Thailand trip with hop to Hanoi

Aug 11th, 2004, 09:28 PM
  #1  
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Thailand trip with hop to Hanoi

I'm planning a trip for 16 days/15 nights to Thailand for this December or January. We are in our 30's and enjoy sightseeing, culture, local cuisine (from street food to fine dining), and nature. The plan is to spend some time in Thailand, then take a short trip to Hanoi in Vietnam. I'd greatly appreciate any advice or comments you can give me on this itinerary:

4 nights Bangkok (Royal Orchid Sheraton)
4 nights Chiang Mai (Royal Princess)
3 nights Krabi (Sand Sun Hotel on Railay Beach)
3 nights Hanoi, Vietnam (Sofitel Metropole)
1 night Bangkok


We plan to fly to each city using Thai Airline's Discover Thailand passes (I will need 4 passes for each of us, right?) and Vietnam Airlines.

In Hanoi, the plan is to take a cooking class at the Metropole, tour the city and museums, and see the water puppet show while eating as much Vietnamese food as we can. I understand that 3 nights in Hanoi will not do Vietnam justice, but that is the only amount of time I can squeeze in on this trip. And I really really want to see Hanoi.

In Krabi, I'm looking for a nice, beautiful beach with some excellent snorkeling nearby (by boat is okay). No need for night life or shopping....just beautiful, relaxing beach and great snorkeling. Will Sand Sun Hotel on Railay beach be a good choice?

Am I doing too much for this trip or do I have enough time in each city to enjoy? We travel quite a bit. If we love Thailand...and I'm sure we will....we most likely will return and spend more time in areas that we enjoyed or missed.

Thank you!


Gecko is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 06:05 AM
  #2  
 
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I'd suggest spending the entire time in Thailand. Vietnam is a fabulous country and deserves a trip on its own. If you do that I would add two nights to Bangkok and stay 3 nights in Chiang Mai and add 2 nights in Chiang Rai. If you really want to go to Hanoi I would eliminate Krabi.

I have had some bad experiences in the Royal Princess. Room was dirty and old and had lots of bugs. If they have renovated recently it may be better. There are other decent hotels near it -- Chiang Mai Plaza and Imperial Mae Ping and Park Hotel seem to get decent reviews. I've stayed at the Imperial Mae Ping and much preferred it to. It has no charm but is clean and adequate and you can get great rates.

See if you can stay in the Towers at the Royal Orchid. People seem to prefer the rooms there. The hotel has a fantastic location.
glorialf is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 07:39 AM
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I do think your trip will seem too rushed. I would say choose three places. I'm also not fond of Chaing Mai, and would recommend instead going farther north to the Golden Triangle and staying at the Anantara.

If you do decide to go to Hanoi, you'll want more than three nights there, especially if you are doing a cooking class one day. There is a lot to see in Hanoi.

I recommend the Towers at the Royal Orchid. Your room price includes breakfast and evening cocktails and canapes. You also get free internet access in the Towers lounge. The service in the Towers is excellent.

Here are a couple of suggestions:
4 nights Bangkok
5 nights Anantara at the Golden Triangle
5 nights Hanoi
1 night Bangkok

or
5 nights Bangkok
4 nights Chaing Mai
5 nights Krabi
1 night Bangkok
Kathie is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 07:48 AM
  #4  
 
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you have a lot on your plate...only you can judge...i would cut out the beach time and maybe eliminate CM and do chiang rai (anantara) instead...i see CM as largely a shopping city...you can do that all in bkk...
the cooking classes at the anantara are fantastic--$50 each...we did only the noodle one on our last trip...

one pointer: air france has (or had) a direct flight (747) from bkk to hanoi...i used it two years ago when i went there...you might look at that...i am not partial to air vietnam air or any 3rd world airlines for that matter...enough said...
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 06:36 PM
  #5  
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I don't know why some of you talk about Chiang Mai as boring or only for shopping. We're planning on four nights and wondering if we should stay even longer. Seems that there is a lot to do in the surrounding area -- elephant camps, orchid farms, botanic garden, zoo with pandas, waterfalls, hilltop wat and surroundings, cooking schools, spa at the Four Seasons which looks amazing, khantoke dinner, good atmospheric restaurants, plus shopping at night market and elsewhere. What's not to like?
CFW is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 07:41 PM
  #6  
 
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go and have a good time....don't listen to us....
rhkkmk is offline  
Aug 12th, 2004, 08:09 PM
  #7  
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Thanks for all the replies! And Thanks for the Chiang Mai hotel recommendations...I will look into staying at the Imperial Mae Ping or Chiang Mai Plaza instead of the Royal Princess. They both look like good choices. I definitely want to see Chiang Mai, but I might consider skipping Vietnam and just staying in Thailand the whole time. Our plan isn't set yet....oh but I really wanted to do a short stay in Hanoi. I might have to extend the vacation a bit....
Gecko is offline  
Aug 13th, 2004, 05:27 PM
  #8  
 
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Other Ch Mai acco options (suggested to me earlier by tangata) are Tamarind Village - www.tamarindvillage.com. i stayed there for US$42 incl b'fast and thought it was amazing value. Booked it thru www.precisionreservations.com. Also Ban Sabai - www,ban-sabai.com. Website looks int.
hobbes is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 09:17 PM
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Hi Gecko-here's my 2 cents worthbr />
3 nights in BKK
3 nights Chiang Mai
4 nights Railay Beach (are u sure it's not Sea & Sand-nice hotel?) I dont't know Sand Sun Hotel. Take care as many places are not close to the beautiful beach at Railay West. This beach is MAGIC! You'll nedd a relax after BKK & Chiang Mai.

4 nights in Hanoi
1 night in BKK

I think you'll get a taste of Thailand & Vietnam and then you can return with a little local knowledge.
Lyndie is offline  
Aug 14th, 2004, 09:55 PM
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Gecko-You will LOVE Chiang Mai-don't listen to those who say it's not worth it-you'll see! And the CM Plaza is an excellent choice-partic. for its central location, which is within walking distance to the Night Market, and also two excellent restaurants-one, the Antique House, a lovely, romantic 100-year old Lanna style house filled with Asian antiques- and the other the Whole Foods restaurant-lovely service, set in a garden-a 5 min. walk from the CM Plaza-excellent curries, Indian and Thai food, a serene, relaxing place-you'll find yourself going there more than once. That's just for starters...
Spygirl is offline  
Aug 15th, 2004, 08:27 PM
  #11  
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Lyndie - thanks for the suggestion. We're going to try to add 1 or 2 nights to our vacation so that we can spend 4 nights at each place; but if not, I like you're itinerary suggestion the best. And you're right, I believe it's the Sea Sand or Sand Sea (there's no Sun in the name...don't know where I came up with that).

Spygirl - thanks so much for the restaurant suggestions. Mmmmm...my favorite part of vacationing is sampling as much good food as I can.

Gecko is offline  

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