Thailand, Cambodia and Laos

Mar 28th, 2015, 02:02 AM
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 443
This is the url of the fake web site‎
It is not fake as such, but they masquerade as the real Lao airlines site. Don't book with them. is the real one

Please do not volunteer. We who live in in SEA see so many of these organisations, charities, orphanages. Nearly all of them are fake.
Vientianeboy is offline  
Mar 28th, 2015, 07:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,776
VB is right, there are lots of fake volunteer "opportunities" that make money off of volunteers. I recommended because it is a genuine charity that supports eduction for Cambodia children. Read about it on the website.
Kathie is offline  
Mar 28th, 2015, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,891
I realize I am in the minority here, but we spent 2 full days at temples and felt that was fine. While AW had always been a place I was dying to see, I actually ended up enjoying many of the smaller temples far more. As I recall the Land Mine museum did not take a long time to visit.
I agree BKK has a lot to see and do and is very "buzzy" but if you don't want a big city experience, you may be fine with 5 nights. Coming from NYC I understand that you may want to escape big city living. I used to feel that way when traveling - enjoyed being in smaller towns and the countryside to most big cities.
We were in Hua Hin last year. It was fine and we enjoyed the nice park a bit outside of town.
If you are using the BKK Air Discovery flights, Laos air flights are included so be sure to check. As I recall, it saved us quite a bit of money.
yestravel is offline  
Mar 29th, 2015, 05:33 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
It's hard for me to answer your question as we went to Siem Reap for the temples. But because I had heard of Ponleary/PLF on CNN Heroes, when I realized that she was so near Siem Reap, I decided that spending the day helping her kids was something my family and I would be honored to do. I added one temple and the Landmine Museum, which was fantastic as I learned so much history as it pertained to the war and the continuing struggles of so many, because they were close to the school PLF chose for us. And as I said, we explored Pub Street and other downtown locations by strolling around when we returned from the temples. Though many guidebooks seem to say that there is nothing to do in Siem Reap, we found the food fantastic and the way of life fascinating and fun to watch. Plus everyone wanted to talk to us and I find these sorts of interactions to be one of the main reasons why I travel. And like someone said, the temples of Angkor are no ordinary temples. I would not call myself a temple person and the visit will remain one of my top favorite trips and I'm just so thankful and honored for it.

In terms of Hanoi, it would be a totally different choice but it is a fabulous city. You could easily fill 4 nights with something unique and exciting to do every single day. I do not think you could go wrong with this choice if you really feel like Cambodia is not the right choice for you and your daughter. I'm not sure what your routing should be but I do think you would love Hanoi as most people do.

Good luck.
Lolazahra is offline  
Mar 29th, 2015, 05:40 AM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
I misread you question as when I went back through the whole thread, you are talking about adding Hanoi by taking days off of other places. It's still hard for me to answer, but I stick by my thoughts that Hanoi is a great city.

You can look at my hotel choices under my trip report for hotels. I loved them all except for Hanoi. The ones in Siem Reap and Luang Prabang had great, great pools and were favorites!
Lolazahra is offline  
Apr 5th, 2015, 03:22 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 87
Hi Everyone,
Thank you for all of your help so far.
Here is our itinerary:
4 nights Bangkok
4 nights Laung Prabang
2 nights Hanoi,1 night Halong Bay
3 nights Siem reap
4 nights Ko Samui or Hua HIn probably Ko Samui
I have a couple of questions:
I am putting this trip together by myself.
Wondering about Hotels?
In Hanoi, many have said that there are better places to stay then at the Metropole.
I would love a suggestion.
In Bangkok, I have booked the Ariyasama. It is #1 on Trip Advisor, but for 27 more dollars we can book The Peninsula -any thoughts? We tend not to like big hotels but this may be different as its reputation is so good.
In Siem Reap, we are staying at the Shinta Mani Resort. Any thoughts?
Laung Prabang-not sure any suggestions? Looking at The Laung Say Residence or The Sen Boutique. We like to have a pool. But, am concerned about location, particularly if it is rainy.
Ko Samui-no idea. Maybe Code?
Would love your thoughts and I know that I will have other questions, I am just trying to settle the "bones" of the rip.
Much Thanks
Patrissimo is offline  
Apr 5th, 2015, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 32,776
In Bangkok, I always recommend that first-timers stay along the river. The Pen is well-recommended, but there are less expensive places that will also give you the full view of the river. Personally, I would put little stock in a place being #1 on Trip Advertiser.

The Shinta Mani is excellent in Siem Reap,

In Hanoi, many here love the Elegance chain of hotels in Hanoi. That said, the Metropole is very nice, I certainly wouldn't recommend against it.
Kathie is offline  
Apr 6th, 2015, 01:16 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 597
I am one who was underwhelmed by the Metropole. It is a beautiful and historic hotel and is nicely located, but I was not impressed with the service as it was hit and miss. Also, our rooms and suites were strangely laid out. And lastly, it was the least impressive breakfast buffets of all of our hotels and Asia really impresses with their breakfast! Unfortunately, I did not research any other options as I had heard such good things about the hotel. I would definitely consider another choice based on this forum and Trip Advisor. And Kathie is right, many people mention the Elegance Hotel Chain and say fantastic things.

In Luang Prabang, we stayed at Hotel de la Paix and loved it! It was not on the main strip but a 10 min walk and 5 minute tuk tuk ride to all of the shops/restaurants/markets. It was such a nice private oasis with large rooms and suites, a great spa, beautiful pool and great restaurant. I cannot say enough about it! With that said, I have also heard wonderful things about the Luang Say Residence as well and I did consider it.

In Siem Reap, we stayed at the La Residence d'Angkhor and enjoyed it very much as well. It also had an oasis and lush feel and a wonderful pool and fantastic staff. The food was a highlight as well. But like Kathie said, you cannot go wrong with the Shinta Mani should you choose it.

You have confirmed a really nice itinerary. Enjoy!
Lolazahra is offline  
Apr 7th, 2015, 05:55 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 9,891
We stayed at the Hotel Elegance Diamond in a jr suite and very much enjoyed it. Very reasonably priced, fabulous staff and very nice room.
yestravel is offline  
Apr 7th, 2015, 06:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 87
Once again, thank you. I will be back in touch as I continue to plan.
Patrissimo is offline  
Apr 8th, 2015, 08:53 AM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 84
Our family just returned from an adventure in Thailand and Cambodia. One thing I may recommend is a tour guide to get your feet wet in Bangkok and a guide to the temples in Angkor Wat. Both of our guides on private tours are former teachers who spoke English very well and they were flexible and interesting. It made our first trip to South East Asia so meaningful and navigable. I'd be glad to recommend our guides if you are interested. No commission or interest here, just a helpful hint.
Mutti is offline  
Apr 13th, 2015, 06:12 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 87
Hi Mutti,
That would be fantastic. i would so appreciate the recommendations. I was thinking to some guides.
Patrissimo is offline  
Apr 14th, 2015, 02:12 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 84
Hi Pat,
Our guide company in BKK was Your Thai Guide and we used guide Swai. Don't be put off by his bio pic. He was delightful, helpful, flexible and diplomatic! He spoke a lot about the lineage and lives of the Kings. It was important to learn about who built what. At times it was a bit much but we were able to move him along. He was wonderful in helping us eat street food, learn about his country and showing us what we wanted. Often he would show us a correction in our course to prevent us from wasting money or time. We used public transit most of the time and enjoyed using the same transit as the citizens. I would highly recommend him.

Our guide in Siem Reap for Angkor Wat and the surrounding area was Angkor Journeys run by a delightful woman, Kanha Reath. We chose her because of it being a woman run business and her excellent reviews. What a great choice! We had a personalized itinerary which was flexible. She showed us all we wanted and more including a temple where we were the only people touring and a night market which where to my observation, we were the only tourists! She was diplomatic, very knowledgeable and a wealth of information. Kanha added so much to our visit to her home country and I would recommend her in a heartbeat!

I hope these names help. Again, no interest here, I just want to promote these fine people who made our trip so interesting.
Mutti is offline  

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