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Thailand/Siem Reap - First try at Itinerary and transportation questions

Thailand/Siem Reap - First try at Itinerary and transportation questions

Old May 15th, 2007, 05:12 PM
  #1  
jgg
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Thailand/Siem Reap - First try at Itinerary and transportation questions

Just beginning to plan out our itinerary for a trip to Thailand and Siem Reap for next March. We are a family of four, kids will be 12 and 15. This will be our first trip to SE Asia. The information on the Asia boards has been incredible and helped us to eliminate the beach and add Siem Reap instead. This is a basic itinerary, but thought I would run it by you guys along with a few plane questions.

Would arrive BKK at 6:40am on Sat. from LAX. Stay in BKK for 4 nights.

Fly BKK to Chang Rai on Wed., stay there for 4 nights, planning on Anantara.

Fly Chang Rai to BKK, then BKK to Siem Reap on Sunday, stay in Siem Reap for 4 nights.

Fly Siem Reap to BKK on Thurs., spend last two nights in BKK.

Fly home from BKK on Sat. at 7:40pm.

I think we would try and take a later flight out of Siem Reap (maybe the 8:05pm Bangkok Air flight) so we would have an extra full day in Siem Reap, and then just one last full day in Bangkok.

My biggest question /dilemma is getting from Chang Rai to Siem Reap. There does not appear to be one airline that I can fly from Chang Rai to BKK to Siem Reap on. The airline with the best prices and the best times to fly RT BKK to Chang Rai appears to be Air Asia. I have read a lot about them being late, so wondering if 1.5 hours in between the Air Asia flight from Chang Rai to BKK and the Bangkok Air flight from BKK to Siem Reap is enough time, otherwise I would have to do a 5.5 hr. layover, which seems silly for two flights that are only about 1.5 hours each.

Thanks for any advice.

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Old May 15th, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Hi jgg. I think our trips are mirroring each other. We went to Thailand and Cambodia last year. We just got back from Morocco a couple of weeks ago - and had found your notes very useful.

Seems like a nice relaxing agenda. I don't know the Chiang Rai too well though. We rented a car in CR and drove a few days to Chiang Mai.

We had a similar connection issue with the same airlines. We'd flown Air Asia (which we liked just fine by the way) to CR and then again from CM back to Bangkok. We had almost exactly the same amount of time to change over to a Bangkok Air flight. Speculation is that Bangkok Air has a pretty good deal going with the monopoly on that route that benefits both sides, airline and Cambodian authority... so probably your only choice for some time.

We made a 90 minute connection. Barely. We'd gone out to BKK airport - the old one - a couple of days before to pick up the tickets we'd purchased online. So we had those in hand, at least. You don't pick them up at the check-in counter as I recall. So we made a mad dash from the domestic terminal to Bangkok Air check in, then into the international terminal. Barely. Could be the new airport has made that run easier, but I don't know.

Anyway, as a side note, as nice and relaxing as we found Thailand, we really fell for Cambodia and wished we'd spent the majority of our time there. Everyone's different of course, and we did have time we spent going through parts of Cambodia besides Siem Reap and Phnom Penh, so that colored our view a bit more in a way that just the tourist center around Angkor might not have. Still, if you had the time, and considered going via PNH (where Air Asia also goes, and for much less), you might consider it.

On the other hand, I've seen some people say they don't like Phnom Penh, so... well, it's another possibility.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 07:09 PM
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I like your itinerary. You've given yourself enough time to get a real flavor for each place.

If it were me (and it isn't) I'd fly Thai Air from CR to BKK. One and a half hours with a transfer from domestic to International is iffy (at best) - especially since I understand that Air Asia will NOT transfer your luggage to Bangkok AIr. The one other thing to check is to make sure that the CR to BKK flight arrives at the NEW airport, as that is the airport that you'll fly our of to Siem Reap. Even though you'll ahve a long layover, the new airport is very nice and there are lots of shopping and eating venues.
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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jgg
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Clifton - So good to "see" you over here. I'm glad my Morocco report helped you, and glad to read that you had such a fabulous time. Thanks for the comments about Cambodia. It is hard to decide where to go, my husband keeps saying we should look into Vietnam, but I think we will have to save that, and more of Cambodia for another trip. Did you write a trip report for your Thailand/Cambodia trip? Do you have the link?

Kathie - Thanks for your comments on our itinerary. I don't like to fit in too much but really get to explore where we are, and since we have decided to cut out the beach, I'm hoping we will be able to have atleast some downtime a few afternoons during the two weeks to relax by a pool.

The problem with the Thai Airways flight from Chang Rai is that there is only one flight per day and it doesn't get into BKK until 5:10pm, and the last Bangkok Air flight to Siem Reap is at 6:10pm, that is even shorter layover. Air Asia has several flights each day, I'm just thinking we should probably take the later flight to Siem Reap and do the long layover.

The Air Asia flights say they fly into BKK does that mean it IS the new airport or could it be either? I tried to look on the site but can't find any specific info. there.

One other question, how far in advance is it necessary to buy these inter-Asia flights? Do they change their schedule often? Since flying on two seperate airlines in the same day, want to be sure I don't get messed up if the times change - another reason to go with the long layover. And, the Air Asia flights BKK to Chang Rai are currently $24 RT (I know not incl. taxes & fees). The Bangkok Air flights RT BKK to Siem Reap is about $300. Is that about the normal fare?

Thanks again!
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:03 PM
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at first blush i think you should go directly to chiang rai on the day of arrival, even if you are tired....do your resting there as generally there is less to do....save your full energy for bkk....just reverse the two and keep the two days in bkk at the end too...this would also solve your flight problem??
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:12 PM
  #6  
jgg
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rhkmk - We were posting at the same time. I have considered that option, I just think ideally I would like to spend, what I anticipate to be the most relaxing part of the trip, in the middle. By am open to all suggestions. What do others think?
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Old May 15th, 2007, 08:30 PM
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The Bangkok Air flights are expensive. No other option for non-stops.

You could go to the Anantara first - very relaxing. It would solve some airline problems.
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Old May 16th, 2007, 10:37 PM
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Well, I "kind of" wrote a trip report. But not on Fodors. I got through the logistics and hotel stuff, then got sidetracked by life. Things don't bode well for me ever getting a Morocco one put together based on past experience, but we did have a great time. Hearing the calls to prayer circling around me, eching across the medina of Fez at dusk has to be one of the most surreal things I'll ever experience. So I do want to write it...

Anyway, here's what I *did* finish if the Thailand/Cambodia trip. Not sure the entire url will link, so you might have to cut and paste the address if it doesn't.

http://p099.ezboard.com/feuropetogof...icID=122.topic
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Old May 17th, 2007, 11:14 AM
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jgg
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Clifton thanks for the link - it works! Don't have time to read it all at the moment, but will get back to it shortly. Really does sound like you fell in love with Cambodia.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:46 PM
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Not sure where you are living, but if you go to the Bangkok Air web site, they have a 'Asia Pass' fare which allows you to fly around Asia for less. We flew from Chaing Mai to Siem Reap for a lot less than posted rates. Flights must be done before you arrive in Thailand though.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 02:53 PM
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The pass you are referring to is the Discovery Pass, and you must fly three legs on Bangkok Air to be eligible for it.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 03:11 PM
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jgg
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live42 & Kathie - thanks for the tip. I had already read about their Discovery Pass. Unfortunately, it won't work for us as we are just planning on doing BKK, Chang Rai and Siem Reap. Bangkok Air doesn't fly in or out of Chang Rai, so we would only have two legs - BKK to SR and back. We have just decided to do the really long layover in BKK. I'd rather be patient and wait in the airport, then be rushed and miss a connection and have to buy new tickets!
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:16 PM
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Hi jgg,

We did the exact same trip in the reverse order with our kids, 13 and 16. Take a look at my trip report and I'll be happy to answer questions.

http://tinyurl.com/32jm4q

We had a 90 minute connection SR-BKK-CR (Bangkok Air-1-2-Go)and went through customs, picked up our luggage, checked in and made our flight with no worries.

That said, our Bangkok Air flight left SR early and you will be traveling in the other direction.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 05:19 PM
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P.S.

Take a look at the 1-2-go schedule. I think there's a possibility for a slightly longer layover if you're nervous.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 10:13 PM
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jgg
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crosscheck - Thank you. I have read your trip report and found it informative and hilarious!! My husband never bothers to look on Fodors or read trip reports, but for Mother's Day I told him I wanted him to read your trip report!!

Thanks for the suggestion of 12Go. Right now they are only booking through Oct. 2007 and the flight is only 30 minutes difference from the other flight I was looking at, but things may change as we get closer to the date, so I will keep them in mind. Also, 12Go flies into Don Muang and I think Bangkok Airways (to Siem Reap) flies out of Suvarnabhumi. Does anyone know how long it would take to get from one to the other?
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Old May 24th, 2007, 11:17 PM
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Have a good run with traffic and you can travel between both airports by taxi in just over half an hour but l would allow a minimum of 1 hour if l had to get a connecting flight, longer if relying on an airport bus.
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