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Traveling to Thailand with 18 month old, few questions

Traveling to Thailand with 18 month old, few questions

Old Jan 5th, 2011, 01:34 PM
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Traveling to Thailand with 18 month old, few questions

My husband and I were originally planning to go to Thailand in Nov/Dec 2008, but the BKK airport was closed the day before our planned departure because of the protests. We finally decided to take the trip that we originally planned with a few modifications since we are now traveling with a toddler. We are planning to go in mid/late Feb, so I would like to start booking airfare and hotels soon.

Our original itinerary was BKK to Siem Reap to Chiang Rai to Khao Lak in 2 weeks.

Since we are now traveling with a toddler, we're planning to take a few more days for the trip so we would have 4 nights in most places, rather than 3. We're also thinking it would be better to spend our first night at an airport hotel, then head directly to the beach the next morning to relax after the very long (and potentially stressful) flight from Newark.

If we go to the beach first, does it really matter in what order we do the other destinations? We're thinking Bangkok, Siem Reap, then Chiang Rai. Are there any advantages for going in a different order, i.e. fewer flights, connections?

Also, we originally picked Khao Lak as our beach destination because we love snorkeling and wanted to go to the Surin Islands. However, I think the boat ride to will be way too long for our son, and we will have to take turns snorkeling no matter where we go. I'm wondering if Khao Lak is still the best beach destination given our new situation? We would like to go somewhere laid back with beautiful scenery, and somewhere that's not too tough to reach since we will have already done a lot of traveling. Are we better off going to Krabi or is Khao Lak still a good choice? From my brief reading, it sounds like it takes about 45 minutes to get to the beaches of Krabi from the airport and about one hour to Khao Lak so it doesn't seem like there is a big difference in terms of travel time. Is one location more scenic than another?

I'm sure I will have many more questions, but I think this will help us firm up our general itinerary.
marsfelder is offline  
Old Jan 5th, 2011, 08:13 PM
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I take it you will be flying between spots but may I suggest that if you plan to rent a car, international license needed - most times, or travel other than by plane that you consider buying a car seat in the US and taking it with you and just leave it with someone when you return. They are very expensive in Thailand and few rental companies have them.
ricefieldradio is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2011, 08:19 AM
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Too much traveling in 2 weeks, especially with a toddler ... you will be exhausted. I'd do Bangkok, Hua Hin & Chiang Mai/Rai

Khao Lak is an hour north of HKT while KBV is the airport serving the Krabi area. For your regional flights, get the Discovery Air Pass from Bangkok Airways: http://www.bangkokair.com/plan-your-...ry-airpass.php

For transportation in the south of Thailand, I'd rent a car ... SUV preferably. See my friend's (David) travel report including Chiang Rai and Khao Lak: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/thail...k-bangkok.html

We also travel with a toddler, our photo sets are here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalboz/sets/ places in Bangkok that are fun for toddlers including: Funarium, Siam Ocean World's aquarium and Safari World.
Kalil_Daoud is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2011, 08:34 AM
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If you stick to your plan of Bangkok, Chaing Rai (I'm guessing you are thinking of the Anantara at the Golden Triangle), Siem Reap and a beach, you will have a lot of travel time. For instance, there is no direct way to get between Chiang Rai and Siem Reap. It will take a plane change. Really, the only place you can fly directly to/from Chiang Rai is Bangkok. Likewise, you can fly between Bangkok and Siem Reap, but there are no non-stops from Siem Reap to any place else in Thailand.

I hate to suggest dropping Siem Reap since Angkor is absolutely incredible, but it will be the hardest place with a toddler.

If you stick to Bangkok, Golden Triangle and a beach, I think it is do-able.

Now, which beach? I agree with you that Koh Lak is less practical with a toddler. You might consider Krabi, as you can fly there from Bangkok and the scenery is beautiful.

Hua Hin is an option. People like the fact that you can drive there in 2.5 hours from Bangkok, but the beach is not nearly as nice as as the beaches on Krabi/Koh Lanta/Phuket. Especially if you are interested in snorkeling I'd recommend against Hua Hin despite the presence of very nice hotels.

Some people do like to rent a car while at the beach, but unless you plan to do a lot of driving (not usually what you go to the beach for), use taxis.
Kathie is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2011, 09:03 AM
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i see no difference between krabi and khao lak....k/l takes about an hour and 1/4 from the phuket airport.... depending on where you go in krabi, the time is less, but it really is not an issue at either place... beaches are equally nice...

the meridien and jw mariotts are very nice in khao lak....the sheraton and sofitel are nice in krabi--sheraton the nicer imo.. plus the amari vogue is fab...

i am concerned that you are going too many places... i would stick to bkk and a beach area for 2 weeks...

stay on the river in bkk....my fav is marriott resort and spa with a nice pool... a new cheaper option is the novotel...but sheraton, hilton, shangri-la, peninsula are all good options too...

you might want to consider a serviced apartment in bkk....cheaper and nicer in some ways than a hotel and it would give you more room with a baby: centre point silom, marriott mayfair, conrad, marriott sukhumvit park, emporium suites, chatrium (i just sayed here--its on the river and a very good option with boat to skytrain), adelphi suites and many others...
rhkkmk is offline  
Old Jan 6th, 2011, 01:07 PM
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Thanks everyone for the suggestions and feedback!

If we have to drop one location, I think we would probably skip the beach or Chiang Rai rather than Siem Reap even though Siem Reap is a little tougher to reach. I will talk to the hubby tonight, but my vote would be to skip the beach and possibly stay at the Marriott Resort & Spa in Bangkok. We could spend the first day recovering from the long flight by lounging at the pool.

For our trip two years ago, we were planning to stay at the Anantara at the Golden Triangle, but the rates that I have seen are much higher this time around. Not sure that we will be able to afford it. This place looks nice, albeit a little remote: http://www.phu-chaisai.com/

Any other suggestions for places to stay near Chiang Rai or the Golden Triangle (preferably below $150/night)?
marsfelder is offline  
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