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meeks Sep 29th, 2006 03:01 PM

Thailand Itinerary
My mom and I will be in Thailand from 12/28-1/11. The only thing we have planned is to go Chiang Mai from 1/6-1/11. We are considering taking a 2-3 day trip to Phuket and also a 2-3 day trip to Cambodia and the remaining days in Bangkok. Do you think we are trying to pack too much into our trip?

Also, we need suggestions on where to stay in Chiang Mai and in Bangkok. We don't need 5 star, but something mid-range and very convenient to transportation.

Any advise will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

KimJapan Sep 29th, 2006 03:16 PM

You have 10 days before you are scheduled to be in Chiang Mai. I would choose either Bangkok and Phuket or Bangkok and Siem Reap, but not both. We've usually spent 5 days in Bangkok in the past, and the last time we were there we spent only 3 days, and it was too short. There is a lot to seein Bangkok, enough to fill weeks and weeks.

If you choose Phuket, it is actually better to go to BKK first, then Chiang mai, then Phuket, as there is a non-stop flight TO Phuket from Chaing Mai, but not FROM Phuket to Chiang Mai.

Siem Reap in and of itself is at least 3 days if you want to see the major temples. More time if you want to see lesser known temples or Tonle Sap villages or visit schools or just relax. I'd allow at a minimum of 3 full days in Siem Reap, more if you possibly can.

Places to stay...there are loads of choices for every budget and every style. It would be easier to recommend places if you could let us know what your budget is per night and what style of place you like.

meeks Sep 29th, 2006 04:11 PM

Thanks KimJapan for the feedback.

Our trip to Chiang Mai is last on our trip so we were planning on staying in Bangkok first, then off to the other destination(s).

Our price range is up to $120/night. We're not too particular on style as long as it's clean, comfortable and convenient. Thanks!

KimJapan Sep 29th, 2006 04:25 PM

Since it is peak season when you will be in Thailand, you will need to choose your hotels carefully and book as soon as possible.

Start by browsing the listings at It is pretty extensive and has pictures and prices. Be sure you are reading the correct pricing for your period of stay.

In Chiang Mai, Baan Orapin or Yaang Come Village or Manathai might suit you. In Bangkok, I like the riverside hotels, but they are likely over your budget for your time period. If you could spent a bit more, you could get the Marriott Resort and Spa which gets good reviews. Also maybe look at the Shangri-la for specials, as sometimes their rates are quite good and include extras like limo airport transfers, breakfast and maybe a set dinner or river cruise dinner.

meeks Sep 29th, 2006 04:28 PM

What do you think of the hotels near Siam Square? Like Novotel or Pathumwan Princess?

KimJapan Sep 29th, 2006 04:46 PM

I've not stayed at either one but don't think there is anything wrong with them really. The P Princess is liked by people who have stayed there though. I just prefer the river location. We stayed away from the river last trip and it just wasn't the same for us. I can see staying someewhere near the Skytrain being slightly better if you really are into shopping though. Staying on the river at the Peninsula adds about 20 minutes to a shopping trip.

Kathie Sep 29th, 2006 05:23 PM

Meeks, let me say that I really agree with Kim's comments. Choose two places in additon to CM. If you are at interested in the temples at Angkor, do try to go now development is changing this amazing place.

Let me also ask whether there is a particular reason you are spending that much time in CM. Unless you are treking, attending mahout training or have a massage course or something, CM's major sights can be seen n a couple of days, and you can spend a day or two relaxing. I ask because depending on your interests, it worth considering whether you might want to reconfigure your time.

Bangkok is really an amazing city with much to see and do. Don't short your time there.

rhkkmk Sep 29th, 2006 07:28 PM

the marriott resort and spa on the river is about $136 on for your time frame....great place...

majestic grande hotel is also nice and just off of sukhumvit....

the two you list are ok but lower mid range...

how about a serviced apartment?? centre point has several locations....wireless road and silom road are two popular locations for them...

the bangkok holiday inn is well located and just reopened after a major re-do...its the one on plenochit....great for shopping...better than siam imo...

koh samui is nice for an island destination...i think you might like the peace resort there...

3 days is plenty for CM, as kathie says...

siem reap demands about 4 days tend to be expensive but there are cheaper places as well...airfare can be quite expensive without using a pass from bangkok air

Gpanda Sep 30th, 2006 05:11 AM

In BKK, we always stay on the river. Your price range is about what the Marriott and the Royal Orchid Sheraton charge. Unfortunately, no matter where you are in Phuket, BKK or Siem Riep, you're going to get socked with the mandatory New Year's Eve Dinner at your hotel (unless you stay at a dump). This will be over-priced and somewhat effected. We just considered it a Tax. Also, you should book on a website, e.g. or The price you pat will include Service and Tax. This will save you %17.

simpsonc510 Sep 30th, 2006 05:42 AM

Since you mentioned Patumwan Princess and Novotel, I assume you are interested in shopping!! (me too) I would echo the sentiments about the newly refurbished Holiday Inn. I have not stayed there, but the location is right smack in the middle of some of the best shopping Bangkok has to offer. Plus, the skytrain station is right in front of the hotel. If you want to venture down to the river for a klong tour or a dinner boat, it is easily done.

I enjoyed staying on the river in my first two to three visits to Bangkok, but since that time I have stayed in a more convenient shopping location. I like serviced apartments, which are very reasonable and come with maid service and the usual hotel amenities.


StanKase Sep 30th, 2006 07:05 AM

Unless there are business reasons or you plan a several day trek north of CM 5 days is too many, in my opinion. We were there 3 1/2 full days on our last trip and 2 days 8-9 years ago and would recommend 3 full days/4/nts. We went to see severall of the genuine hill tribes, did a 2+ hour Lampang Elephant trek (very intereting), visited Hong Dong the antique area (be careful) there are some 20 shops in about 5-6 miles but unless you know a lot they may say something is 17 century and it is 19 century and you over pay. But there are some interesting furniture factories and showrooms in that area as well. A visit to Doi Suthep is a 3 hour trip including RT drive including 1 and 1/2 hrs, there.The night market is fun for 1 night for 3-4 hours, but that's it. The restaurants are generally fair to good but no comparison to Bangkok. 5 days is only needed if you are going to take a 10-11 hour trip to Chiangi Rai and that has you driving almost 8 hours and 2-3 hours there.
You might want to reconsider you length of stay.If you are into snorkeling and beach life Phuket is a good choice for 4 full days. One day should be a trip to Phi Phi Islands for snorkeling (some of the best in Thailand) then maybe a 3-4 hour snorkel trip off the immediate Phuket area on another day.
As for hotels we stayed at fairly expensive places but the Sheraton-CM people say is mid-range and well worth their rates. We saw it and it looked quite good from the outside and driveway. Cambodia is worth a little time, 2 days, for you have to be carefully guided, in my opinion beyond Angor Wat. That leaves you 5 days in Bangkok. Of our trips to Thailand I would say 5 full days in BK on a first trip is ideal.

meeks Sep 30th, 2006 08:26 AM

Thanks for all the advise. I am going to try and lessen the days of our CM trip so we have more time for the other places.

My mom and I do like shopping but we are also interested in seeing all the sites too. We were only told about the 2 places in Siam Square b/c of the convenience in transportation. I'll look into some of the hotels/serviced apartments mentioned.

Where do you think it would be valuable to have guides (BKK, CM, SR?) Do you reccommend we book our guides now or is this something we can do when we get there?

Gpanda Sep 30th, 2006 08:36 AM

Definitely get a guide for SR. try Ponheary or dara at She may be booked, but she might recommend someone. In CM, take a look at sergeant Kai has been very helpful on two of our trips. In BKK, you can do everything fine without a guide. However, if you want to do out-of-town trips, e.g., Ayutthaya or Floating Market, a driver, such as Ratt, would be helpful.

FireDragonII Sep 30th, 2006 01:30 PM

We just gpt back from Thailand, and had also been told to spend as much time as possible in Bangkok... i must say that we were in Chiang Mai for 4 nights, and i wish we had stayed longer! Chiang Mai was an amazing part of our stay, probably the most missed now that we are back home... it was just so magical and "real thai". If you like shopping, you will love the night market. we even went to the "Airport Mall" which was a great mall for great REAL shopping and very cheap compared to western prices.
You can easily book a driver for the day to take you to all the places you want to go such as elephant camp, snake farms, hilltribes (the ones closer to the city) and handicraft villages.
your hotel will also have so much tour information that its easy to just plan when u get there.

Bangkok was real nice too.. we hung out and shopped most of the time...u get sick of temples after a while.

try to take a day tour from bangkok to the floating market, tiger conservatory and Kanchanaburi (river kwai). we booked a tour guide in advance, but in retrospect, though our guide was awesome, i think u can most likely find someone when you are there for a fraction of the price. we booked in advance for about $200 (6900 bht) which sounded reasonable to us for a full day tour. however, once in thailand, that fee sounds astronomical.
so long as u know where u want to go, just hire someone when ur there. Our taxi in CM for a full day (9-5) cost us about $40.

whatever you do... enjoy thailad!


KimJapan Sep 30th, 2006 02:33 PM

How much time you spend in each place is never enough I've found. That's what keeps us going back. Last Christmas we spent 5 nights in Chiang Mai at Yaang Come Village and 2 nights at the Elephant Conservation Center in Lampang. We could have spent the entire trip in the north, as we just barely touched upon what there is to see and do and learn there. My daughter and I will go back next summer for about 10 days, just in the Chiang Mai area again.

Bangkok is also somewhere where there is never enough time. We've been 5 5 times now and keep finding more to bring us back. It's also someplace where we can afford luxury hotels, so we spend plenty of time enjoying the pool and the nice service.

We will also be going to Cambodia next summer. We have about 10 days to spend, and we are quite torn about whether to spend it all in Cambodia or to do a 5 day stay in Siem Reap and 5 days in Luang Prabang and then go back to Cambodia and Laos again. We will probably end up in Cambodia for the whole 10 days (however short that may be) as we know our style and we know we like to settle in and get to know a place.

What I think it comes down to is knowing what you want out of your trip...what do you want to see and do. And, know what you like...if you like big cities, you will probably love Bangkok. If you prefer smaller cities, Chiang Mai will probably be better. If you don't normally like cities, you'd be better off limiting your city time. Do you like to move around a lot or do you like to settle into a place? Is this trip the first of many you will take to the same area, or is it once in a lifetime? In deciding how to spend your time, you need to consider all of these things carefully.

KimJapan Sep 30th, 2006 02:51 PM

:) We've been to BKK 5 times not 55 times :)

meeks Oct 1st, 2006 03:58 PM

Thanks for all the feedback. We now decided upon our itinerary:

BKK 12/28-1/2
SR 1/2-1/5
Phuket 1/5-1/8
CM 1/8-1/11

I know we're doing a lot but we want to get as much in. What is the best way to book our SR & Phuket flights? I keep hearing about the Discovery Airpass, can we use this for these flights? Are there any restrictions? (We already booked our CM flight so we don't need to worry about that one.)

meeks Oct 1st, 2006 04:30 PM

I just checked Bangkok Air and they don't have any available flights from SR to Phuket. I'll have to look elsewhere for that flight.

KimJapan Oct 1st, 2006 04:38 PM

Bangkok Air is the only airline that flies between Siem Reap and Bangkok. Your alternatives are to change your dates, go over land (takes a day), or to fly to Phnom Penh (or take bus, about 4 - 6 hours) and fly to Bangkok from there. Then you can fly to Phuket from Bangkok. Bankgok Air does list one flight as REP - HKT, but it stops in BKK. You could try to take one of the other flights out of REP to BKK if you haven't tried that already, then connect to HKT.

You could use the Discovery Pass if there are available seats....they are restricted, and it is peak season so they may even be gone already.

meeks Oct 1st, 2006 04:46 PM

Thanks KimJapan. I just started reading other posts that said that Bangkok Air was the only flight to SR. =(

I'll try and change our dates.

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