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We are getting to Phuket a week early. Should we remain in Phuket or maybe go somewhere else to unwind?

We are getting to Phuket a week early. Should we remain in Phuket or maybe go somewhere else to unwind?

Jul 19th, 2006, 10:54 AM
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We are getting to Phuket a week early. Should we remain in Phuket or maybe go somewhere else to unwind?

Hi there. We have a big family trip planned with a lot of other families on Phuket which takes place at the Marriott starting Dec. 27th. We are a family of 6, our children will be 21, 19, 17 and 16 by then. They love the ocean, particularly if it has waves (good sized ones), and we love eating out and walking around, discovering places. My question is, since we are scheduled to arrive in Phuket on Dec. 20th after a direct flight from NYC (!) what should we do? Do you suggest we stay at the Marriott and wind down there, or should we perhaps go somewhere else to hang out? We were hoping to be able to stay in Koh Lanta at the Pimalai Hotel where there was going to be a pre-trip "offsite) where a chartered yacht would take us around, exploring, but not enough people signed up and it got canceled. Is Koh Lanta hard to get to from Phuket? After that l-o-n-g flight I am not sure we'd be in the mood for another arduous trek to get to Koh Lanta! We just want a nice place to shake off the jet lag before our "real vacation" starts Dec. 27th in Phuket. I hope you can help! Thanks so much.
teadrinker is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 11:26 AM
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Hi, it's me again. I'm hearing great things about the Mandarin Dara Dhevi (devi)? in Chiang Mai. Is this a possibility meaning would it be a difficult place to get to from Phuket or too long of a journey?
teadrinker is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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You may be booked all the way through to Phuket, but you likely have to change planes in Bangkok. I'd recommend that you either stay in Bangkok for the week, then fly down to Phuket or that you fly north from Bangkok to Chaing Mai and spend a week there before flying to Phuket. Either of those locations will give you a taste of Thailand you won't get from being at the beach.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 11:40 AM
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Dear Kathie, thanks for your swift response, I've been on the computer for hours checking things out. I have my tickets in front of me. They say we leave from NY at 12 and arrive Bangkok at 1700 Dec. 21 (17 hours), then we take off from Bangkok the same day at 1820 hours and fly to Phuket, so you were right. It's not really direct, as I thought... but I wonder... could we change the tickets at this point? I don't see why not? I need to know more about the geography of Thailand, see what the relationship is between Bangkok, Chiang Mai & Phuket. I'd also have to call the Mandarin Dara Devi to see if they even have availability from Dec 21 or 22 thru 25 or 26th. Is it worth trying to do this switch with the airlines in order to go to Chiang Mai before the vacation commences Dec. 27th? Or are we better off just hanging at the Marriott for that week 'til the 27th?
teadrinker is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 11:49 AM
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For geography, think of BKK-Phuket-CM as a triangle. If you're going to be in Phuket for a long time starting on the 27th, you would be well served to see BKK and CM. Given the times you've listed, you're probably flying on Thai Airways. You can fly into BKK on the 20th, spend 3 full days, fly to CM on the 24th, spend 2 full days and then fly direct CM-Phuket on the 27th. The non-stop Thai Air flight leaves CM about 11:00 a.m.. If you decide to do this or something similar, we will be glad to give advice on hotels.
Gpanda is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 02:43 PM
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Do take a look at a map of Thailand. It's not a long flight. It's about an hour from Bangkok to Phuket, about an hour from Bangkok to Chaing Mai. It sounds like you've never been to Thailand, and I have to say that while you'll likely enjoy the beach, you won't get much of a cultural flavor for Thailand there. You can visit either Chaing Mai or Bangkok in your week, or do as Gpanda says and visit both.

Ther are quite a number of excellent places to stay in Chaing Mai and in Bangkok. And the prices will be less than Phuket at that time of the year.

Changing domestic flights on Thai air is remarkably easy. They are very accommodating, unlike US airlines...
Kathie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 04:36 PM
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An eighty minute connection may not work - you might want to rework that. A friend last week took and hour to get through immigration and customs.
Tedkarma is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 05:31 PM
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Ted, they can clear customs and immigration in Phuket. They just have to transfer flights.
Kathie is offline  
Jul 19th, 2006, 06:13 PM
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i think that amount of time in phuket would be too much so i support kathie's suggestion to chill out in bkk first...

one problem at this late date might be getting rooms in phuket around christmas...its a very busy time...

with that troupe, i would suggest several days at the marriott resort and spa in bangkok....perfect pool for the kids and for easy forays into bkk to shop, etc...fast food in the mini mall attached which they will like and about 6 restaurants to choose from right on sight...

you will be very tired...

i would try to delay the transfer to phuket...3 or 4 days in bkk would leave you refreshed...

the marriott in phuket is quite issolated and it takes about 30-40 minutes to get to any real town with fun activities....it is at the extreme north of the island...

it is a fantastic place and you will love the marriott/phuket---plenty of waves for the kids---maybe even too many...tell them to be very careful...the waves/undertow there can be dangerous....great pools too and tons of activities...good food right on site....no restaurants nearby...

you may want to rent a car...i did and it proved a good idea....budget is there as are others...they deliver to the hotel...
rhkkmk is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 05:14 AM
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I agree with renting a car - the whole island opens up to you then.

Try "Phuket's Best Island Drives" at:


Near the JWM is Yacht Haven a great place for a meal - sit and watch the multi-million dollar yachts.


At the JWM - you will find a great bakery - the best on the island - at Siam Place. Try the sticky buns - they come out of the oven about 10AM - much later and they are all gone . . .
Tedkarma is offline  
Jul 20th, 2006, 06:53 PM
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I also agree that you should stop in Bangkok if you tickets allow and if you can get onward flights to Phuket at this point. To go all the way to Thailand and not see Bangkok would be, IMO, a huge waste of time and money. There is so much to see and do, you could certainly fill the entire time and also just take a day or two off and sit by a pool and/or have a spa treatment. There is a great Marriott in Bangkok, the Marriott Resort and Spa, right on the river with a wonderful big pool (great for kids) and good spa (great for you) nice rooms, good restaurants, tennis courts, health club, etc. It is very popular on this board. I would stay there for a few days or the entire time. (This hotel should not be confused with the JW Marriott which is more in a business district and while very nice, is not on the river and does not have the huge pool.) There are other nice hotels on the river like the Peninsula, Shangri-La, Mandarin-Oriental and Sheraton to consider as well. Of the others I prefer the Penn, but this subject is endlessly debated here and I don't think there really is a "best" hotel honestly.

The Chiang Mai thought is a good one as well, I just don't think I would hop on another the plane right when you land from NYC to get there, and IMO 7 days is too much in that area so you would want to see Bangkok in any event. So I would first go to Bangkok and just rest, recover and see that great city. Also, I don't know if you want to move again for 2-3 days and then move again to go on to Phuket. However, it is very interesting if you get to the outlying hill areas, and is not a city or a beach so is very different. I guess you should look into flights and see if you can get down to Phuket. Most of all, I am concerned at this point as Christmas is just about the highest season for Phuket so you may not be able to change or get any flights at all, so perhaps that should be your first priority. You may also have trouble with hotels from about the 23rd, as they start to be full and many require 7-day minimum stays from then, perhaps even in Chiang Mai

Another thought if you can change any tickets would be to fly from NYC to Hong Kong (there is an excellent non-stop on CO from Newark) and spend the first few days there, then go to Bangkok (or vice versa as there some non-stops to Phuket from Hong Kong and some via a change in Bangkok). Hong Kong is a fantastic city (but I am prejudice I live here) and weather is wonderful in December. Many things to do and see, including wonderful walks and hiking and your kids could kayak as well if that interest them (its not just all city here). Again, you may have a difficult time with flights.

I agree on the undertow at the Marriott, it is very strong. I would not call the waves huge, however; it's not the open sea, so don't build up too many expectations.

As beautiful as Phuket and that area is, IMO, two weeks there is a very long time (assuming you are staying a week from the 27th). Even if you don't go down before the 27 to Koh Lanta, you can hire boats and get out to Krabi and Koh Lanta for the day if you want, which I would recco as that is the only way to see the really beautiful islands and beaches. Some charter companies below. The first does day charters only, the second does live-aboards and day charters. I would recco both of them. If you still wanted to do a yacht cruise, consider charting a boat with Thai Marine, I have hired the Sea Wolf from them in the past, a very nice boat indeed with an excellent crew (great cook!):

Phuket Leisure Co Ltd
Phuket Boat Lagoon
Thepkrasattri Road Koh Kaew
Muang, Phuket
e-mail: [email protected]
website: http://www.limestoneadventures.com

Thai Marine Leisure
Yacht charters & Yacht Brokerage
c/o Phuket Boat Lagoon
20/7-8, Moo 2, Tambon Koh Kaew
Phuket 83200, Thailand
Tel: 66-76-239 111, or 66-76 273 320 or 66-76-273 321
Fax: (66-76) 238 974
e-mail: [email protected], or [email protected]
website: thaimarine.com

Cicerone is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:12 AM
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Thank you so much, I will check the websites everyone recommends.. we'll be in bangkok first.. that much has been decided since my post in July.
Someone recommended Raffles hotel... Thanks again for all your wonderful help!
teadrinker is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 09:58 AM
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Are you asking for a hotel recommendation in Bangkok?

I always recommend someplace along the river. Your upscale choices are the Pen, the Oriental, the Shangri-La, the Sheraton Royal Orchid, the Hilton Millenium or the Marriott Resort and Spa.

Raffles Hotel, is, of course, in Singapore. I believe there is a hotel newly managed by the Raffles group in Bangkok, perhaps it's the Nai Lert Park. I'd still recommend staying along the river. I think it makes all the difference, especially for the first-time visitor. You are convenient to the water taxis that can take you to the main sights (Grand Palace, Temples of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Po and Wat Arun) along the river. It's also convenient to the Skytrain station at Taksim, just a boat ride away.
Kathie is offline  
Sep 3rd, 2006, 10:16 AM
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There's apparently a Raffles hotel under development in Phuket. Is that what you meant?

If you are referring to the Nai Lert Park in Bangkok, I would very strongly second Kathie's comment. We met a friend for drinks at Nai Lert Park. It's a lovely hotel with an especially pretty pool and gardens. I would never choose it over a hotel on the river though.

We were very happy with our teen-aged children at the Marriott Resort and Spa. Both the pool and the spa treatments were wonderful.
marya_ is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 06:40 AM
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You may also consider a connecting flight of about 45 mins to Panang and a beach hotel on the north coast. Rasa Sayang springs to mind.
Happy holiday
Murray_Jones is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 05:21 PM
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Hello all.. now that things have settled down a bit, I wanted to report in that we are flying on the 20th to Bangkok. My husband got a hotel but I don't remember which one it is. We are then flying on the 24th to Phuket. We wanted to fly on the 26th so that we could spend Christmas in Bangkok, but the only flight they had in October from Bangkok to Phuket was at 9:20pm and I thought that was way too late for us... so we backed up 2 days and took the 7:20pm flight from Bangkok to Phuket. Our trip with all the group starts on Dec. 27th in Phuket, so we should be adjusted to the time change by then. Thanks for the tips on the surf at the JW Marriott. That was surprising. I thought the waters would be placid! Also, good to know that there's nothing around the hotel! Renting a car might be something for us to consider... or else we'd just dine at the hotel. We are looking into where to have Christmas Dinner on Dec. 25th. Thanks again.
teadrinker is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 05:25 PM
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It's the Shangri-La we're staying at in Bangkok! Glad it's one someone mentioned as being a nice place!
We'll be so tired, all I will really care most about initially is sleeping, unfortunately!!! I am sure it will take some time to adjust?
teadrinker is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 05:36 PM
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The Shangri-la is wonderfully situated on the river. It's at a skytrain stop as well as a river ferry stop. Apparently, there is a prference for which wing is best. Do a search on this forum or start a new thread, if you care. The Italian restaurant, Angellini's is very good.
Gpanda is offline  
Nov 15th, 2006, 07:37 PM
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Krabi would be very easy to tie in with Phuket. There are a number of trips you could do from there including 'James Bond Island'. Sheraton Krabi Beach is a very good hotel in Krabi.
LeighTravelClub is offline  
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