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Where to stay for 7 nights as base to explore Thailand?

Where to stay for 7 nights as base to explore Thailand?

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Old Jan 21, 19, 10:54 am
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Question Where to stay for 7 nights as base to explore Thailand?

I have a 7 night Marriott Travel Certificate that I am thinking about using in Thailand around April or May of 2020. I've never been to Thailand and I'm having a hard time figuring out how best to approach this.

I'd like to spend some time on some nice beaches, but also have cultural sights within a reasonable travel distance (day trips). Preferably someplace that is not totally overrun with tourists. We don't have a problem trying to make our way in more local areas. However, we are limited by the hotel options and locations. It looks most are in or near Bangkok, Phuket or Ko Samui.

Can anyone suggest any areas we should focus our research on? Just a bit lost at this point.

Thank you!

Last edited by AnthonyGT; Jan 21, 19 at 11:23 am Reason: added info
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Old Jan 21, 19, 7:50 pm
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Originally Posted by AnthonyGT View Post
I have a 7 night Marriott Travel Certificate that I am thinking about using in Thailand around April or May of 2020. I've never been to Thailand and I'm having a hard time figuring out how best to approach this.

I'd like to spend some time on some nice beaches, but also have cultural sights within a reasonable travel distance (day trips). Preferably someplace that is not totally overrun with tourists. We don't have a problem trying to make our way in more local areas. However, we are limited by the hotel options and locations. It looks most are in or near Bangkok, Phuket or Ko Samui.

Can anyone suggest any areas we should focus our research on? Just a bit lost at this point.

Thank you!
Not overrun with tourists? Well that's not really Bangkok, Phuket or Koh Samui

If you want less tourists go to the islands during the rainy season - it can be hit and miss, but you might be able to get a few days where it doesn't really rain. Which is what I managed to get on a long weekend several years back. I was able to go snorkeling and island hopping from Phuket.
If you go to Bangkok, you will just have to accept that it will be very very busy. Tourists are everyone.
However, if you want some advice, get a hotel that is very close to the BTS or has a tuk tuk service to one (most do, some don't so be warned). This will get you out of the road traffic.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 8:49 am
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Originally Posted by AnthonyGT View Post
I have a 7 night Marriott Travel Certificate
I have no idea what this is or includes, but are you required to stay in one property for 7 consecutive nights? Or are you looking to stay in different cities over a 7+ night period? I can't really tell by your original post + thread title.
Also, where are you coming from / going to, and how long for entire trip duration? Been to SE Asia before?
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Old Jan 23, 19, 9:51 am
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Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I have no idea what this is or includes, but are you required to stay in one property for 7 consecutive nights? Or are you looking to stay in different cities over a 7+ night period? I can't really tell by your original post + thread title.
Also, where are you coming from / going to, and how long for entire trip duration? Been to SE Asia before?
Sure! The 7 night travel certificate requires that we stay in the same hotel for all 7 days. We would be coming from a week in Osaka. We have been to Tokyo and Hong Kong before.

Originally Posted by SQTraveller View Post
Not overrun with tourists? Well that's not really Bangkok, Phuket or Koh Samui

If you want less tourists go to the islands during the rainy season - it can be hit and miss, but you might be able to get a few days where it doesn't really rain. Which is what I managed to get on a long weekend several years back. I was able to go snorkeling and island hopping from Phuket.
If you go to Bangkok, you will just have to accept that it will be very very busy. Tourists are everyone.
However, if you want some advice, get a hotel that is very close to the BTS or has a tuk tuk service to one (most do, some don't so be warned). This will get you out of the road traffic.
Thank you for the info. After looking over the Marriott Hotel options, it looks Bangkok might be the closest to what we might like. The other locations seem much harder to find things away from the resort. Seems like we would just need to plan for a few full-day beach trips from Bangkok instead.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 11:56 am
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Okay, thanks.

Without looking into the hotel options (I know, that's kind of the most important thing here) I'd recommend Phuket since you're really wanting to be at a beach for part of your stay. Unfortunately that would require a connecting flight, but there are many options for flights. No matter where you go, it's going to be touristy. There's not really any beaches nearby to Bangkok, so you'd be looking at a morning departure, the day at the beach, then drive back to Bangkok. If you're staying at the Marriott in Bangkok are you allowed access to the Hua Hin Marriott? I would want to shower before the bus ride back to Bangkok.

I can't comment on the hotels at all. I'm a budget traveler, and I'm guessing two nights at the Marriott is about what I would spend for a week.

Since it's your first time to Thailand, I'd recommend Phuket. First timers seem to really enjoy it.
If you've been to Thailand a couple times, I'd recommend Rayong or Hua Hin. More relaxed, more local.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 4:47 pm
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Originally Posted by AnthonyGT View Post
Sure! The 7 night travel certificate requires that we stay in the same hotel for all 7 days. We would be coming from a week in Osaka. We have been to Tokyo and Hong Kong before.



Thank you for the info. After looking over the Marriott Hotel options, it looks Bangkok might be the closest to what we might like. The other locations seem much harder to find things away from the resort. Seems like we would just need to plan for a few full-day beach trips from Bangkok instead.
I've stayed at the Westin and St Regis and they're both good in their own way, and I've heard from others that the Sheraton Sukhumvit is better (though I believe it is older)

Courtyard by Marriott is a decent hotel but needs a (hotel provided) tuktuk to and from the BTS.

Other Marriott hotels I'm not sure about.
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Old Jan 23, 19, 10:14 pm
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Anywhere you are likely to go in Thailand as a tourist will be "overrun with tourists". The best you can hope for is seasonal variation lowering the numbers a little, as others have already posted.
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Old Jan 25, 19, 6:30 pm
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I suggest Koh Samui a rental car. You have beautiful beaches, temples and nature attractions. What category is your voucher?
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Old Jan 26, 19, 9:40 am
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Originally Posted by yosithezet View Post
I suggest Koh Samui a rental car. You have beautiful beaches, temples and nature attractions. What category is your voucher?
My voucher is a currently an Old Category 6 which will but me in the New Category 1-4. I plan to upgrade it to a 5 when I convert it, as many people have had success doing that.

I'll look into Koh Samui and see what available to do throughout the island. Thanks!
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Old Jan 27, 19, 9:29 am
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Originally Posted by AnthonyGT View Post
My voucher is a currently an Old Category 6 which will but me in the New Category 1-4. I plan to upgrade it to a 5 when I convert it, as many people have had success doing that.

I'll look into Koh Samui and see what available to do throughout the island. Thanks!
Category 5 will give you either the SGS or the St. Regis in Bangkok - both are excellent choices and both are connected to the BTS (light elevated monorail) which places most of Bangkok's points of interest within your reach.

I'd stay in and explore Bangkok. It would take at least a week to see the whole thing. You can also do daily excursions to Pattaya, Ayutthaya (Siam's old capital), Kanchanaburi (for the War Cemetery and the bridge on the river Kwai). In Bangkok, you can do the temples, palaces, river tour, floating markets, night markets, and shopping malls. If history is your thing, then Bangkok and its environs is the place to explore. Hua Hin is doable in a day but very difficult due to traffic to/from (3 hours each way if you are lucky).

Kanchanaburi

Ayutthaya
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Old Jan 28, 19, 8:12 am
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Originally Posted by Kalboz View Post
I'd stay in and explore Bangkok. It would take at least a week to see the whole thing.
OP has said twice that he/she is looking for beaches. Which areas would you recommend OP visit for beaches that are convenient to Bangkok?

"I'd like to spend some time on some nice beaches"
"Seems like we would just need to plan for a few full-day beach trips from Bangkok instead"
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Old Jan 28, 19, 8:24 am
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Other Category 5 Marriott hotels in Thailand in no particular order:

Casa de La Flora, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, a Member of Design Hotels
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Sheraton Samui Resort
Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach
Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort
Marriott's Mai Khao Beach - Phuket
Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas
JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Chiang Mai

Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
OP has said twice that he/she is looking for beaches. Which areas would you recommend OP visit for beaches that are convenient to Bangkok?

"I'd like to spend some time on some nice beaches"
"Seems like we would just need to plan for a few full-day beach trips from Bangkok instead"
You gave your opinion and I provided a different advice. The more divergent views, the better informed decision the OP will make.

Last edited by Kalboz; Jan 28, 19 at 9:08 am
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Old Jan 28, 19, 4:52 pm
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Originally Posted by Kalboz View Post
Other Category 5 Marriott hotels in Thailand in no particular order:
Casa de La Flora, Khao Lak, Phang Nga, a Member of Design Hotels
Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Koh Samui Resort & Spa
Sheraton Samui Resort
Renaissance Pattaya Resort & Spa
JW Marriott Phuket Resort & Spa
Phuket Marriott Resort & Spa, Merlin Beach
Renaissance Phuket Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Phuket Beach Resort
Marriott's Mai Khao Beach - Phuket
Sheraton Hua Hin Pranburi Villas
JW Marriott Khao Lak Resort & Spa
Le Méridien Chiang Mai
Wow, such a wide choice. Thanks for sharing!
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Old Feb 27, 19, 5:32 pm
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I know this is a month after the other posts. its been a few years since I regually traveled to Thailand but I also have a the same Marriott 7 night certificate, like yours mine are for 25k per night or less. A word of warning there have been a number reports Marriott is not extending the certificates beyond the 1 year from purchase. So beyond at the latest August 2019, August 2018 was the last the older packages were sold.

I'd also look the hotels prices, in general Thailands hotels nightly rates are low enough that redemptions aren't really great. For example the Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa for the months of April and May this year run around $1300 to $1500 with tax for 7 nights. This is a 35k hotel so you'd have to add 70k points to use the 7 night cert. The turning in value, the points Marriott will refund, of a 7 night cert for 25k/night is 45k points. Which sounds low but that means it'll tcost you 115k points to use that 7 night certificate. I'd think there are some very nice hotels in Tokyo or HK were those 115k points would be a bigger savings than buying a 7 night in Thailand. I just used the Renn Ko Samui as an example most of the Thai Marriott hotels are similar value for points.

Another example is Le Méridien Chiang Mai which is also now a Cat 5/35k hotel so it would require an additional 70k points for the 7 nights. That hotels during April or May for a 7 night booking is under $900 total.

Last edited by Ripley62; Feb 27, 19 at 5:40 pm
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Old Feb 27, 19, 10:46 pm
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Originally Posted by Ripley62 View Post
I know this is a month after the other posts. its been a few years since I regually traveled to Thailand but I also have a the same Marriott 7 night certificate, like yours mine are for 25k per night or less. A word of warning there have been a number reports Marriott is not extending the certificates beyond the 1 year from purchase. So beyond at the latest August 2019, August 2018 was the last the older packages were sold.

I'd also look the hotels prices, in general Thailands hotels nightly rates are low enough that redemptions aren't really great. For example the Renaissance Koh Samui Resort & Spa for the months of April and May this year run around $1300 to $1500 with tax for 7 nights. This is a 35k hotel so you'd have to add 70k points to use the 7 night cert. The turning in value, the points Marriott will refund, of a 7 night cert for 25k/night is 45k points. Which sounds low but that means it'll tcost you 115k points to use that 7 night certificate. I'd think there are some very nice hotels in Tokyo or HK were those 115k points would be a bigger savings than buying a 7 night in Thailand. I just used the Renn Ko Samui as an example most of the Thai Marriott hotels are similar value for points.

Another example is Le Méridien Chiang Mai which is also now a Cat 5/35k hotel so it would require an additional 70k points for the 7 nights. That hotels during April or May for a 7 night booking is under $900 total.
That's always been kinda my argument, though often it falls on deaf ears. I was never able to play the hotel-points game because 98% of my travels were self-funded and I only got the air miles game. But Thailand is among the very best places in the world on bang-for-buck with paid rooms, and I've spent years going to midrange sweet-spot places there where I try to get 3* quality at $20-30 a night.

What it usually means is independents that WERE at/near the top of market 30 years or so ago, like the Suriwong or Pornping in Chiang Mai. You'll get 70-80% as good as the international chains for about 15-20 cents on the dollar.If you move further up to just under 3 figures you can get 90% at maybe 40 cents on the dollar.

I'd save the hotel points for someplace really atrocious like French Polynesia. When I took my Tahiti trip I got places that'd go for $5-10 in Thailand at $35-40. The settings were beautiful but I've never had to live so much like a monk anywhere, even Japan.
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