Trip Report 11/4 - 11/18

Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:31 AM
  #1  
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Trip Report 11/4 - 11/18

Hi all - I have not posted before, but have gotten so much incredible information from everyone on here I thought I would give you my trip report so those looking for info can get the same help I did. A big thank you to everyone who continues to post great information on Thailand - it was very helpful in planning our wonderful vacation and first time to Thailand!

Days 1,2,3 - Bangkok
We stayed at the wonderful Old Bangkok Inn. We loved this hotel and would definitely recommend it. It was in a great location and our hosts were so warm and welcoming after our (30 hour!!) trip from Colorado.
Over our three days in Bangkok we visited the Grand Palace, Jim Thompson House, Chatuchak Market, Khao San road, Wat Pho. We ate at some great places - the Chabad House and also Hemlock. For us, Bangkok was good for three days, even though we probably only got a taste for the city, but we are not really city people and were relieved to get out of the smog and traffic. I would recommend taking as many river taxis and canal taxis as possible to avoid the congested roads. And actually, I think that is where we had the most adventures when we hopped on a river taxi to see the city from a different perspective and see where it would take us. We also took a smaller canal boat which was quite a way to commute!

Days 4,5,6,7 - Chang Mai
I would have to say that Chang Mai was our favorite area of this trip and wished we could have traveled around a bit more to Chang Rai and the Golden Triangle. (Hopefully next time!)
While here, we visited tons of temples while exploring the city. We loved Doi Suthep and Wat Phra Singh. We also went to the Mae Rim area to the elephant camp and orchid farm. We got a great deal through a tuk tuk (of course!) to have another driver take us around for a day although we did have to stop once to look around a store so he could get his stamp, we didn't mind.
My husband spent another day golfing with his own caddy at the Green Valley golf course. I spent that day at the Santiva Spa - a wonderfully relaxing place!
We stayed at the Baan Orapin. Again, what a great hotel! We loved the location and charm of this place. We were right near the river and right across the bridge was the Warorot Market which we spend time shopping and I had a dress made at one of the tailors upstairs. It’s a fantastic market to get lost in for an afternoon. We had great meals at the Riverside (great nightly cover band!), Good View, and La Villa.
And, one evening they closed one of the main streets inside the city (not sure if it was a just a street fair or festival) for a local evening market and we did most of our shopping then. We found some great deals!


Days 8,9,10,11,12 - Phuket
We stayed at the Kata Palm Resort. It was a great hotel and right around the corner was the beach. Compared to Chang Mai, Phuket seemed way more touristy, but a cute town plus the beaches are incredible. Over these days, we took a boat trip to Ko Phi Phi, rested on the beaches, and rented a car one day. Driving in Thailand was quite an adventure in itself. They don’t seem to have strict rules on the road and the unlimited passing was a nail biting experience as they seem to have about five lanes on a two lane road. (My husband would like to try out that driving style at home just to see the reaction!) We drove up to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Center/Bang Pae Falls, then to Hat Mai Khao and down to Hat Nai Yang. These areas were beautiful and the beaches were practically empty. We found a great restaurant in Phuket Town called Lemongrass and another great place called Lotus. Lotus was directly on the beach and had incredible, and reasonably priced food. We also did tons of snorkeling, which was stunning. Next time, we both really want to go diving.
On a side note, I would highly recommend the Nancy Chandler maps as we found these to be invaluable as first timers. They are available at bookstores and we got ours from the Old Bangkok Inn.
Overall our trip was no less than amazing. Although there are so many places we in the world we want to go, no doubt we will go back to Thailand sometime.
Feel free to e-mail me any questions if I can help – and thanks again to everyone who posted such great information.

Happy travels!
Amy
amyd88 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for reporting back!
eurotraveller is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 11:53 AM
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Glad you had a great trip! Happy Travels!
Guenmai is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 12:10 PM
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Glad you had a great time. Thanks for the report. Your willingness to share your experiences is what makes this forum so informative and fun.
Gpanda is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 03:28 PM
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Lovely report and glad you had such a good time. I'll be at Baan orapin for 10 days in jan-- can't wait!
glorialf is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 04:40 PM
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I really enjoyed your report. I like hearing about new restaurants that have not been mentioned here before, so thanks so much for sharing.
Carol
simpsonc510 is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 06:25 PM
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thanks for your report...
rhkkmk is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 08:36 PM
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Hey Amy,
We are from colorado too, and your interests sounded similar to ours. I had a few questions for you about Phuket since you were recently there.
1. How was Ko Phi Phi? Still a lot of destruction after the tsunami?
2. Where was your favorite snorkel location in that region and what did yous see?
3. How far is the Gibbon rehab center? Was it worth seeing? We don't plan on driving like you guys, so do you know of tours that can take you there? Did you see any other wildlife?
Thanks. We are going there in April.
koala is offline  
Nov 23rd, 2005, 09:16 PM
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glad you had a great time...are you going back?
hawaiiantraveler is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 03:06 AM
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Can you please tell us more about the Old Bangkok Inn? Thanks a lot.
Mealea is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 06:51 AM
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Amy, Great report - thanks! Could you tell us more about the Chiang Mai tailor? Most people seem to have clothes made in Bangkok and I was curious as to why you chose Chiang Mai and how satisfied were you with the results? How many fittings did you have - I see you were in Chiang Mai just four days. Thanks again. (I too will be at the Baan Orapin, in February, and can't wait!)
althom1122 is offline  
Nov 24th, 2005, 11:20 AM
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Amy, I too would be interested in more info about the tailor, (name, price? as we probably won't be over our jet lag enough in Bangkok to hunt down a tailor, but we will have time in Chiang Mai, as we are there 5 days. Or if any of the regulars have any suggestions, that would be great! Thanks
Joan5000 is offline  
Nov 25th, 2005, 03:45 PM
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Hi there -
Regarding the tailor - I walked through the Warorot Market and went to the second floor above all the bagged snacks and spices. (Based on the Nancy Chandler map.)I had to ask a few people where I could find someone. Around the outside of the second floor there are many stalls of women who are tailors and I found one that spoke pretty good english. I drew her a picture of what I was looking for and she also had a bunch of picture books to look at. They measured me and told me how much fabric to buy. I went downstairs and right around the corner to the fabric section of the market. I really felt like this was the hardest part - I did finally find some pretty red silk and fabric for a lining for the dress. I would recommend finding fabric first if you understand sewing and know how much to buy for what you are getting made. Back upstairs, they told me to come back for a final fitting three days later. Then, I tried it on for a final fitting & I waited for her to finish up and that was it. The cost of the tailor was about $25 USD, the fabric was about $15 USD. The dress is beautiful - and I love that it has a story to go along with it.
The reason I went to the tailor in Chang Mai is just that we were more acclimated by that time, and we had more days in CM. We also felt that overall the shopping in Chang Mai was better compared to Bangkok. I am sorry I don't have a name of the tailor but if you have some time to wander the Warorot Market, I am sure you will find someone great.

Regarding the Old Bangkok Inn: Make sure to check out their website. www.oldbangkokinn.com. This hotel is adorable, very affordable, clean and eco-friendly!! I believe it only has 8 rooms and each have their own theme. Nantiya and Joey are the owners and are just incredibly warm and friendly - we felt right at home. You may want to do a search on this board, which is how I found out about it. Let me know if you need some specific info - happy to help.

KOALA: (here are some answers for you)
1. How was Ko Phi Phi?
It was incredible - beautiful white sand and crystal blue water. Great snorkeling in several places around this island and Maya Bay. We did a tour with a group. I will say that it was quite busy the day we went with all the tours - not sure how to avoid this.
Still a lot of destruction after the tsunami? Not that I could tell at all.
2. Where was your favorite snorkel location in that region and what did yous see? I loved Maya Bay even though it was very touristy. It was such clear and calm water. We saw tons of different fish, sea urchins, and the reef shark that comes around since unfortunately people tend to feed the fish.
3. How far is the Gibbon rehab center? This was about 45 min from Kata. Was it worth seeing? We loved it since we both love monkeys and the organization does great things for exploited monkeys. You don't really get to see too many monkeys up close though since they are trying to reintroduce them to the wild so it's better to not have too much human interaction. There is also a short hike to a pretty waterfall so that adds to the trip. I did not see any tours that went to this area. I would recommend maybe negotiating with a taxi driver and pick out several different locations around Phuket that you want to go for a day trip. If you do decide to rent a car, we did it through our hotel and it was about $40 for the day.
Did you see any other wildlife? Hard for me to really call it wildlife, since we were more on the touristy end of things - but over our travels, we saw fish, monkeys, birds and elephants. : )
I hope this helps - let me know if you have any other questions - I am happy to help out. I am sure you will have an amazing trip there. I would love to go back soon. By the way, what area of Colorado are you from?? Small world!
Amy



amyd88 is offline  
Nov 26th, 2005, 06:43 AM
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Thanks Amy for all your suggestions. I am now considering having a dress made too. I'm guessing they would do any sort of pattern you chose, as long is it worked well with silk. Maybe I'll do a nice top to wear with other things.
I think we have decided to stay in Krabi, but maybe we'll do a day trip to Ko Phi Phi for snorkeling and such. My husband and I live in the Denver area, so we really like to go on vacations where we have beautiful scenery, and since we have no kids in tow yet, we though Thailand would make a good next trip. Thanks again.
koala is offline  
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