What Wat?

Old Nov 26th, 2017, 02:37 PM
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What Wat?

Please forgive the pun, I've been wanting to do that ever since I started researching this trip - but seriously, years ago when planning a trip to England with my then young sons I had filled the itinerary with numerous castles, and a friend who was helping me plan said, "really Laura, there is such a thing as too many castles." (still not sure I agree with that), but I am wondering about the Wats. It seems like there are so many and the guidebooks wax so enthusiastic about their beauty, but I do imagine that there is a saturation point. Now that we have firmed up hotels, we are having fun trying to figure out ideas for each city so here are my questions related to "activities".

The itinerary:
4 nights, 5 days in Bangkok - staying at the Peninsula, figure on the first day being pretty exhausted.
On day 4 have a private guide through Tours by Locals to see Ayutthaya
2 nights Chiang Rai, staying at Le Meridien, have made arrangements with Srgt Kai as recommended by people on this forum for a day trip to the Hall of Opium, and then the next day to drive to Chiang Mai, stopping at Tha Ton Temple, a Lahu Tribal village and Chiang Dao cave.

3 nights Chiang Rai, staying at the Puripunn - still debating pros and cons of wandering streets, seeing Wats and museums, vs cooking school, vs trip to Doi Inthanon and elephant refuge.

5 nights at the Pimalai Resort on Ko Lanta - we haven't even started thinking about activities outside of the resort itself - suggestions?
last night in Bangkok at the Shangri-La - still debating in my head if we should change that to the Anantara riverside since so many of you seem to love that hotel- input much appreciated.

So some questions:
1. Visiting Wats - are there some you would consider do not miss sites?
I know I should wear skirts - do I need long sleeves as well? (not a problem if so). can my husband wear shorts, or should he have long pants?
2. Is there any part of this itinerary for which we would need warmer clothing? (jacket or sweater?)
3. In Europe we learned that it was a good idea to get tickets ahead of time for the most popular museums, sites. Are there any such sites in Thailand (the palace in Bangkok? museums?) that you would recommend obtaining tickets in advance?

and any favorites that you suggest we not miss?

Kap Kuhn Kah (thank you, I think)
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 03:09 PM
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I've never felt saturated by wats. They are so different from each other.

You don't have a lot of time in Bangkok, which has many dozens of wats. You say you have 4 nights, which is never 5 days, but works out to three full days. The must-visit wats in Bangkok include the Emerald Buddha (on the grounds of the Grand Palace) and Wat Po, the reclining Buddha, which is a block away. Across the river is Wat Arun, also well worth seeing. There are many wats located along the river. Staying at the Pen, you are on the "wrong" side of the river, but you can take the Pen boat to one of the public water taxi stops on the other side of the river, which gives you great access to many wats.

You don't need long sleeves to visit wats, but you and your husband should wear long pants. Short sleeves are fine, your shoulders must be covered. If you wearing sandals, they should have a heel strap for entering the Royal Wats like the two mentioned above.

A few more to consider in Bangkok: Wat Tramit in Chinatown (also accessible via the river) Wat Suthat, Wat Ratchanadda (known as the Iron Wat), Wat Benchamapophit (aka Wat Ben or the Marble temple).

You can't really buy tickets in advance for the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha, just get there when it opens at 8:30.

Do browse guidebooks for other wats that interest you; you can also browse our photos at www.marlandc.com for places you might want to see.

There is no where you will need a jacket, but I often take a wrap for early mornings in northern Thailand.

I do recommend going to Doi Suthep first thing in the morning.
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 03:52 PM
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Thanks Kathie, your advice is always so helpful. The reason I called it 5 days is we actually arrive at 1 am on day one, but how much we'll be up for is dubious of course. so many wonderful choices!
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 06:19 PM
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I have mentioned this elsewhere in this forum recently, but I will repeat myself. The biggest tourist sight in Thailand right now is the Royal Crematorium Compound in Bangkok, the site of the funeral pyre for the late king, Rama IX. Something like US $60 million was put into it by the Thai Government and from newspaper accounts, as well as reports from my friend who, as a diplomat, was a part of the ceremonies, it is a magnificent spectacle. In addition to the structures and buildings used during the cremation, there are informative exhibits. There is a definite dress code and opening hours should be checked, as well. I agree with Kathie about general attire. ZZ
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Old Nov 26th, 2017, 07:51 PM
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Kathie is the Bangkok expert, but I would like to add that the wats in Bangkok are quite gorgeous, and each one is unique. You will not get bored. However, you could possibly add a day trip to Kanchanaburi. I stayed in Bangkok for five nights, and I took day trips to both Kanchanaburi and Ayutthaya, and I still managed to see a bunch of wats in between.

I wore skirts that hit just below the knee for the wats, and I had no problem, as I read that the knees must be covered. I was recently in India, and some temples required pants, and skirts were absolutely not allowed, but that was not the case in Bangkok. I find skirts more comfortable than pants.

I got to the palace when it opened, and it was still crowded with Korean and Chinese tour groups. However, the grounds are large enough for people to spread out. Your ticket to the palace includes several museums, which I found to be less crowded, as the tour groups skip over them.
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Old Nov 27th, 2017, 12:02 AM
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I think there is a Wat overload limit. How long it takes to reach it is very subjective, but if you attempted to visit all of those mentioned above, I think you could reach it before the end of your trip.

I would try and break it up with other stuff . A nice fever trip would be to get an early boat from Saphin Taksin up to the newly restored Wat Arun ( we were there last week and it is looking great). Get a ferry across the river to Ta Tien and an early morning exploration of the Grand Palace, maybe Wat Po ( the massage school close the best place in Bangkok for a massage). From there you could head for Wat Tramir for the Golden Buddha, Chinatown, the flower markets fro some variety.

In Chiang Rai make sure you take in the White Temple and Black House, both very surreal.

I have stayed at both the Anantara and Shangri La and much preferred the Anantara.
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Old Dec 4th, 2017, 06:27 PM
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thanks all, this is so perfect - getting excited (I lie, I've been excited for months)
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Old Dec 4th, 2017, 08:01 PM
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I agree, the main wats kathie mentions in her 1st paragraph should surface.

Last week K had horrid experiences with Chinese tour groups at grand palace--pushing, shouting, getting in front of your pics--beware...

We are moving to Peninsula on Friday, can't wait. I consider it to be on the right,, or better side of the river--haha kathie.

Have lunch at Lord Jim at the Orirntal one day--res required...ask for window table... $$$$ & *****.

Sh-La is fine, but we prefer Anantara.

Use taxis to stay cool and for convenience...traffic can slow you down however.

We have been having a driver each day in bkk.
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Old Dec 5th, 2017, 07:41 PM
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thanks rhkkmk, love to hear what you think of the Peninsula. We just made two reservations for dinners, (Paste and man Ho- intrigued by Lord Jims). How did you find the driver, and how much did it cost? I can see especially after the long flight it might be worth it not to have to worry about negotiating a strange city.
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Old Dec 6th, 2017, 02:02 PM
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We loved staying at the Shangri-La. Friends were staying at The Peninsula and kept coming across the river to the Shangri-La as they preferred our location.
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Old Dec 6th, 2017, 06:06 PM
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thanks HappyTrvlr!
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