Thailand - Tour or Independent

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Mar 3rd, 2004, 11:47 AM
  #1
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Thailand - Tour or Independent

Hello. This is my first time writing. Thank you for all of your valuable information. My husband and are thinking about a trip to Thailand. We found a company through budget travel magazine for a trip to Thailand for 17 days, including flights, some meals, travel, trekking, etc. for $1,400.00 (details of trip at www.djoserusa.com). The trip begins and ends in Bangkok, and goes to the river Kwai, Ayutthaga, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, etc.

Both my husband and I have traveled a lot, but have never been to Thailand. My question for you experienced travelers to Thailand, does this offer sound interesting, or would we be better off, planning this trip on our own, doing our own thing? Also has anyone ever heard of this company? are they reputable?

Thank you very much in advance to those of you who answer.
ANACLETO is offline  
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 12:46 PM
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I looked at the website and here is my reaction:

The first thing I noticed is that 17 days shrinks to 12 days because they include the time in transit to and from the USA, and because after that long and exhausting flight the only thing you're going to want to do the first day is sleep.

Airfare from LAX is somewhere around $650, which leaves $750 with which to cover the 12 days' activities and accomodations and travel, or an average of $62.50/day. That's a whole lot of money in Thailand unless you're staying in a luxury hotel, which is not the case here. Domestic travel is by bus or train, which is also extremely cheap.

I'm a confirmed budget traveller. I always go for the cheapest hotels so I can spend my money on the things that interest me. I've never spent more than 800 Baht/night, about $20, and have been completely satisfied with my choices (A/C included at that price). Obviously you can spend more if you so choose. I've spent as little as 150 Baht/night, $3.75, and have been pleasantly surprised at the quality I got for my money even though I had a fan instead of A/C. One important point: In Thailand the rooms are rented out by the day, not by the person, so it doesn't matter if you travel solo or with someone, the price of the room is the same.

Treks can be arranged as you go, you certainly don't need someone to do that for you for a profit. If Chiang Mai is where you want to go, just take the train there and you'll easily find a good hotel and lots of travel agencies that can help you book a trek into the rainforest. Travel around the country is easy and cheap. Beach resorts are too. The country is small enough for you to go from Bangkok to any destination they list in one day or less. Koh Samed is not that pleasant an island because of overcrowding and poor infrastructure. There's a lot of garbage on the beaches. This itinerary totally ignores So. Thailand's beautiful islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea, where fantastic bargains can easily be found.

You are required to pay for your own meals so that shouldn't factor into this evaluation other than to say that for the amount of money per day you would be spending for the tour you can also eat like royalty if you do it on your own.

Go by yourselves. Take the money you'd be paying out in profits to DJOSER and spend it on whatever interests you. Plan your itinerary to suit your desires and you won't regret it. It's easy to do in Thailand. Have a great time.

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Mar 3rd, 2004, 01:57 PM
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You mentioned that you and your husband have travelled a lot but you didn't mention your experience at independent travel. If traveling by tour group is what you are used to doing, it's difficult to know in advance if your first excursion of independent travel will be enjoyable.

However, if you have had at least several enjoyable experiences travelling independently and are at ease dealing with the occasional minor inconveniences that arise when travelling in a foreign-speaking country, you will surely enjoy independent travel in Thailand. For what it's worth, though my wife are experienced at travelling independently, we had never been to Asia until February when we had a fabulous 3-week independent trip to Thailand.

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Mar 3rd, 2004, 07:14 PM
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i think we need to know more about you...sorry...that is very cheap...airfare from usa will be $600 to 1200 on your own...where are you coming from? without looking at the hotels and the plan i don't think you will like them unless you want extreme budget hotels....probably they would not even measure up to a hotel 6...just guessing....it is very hot and humid all the time in thailand so you need excellent a/c...a must...

what would you want to pay for a hotel...excellent hotels are around $100 er nite...nice hotels are 60-100...lux places are 100-300...lots in the 100-150 range...for instance i have an aarp rate at the sheraton on the river in june for $75/nite in a junior suite....my marriott stay with breakfast will be about $95 per nite and the peninsula about $170 per nite...all three of these are very exceptional hotels....

independent travel in thailand is easy and relatively inexpensive....at least when you compare it with usa and european travel...food is very inexpensive....you must eat in decent places however and watch what you eat...there is every kind of food you can imagine in thaliand, especially in bangkok....a dinner that would cost me $150 in boston would be $40 in bkk....
a dinner for $40 in boston would be $12 in bkk.....all quality stuff...

shopping is great in thailand....

there are beautiful beach places in thailand like koh samui and hua hin...flights from bkk are cheap on thai air $136 r.t. bkk to koh samui for instance....

askspecific questions and we will help you...

the tour is probably ok but you may be inconvenienced with their hotels, etc...

this is my take
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Mar 3rd, 2004, 07:48 PM
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i couldn't resist...i looked at the site...WOW...that is a whirl wind tour...you have no time in bangkok which is too bad....i always suggest at least 3 days in addition to your arrival day (late at nite usually) and the following day....it takes you that long to adjust....
how about this: arrive, stay 3-4 days in bkk...fly to either chiang mai or koh samui for 3 days or so....go back to bkk for a couple of days and then fly to the other place for 3-4 days....this would give you a fabulous holiday and really let you know thailand...jamesA may have suggestions for you too...
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Mar 4th, 2004, 07:21 AM
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Thank you for your answers so far. I can see that planning for ourselves would be much better. By the way, we live in San Diego, so I think a roundtrip ticket might be approx $650.00. Thank you.
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Mar 4th, 2004, 08:17 AM
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rhkkmk's suggestion of 3 days in Bangkok is a good one. If that interests you, check out this internet special from the Watana Mansion. It includes pickup and return to the airport, breakfast and 1/2 hour internet/day. That pickup is priceless when you're so exhausted from the long trip. Their rooms are clean, have A/C, TV, fridge and full bath. The hotel is a middle-class hotel used by Thais and tourists alike. There's a pool, restaurant and mini-market. You can easily get anywhere you want to go in the city by cheap metered taxi. I've stayed there 3 times and would do so again. I always save the return to the airport for when I leave the country, by staying there one more night after my vacation in Thailand. They don't mind this and it takes the hassle out of leaving. It's also situated in Bangkok in a district where you can't get caught in a nasty traffic jam on your way back to the airport.

http://asiatravel.com/thailand/watanamansion/
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Mar 4th, 2004, 07:22 PM
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thai air flies from the west coast so you might check them out directly and see what kind of deal they could offer you, including a limited package...my first trip to bkk was on northwest and we had the flight, plus 5 nites hotel and a 1/2 day sightseeing for one set price....hotel was the royal river which was adequate....after the 5 nites we moved to the marriott for about $85 nite and really enjoyed it...on our way back for out 6th trip in 10 years....we must like it...
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