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Thailand/Hong Kong Itinerary and Questions

Thailand/Hong Kong Itinerary and Questions

Oct 11th, 2004, 10:12 AM
  #1  
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Thailand/Hong Kong Itinerary and Questions

I've been silently perusing this forum for the last three months and have found it increadily helpful in planning my trip to Thailand and Hong Kong in late November/December. I've come to trust some of the individuals on this forum more than my travel agent. So thank you all for your advice! I have a few questions for which I would love your input. First, our general itinerary is as follows:
Nov 20-24 (4 nights/3 days): BKK, Penninsula
Nov 24-28 (4 nights/3 days): Chiang Mai, Sheraton
Nov 28-Dec 1 (3 nights/3 days): Phuket, Banyan Tree
Dec 1-4 (3 nights/3 days): Hong Kong, Penninsula

My questions are:
1) Dining in BKK - My husband and I are big foodies and there are so many excellent choices. Definitely have MahaNaga on the list as is Baan Khanitha. The concierge at the Penn recommended Bed Supper Club, anyone have experience? Is Le Normandie really world-class dining, or is it over-rated?
2) rhkkmk recommended Jack the tailor in the Marriott. My husband would definitely like to use him. If we only have 3 days in BKK, is this feasible? We will be passing through the airport one week later, but I don't know if that helps. PS, rhkkmk: we are also from Boston - Go Sox!
3) We currently have 3 full days in BKK, and about 4 full days in CM. I'm concerned we will regret not having more time in BKK and that 4 days is too much time in CM. I'll be 4.5 months pregnant by then, so that rules out out the 2 day trek we'd originally planned. Should I try to switch our flight? If we only have 3 days in Bangkok, is the trip to Ayutthaya worth it? Would definitely hire Ratt for the day to do it.
4) CM hotels: Four Seasons was sold out, so I booked the Sheraton. Would have booked Tamarind Village, but read about mosquito issue on this forum. I'd rather stay somewhere with more Thai charm, but am concerned that the smaller local hotels may not offer the same level of western comforts that I might want being pregnant. Any suggestions?
5) I know this is the Thailand forum, but we'll also be spending 3 days in Hong Kong. Where is it better (i.e., cheaper) to shop for items like men's suits, gems or jewelry, and designer clothing?

Many thanks in advance for your advice!
mjs76 is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 11:50 AM
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I stayed at the Sheraton in CM when it was a westin - sorry, we were not impressed at all. The hotel was swamped with a conference, service in the restaurant was terrible and the upkeep of the hotel poor. Have you considered the new Mandarin Oriental in CM?

I'd go for 4 days in Bangkok and 3 in Chiang Mai


Hong KOng - designer clothes outlets are EVERYWHERE. With just 3 days I would suggest avoiding having anything other than shirts made as it isn't long enough to get the fittings in.

Upmarket shopping centres - The Peninsula has a small arcade but also v good and much larger is the landmark arcade next to the Mandarin on the island. But Nathan rd adjacent to the Peninsula you have 100s of designer shops.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 01:06 PM
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I agree with Walter - give yourself more time in Bangkok, less in CM. Bangkok is a vibrant city with lots to do. With only three or four days in Bangkok, I'd save Ayutthaya for another trip.

Shopping is MUCH better and MUCH cheaper in Bangkok than in Hong Kong. You've probably already found messages about my jeweler in Bangkok, JS International. If shopping is a priority, spend more time in bangkok.

As I'm looking at your itinerary, I'd even suggest cutting out CM altogether and spending one extra day at the beach and the rest of the time in Bangkok. Then you'd have enough days to go to Ayutthaya.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 05:52 PM
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i think if you work with jack he will be able to do what you want, but you must see him on day 1...e-mail him for an appointment...he is there most days from about 10AM to 8PM or later...

i too would cut back on CM....if you have a driver there it will make it much easier for you and baby....there are many as you exit the airport....

i stayed in the sheraton about 3 or 4 years ago....it was nothing special but was perfectly adequate...it is not the kind of place i would choose to eat other than breakfast, which was ok.. location while not central is also ok....much better than 4 seasons, although that is a fabulous hotel... i don't know about the new oriental...make sure it is not a knock off....

dining---i've never heard of maha naga?? where is it and what kind of food....i thought i knew bkk food pretty well...
our favorites: biscotti in the 4 seasons; harmonique off new road; the outdoor thai rest. at the penn---an absolute must!!; jesters at the penn....crepes and co on soi 12, sukhumvit rd; gallery gourmet, off soi 39, sukhumvit rd; the indian restaurant and the mexican restaurants in the rembrandt hotel, soi 16, sukhumvit rd (excellent sunday brunch at the indian); celedon at the sukhutoi hotel; this should give you plenty of choices....harmonique is easy to get to from the penn....
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 05:55 PM
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gpanda will be mad if i don't mention gallery cafe which is in back of the sheraton---also easy to get to from penn....thai food as is harmonique...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 06:10 PM
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I was a "silent peruser" as well, and have just returned from BKK. The advice I got on this forum definitely beat my travel agent's. I agree with previous restaurant suggestions--Thiptara at the Pen (Thai) is very special, and Harmonique is a great for lunch.
aliioops is offline  
Oct 11th, 2004, 07:20 PM
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You do have a nice trip planned! In my opinion Le Normande is not overrated...we loved the food and top service not to mention the view over the river and lights.Another place we always go in that hotel is the buffet on the terrace...lovely at night by the side of the Chao Phrya river, especially at the time of year you will be there.Also the Spice restaurant in the Regent Hotel is good.Enjoy!
Peteralan is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 02:37 AM
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Ok, my 2 bits :

(1) I enjoyed Chiang Mai but would consider dropping it from this trip b'coz (a) the Sheraton is at best average and if u would have liked the Four Seasons I think u will be disappointed; the Mandarin is new so i have no feedback on it yet and (b) your time in Bkk is short. Else def reduce it by a night and add that night to Bkk.

I am one of the people who consistently recos MahaNaga on this forum as I love both the food and the ambience - sit outdoors as this weather it will be fab. Bed is a great experience and good food - just so u know what to expect u are served your meal on mattresses on the floor, akin to beds. In case u have any food allergies or anything u are not supposed to eat DEF make them note it when u make a reservation (which u def need) as it is set course meal. I always enjoy Bed so would say go there for a "different" restaurant experience. Bkk is cheaper and a better place for shopping than HK for everything u mentioned except designer clothing - I find HK is more current and has more selection on designer wear. Your choice of hotels is great except as mentioned above CM. In Bkk u could also consider going to the Face Bar for good Thai or Indian food.

In HK (this is the Asia forum, not the Bkk one!) for a different restaurant experience go to Da Ping Huo - pull up my earlier thread on "home kitchens".
hobbes is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 05:48 AM
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I would spend a little less time in CM and more time in BKK. I stay at the Sheraton CM everytime I am there. The breakfast buffet is fantastic! I happen to like this hotel very much. We upgraded to a suite the last time (in June/July of this year) and will do that again! The suite was huge!

I also can recommend the Bed Supperclub for an unusual atmosphere and great food. The menu is not huge, but everything is fresh and delicious. They have a "surprise" menu on weekends. You have no idea what they will serve you. They come around and ask you if there are any foods you can NOT eat!!! I thought that was quite unusual (and I DO have some strange food allergies so I really did appreciate it). The Bed is like a spaceship. You literally eat sitting in "bed."

Shopping in BKK far surpasses HK, IMO. Hong Kong is just tooooooo expensive. But it is a beautiful city to walk around. Also, if you can, take the city bus to the "other side" of HK island. There is a small market past Repulse Bay. I can check my journal for the name, if interested.

Upscale shopping abounds in BKK! You can go to Gaysorn Plaza (at the Chitlom skytrain station) or to the Emporium at Phrom Phong skytrain station. You will find your Chanel, LV, Prada, Gucci, etc and more. For your more "normal" shopping, there is Central Chitlom dept store (which has a great lunch buffet on top floor). There is also Siam Discovery and Siam Center, and then there is MBK!!! MBK is unlike anything you've seen elsewhere!

I don't know if you've dug into past threads on this forum, but I have a thread on restaurant recommendations from my June/July trip. I will try to find it and top it so you can read it.

Have a great time on your trip!
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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I think the market Carol is talking about is Stanley market. It is a fun experience and some great buys - table and bed linen, Chinese crafty stuff, kids clothes, but none of the stuff u ahve specifically mentioned. There is a direct bus to Stanley from Central - no 6 and is a great bus ride, very scenic esp from the top of a double decker.
hobbes is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 09:28 AM
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The new Mandarin Oriental in CM is pitching itself as a direct rival to the Four Seasons.
Walter_Walltotti is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Walter, do you know if the Mandarin Oriental is actually open yet in CM?
Kathie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 11:57 AM
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Thanks, Walter. My experience with new hotels in Asia is that the opening is always months later than they predict! I've had reservations a couple of times at places a couple of months after they were to open, and the hotel had to call me to let me know they wouldn't be open yet! I look forward to reports on this new hotel in CM.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 01:32 PM
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Thank you all for the suggestions! I've pushed our flight back one day to extend our time in Bangkok (at no charge from Thai air!). We felt like we just couldn't cut CM out completely - at least not on our first trip to Thailand. So now we have 4 days BKK / 3 days CM.
Walter, thanks for the suggestion on the MO. I had called back in August and heard that it wouldn't open until December (too late for us). It looks pretty fabulous from the website. I will give a call to find out the exact date - maybe they'll be ahead of schedule for a change (although I won't hold my breath). If not, we'll just stay at the Sheraton and it will be what it is.

Thanks to rhkkmk, aliioops, Peteralan,hobbes, and Carol for all the restaurant and shopping suggestions. I'm making some recommendations ahead of time and taking a list of your other suggestions to have while there. Hobbes and Carol have sold me on Bed Supper Club - looks like a fun experience but, more importantly, sounds like the food is great. MahaNaga as well - rhkkmk, website is: http://www.mahanaga.com

Kathie - thanks for the tip on SJ International. I'm looking for pink sapphire for a cocktail ring. Sounds like this would be a good buy in BKK. I have decent stone knowledge - would you recommend lookig for a loose stone or a finished piece? Thanks!

mjs76 is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 05:01 PM
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When you go to SJ, ask to look at loose stones as well as at ready-made pieces. I often think I get better stones when I buy loose stones and have them set. You can either have SJ set the stone or you can bring it home to have it set. I do find that the prices for setting stones in Bangkok are very reasonable. You should have fun looking for a pink sapphire! You may want to get to SJ early in your stay so thay will have time to set a stone if you want. By the way, they will set stones and deliver them to you at your hotel. I've done that many times.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Hobbes, MahaNaga looks beautiful and the menu sounds delicious! Is it expensive?

CFW is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 06:50 PM
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i will look at the MN website ...also my jewerler would be glad to help you with stones.....we use thai stone jewerly which is in the lobby of the very grotty nana hotel which is in the first block of soi 4, sukhumvit rd (nana stop on skytrain)...porn is our saleswoman or mr lee....it is small and family owned....not a huge place like kathie's jewerler....
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 07:01 PM
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restaurant looks quite nice...how are the prices?? maha naga
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 12th, 2004, 10:48 PM
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OK.. definitely go to Baan Kanitha..how are you going from Hong Kong to BKK? I was looking at Eva Air and evidently they don't do it..
Skaye is offline  

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