Thailand Itin help and advice!

Old May 27th, 2013, 04:32 AM
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Thailand Itin help and advice!

Hi Fodorites. My hubby and I are traveling to Thailand in Nov. (from NYC) and are interested in some advice on our plan so far. Goal is to see Thailand's beauty and culture. Would like it to feel authentic.

In terms of beach, we like to relax and have peace - but also have some nice options for a little town or village for walking around, exploring, dinner and such after the beach. Don't like clubs, drugs or seediness but don't want total seclusion. We would be ok to take transportation somewhere as long as it's not too far. We want our hotel to have a beautiful beach that feels like authentic Thailand and where you can arrange to go snorkeling or scuba diving.

Lastly, my hubby owns a restaurant and we love to eat and try lots of different foods. Are there any culinary areas we should check out aside from the below?

Are we on the right track here? Too much or too little in any one place?

Day1 - arrive 1am in BKK. Thinking of staying at either Peninsula or Mandarin Oriental. Thoughts? Explore city.

Day 2 - explore BKK and possible Tour with Tong. Trying to decide which one. Full or half? Tiger Temple???

Day 3 - BKK during the day and then flight or overnight train to Chiangmai - any recos for either travel option? Hotel in Chiangmai not selected yet.

Day 4 - Chiangmai - possible tour

Day 5 - Chiangmai - cooking class?

Day 6 - elephant nature park - possible overnight there. Has anyone done that? How rustic is it???? Is it better to just do a day trip?

Day 7 - flight Chiangmai to Phuket, then boat to Ko phi phi

Day 7-11 Ko Phi phi - at either Outrigger Ko Phi Phi or Zeavola (too secluded?). Also heard good things about Ko Chang but it seems Ko Phi Phi is more beautiful - thoughts or recos here?

Day 12 - flight to BKK

day 13 - BKK to NYC

Nothing is solid yet so would appreciate advice, expertise, suggestions.
Thanks in advance.
Pixie106 is offline  
Old May 27th, 2013, 06:34 AM
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good outline...

I will not speak to CM, cause I really don't like it...

the beach however I can speak to: we love the jw Marriott in khao lak and will be there in November for a week... 1.25 hours drive north from Phuket airport.. I prefer to rent a car.. K/L is a lazy town with some good local restaurants... the hotel also serves good food.. fab beach and 3 kilometers of lagoon pool...

I have a restaurant guide if you want it for review, let me know at: [email protected]

we arrive in bkk on nov 7 for our 17th visit there.

in prep for your trip go out to Queens to Ayada Restaurant; 77-08 Woodside Ave.; Elmhurst; 718-424-0844 for a nice thai meal.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 07:34 AM
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You basically have two days in Bangkok. And you are thinking to spend one day with Tong. I don't think you have nearly enough time there. If you want to go to the floating market and the train market with Tong, that's half a day. Personally, I think the floating market is a total tourist trap, but people who have gone with Tong have liked it. I would not visit the Tiger Temple. (if you are considering it, you might google for some info about it.)

What do you want from your time in Chiang Mai? Clearly you want to visit one of the good elephant camps. Both well-regarded camps (Elephant Nature Park and Thai Elephant Conservation Center) offer over-night stays in very basic accommodations, as well as options for a day or half day at the camp.. If you are staying at the MO or the Pen in Bangkok, I'm guessing you would find the the accommodations at both to be too "rustic" for your tastes. There are a couple of well-regarded cooking schools in Chiang Mai (There are also excellent cooking classes in Bangkok). What do you want from your "possible tour" of CM? I think Doi Suthep is a must and there are some interesting wats inside the old walled city.

Unless you love trains, take the quick flight to/from CM. The flight is an hour, the train about 12 hours, and you probably won't get a lot of sleep.

I keep trying to figure out how to get you another day in Bangkok - you could visit wats for a half day in CM, and do a cooking class for the other half day, freeing a additional day for Bangkok, or you might do your cooking class in Bangkok (take a look at the Blue Elephant cooking class in Bangkok.). IF it were my trip - and it isn't - I'd save CM for next trip and split my time between beach and Bangkok for this trip.

Your plan for PhiPhi sounds fine.

While this is your first trip to Thailand, I expect it will not be your last.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 11:48 AM
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Re "authentic" beach (!) see http://www.fodors.com/community/asia...ith-family.cfm
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Old May 27th, 2013, 01:40 PM
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I could never get Tong to respond to my requests for a tour.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 02:51 PM
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tong is fantastic
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Old May 27th, 2013, 02:54 PM
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If it were me, I'd skip Chiang Mai and do Bangkok with one or two day trips. You can always visit Chiang Mai on a future visit. Like rhk above, it is not my favorite place. Bangkok has tons of restaurants for foodies, so you would have plenty to occupy the extra time you spend there. Any tour with Tong will take an entire day - take my word on this. I think the tour to "Tong's secret place" is the the best one but I have not done the tigers. The floating market is good for newbies and can be done with the secret place and the train. You can do your cooking class in Bangkok - Blue Elephant has a good one.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 09:57 PM
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In Bangkok Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit gets my vote, much better poistion, get the exec package and free soft deinks all day, hour happy hour with live Jazz, one of the best Thai restaurants in the world, great pool service etc etc.
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Old May 28th, 2013, 04:09 AM
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I agree with Kathie about Tiger Temple.

I was crazy about Chiang Mai's old section, with its wats, massage spots, night market, museums, eateries, etc. I have not stayed n Bangkok, so I can't compare the cities.

Re ENP, yes, the accommodations are rustic, but above the level of roughing it. For our week's stay, my husband and I were assigned a large, motel-like room with a private bath. These rooms are contained in a lean-to like structure, and are not very sound-proof. Nothing fancy, but a comfortable bed. I think if you're used to luxury, you will not be happy here. If you were expecting lodging akin to camping, it will be a treat... We absolutely loved the entire experience!
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Old May 29th, 2013, 02:50 AM
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Thanks everyone. So helpful! I just booked our flights into and out of BKK and were able to get an earlier flight that lands in BKK around 6pm so at least we'll get another dinner in Bangkok!

In terms of ENP, I don't mind roughing it (for a night or 2) as long as the accommodations are sanitary, beds are clean and there's a place to shower. Would ENP fit that bill? I'd love to spend some time with the elephants.

I am still very confused about where to beach it. I keep hearing that we should not go to Phuket. While KoPhiPhi looks pretty, none of the hotels are standing out to me. Is there a place with gorgeous beaches, a boutique hotel and good diving that might be a better choice than KoPhiPhi? Speaking of KoPhiPhi, has anyone stayed there? Do you think it's what we are looking for?
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Old May 29th, 2013, 03:46 AM
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When we went to ENP, couples and families were given the large rooms with private baths; singles had shared baths; we didn't see their rooms. We were anticipating a mattress on the floor and a shared bath, so it seemed like the height of luxury! It was very clean.

It's always so exciting to have airline reservations in place. It makes it seem more real to me, some how.
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Old May 29th, 2013, 06:38 AM
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Do a search here for posts about Koh PhiPhi. There are a number of posters here who feel it is heaven on earth. Other places to consider are Krabi and Khoa Lak. On Phuket there are a number of boutique hotels that would fit what you are looking for: Amanpuri and Mom Tri's Villa Royale (look at the Dao Dung Suite).
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 03:58 PM
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Thanks everyone. Appreciate all feedback. I have been doing lots of research and find myself even more confused about which beach to head to.

Originally I was thinking Ko Phi Phi but have been reading that it's way overdeveloped and the water is polluted and crowded with long tail boats. Then I was looking into Koh Samui. Has anyone been? Are the beaches beautiful? I looked at Ko Chang but didn't love.

Can anyone help? Is there a beach or hotel you love that would fit the above bill for us? Budget is around $400 or less per night.
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 06:01 PM
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I would not do Samui at that time of year. Not the best weather patterns at that time. Phuket, Khao Lak and Krabi will have better weather. Scenery offshore at Krabi is amazing, with karsts and tiny islands with beautiful sandy beaches (you can go out to visit them by longtail or speed boat).

Do take a look at Dao a Dung villa at Mom Tri's Villa Royale (although it is probably already booked out) overlooking Kata Noi Beach on Phuket. Mom Tri's is fabulous, but I highly recommend one of the named suites instead of the newer section of the resort. The named suites have more Thai flavor IMO and feel like pure indulgence. Your budget may/may not cover the cost for one of these suites... but they are heavenly. I've experienced two of them. Ahhhhhhhhhh........
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 06:24 PM
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I visited the Tiger Temple and played with the tiger cubs. It was an absolute highlight of my trip. There are supposedly doubts about how the tigers are treated but I never saw anything to support. Those cubs were SOOO cute!
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Old Jun 6th, 2013, 07:32 PM
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all but the most exclusive, expensive hotels would be way under $400... I usually try to pay $100-200 per night...

I made a res for jw Marriott khao lak for nov 20-28, 2013 last December for $111. per night incl. breakfast.
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