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Tickets to BKK booked. Now the details for 15 days

Tickets to BKK booked. Now the details for 15 days

Sep 30th, 2011, 03:06 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
Tickets to BKK booked. Now the details for 15 days

We finally made a difficult decision and have happily booked our tickets to BKK this January.

We arrive in BKK January 15th early in the morning. Our son will join us the next day. We have until January 30th, when we leave BKK very late at night, to enjoy this part of Asia. I think we have a nice amount of time to get a feel for Bangkok, the surrounding area , Siem Reap and Phnom Pehn. Can/should we add anything else?

We are tagging along to a partially pre-planned itinerary of our son, which has him leaving Phnom Pehn the 31st of January.

We will need to separate from him before that to get back to BKK in a timely fashion.

My initial thoughts are the following but I would appreciate everyone's advice as to how long or short to stay in these places, or if we can squeeze something else in.. on our way to the next destination.

Bangkok 5 nights
(visit Ayutthaya?)

fly to Siem Reap 4 nights
(Overnight at Battambang on way to PP?)

bus to Phnom Pehn 2 nights ( our son will stay two more)

fly to Bkk January 29 staying 1 night to catch flight next evening.

We hope not to get templed out and add some scenic variety to this. Any ideas?
We still have 3 nights to fill. Chang Rai? Chang Mai? Island? We would like an active vacation during some of the days. I have seen some nice bicycle tours in the countryside which sound enticing.

We plan to use a car and driver/guide many of the days in siem reap and hopefully two days with Tong or someone similar in BKK.

If you think we are too long or too short or too repetitive in this itinerary , please advise. Thanks!
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 30th, 2011, 03:48 PM
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I'm sure you'll have a wonderful trip!

I wouldn't visit Ayutthaya while you are in Bangkok unless you are real fanatics for ruins. You'll see far more spectacular ruins in Cambodia.

Bangkok is my favorite city in the world. It has lots to offer. What to do depends on your interests. I'm not a fan of using guides generally though I do employ guides on occasion. Bangkok is easy to navigate on your own. Places like the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Po and Wat Arun are easy to access via water taxi. Other places on my must-see list include the Jim Thompson House and the Erawan Shrine, both accessible via Skytrain.

If you are especially interested in the arts of SE Asia, I'd highly recommend the Prasart Museum. It's a private museum, you must make a reservations in advance. They schedule only one party into the indoor/outdoor museum at a time and a docent will accompany you. It's located outside of Bangkok so you'll need a good taxi driver (who will call for directions and wait for you) or hire a car and driver for the day.

For your 3 extra nights, I'd suggest the Anantara at the Golden Triangle (you fly into Chiang Rai). It's a lovely setting, and you have the chance to interact with the elephants on the grounds.

Note that in Siem Reap, you will need to decide if you want a guide or just a driver (driver and guide are always different people) or a guide for one or two day and not for the rest. Do buy Dawn Rooney's book, Angkor: A guide to Cambodia's Wondrous Temples. It will help you plan your time in Siem Reap.

Also, do you know about www.theplf.org - you may want to consider some time with this wonderful organization.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 30th, 2011, 04:01 PM
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Thanks Kathie. I will look into flights to Chang Rai. It sounds nice.

The plg: I have already contacted the agency.. as i had hoped to stay in asia for an additional 5 weeks but I have not been able to swing that dream trip. This will have to do, and I am sure it will be satisfying.. always leaving more for next time!

Do you think the time periods in each place look "right"? I was thinking of a driver/guide to go one of the floating markets in Bangkok? It didn't look very easy to go on public transportation..

I will look into the Anantara. Thanks for the suggestions!
lincasanova is offline  
Sep 30th, 2011, 07:10 PM
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If you go to the floating market, use one of the well-regarded drivers or guides (e.g., Ratt or Tong). I'm not fond of the floating market - to me it's just a tourist trap - but some people love it. The people who have liked it most went with Tong or Ratt. Using a driver or guide makes the most sense for things you want to see/do outside of Bangkok.

I think your times in each place look good.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 30th, 2011, 08:35 PM
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i think it looks perfect...i would bag AY as after siem reap it would be a huge let down...

ask tong to take you to the "secret place" too.

how about hua hin for 3 nights...an easy drive by taxi, bus or train from bkk...the hyatt is very nice there... i like the beach there too
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 30th, 2011, 11:31 PM
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so.. going to bag AY.. ( it would be before siem reap.. but was still worried about getting "templed out").

I will keep that in consideration about market. I had read about another one that is only open from 4-7am as being very interesting and practically tourist free due to limited time opening.

I have been looking a bit more in doing Cambodia a little deeper since there is SO much to see in Thailand ( and requires mostly flights).. that it might be easier with fewer planes and a bit cheaper to do more of Cambodia this time after BKK and outskirts.

Thanks for the suggestions so far.
Tentatively.. unless my family decides on some beach time.

BKK 5-6 nights
fly to siem Reap 4-5 nights
bus/driver to Battambang 2 nights (?).. beautiful countryside
bus/car to PP 2
fly to Bkk 1 before flight.. need to save something good for last full day in bkk
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 1st, 2011, 03:09 AM
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theangkorguide.net after Angkor everything else will bore you.

Consider some beach at the end perhaps Zolitude or JW Phuket

Find good deals on Marriotts betterbidding.com

Looks well crafted though have fun,
qwovadis is offline  
Oct 1st, 2011, 06:54 AM
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the traibn market is also interesting for an hour or so on way to floating market or secret place
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 1st, 2011, 01:51 PM
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Getting templed out:

There are at least two of you going so follow this advice:
Know thyself and thy partner when it comes to temple viewing.You are going to be outside in the heat. Personally I find the temples in BKK far more interesting that Angkor Wat. For me I would be templed out in a few hourts, for my wife it would be 1 hour.
BillT is offline  
Oct 1st, 2011, 02:08 PM
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And after a week at Angkor we were still excited about seeing more temples. Bill is quite right - know thyself.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2011, 11:20 AM
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It is so hard "to know thyself" in relation to such a new experience. I do know we need to combine biking or something outside of seeing buildings, temples or whatever. Good food, ( I have had to chuck most/all of the street food idea after reading posts here) interesting scenery and a slow pace in between the intense touring will suit us.

We did a fun canopy walk in two jungles/parks in Malaysia.. wouldn't mind something along that line. We are not beach people but i am aware there is some awesome scenery around most of the islands. We do like to kayak or snorkel.. but haven't really thought if we will incorporate that into this trip as it would involve two more flights that at this point I am not sure I want to deal with .

I think the islands are best left to another whole trip, but once I present all this to the family (three of us) we will certainly keep all your suggestions in mind. Thank you for the time to help me see the whole picture more clearly. I will keep our options open for the time being.

Hmm. BillT. An hour of temples and done? Now you've got me a LITTLE worried! Actually, my family will "follow me" and say ""yes" to almost anything I plan, as with all the wonderful suggestions and itinerary ideas ( along with restaurants and activities) I have arranged for on past trips they were very happy. I must be careful not to overdo this and ruin my reputation!

I see Kathie was happy with even more time. But the rest of you? How much can the average person "take" of visiting temples?
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2011, 12:23 PM
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Compared to my wife, I have a pretty short attention span when it comes to temples but I have now been to Angkor twice, once for 4 days and once for 5. For me the key to not getting bored was to intersperse the temple visits with other activities. A trip out into the countryside, to Tonle Sap lake, local markets or simply back to the hotel for a dip in the pool. Visiting the temples is best done in the early morning and late afternoon - less heat and better for photographs (unfortunately, everyone else has teh same idea!). The last time we visited we hired a tuk tuk driver for a couple of days and he took us to some lesser temples in the early afternoon and they were virtually free of other tourists.

My favourite temple trip of all is to get on a public boat at Saphin Taskin in BKK and go upriver to Wat Po and then to visit the massage school just outside the walls.

You mentioned bicycle tours in your OP - we really enjoyed a day outside of BKK with http://www.absoluteexplorer.com/index.htm also starts from the "train market" which was interseting.
crellston is offline  
Oct 2nd, 2011, 01:35 PM
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thanks, crellston. I know it is hard to recommend amounts of time for such a unique setting. From past experience I have also found we really need to do a variety of relaxing but stimulating activities on such long vacations.

I was gearing more towards a car for the three of us as I think ti is dusty.. and not sure how comfortable three are n a tuk tuk or if we would have to get two anyway.

I appreciate your observations and also the bicycle rec in BKK.
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2011, 07:23 AM
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Here is a suggestion- have your traveling party look at photos of Angkor Wat and get some feel from them about how much time they would like to spend exploring these temples. If you are still not sure about how much time to spend I would err or the safe side- maybe two days. If you book more time and find out that your party is bored quickly you maybe stuck. If on the other hand it was too short there is always the possibility of a return trip there in the future.
BillT is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2011, 07:35 AM
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I think we will stay in the area the 4 nights or so as planned, and have a couple side trips planned and intersperse them with the temples and play it by ear. seems there is plenty to do, along with the plf.org charity to visit or spend some time hearing about. So.. thank you AGAIN. I happen to have a lovely National Geographic magazine that highlighted Angkor Wat with a great map and history.

I can start visualizing our days now. The more I read and tentatively plan, the more I can see a nice trip developing.

This is all very exciting!
lincasanova is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2011, 10:32 AM
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I rather agree with BillT, as I'm not sure I would be very excited about spending DAYS looking at ruins. It isn't in my DNA, I guess. As Bill said, know thyself and your travelling companions (as best you can).

Me? I'd do maybe two nights. I've never been. If two nights were not enough, I'd probably be happy to plan a return.

Just my opinion.
simpsonc510 is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2011, 04:44 PM
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my opinion... i like temples in short doses... i did not tire of AW, because each area is so different and there are many areas... what i did tire of was the dialog from the guide which went on and on, and on and on. i finally asked K to tell him to shut up... i wanted to enjoy the place with my eyes... i did not need the "stories"... some ok, but not one after another...

i am not suggesting not to have a guide as i feel it is essential for troop movement, knowing the ins and outs and best locations and best places to go when, at what time of day.. but start out with an agreement about how much you want to "learn"... some people like me prefer to enjoy..

i thought 4 days was perfect...
rhkkmk is offline  
Oct 3rd, 2011, 05:07 PM
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We didn't use a guide at all at Angkor. We had both studied Dawn Rooney and other sources extensively before we went. Our driver took us where we wanted to go, recommended when to avoid some places, etc. So if you are only looking for logistics, a driver alone can do this for you.

Also, not all guides are alike - some talk ceaselessly, others meter the amount of info they give you, but you'll have to give them feedback.

Since it takes three full days just to see the major temples, I'd recommend that for a first visit. It's expensive to get to Angkor, so giving yourself enough time to see the major sites seems like a good idea, knowing you can take time out to do other things. In any case, you'll take a long break at mid-day for lunch and a dip in the pool at the very least. Unless you or your companion get templed out after a single temple visit, you can probably fill three days enjoyably at Angkor.
Kathie is offline  
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