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Thailand / Bali trip planning questions for family of 4

Thailand / Bali trip planning questions for family of 4

Jul 30th, 2008, 07:46 AM
  #1  
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Thailand / Bali trip planning questions for family of 4

I'm guessing it makes sense to post all of our questions in one thread. Let me know if that is not the case and I will split them out by location.

About us:
We are a family of 4 - kids will be 6 and 9 at the time of our trip in June 2009. Wife and I are well traveled internationally, but have not been to Asia outside a stopover in Singapore. The primary reason is we are a very picky family when it comes to food. Asian and Indian are not high on our list of enjoyment unless its plain old teriyaki chicken! Spicy is completely out of the question. Rest of the family won't eat vegetables. You get the idea. Wife ate nothing but spaghetti bolognese for 12 days in Italy and loved every minute of it. What can I say? It is what it is...

I'm getting the impression, however, we would find a way to comfortably survive in Thaliand. I'm not so sure about Bali though.

My kids went on their first international trip to South Africa with us this year and it went extremely well, including an 18 hour flight back. No issues on that front.

We will have 18-21 days on the ground. I am trying to figure out how many days for each based on our interests. Right now I am thinking:

Bangkok - 5 to 7 days
Chiang Mai - 3 to 4 days
Phuket - 0 to 4 days
Bali (Ubud) - 5 to 10 days

We are not really interested in beach time per se as we get plenty of that at home. I will get to Phuket later.

Now the questions...
Statefan is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 07:54 AM
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Suggest you break the questions out by location.
degas is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 08:01 AM
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1) I've not been able to find any Trip Reports that involve kids in the 6-10 range outside of KimJapan's. I found some on TA and other boards, but they were focused on beach places. Anyone know of others I could use as a reference? I've read through the ones involving pre-teens and teenagers (all great), but I would really like find some that deal with the 6-10 age bracket range, particularly for Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Bali.

2)What to do in Chiang Mai outside of elephants? We are definitely going to participate in the 3-day course at TECC. I've already spoken to Supat and he promises me food won't be a problem! What else should we consider? We will have had our fill of temples after Bangkok unless we had a really kid-friendly guide. Trekking sounds too strenuous for our kids. We're not interested in the zoo (ok, I'm not). Any other ideas? I've looked at Sergeant Kai's site and nothing sounds too kid-friendly. Should we just do the elephant course and head elsewhere? What about the School for Life?

3) Even if we just do TECC in Chiang Mai, we will need to spend at least one night outside of TECC. What are the best places for families (i.e. we don't want 4 of us piled into one room.

Thanks for reading this and sharing your knowledge and experiences.
Statefan is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 09:47 AM
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Ohhh, this sounds perfect. Anyone done it?

http://www.treetopasia.com/
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Jul 30th, 2008, 09:55 AM
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Phuket in June can be very rainy. If you want a beach, Sanur in Bali is very nice at that time of year.

In both Ubud and Sanur, there is plenty of Western food available. Bali will not be a problem.
Gpanda is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 10:02 AM
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Hi Statefan-
I read your trip report on the Africa board...glad to see you over here "in Asia."


I agree with Gpanda....western food in the main tourist spots in Bali wouldn't be a problem. Another option to consider is renting a villa. Most come complete with a housekeeping staff & chef....could have whatever you wish cooked to order. Villa prices can be comparable to a hotel.

Here are a few links to activities/tours to do in Bali.
I think the bike tour from the top of the volcano might fit your adventurous crew?

Bali Budaya Tours
http://www.klubkokos.com/accommodati...rs_bicycle.htm

Art or dance or crafts class,(an intergral part of Balinese culture)

http://www.learninginbali.com/

Silver class http://www.studioperak.com/bali_class.php

A landcruise/ 4x4 adventure into the rainforest:
http://www.wakaexperience.com/waka_landcruises.htm

You could also try surfing lessons down at Kuta beach:
http://www.ripcurlschoolofsurf.com/content/view/9/32

Or an overnight trip to Nusa Lembongan Island, or the Gili Islands for surfing, snorkeling, etc.
http://www.nusalembonganresort.com/
http://www.nusalembongantravel.com/
http://www.alamindahbali.com/alam_gili.htm
cruisinred is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 10:15 AM
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Thanks Gpanda. I will get to my Phuket questions once I nail down Chiang Mai. There are a couple of activities we are interested in there that aren't offered on the elsewhere in Thailand, otherwise it would definitely not be on the list.

Looks like my kids won't be able to go whitewater rafting in Chiang Mai. So, maybe TECC, the treetop thing I just linked, a visit to the School for Life and the Chiang Mai markets would be enough?
Statefan is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 10:41 AM
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Thanks cruiseinred. You are the one who gave me the Thailand idea over on the Africa board so thanks! I have never finished that trip report - need to do that soon. Good thing there is no Gpanda over there administering fines...

I would have never thought of us as adventurous, but it's true we don't sit still well and do like unique activities.
Statefan is offline  
Jul 30th, 2008, 10:51 AM
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Pandas are not omnipresent. I actually have a job. The Asia forum already takes up way too much of my time. These are penalties, not fines. A subtle, yet meaningless distinction.
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Jul 30th, 2008, 11:06 AM
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I think this board needs a Trip Report Index thread a la the East Africa Trip Report Index. Since Pandas are busy, perhaps Bob could work on that in his spare time?

Ok, back to Chiang Mai. Any thoughts about where to stay when we are not at TECC?
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Jul 30th, 2008, 11:22 AM
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I like Yaang Come Village. I believe they may have a family room. Baan Orapin is another options, and I know they have a family room.
Kathie is online now  
Jul 30th, 2008, 05:11 PM
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Was just in Chiang Mai a few weeks ago. I spotted a new hotel called Bodhi Serene. It's in the walls of the old city, and they have 2-bedroom suites for around $300 a night. Looks nice, but I haven't stayed there yet.
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Jul 31st, 2008, 01:40 AM
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Statefan, Bali is great for kids -- the Balinese love them and they love Bali.

My son has been traveling to Bali for some 20 years, since he was a toddler. He was also a picky eater, but did fine on plain rice, place pasta and the occasional satay. There are lots and lots of Western restaurants for those who don't like complicated food.

Ubud and Central Bali offers a lot of nature-inspired activity that is good for kids in your childrens' age range. River rafting, hiking through the rice fields, visiting bat caves, getting upclose and personal with volcanoes, looking for birds and lizards.

Kids usually like the monkeys, too, but be careful: they can be mean and unhealthy.

Shopping for mementoes and knick-knacks is cheap and fun.

There are lots of handson arts and craft opportunities that can be tailored for kids as well as opportunities to see how things are made: jewelry, fabric, wood and stone carving. My kid was especially interested in how the complex irrigation systems operate.

Bali is full of pageantry -- dances and festivals. Kids like the drama and spectacle. You can go to a night-time masked dance that's performed by torchlight. Balinese are very relaxed about kids running around during the performances. The Barong, which is performed every day, is also a hit with kids.

And if that doesn't tire them out, all of the resorts have pools. And the best part -- babysitters! Child care is inexpensive and reliable.
marmot is online now  
Jul 31st, 2008, 04:31 AM
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Thanks for all the ideas. I definitely want to discuss Bali further once I get thru my Thailand planning.

Regarding Chiang Mai hotels, I don't see the need to go expensive here. Am I wrong? YCV and Bodhi Serene appear to be over $250/night whereas Baan Orapin and The Field Village are about half that or less. So long as the latter are clean, comfortable and kid-friendly, I think we would be fine at the lower price point.

How kid-friendly is Baan Orapin? The property and rooms look lovely, but I picture us constantly telling our kids to "shhhh" all the time for fear of disturbing the adult clientele. Also, I don't see a family room listed?

I am kinda digging The Field Village and their 2-story cottage. Anyone stayed there?
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Jul 31st, 2008, 05:51 AM
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I just returned from two weeks in Thailand. I met a family with two children ages 13 and 6. They loved Flight of the Gibbon. Another family went on the ATV tour but the wife fell off and injured her shoulder. They also enjoyed the white water rapids trip in a rubber raft. (Life jackets provided ) I opted for the calm trip on a bamboo raft.
I also enjoyed the Monkey Centre where the monkeys are trained to pick coconuts.
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Jul 31st, 2008, 05:53 AM
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I am reporting on Chiang Mai in the previous post.
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Jul 31st, 2008, 07:09 AM
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Thanks Tweety! We are definitely doing Flight of the Gibbon.

Found a bad review outside of TA that has me re-thinking Field Village. I've sent an inquiry to Baan Orapin about kids and sleeping arrangements.

What does everyone think about Wat Phra That Doi Suthep?
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Jul 31st, 2008, 04:06 PM
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I enjoyed Doi Suthep. It is about a half hour from town up a windy road.On the way back to town I saw four accidents where trucks ran off the road. When you reach the temple there are 306 steps to the top. It is possible to walk but many people take the cable car. I suggest the cable car up and walking down. It's a large complex with many things to see. We had some fun having our fortunes told by shaking sticks from a can . You have to shake until one numbered stick falls out. Then there is a chart with the interpretation of your number. You can also be blessed by a monk and receive a string around your wrist.
There is a jade Buddha which is not to be missed. The area has a lot of street venders selling interesting food items and of course tourist souvenirs.
If it's not raining, the view is beautiful. I have visited 3 times and always find it interesting.
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Jul 31st, 2008, 04:14 PM
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Baan Orapin gets excellent reviews. A number of Fodorites with children have stayed there. I believe they have a family room.

By the way I'm amazed by the price at Yaang Come Village. It's really gone up since we were there.
Kathie is online now  
Aug 2nd, 2008, 06:40 PM
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Quick dumb question - is there any reason to visit Thailand before Bali or vice versa?
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