, when there ask 'that' concierge to sort you a driver and van to Sukhothai, and so forth, that way you avoid having to pay the driver's hotel bill, avoid getting stuck with say a bad driver, doing it in short hops is easy, you will have no worries at all as the Concierges all have brothers or Uncles and they arrange this 'all the time'.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 16th, 2005, 03:01 AM
Original Poster
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Posts: 47

Thanks for keeping this thread alive.

We finally decided to fly to Chiang Rai from Bangkok on Air Asia. They offered us good one-way fare - one for about 900 Bhat and another for 1100 Bhat. I think the first ticket was the last one in the low fare category. This is for travel on 2nd July. We are reaching Chiang Rai somewhat late - around 9pm. I am wondering what would be a convenient place to stay - is the Dusit Resort too far or should I go for the cheap digs near the bus station and night bazaar. Which will be closer to the airport?
We will be staying the first two nights in Chiang Rai.

Question for the experts,
is it possible to see the highlights of the golden triangle region in one day. We would like to cross over to Burma and do some shopping, visit Doi Tung, opium museum, take the boat on Mekong to Laos etc. Can all this be done in one day? Am I missing something?

Will have 1 full day and 2 nights in Chiang Mai. What are the most notable sights after Doi Suthep?

We plan to stop in Lampang and Lampung on our way to Sukhothai. We will have about half day in Sukhothai. I guess that should be enough for the highlights.

On our way back from Sukhothai to Bangkok (probably on train) we would like to stop at Ayutthaya. Does any one know if there are luggage lockers at Ayutthaya train station?

Is Lopburi any good and worth a stop? If so, then we may hire a car with driver from Sukhothai to Bangkok and stop at Lopburi too.

We will barely have time to touch the highlights of northern Thailand. We will definitely have to revisit in future for more in-depth exploration.

JamesA thanks for your most helpful suggestions. Divediva your trip report was quite interesting to read - would you like to recommend any particularly must-see sights in the Golden triangle region. Thanks to others as well.

missmuffet is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 08:53 AM
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hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 10:18 AM
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The "Little Duck" is about USD 32 twin or USD 38 for the de-luxe room , with breakfast tax etc etc, closer though to night bazaar is the "Wiang Inn", a few years since there, very convenient, standard USD 37 del luxe USD 44, exec suite 85, all with breakfast, tax etc, the Wiang Inn does transfer at B 50 ( USD 1.25 ) per person each way. If you are just going to overnight then the Wiang Inn de-luxe is what personaly I would go for, this shows you location etc, deluxe should be fine, and from there they will sort you a car/taxi to whether you head on from there, I think wise to o/night in town at around that price and then head off after breakfast.

For your Golden Triangle are you looking for lux or 3-star? Golden Triangle resort is in the USD 50 region.
JamesA is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 05:43 PM
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I was thinking about Wiang Inn as well.

For the next night should be stay at the Anantara (if we get a room). This would mean we would have slightly more time in the Golden Triangle and less in Chiang Mai.

Also how much can be expect to pay a car with driver for a day trip to the Golden Triangle region from CR that will end with dropping us at the Anantara or the Dusit.
missmuffet is offline  
Jun 17th, 2005, 11:37 PM
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Thanks James for the good suggestion. Some years ago two of us booked on a tour to do this and it turned out we were the only passengers with a guide plus his girlfriend and a driver so I guess we paid for all of them . We were really ripped off and he would not show us the itinerary! This time I thought we would not bother doing it that way . It should be a little easier as one of us is Thai but your suggestion is a good one.
Peteralan is offline  
Jun 18th, 2005, 02:28 AM
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It is very unlikely you will get a bad driver using the concierge at any decent hotel ( taling anything from 2 star upwards ), although not official through the hotel no one can have the hassle of a complaint, but also worth asking at the tour desk of the hotel/reception and just see who comes up with what.
JamesA is offline  

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