Using a driver in Bangkok

Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:41 AM
  #21  
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Gloria, how do you book the Oriental? I think we may just have to see if they have availability for the 30th and 31st!
annmcd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:49 AM
  #22  
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Oh shoot, Gloria, it looks as if they are sold out. Do you know anyone we could contact to see if we can get on a cancellation list? If not, we'll be content waving to you from our high-tech rooms in the Peninsula!
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Sep 3rd, 2004, 07:52 AM
  #23  
 
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Ann-- I book the Oriental through Am EX Platinum Card travel because they have special rates but I think for New Year there are no deals anywhere for it so going to the Mandarin Oriental web site is as good as anything -- or calling the hotel direct. I should tell you that the Oriental is always much more expensive than the other deluxe hotels. It doesn't have nearly as many "deals" or discounts and also doesn't take big tour groups (something I love). In my mind it is worth every penny. If you want to discuss anything about it off-thread, feel free to email me at [email protected]

Where do you live here?
glorialf is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 08:10 AM
  #24  
 
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Ann-- I'd call the Mandarin Oriental directly. I find if very hard to believe they are sold out this far in advance when the other hotels (at a lot less money) have all kinds of specials. Sometimes they don't take the online bookings, however, so I would call. You might also try Leading Hotels of the World -- they often book for them I think.
glorialf is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:47 AM
  #25  
 
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if you go north i wuggest that you check out the anantara near chiang saen...rent a car at chiang rai airport and it is an easy 1 hour drive north...the hotel is fantastic...the opium museum directly across the street is about 1 year old and very interesting and well done...the princess mother's former estate, doi tung, is worth a 1/2 day visit...it is about 40 minutes from the hotel...you will need a car as the hotel is isolated...there are 4 elephants on the property to keep the kids busy and they have an elephant training program that you can participate in...good spa and fabulous pool....the hotel actually looks out onto the golden traingle...from our room we looked directly out at the casino across the river in myanmar....
from there you can also cross over into both laos and myanmar....
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 12:29 PM
  #26  
 
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Ann-I have never heard Chiang Mai described as "too touristy" -I wouldn't think to advise anyone going north without spending some time here- Thailand's second largest city-I think it's wonderful, and there is so much to do here! There's an ancient wall with a moat around the city, (at night the wall is lit up, and taking a tuk-tuk ride through C.M. at night is just so pleasant-none of that pollution you'll find in BKK) There are several interesting streets to explore, Buddhist temples both in town, and particularly the famed mountaintop temple Doi Suthep a bit outside of town, the Night Market in Chiang Mai is generally acknowledged as the best in all of Thailand- it is not to be missed-your boys would love it. You can go to the elephant camp from C.M., organize day treks to see hilltribes from here-there are lovely restaurants on the Ping riverfront, and good funky bars and restaurants in the center of town-everything you could want in terms of a family vacation can be had here, plus the best crafts shopping in all of Thailand.

As far as Chiang Rai, no one I've known as ever stayed there for more than a day or so, and then only for using it as a jumping-off point to somewhere else. Their night market is nothing to write home about. There's nothing really to do there. Yes, you can go to the opium museum, but that takes an hour tops. You can go for a boat ride on the Mekong, but what else? Chiang Mai is a far better jumping off point, and ther's no comparison in terms of things to see and do. You might want to do a search of Chiang Mai in the search box to look at some of the discussions on the issue. I do believe you'd be making a mistake if you bypassed Chiang Mai-it's a very easy- to-navigate-city, with a lot of fun things to do there.
Spygirl is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 05:41 PM
  #27  
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Thanks Bob but your beloved Anantara is booked already unfortunately. Gloria, I live in Los Angeles. I wish there were a trek operator who had the standing with this group that Ratt has as a driver! Spygirl, do you know of any that are really good? Thanks again.
annmcd is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 06:29 PM
  #28  
 
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spygirl---CM is very touristy and i am not the only one who things so...sorry...in fact i find it boring...the shopping is ok but bkk is better in every way...the only thing i think that i like better about the shopping is the celedon shops...

your description of the north is misleading...there is plenty to do...if you did the new opium museum in 1 hour you must have had roller skates on and not listened to any description at all...it is the best museum that i have been to in the last five years and i go to many...it is top notch and very professionally done...

ann---sorry anantara is full...have you tried to contact them directly? that might help...

chiang mai would then be a second alternative...there is much more to do there but it is really another city where the north is country...the kids might like the very commercial elephant farm and you would like the orchid farm next door...they are both outside of town...the doi suthep complex is very interesting if you are not watted out...i found the hill tribe settlements near-by to be a rip off and very commercialized....sometimes the king's palace near-by is open to visitors..it is interesting...

maybe a few days on koh samui might be nice...the peace resort in bophut is excellent and the kids would love the beach and pool there...the town is a 5 minute walk...the restaurant is excellent and very reasonable...a beachfront bungalow would be lovely...i don't know how they would work the accomodations, you would have to ask...i paid $82 including taxes and breakfast in june...

bob
rhkkmk is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 09:48 PM
  #29  
 
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I reacently read that Nakhon Ratchasima (KORAT) is thatilands secend biggest city. it's not mutch of a tourist destination, but is a major city and hub in issan.. I think of it as the bus/minibus station capital of thailand ..
orgy7 is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2004, 10:12 PM
  #30  
 
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I thought I would just put in my 2 cents about Chiang Mai..We were there a couple of years ago..We specifically went there to visit our foster child, that we sponsor (which was a totally amazing experience)...And we also took a cooking class.(which was awesome). Chiang Mai has to be one of the uglier cities I have ever been to..But we had the best time..The wat's are so exotic, the tuk tuk's were a blast and the Night Bazaar was unreal...I would visit again in a heart beat..But I think it all depends on what you experience when you travel to any destination that decides on how much you liked it..If nothing too exciting happened to you, you may go home feeling that it was not your favorite destination, but if you experience something awesome, you go home with just the best feeling ever and sometimes you recommend that same place to someone and they just didn't get the same thing out of it that you did....Does that make any sense??
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Sep 4th, 2004, 07:13 AM
  #31  
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I think you are absolutely right, Tracy B, and its easy to forget with all the planning that it is important to let the experiences find you as well as you trying to find them.
annmcd is offline  
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