two week thailand trip

Oct 8th, 2003, 09:20 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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two week thailand trip

My husband and I are planning a two-week trip to Thailand to celebrate our 20th anniversary.
We've read many opinions on hotel choices in Bangkok but still cannot decide- we have a very good rate from the Regent. We would have to pay $85.00 more to stay at Sheraton Royal Orchid. Should we pay more for Sheraton just to be located on the river? We will spend 3 full days in Bangkok. Two days touring the city, temples, grand palace, shopping etc.
One day we would like to venture out of Bangkok and are thinking about going to the floating market. Also we hear much about Ayutthaya. Is it possible (and does it make sense) to combine a day trip to both these areas?
Next we will go to Chiang Mai and do a 2 day trek (private). Are we going to be constantly approached to buy things and will this dominate our experience? We were hoping that on a private trek, the guide would be able to minimize this - are we fooling ourselves? After the trek we will stay one more day in Chiang Mai, hire a guide and see the SanKamphaeng area. We are interested in shopping for large wooden crafts (animals) any recommendations?
Finally we will spend 4 nights in Phuket - Hotel choice is between The Chedi (hillside room) or the Sheraton Laguna (garden view room). It will cost us about $100.00 more to stay at The Chedi. Is it worth it? We do not want to be surrounded by many hotels and thousands of tourists - we want to relax, lie on a beautiful beach, have access to good snorkeling, kayaking, sailing etc...
Next Phuket question - should we book day trips to Phi Phi over the internet or when we arrive? Same question about Phang Nga? Is it possible to hire private guide/kayak and which outfit is the best?
With all the information given above, do you think that we have approached a first time visit to Thailand properly?
We look forward to your replys, suggestions and comments
Thank you!
firsttime is offline  
Oct 9th, 2003, 03:05 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hi

My wife and I have been to Thailand on vacation a couple of times. I can't give you much info on the hotels but I have posted a couple of long trip reports with pictures on my homepage www.gardkarlsen.com. Maybe you can get some useful information there

We have been to both Samui and Phuket and I have to say that I thought Samui was better than Phuket. Krabi (Ao Nang) is also an option if you are looking for something quiet

Hope you'll have a great trip.

Regards
Gard
Stavanger, Norway
gard is offline  
Oct 30th, 2003, 07:17 PM
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Have you considered the Oriental or Peninsula? I think it is probably worth it to pay extra to stay at the oriental but not the sheraton. Consider going to the Ancient City - is an interesting mini tour of thailand on a tram. You will not be harangued by hawkers. If you go by private car you can do Ayuthya in half a day at a hetci pace and have the rest of the day to do something else. if you do the river cruise to Ayuthya - which is very nice - it will take all day.
Sameera_Anand is offline  
Oct 30th, 2003, 07:37 PM
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It's hard for me to imagine that you'd have to pay $85 more for the Royal Orchid than the Regent. You can stay at the Royal Orchid for about $89 a night in the regular rooms. I always stay in the Towers (includes breakfast, cocktails and hors d'ouvres, free laundry, etc), and I'm getting a suite in the Towers for under $200.

My recommendation is always to stay along the river. The Pen, the Oriental, the Shangri-La are all possibilities.
Kathie is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 10:31 AM
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Definitely go for the Chedi over the Sheraton as it sounds like you and your husband don't mind stairs, but want something peaceful and quiet. We've stayed at both and even our kids prefer the Chedi. At the Sheraton, except for the baby elephants, it is a large resort hotel that could be in Hawaii, Florida, or Mexico.
That said, if what you really want is a nice place surrounded by a stunning beach with access to snorkeling and kayaking, etc, look into places on or near Railay beach in Krabi. It is east of Phuket and a little closer to Phi Phi island if you want to go there- which you should. While there, arrange your day trips to Ao Nang, Phi Phi, Maya Bay, etc. You'll feel less rushed and be able to work around your schedule. There are plenty of tours and private guides available so don't worry about that part. A whole day snorkling trip to most of these islands on a speedboat, including lunch at a restaurant on Phi Phi, should not cost you more than 2500 bht a person - Since this is a special ocassion, maybe you should look into a private speedboat to take just the two of you for the day whereever you want to go. We got one offer to do this from a water taxi driver for 8000 bht.
Enjoy your trip, it will go by much too quickly.
dywong is offline  
Oct 31st, 2003, 10:35 AM
  #6  
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Sameera - thank you for the input - The Ancient City - is that in Bangkok?

Gard I enjoyed reading your travel journal I learnt alot and hope our holiday turns out to be as good as yours! Thank you for making it available for us to read!

Kathie - We will be travelling at the end of November and the Royal Orchid's rooms start at $125 USD per night not including taxes, service or breakfast. You must be a preferred client to obtain such a terrific rate. As you have a great deal with the Sheraton, I am able to benifit from a great deal with the Regent - therefore it would cost me $65.00 (Canadian)more per night to stay at the Sheraton. Anyways at this point, we are booked into the Regent and will take advantage of what that hotel has to offer. We hope we are not making a huge mistake by giving up the river location. The deal with the Regent could not be passed up. We will take the money saved on hotel room and use it elsewhere on the trip.

Dywong - just read your posting - The Chedi has been booked (it has been a while since my first posting!). About private boats for hire, where is the best place to arrange this?
Many thanks for all the help everyone!!

firsttime is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 02:28 AM
  #7  
 
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we have stayed both on and away from the river. Our next time to Bangkok will be to the Landmark( stayed there already). As long as you are next to a skytrain it doesn't make a lot of difference. However, we do tend to go for luxury in Bangkok(we always upgrade the room) as we could never afford the same at home!!
fiona is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 02:32 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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BTW
Landmark is cheaper than the Regent(just did a quick cheque). We stayed in a deluxe room the first time-fabulous- but would look at the Club Floor for the next time
fiona is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 06:28 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
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You ask about Chiang Mai and shopping for wooden items. Below is an excerpt from my Nepal/Thailand journal.
We went trekking for four days, and only once was our group of eight approached to buy something. That was in an Akka village where we had spent the night. We were happy to leave some dollars there.
Chiang Mai, 2001 - We were driven half an hour from the Chiang Mai to an area called Tawai Brasah. From the main road we drove past shop after shop of large items, full sized animals from wood, lovely furniture. The area we were interested in was about seven kilometers from the main road. Aisle after aisle of wood items, oohing and aahing over the incredible furniture that we knew we did not need or want, but one can admire the quality of workmanship. There were life-sized rhinos, elephants large enough to sit astride, even life-sized American Indians. Now who would travel to Thailand for that? One of the joys of this area was that there were no salespeople putting an arm around your shoulder to drag you into their shop, no one running after you with a better price. You actually had to seek out a salesperson. There was no bargaining as these were wholesale prices.
twoaussies is offline  
Nov 1st, 2003, 07:54 PM
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Yes, the Ancient City is in bangkok, about an hours drive from the center of town. is called Muang Boran locally. It is a bit touristy but does provide a birds eye view of 116 historical and cultural sights of Thailand - note, Thailand and not only Bangkok. The tram tour with a guide is worth it. It closes early at 5 and the tour even at a rushed pace takes about 2 hours as it covers 320 acres so go in the morning.
Sameera_Anand is offline  
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