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Thailand at end of Dec, beginning of January

Thailand at end of Dec, beginning of January

Oct 4th, 2004, 07:23 PM
  #1  
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Thailand at end of Dec, beginning of January

I am planning my first trip to Thailand and would like some advice on lodging and other logistics.

Am arriving BKK on a Thai flight from Beijing about 10PM on Dec. 27. I have a reservation for a river view room at the Marriott Resort & Spa for Dec 27 - Jan 1. That is five nights. I would like to visit Angkor Wat and think that I can do that on the 29th or 30th, staying one night in Siem Reap (is that something I should arrange as a package when I get to Bangkok? I see BKK- Siem Reap return tickets for $314 on the web).

I have reservations at the River View Lodge in Chiang Mai for Jan 1-4 and then the Hua Hin Marriott for Jan 4-7. Then I would return on the 7th to the Marriott R&S in Bangkok for the night and to pick up the winter clothes that I left there on the 1st. Flying to Tokyo at 8:20A on the 8th (connecting on to Seoul, back to Osaka on the 12th & Tokyo to D.C. on the 15th).

Also have a Jan 1-4 reservation at the Chian Mai Sheraton, but I will probably go with the River View as both Fodor's and Frommer's recommended it and the price is nice.

I looked into visiting Phuket, Krabi, and Samui but had a bit of trouble finding a suitable place for the 4th to 7th. The Sand Sea Resort is sold out. I took a look at two Amari properties (Palm Reef, Coral Beach). One of them is sold out and the other would cost $590 for three nights (Palm Reef, I think) which just seems to be a waste to me.

I just read that horse racing in Bangkok is held every 2nd Sunday of the month. The second Sunday in January is the 9th. If there is racing on that day then I would likely stay longer in Bangkok. That gives me four or five nights, starting the 4th, before I would "have to" be back in Bangkok for the racing. Am starting to think about a side trip to Burma or Singapore.

Any advice or opinions on any of the above would be greatly appreciated it.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 07:48 PM
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glad to see that you are giving thailand a try...you will love it...

good choices on the hotels, esp. the marriott resort....i like the marriot in hua hin as well, but some do not...the rooms are not great but everything else is...best beach area and the food is excellent...easy access into town....make sure you eat at La Mer restaurant on the hill above the hyatt one nite---sea food only....

air and hotels are expensive to/in siem reap but it is worth it.... think you you should consider 3 full days however...touring is difficult and hot and humid...make sure you have a driver and guide---hotel will arrange---reserve now....its about $20 each per day....it will make your trip---not a place to skimp...

we stayed at the sheraton/westin in chiang mai...its a bit out of the way but is cheap and quite nice for the price....you might be happier in the middle of town....CM is not a favorite for us...i would steal a day from CM and give it to SR....

ahve you looked at bangkok air to see if they still have a pass system...i think you can fly from SR to CM....

if you decide on myanmar, two days in yangon will give you a feel for it...very very cheap there....thai air has good service....look at the pansea hotel or the K palace hotel on the lake in the middle of town---don't remember the full name of the palace hotel but it starts with a K...


sorry we didn't connect in bali...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 07:52 PM
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I don?t believe that you can even begin to do Angkor Wat justice with only one night there. I would think that two clear days is the minimum.

Horseracing in Bangkok alternates between the Royal Bangkok Sports Club and the Army track. The standard of racing is not high and unless you can get yourself an invitation to the Members Stand, I wouldn?t suggest changing your plans to attend.
Tangata is offline  
Oct 4th, 2004, 08:13 PM
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if you arive early too angkor and leave late the next day you'll have plently of time to see what ya need too see.
orgy7 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 10:43 AM
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you planning on having sushi in bkk? if so, where?
kuranosuke is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 11:16 AM
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You know that orgy and I disagree about Angkor Wat. I'd suggest you do a bit of research before you go, so you'll know how much time to spend at Angkor. Three days is the usual amount of time recommended to visit the major temples, a week if you want to visit more in depth (I opted for a week). I always recommend Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor. You may also find it useful to look at photos of my trip there at www.marlandc.com This will give you a feel for whether you just want a glimpse of the site, or whether you want to visit a number of the temples.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 03:45 PM
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I have done Angkor Wat twice - once for 3.5 days/3 nights and once more recently for 2 full days, 1 night. While the latter trip was rushed it was still enjoyable. However 3 days would certainly have been a less bruising pace - u could also consider dropping your side trip this time, adding a day to Angkor Wat. IN case u are very keen on a side trip I would also suggest you consider Luang Prabang in Laos which is an enchanted place and will give you just the downtime you need if you do it after Angkor Wat. Bkk-SR flights sell out early so make sure u book in advance for the first flt to SR and the last/second last flt back to Bkk. Re air fares - booking and buying in Bkk denominated in baht is always cheaper than the US dollar fare - when I went in Feb it was 10000 baht per head or about US$250. IN case u decide to include Laos you could explore the Mekong Pass which Bangkok Airways used to have. Re Chiang Mai feedback on the Riverview Lodge on this forum is mixed. I stayed - on reco of Tangata and others - at Tamarind Village. Got it via www.precisionreservations.com for an unbelievable US$43 per night. Tamarind is always praised so maybe u could look into that too.
hobbes is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 07:47 PM
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Kathie.. good post. thats always the issue. "how much temples you can handle" and suggesting more reaserch is great.. I tend too throw the shorter trip as a counter view. and I myself did the shorter trip and feel satisfied..

as a side note... I went last year. I was a failrly young 29 year old kid and I was already in thailand/south east asia for 8 months so the heat didn't slow me down that much..

orgy7 is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 08:19 PM
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Ok, where to start? First, thanks for the replies.

Burma definitely interests me. Saw just a couple of photos of temples and they look like they are from a different planet. The Pansea hotel looks nice. If you recall the name of the K hotel, please post it.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 08:23 PM
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do a hotel search for yangon and you will find the K palace...it is one of the main hotels...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 09:01 PM
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misfired, will continue

If you recall the name of the K hotel, Bob, please post it. Please compare Kyaw's service to Putu's.

Tangata, I guess that you are right about the racing. The RBSC sounds interesting but it won't be very good racing. I don't think I even want to know about an Army track.

orgy7, I appreciate your alternate view. I would tend to do it your way rather than spending a week. I suppose two nights would be better. I am leaning towards not going to SR simply because it will be high season then and am not used to having a lot of competition for flights and hotels.

kuranosuke: at the Bangkok Safeway, of course.

Kathie thanks for the URL for your pics. I am very much interested in knowing where a couple of city views were taken and in what direction you are looking:

"View from hotel" - what hotel? what is the high rise in view?

"Me taking picture ..." - same hotel? what is the nearest highrise (on left by river)? Can you Id any of the others.

"Chao Praya River" - that's about the same as the hotel lounge view. What is that along the edge of the pic? more high rises? My guess (based on looking at a city map) is that the view is to the north and that the main part of the city is across the river. Is this the Pen?

hobbes, I've got a river side room with balcony for 1800 B. I will take a look at Tamarind. I see one site has it rated as **** and "rooms from $32" !!

Am somewhat wary about the River View simply because I got one of there better rooms for the dates that I wanted during high season. Sorta like Graucho not wanting to join a club that would have himself as member, I am wondering why it is not sold out in high season? Or are the sold out places that way because of regular tour groups? Any more tips on choosing a beach hotel (Phuket, Krabi, Samui) would be appreciated.

I took a look at a couple of air passes. Didn't look like I could use the ones that go internationally. One had to be booked when buying the flight into Thailand, but I am using a USAir FF award. No info on Mekong Pass.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 5th, 2004, 09:04 PM
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just saw your post, rhkkmk. Wondering why I didn't think of doing that.

Result is: Kandawgyi Palace Hotel
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 04:29 AM
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Temple viewing:
Know thyself and more importantly know thy spouse. My spouse could not do a full day of temple viewing let alone 3 days. I myself probably get templed out after a day - so the important advice here is know what you both like to do, and how much of it you can take and go with the minimum time either spouse can handle. Now shopping- my wife can go for days and days. I like to do that too but I also like the temples and Wats as well.
BillT is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 06:41 AM
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I am travelling solo and three days would probably be too much. For example, I love Japan and will make my fourth visit there as a stopover on the way home on this trip. Some people say that you have to spend a week in Kyoto to see the main sights. I spent two days there and am not regretting having not spent more (maybe a little regret).

I got the FF award ticketed a short time ago, so I am very happy to have made the decision:
Dec 27, arrive BKK (via ORD, PEK)
Jan 8, fly to Seoul via NRT
visit my US Army Captain nephew
Jan 10, ICN to Osaka KIX
Kyoto, Kobe, Tokyo
Jan 15, NRT to Washington D.C.
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 07:23 AM
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I had to go look at the website to see exactly what the photos were you were asking about. (My traveling companion is the photographer, so I don't always remember what she has written.)

The hotel we stay in is the Royal Orchid Sheraton, and those photos were taken from the Towers Lounge (26th floor). The tall building across the River is the Pen (excellent guess for someone who hasn't been to Bangkok!). The tall building to the far left in the photos is the Shangri-La. "Downtown" Bangkok (somehwat hard to define) is on the same side of the River as the Royal Orchid, and is more or less behind you as you face the view in the photos.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 07:25 AM
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were you able to get that fantastic itinirary on one ff award? with all those stops, open jaw?
kuranosuke is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 08:59 AM
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i just typed you a long reply and fodors lost it..

to compare the two drivers is difficult as they exist in different time warps...putu is modern in many ways and kway is provincal...yangon is stuck in the 1920's or 1850's in many ways....putu's car is modern and good, kway's car is older and less comfortable as you would expect in yangon...kway has a great sense of humor and can see the folly in his country and its tough situation...putu is a modern guy who understands bali and the world...kway is shielded from much of the modern world although he is modern in every way for a yangonite....
kway is very reasonable cost wise as is putu...kway also does trips up country to bagan etc. i can't imagine travelling up country via auto---poor roads and springs in cars...

you would be pleased with kway i believe---we were very pleased with him
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 10:10 AM
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Award 1, using 120,000 of my 126,000 USAirways Dividend Miles:
First class on UA, IAD to PEK, connecting to Thai and arriving BKK. The return is Thai to NRT, stopover, and continuing on ANA back to IAD.

Award 2, during stopover of first award, will use a United award to fly NRT to Seoul and open-jaw return to KIX. Then shinkansen to Tokyo, NRT, and finish out the first award ticket.

After arriving NRT from BKK, I have 90 minutes to make the connection to fly to ICN. If I miss that then there is another flight an hour later. If I miss THAT one then I'll spend the night in Narita town (stopping at the Narita Safeway for sushi).
mrwunrfl is offline  
Oct 6th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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great routing, you are the expert. also glad to see you could use your usair miles before it vanishes into thin air.

i think you can find a sushi bar that is of equal or slightly even better quality than safeway, in narita town. give it a try.

will you be in tokyo with enough time to go to tsukiji?
kuranosuke is offline  
Oct 8th, 2004, 07:46 AM
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I am going during the same time to thailand. I had a reservation at the Tamarind Village in Chiang Mai with precisionreservations.com and today I got an email from them telling me they are fully booked! They are recommending me instead the Chiang
Mai Orchid Hotel. We want something with a good location. Any comments?
nstroh is offline  

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