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xmas in thailand family 4 with 2 teens-cost and itinerary check!

xmas in thailand family 4 with 2 teens-cost and itinerary check!

Old Mar 24th, 2008, 06:20 PM
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xmas in thailand family 4 with 2 teens-cost and itinerary check!

we hope to have a 2 week (including flying) trip to thailand- 2 days bkk, 5 days up north including chiang mai, chiang rai,mai hong son- all guided through hill tribe etc, then a few days in krabi. the travel agent pkg is $3700 pp including internal flights, hotels guides (no food) at moderate hotels. with air from toronto at $2200 pp, the trip is adding up to be a lot! is it possible to do this on our own for less and yet have a full/interesting and safe trip? thanks! what about overnight trains to avoid wasting so much time at airports etc?
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 07:05 PM
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Without seeing your actual hotel names and room class, one room or two rooms, how many days with a guide, etc...it's difficult to evaluate if you could do it for less or not. I mean, you could certainly spend less money on the trip, but for the exact same same not sure without having the details.

Int'l airfare seems high to me.

Christmas/New Year is peak season, so hotel prices are at their highest of the year. Depending on your d omestic flight pattern, there are passes offered by both Thai and Bangkok Airways that may save you money. There are also low cost carriers...Air Asia, Nok Air and 12Go.

We've been to Thailand 5 times with our daughter and always had a great time, no safety issues, and always interesting.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 07:16 PM
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Are you saying that they are quoting $2,200 pp for the Canada - BKK flight PLUS $3,700 pp for the domestic flights in Thailand and hotels + guide? That comes to $7.400 pp... wow! $3,700 pp x 2 = $7,400 per couple per day / 14 nights = $528.57 a night(day) for hotels, guide and domestic flights.

A good hotel but not the very best will cost around $250 a day($125 pp), a guide with car $150 a day(4 pax at $37.50 pp), domestic flight to Chaing Mai THB 5,000 pp max(5,000/31 = $161/14 days = $11.50 a day), domestic flight to Krabi THB 5,000 pp max (5,000/31 = $161/14 days = $11.50 a day). From the figures it should cost on a pp basis of around $185.5 if you do it on your own(just a rough and quick calculation).

I'm sure other people here with experience with paying for guides or tours in Thailand will join in and give advice but this looks very expensive and you can probably do much better and stay in better accommodation for less.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 07:33 PM
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If I'm reading that correctly, all prices are per person and there are four of you???

If that's true, that's an outrageous price. You can live in the lap of luxury and spend less by arranging it yourself.

Most of us on the board are independent travelers and arrange our own hotels, guides if we wish, etc. Thailand is very tourist-friendly. Almost everyone you have contact with will speak at least some English.

Give us more details - hotels, number of days with guides, etc, and we can help. Here is the website where I often book my Thai hotels: www,sawasdee.com Note that most prices here include tax and service (a total of 17%) and often include breakfast which is also a big plus. It's true that you are traveling at the most expensive time of the year, but those prices seem really over the top to me.
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Old Mar 24th, 2008, 09:58 PM
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$5900 per person for essentially 12 days is ridiculous. that is about $2000 a day for the family and no food!

Thats 23,000 total!

Lets see.
Airfare toronto- BKK =$8000

2 nights at the Peninsula in Bangkok ($800/night for two rooms) = $1600

RT Air to Chiang Mai for 4= $1000
5 nights hotels in north: $250/nt per room= $2000

$150/day for car & guide x 5 days = $750
Air to Krabi x four = $800
4 nights Krabi, 2 rooms= $2000
two more days at the Peninsula =$1600

I'm not even up to $18,000 and youre staying at nice hotels. Moderate hotels won't be over $200 night per room even at Christmas. The extra $5,000 will buy you all your meals, and lots of jewelry at SJ in Bangkok!!!

These are all easy air trips, and well travelled cities. All the hotels will have websites, as will the airlines. The only thing you need to seek out will be your guides and peopl;e here can give you names and email addresses for them.

Or you can give me your $23,000 and I will book you five star hotels with air travel and daily guides. I get to keep what I don't spend on your trip...Deal?? ;-)
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 02:12 AM
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I think you can do much better than the package presented by the TA. Even if the $3700 includes air, you can save some money and stay at better hotels by booking on your own. If the $3700 does not include air, don't even think about spending $5900 pp. It's outragious.

I just checked Thai Air for around Christmas and you can fly from JFK for $1600 per person. You can certainly get to JFK for less than $600 pp from Toronto, so you can save something there. Let's say you can save $300 pp.

Even if the $3700 pp includes the airfare, using the Thai Air connectionfor a total of $1900 leaves $1800 pp to pay for the rest. Using a Thai Air pass, I estimate the internal air at $400 pp. leaving $1400 pp. or $5600. A two week trip has you on the ground for 12 days. In BKK, you can stay at the marriott on the river for about $150 per night, per room. Up north, the hotels will be much cheaper. In Krabi, maybe a little more expensive. All in all, you can probably book the hotels for 12 nights for somewhere between $3500-4000. This leaves a minimum of about $1600 for guides and transfers.

The math seems to indicate that you can do much better booking the trip on your own. This has been the eperience of many of us. We will be glad to make suggestions about hotels, itinerary and guides. I suspect you will be much happier with a tour that you put together than one arranged by a TA. Better hotels and more suited to your own tastes.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:26 AM
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If this is a pp price it is beyond outrageous. Another way to put it is the travel agent is ripping you off. If you let us know the kind of hotel you want to stay in we should be able to offer suggestions and then you can book it yourself. You could stay at the top hotels in Bangkok for those prices. Also we can recommend guides and drivers etc.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 05:15 AM
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rip off!!
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:20 PM
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here is my itinerary- thanks all who posted
yes, air from toronto is $2200 per person, and the tour/hotel/internal flights is $3700 per person, ie $5900 per person and we are 4!! any comments would be appreciated


The proposed Itinerary is below. The airfare to Bangkok and back from Toronto on Cathay Pacific will be CAD$2221.78 inclusive of taxes. Please take a look at it and advise me if there are any changes. Please rush advise as very few seats are available as you are aware that it is the peak season. Please advise names as per passports in order to make flight bookings.

YOUR ITINERARY.

19Dec. Depart Toronto
20Dec. Arrive Bangkok. You will be met by Goway's representative and transferred to your hotel. The balance of day at leisure.

21Dec. Touring Bangkok. Today's full day sightseeing includes a visit to Thailand's most colourful Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Afternoon visit to the Rose Garden to enjoy a Thai cultural show, including sword fighting and Thai boxing. B / L

22DEC Bangkok Morning City Tour. Evening depart for Chiang Mai by train.

23Dec. Touring Chiang Mai. Today's half day city sightseeing tour includes three of Chiang Mai's temples, Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Saun Dok. B

24Dec. Mountains and Hilltribes. A half day of sightseeing visiting the beautiful Doi Suthep Temple situated on the top of a mountain with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. Later visit a local village and meet the colourful Meo hilltribe. B

25Dec. Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son your next stop. Transfer in the morning to Chiang Mai airport for the short flight to Mae Hong Son. Upon arrival, take a 2-hour motorboat trip on the scenic Pai River to Baan Nam Peing Din village to see the Long-necked Karen hilltribe names after the women who wear brass rings around their necks and limbs. The number increases as they become older. Overnight at the Fern Resort in Mae Hong Son.B

26Dec. Mae Hong Son to Pai. Visit in the morning the city and temples before departing for a visit to the pre-historic cave complex of Tham Lod with their impressive rock formations. Continue overland to Pai. Overnight at the Muang Pai Resort. B

27dec. Pai to Thaton. Travel today through scenic countryside passing by the beautiful northern Mountain. Arrive at the village of Mae Mali where you will have an Elephant ride and a jungle raft ride. Continue to Thaton for overnight at the Mae Kok River Village Resort. B

28dec. Thaton to Chiang Rai. Start with a one-hour boat ride on the Mae Kok River, one of the most beautiful and unspoilt rivers in the World. It flows gently along the banks of the surrounding jungle and towering mountainsides. Arrive at Baan Mai for a visit to the Hill tribe village of the Yaos. Arrive eventually in the late afternoon in Chiang Rai. Overnight at the Rimkok Resort. B

39dec. Chiang Rai to Krabi via Bangkok your next destination. Today visit Mae Sai, the northern most point of Thailand at its borders with Myanmar and Laos known as the Golden Triangle. Visit the ancient city of Chiang Saen. Later transfer to Chiang Rai airport for your flight to Krabi. Arrive Krabi. On arrival at airport, you will be met and transferred to Krabi and your chosen hotel. B

30-31dec. In Krabi. Full days to enjoy this quiet resort. B
01Jan. Krabi to Bangkok your next destination. Transfer to Krabi airport for your onward flight to Bangkok.On arrival you will be met by Goway's representative and transferred to your hotel. B

02 Jan. Departure transfer from Bangkok for flight back home.

HOTELS: CENTURY PARK BANGKOK, CHIANG MAI PLAZA, TIPA RESORT KRABI
INCLUDING FLIGHTS - Chiang Rai to Krabi and Krabi to Bangkok only.

Cost: 3775CAD per person - excluding mandatory New Year dinner which is advised at time of reservation.
Price subject to change/availability.

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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:37 PM
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This itinerary is a nightmare and could be done for 1/10th the price. Your hotel in Chiang Mai is around $75 a night at MOST and that's per room not person! You're going to some of the most touristy and least interesting places in the country (like the Rose Garden) and missing most of the highlights. You're also going to way too many places. And the train to Chiang Mai is absurd -- you can fly there in under an hour for practically nothing.

First -- skip Krabi. Spend more time in Bangkok (5-6 days). I'd then spend 3-4 days in Chiang Mai and then another 4 days in northern thailand. You can hire a private driver and guide if you want (we can give you great suggestions) and can stay in hotels 1000 times better. The hotels you're at are budget hotels. You can stay at great hotels for less than you'd be paying this thief.

THIS AGENT IS A COMPLETE RIP OFF!!!!

Hotels to start: Stay on the river. Try Royal Orchid tower rooms or Marriott (not too well located but people like it a lot).

Chiang Mai -- Baan Orapin is great but you may need to stay there 6 nights over the holidays. But there are many other options we can suggest. Chiang Mai Plaza is like staying at a huge Motel 8.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:44 PM
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FORGET this tour company! Many here can give you great advice for hotels and guides. What will be your "in country" budget?
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:45 PM
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Actually if you want to spend what your agent wants you to spend you could be staying at the Oriental or Peninsula in bangkok!
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:49 PM
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4bams- Book your air if you feel the need to lock that in. You can likely do better, but I know that sometimes it is worth the cost to book early.

You've been given some good advice above, but if you come back and tell us how much you want to spend and what interests you and your family, we'll give you very specific tips.

I have gone to Thailand + Cambodia twice now for Christmas/New years with our family of four. We stayed at very nice hotels (Oriental, Peninsula, Landmark in Bangkok) and did all our reservations in late September or October. I don't recommend waiting quite that long, but you have plenty of time and don't need to rush into anything.

Best Wishes!
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 03:54 PM
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OK...Now that I see that it is clearly $5900 per person and what you are getting for that price...NO WAY. The agent is making a huge profit and not giving you much at all.

There is nothing in terms of tours that is not cookie cutter...nothing unique or special. The hill tribe visits mentioned are the most touristed and most exploited. Fern Resort is nice, though. You are moving around so much there won't be any time to enjoy yourself. Every single tour on there can be booked while you are there from any number of agents on the street, for much less. A better and more individualized option would be to arrange private guides in a few places.

If you have the time and desire, save yourself about $15,000 and book it yourself. You'll get plenty of help here.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:04 PM
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What can I say? Not only is the price appalling, but so is the itinerary. I would even wonder if the agent is being honest with you about the number of seats left on the flights or if he/she is trying to get you to book before you do more research. I'd suggest you call Cathay Pacific directly and see if you can book the flights you want. I also wonder if the price will be less.

We can help with the hotels and intra-Thai travel arrangements.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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You are going at peak time so I WOULD book the Cathay flights right away but I would just call them and book them directly. You could also check other airlines if you want -- especially if there are thai airways or japan air flights.
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:09 PM
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PS When I read where you are staying and what you are doing, this strikes me as a very low-budget group tour... and they are charging you a premium price. As others have said, for that price you can stay at some of the best hotels in the world!
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:17 PM
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ok thanks everyone!
my hoped for budget is $20,000 all in for 4 pple
we do want to go to the beach for a couple of days- teens need to relax a bit! is krabi a good choice and what hotel do you recommend?
I know that we cannot always get 1 room for 4 pple (though we like to, as it is cost effective) and 2 rooms does add to the price...
would love suggestions for guides and itinerary for several days up north as it sounds like our itinerary does not sound good at all!
we would like some time with elephants, hill tribes, hiking,NOT SHOPPING
you guys are great!
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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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For elephants go to the elephant conservation center. You could even check out their 2 day program there. Based on your interests I would say you might consider going to the beach first since you will be jet lagged and you can relax there before doing busy sightseeing. So maybe 2 or at most 3 days there. Others can tell you which one -- I find all of them a waste of time since there are so many better beaches closer to home and these have virtually nothing to do with bangkok.

Then I'd do:
Bangkok - 2 days
fly to Chiang Mai for 3 days and spend 2 days at Elephant Conservation Center. Or spend 3 days in Chiang Mai and 2 or 3 days in golden triangle area or Pai/MHS area.
Then go back to bangkok for 3 days.

For a family you might want to stay at an apartment/hotel. Centre Pointe is recommended as are many others.

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Old Mar 25th, 2008, 04:35 PM
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OK...12 days $12,000...no problem.

Choose 3 places, maybe Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Khao Lak (great beaches, easy access).

In Bangkok, for a splurge try the Peninsula or Oriental. Both are gorgeous, but different style. Some prefer one over the other. We prefer the Peninsula for the pool and suites. 2 nights on arrival. 2 rooms Budget $350 (to be generous) per room per night including breakfast and tax/service. $1400
Tong for 2 days www.tourwithtong.com budget $300. (one day in, one day out)

Fly to Chiang Mai - 4 tix $400.00
Sightseeing in the area 2 days
Elephants? The Thai Elephant Conservation Center does a fantastic 3 day program that we did a couple of years ago. Great. about $250/pax all inclusive. www.changthai.com
Chiang Mai hotels...
Baan Orapin
Yaang Come Village
Chedi
come to mind right now in 3 budgets. Generously budget $1000 for elephants and 2 more nights at $200/room/night $800
So say $2200 for Chaing Mai including flight.
Then add a guide for a day for $150.00

So far...about $4000

Beach...fly to Phuket non-stop from Chiang Mai. Top price for 4 pax $1000. If you get a Discover Thailand airpass with Thai Air, you might save overall. Low cost carriers are cheap but you need to connect in BKK, would take almost all day, so with your short time, nonstop is better.

In Khao Lak, many great hotels. Budget $250/night/room (that's generous, too. Many great places are much less). 4 nights $2000

Fly to Bangkok $200 for 4 pax.
2 nights Peninsula or similar $1400
one day with Tong (budgeted at beginning).

$8500 living it up in top hotels, private guides, fabulous elephant program that will be such a memory, Tong....
Spend less by staying in lower priced hotels - and we'll help you choose much nicer ones than the agent suggested. MUCH.

Look at www.sawadee.com for ideas for hotels. See what suits your style.


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