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Thailand 101: What to do for a week?

Thailand 101: What to do for a week?

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Old Jun 4, 04, 8:33 pm
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Thailand

I went in Feb. with my kids, 8 & 10. We stayed at the Marriott in Bangkok and really liked it. It was very quiet and pretty and we could avoid traffic by travelling by river. We rented a 2 room suite with balcony on 2 sides. It was lovely and the staff was great. We also went to Phuket and that was GORGEOUS, clear blue, warm water, white sand beaches. We stayed at the Hilton. The only complaint was, the beach was across a busy road and not serviced by the hotel.
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Old Jun 7, 04, 11:15 am
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Another question

Due to UA's flight schedule, we are arriving around midnight. Is that a problem? Or is it pretty straightforward to catch a legit taxi to the hotel?
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Old Jun 7, 04, 12:17 pm
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Originally Posted by honmani2
Due to UA's flight schedule, we are arriving around midnight. Is that a problem? Or is it pretty straightforward to catch a legit taxi to the hotel?
Our UA flight was late getting into BKK last time and we landed at around 1am and even at that hour, there was no problem getting a taxi into the city. When you leave baggage claim/customs into the Arrival Hall, you will be inundated with offers by drivers wanting to take you to the city for about B650. Ignore these offers (I usually opt for the "no eye-contact" maneuver). Head for the door and exit the terminal. You will see a (legit) taxi stand on your right. Most likely, there'll be a queue so get in line and when you get to the desk, tell them your hotel/destination. It should cost about B300-400 (including expressway tolls) to get to most hotels in Bangkok.
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Old Jun 7, 04, 2:18 pm
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Originally Posted by blueDC
Our UA flight was late getting into BKK last time and we landed at around 1am and even at that hour, there was no problem getting a taxi into the city. When you leave baggage claim/customs into the Arrival Hall, you will be inundated with offers by drivers wanting to take you to the city for about B650. Ignore these offers (I usually opt for the "no eye-contact" maneuver). Head for the door and exit the terminal. You will see a (legit) taxi stand on your right. Most likely, there'll be a queue so get in line and when you get to the desk, tell them your hotel/destination. It should cost about B300-400 (including expressway tolls) to get to most hotels in Bangkok.
Good advice, the people at the taxi stand will write your destination in Thai for the driver, and they keep track of the taxi number, and give this to you too, in case there are problems. Just double-check that the meter gets turned on, when you pull away. Ask the driver to take the tollway, tolls are 40 baht, then 30 baht (or vice versa?). The passenger pays the toll, and this is a good way to get change. An extra 50 baht fee for originating at the airport (paid at the end of the trip, add this to what shows on the meter) and about ~ 150 - 180 baht for the taxi fare into the city. Since there will be no traffic be prepared for a fairly high-speed journey, minimum 120 kph!

There is a NW flight that gets in late too, so plenty of passengers and lots of taxis.

Last edited by transpac; Jun 7, 04 at 2:20 pm
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Old Jun 8, 04, 8:20 am
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Check out Bangkok Bob's website for more info on Bangkok.
http://www.bangkokbob.net/index.htm

It's not very pleasant to look at but lots of really useful info on the airport bus, BTS stations, shopping malls, river tours, etc.
I used the info a lot during my recent Thailand trip.
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Old Jun 8, 04, 5:49 pm
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Thanks so far for the great advice/insights!

Looks like we'll spend a few days in Bangkok, then up to Chiang Mai for two or three days and then back to Bangkok. Don't really want to spend a lot of time traveling.

Oh, here's another one. What about the overnight train to Chiangmai? Does that make sense or should we just go by air roundtrip? Overnight train rides can vary from country to to country for comfort, safety, cost, etc. Is it better to buy air tkts before we get there or buy them after we arrive?
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Old Jun 8, 04, 6:01 pm
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If you have not been to Thailand for decades - may I suggest to not go back to where you went before. You will be saddened to see what has happened. Development has run amok in all the coastal areas and Chiang Mai is a zoo in the summer.

If it was me - Use BKK as a base and pop over to Myanmar for 5 days (arrange Visas before you leave so you can to avoid wasting time in BKK) .
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Old Jun 8, 04, 6:42 pm
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I was in Chiang Mai a couple of weeks ago and it actually wasn't too bad. Busy but nothing out of the ordinary.

Notwithstanding my own personal dislike towards Myanmar, you can get your visa online at http://www.visa.gov.mm/index.cfm

It's $30, paid at the airport. The online process took about 10 minutes, the visa was approved within a day, and the issuance took about 15 minutes when I got there.
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Old Jun 9, 04, 8:24 am
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Originally Posted by MrAOK
....To that i'd add the weekend market....
Definitely the weekend market! It can be overwhelming, so get sleep the night before, start early, and remember there is a restaurant with an air-conditioned room worth many times the supplement they add to your bill for the privilege. There is an ATM at the market; I plan ahead with two different ATM cards (two different sets of ATM networks to make sure I can get cash). At least some of the merchants selling more expensive items do take credit cards. (Remember that AmEx charges higher fees on foreign purchases, and Visa/MC vary.) I found (and bought!) some nice stainless steel silverware; some pottery/porcelain items for gifts; and other fairly random things (spices). One can do YEARS worth of gift-buying here!

The book "The Treasures & Pleasures of Thailand" is the wonderful book which led me to Paya for custom-made furniture, rugs, pillows, et al. BKK requires homework if you're going to do higher-end shopping there. The book has listings for jewelry shops, silk/textiles, furniture (custom-made & antique). I didn't like the series' guide for the South of France, but I found much good information in the Thailand book.

The Peninsula is the most wonderful hotel in which I've ever stayed. Their rates have come a long way from when they opened (around $100/night in 1999(?)). Some of their rates include a one-way airport transfer, so you could start your trip by being driven to the Peninsula in a Benz.

Here's my BKK link for a few of my favorite places to eat. The lunch buffet at the Oriental hotel's Thai restaurant is always a delight.

It's an incredible place, but with incredibly filthy air. I always take much more C (and various antioxidants) than I usually do while there.

Have fun!
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Old Jun 9, 04, 9:13 am
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Originally Posted by honmani2
Oh, here's another one. What about the overnight train to Chiangmai? Does that make sense or should we just go by air roundtrip? Overnight train rides can vary from country to to country for comfort, safety, cost, etc. Is it better to buy air tkts before we get there or buy them after we arrive?
I don't know how long the train takes but the flight is barely an hour and since there are so many discount airlines in Thailand, the trip from BKK-CNX will cost about $15 each way. As with most airline tickets, the earlier you buy, the cheaper they are and at least for Thai Airways and AirAsia, you can purchase the tickets online. I think if you consider the amount of time saved for that distance (500 miles?), flying is the way to go.
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Old Jun 9, 04, 10:38 am
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[QUOTE=blueDC]I don't know how long the train takes but the flight is barely an hour and since there are so many discount airlines in Thailand, the trip from BKK-CNX will cost about $15 each way. [QUOTE]

I've scoured the web and fares from BKK-CNX are around US$100 roundtrip. Haven't seen any fares close to $30 rt. Am I missing something?
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Old Jun 9, 04, 10:50 am
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www.AirAsia.com

The flights for November are not loaded yet but for dates in Oct, it's THB1000/rt. + 400 in taxes (total is $35/rt). The timing for the flights (early morning and midnight) are somewhat inconvenient though.
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Old Jun 9, 04, 12:31 pm
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actual costs for BKK - Chiang Mai on TH

The fare is approximately $100 RT when booked online. Thai has a website that works very well. You can pay with a credit card, print out e-ticket. Check in is normally 1 hr. before departure. Bangkok Air may be slightly less. Air Asia and Orient Thai are probably cheaper but not as convenient. Departures are frequent on Thai, planes are modern and food is served on this route. I book my Thai domestic routings on-line and have not had any difficulties.

You can determine the cost of a railway ticket on-line as well. Thai Railways has a website in English.
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Old Jun 9, 04, 1:32 pm
  #29  
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I would go to Bangkok and Phuket (or Ko Samui) as my wife and I did during our one week visit to Thailand last year. Why Phuket? It provides a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok and beautiful beaches.

Whatever you do, please consider using Priceline (and/or Priceline Hong Kong and Singapore) to secure ridiculously inexpensive hotel rooms. My wife and I absolutely loved the Bangkok Marriott Riverside, and even more so at $47 per night. Bidding For Travel and the Priceline Asia Discussion Board will give you the data you need to bid intelligently.

If you travel outside Bangkok via air (whether to Chiang Mai, Phuket, or somewhere else), it is definitely worthwhile to purchase a business class ticket on TG. The premium over coach was only about $25 roundtrip when we went. Check out the Thai forum for additional information.

And you will have no problem locating a taxi at all hours of the night. The great thing about Thailand is that everything is dirt cheap (comparatively), including taxis. Enjoy your trip.

Last edited by cAAl; Jun 9, 04 at 5:30 pm
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Old Jun 9, 04, 5:00 pm
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Reminder about differing CC foreign surcharges...

There is probably a more up-to-date link on FT for this information (with details on all the mileage-earning cards!), but here is one article I found. Charge carefully...

http://www.europeforvisitors.com/eur...surcharges.htm
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