One week in Thailand

Discussion in 'Thailand' started by LAXtraveler, Apr 17, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. LAXtraveler
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    LAXtraveler Gold Member

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    Trying to put together a tentative one week trip to Thailand. I am not so interested in BKK but more interested in some beach time and some time in the north.

    I am thinking winter months since that is the nicer season in Thailand it seems.

    I would basically need 2 places to stay: island (which one, and which resort?) and north (Chiang Mai or Golden Triangle?)

    Suggestions?
     
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  2. NEVERhome

    NEVERhome Silver Member

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    Thailand is fairly full on, the beach hotels are focused on locking onto a class of tourists. There are Islands that party 24/7, mixing drinks drugs sex and under 21s into together, whilst next door you could be spoilt completely having spa and massages, learning to cook Thai, relaxing on club chairs having glasses of chilled champagne. There will be a hotel for the single tourist, another for the couples and more for the family, whilst no shortage of high class 5 stars for the rest. Need a relaxed holiday in between check out the hotels at Kamala, or Le Meridian and Angasara. Another idea if oldish/mature is Hua Hin, here there are miles of white sand, any number of hotels and one shopping mall. Chiang Mai is delightful, pretty tame but if you are into elephants, mountains shopping markets and temples, it is perfect. You will go a long way to find a better hotel at a price than the Shangri La. I have only been to Chiang Rai once and to me it was uber rich hotels and boat cruises, personally I was bored within hours so not the best person to chat about the golden triangle.
     
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  3. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks for the reply. I am looking for a relaxing beach setting - higher end, not the crazy parties.

    I am interested in elephants, tigers, etc. plus at least one market experience as well.
     
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  4. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Chiang Mai is very manageable, an hour flight from BKK...nice just to walk around the city, has some very high end hotels (i.e. Four Seasons) and every other kind of lodging. Night market and Sunday market are very popular (Le Meridien is located adjacent to the night market activities. I understand that there is a tiger sanctuary near CM but I have personally never visited there.

    The JW Marriott in the north of Phuket is very laid back, away from cities and parties, and IMO, a great place to chill and relax for a few days...
     
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  5. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks for the ideas!
     
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  6. Kalboz
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    Winter months (November - February) are great for their relatively mild weather and less rain.

    As for hotel suggestions for islands/beaches in the south, it all depends on your budget and loyalties. For higher-end relaxing beach setting, I'd consider the following properties:
    For activities on Koh Samui, see here: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/koh-samui-what-to-do-and-where-to-go.4490/
    For Phuket, see the final few entries of this thread: http://milepoint.com/forums/threads/planning-a-trip-to-thailand.24079/

    As for the north (Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai), in addition to uber-luxury Four Seasons and Oriental Dhara Dhevi, Starwood has one of its best kept secrets value and quality-wise, Le Meridien Chiang Rai. But as others mentioned, it can get boring very quickly unless you are there just to unwind. Le Meridien has another value property in the region, Le Meridien Chiang Mai, which is located right at the night market and walking distance to the walled city and its weekend market, temples, etc. Other activities in the north:
     
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  7. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks, Kalboz. It seems as if you are really the Thailand expert around here.

    If I had to choose between making my own itinerary in Chiang Mai or doing a 3 night adventure at the FS Golden Triangle which one do you think would be better?
     
  8. LAXtraveler
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    If I decide to do BKK for a day - arrive early morning (6:30am) and depart nighttime (9:30pm) is traffic going to kill the day, or is it doable just to do a few highlights?

    Also, do you suggest Chiang Mai during the week or over the weekend?
     
  9. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Having been to Naka I wouldn't recommend it for the beach (rocks, glass, broken tiles) but the villas are in a different class than your usual hotel "room". There's not much to do on the island but if you want to relax and chill it's fine.
    I prefer the Sheraton Hua Hin to the Marriott - but the Marriott has a nicer beach and is closer to "town", while the sheraton is a lovely resort but without much of a beach of sand most of the year (although you can walk a few feet to the left and there is usually a lot of sand) but it has a wonderful pool and a great staff.
     
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  10. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    Oh...and if you can possibly spend longer than a week do so... it's worth it and if you're coming from a distance jet lag will get you for at least a few days.
     
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  11. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks for the tip, but I don't think I can take too much more off from work unfortunately. Will just have to hit the ground running and work hard at not sleeping during the day.
     
  12. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Chaing Mai has excellent Saturday and Sunday markets [these are in addition to the Night Market], which may be a factor in your decision.
     
  13. Kalboz
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    To be honest with you, I've never been to Naka Island, but photos don't portray it as inhospitable as the above post, see for yourself: http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=Naka+Island&ss=2
    Bangkok is good for 15 hours but you will be exhausted. Further, IMO, Bangkok is much more interesting than the islands, Chiang Rai or Chiang Mai ... so, spending just few hours won't do justice to this vibrant metropolis and you won't get the true feel of it either. But if your plans persist, here is what I would do:
    • Find a cheap place to store your luggage and take a rest/shower before heading back to the airport, such as Aloft Bangkok for 3K SPG points.
    • Take the BTS to Saphan Taksin station (Nana to Siam & then change to Silom line).
    • From there take the THB 30 express boat to Tha Thien Pier and on to the Grand Palace, and Wat Po. Get a traditional Thai message at Wat Po. Beware of the touts!
    • From the same pier, take the 3 Baht (10 cents) ferry to the opposite side of the river to see Wat Arun.
    • If it is an international flight, head back to the airport no later than 6 PM. Domestic, no later than 7 PM.
     
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  14. estnet
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    estnet Gold Member

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    ]To be honest with you, I've never been to Naka

    Sorry but I was there for 2 nights 2 months ago and I don't have a clue where those pictures were taken. I was at the Sheraton and yes there is some small area of sand but the shoreline is littered with debris -don't have a clue where those photos were taken
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    LOL. My wife will not be thrilled when I am going to tell her we stayed at a place for the oldish and mature last year :D

    We stayed at the Hyatt on points (which was quite cheap before the re-categorization) and had a lovely time relaxing at the beach/pool.
     
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  16. LAXtraveler
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    Here is a tentative itinerary I am trying to piece together:

    Arrive Tuesday to Islands (HKT or other) - T/W/Th

    Arrive CNX Friday (maybe late Thursday) - F/S/S

    Arrive BKK afternoon/evening

    Depart BKK late Monday

    I know its a quick trip but trying to squeeze what I can out of it while still relaxing on the beach. Thoughts, suggestions, etc. appreciated. Thanks.
     
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  17. FlyingFree
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    FlyingFree Gold Member

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    Kalboz is right about the many facets of Bangkok...but since you've decided you want to concentrate on Phuket and Chiang Mai during this trip, you have enough time in each of those places that you can ernjoy yourself and decide if you'd like to make a return visit to either or both.

    BKK is easy enough to get to using miles that you can return there when your time and whimsey allow...have fun!
     
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  18. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks for the input. Any specific suggestions of activities to do in any of these places (i.e., elephants, tigers, island hopping, etc.?)
     
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  19. FlyingFree
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    In Phuket, if you like animals and would like to keep some wonderful dogs and cats company for an hour or two, contact the Soi Dog Foundation (soidog.org). They do a great job rescuing, spaying, and neutering the animals of Phuket. They are located near the airport and it was a very rewarding experience when I volunteered there last December.

    I’ve not visited any of the wildlife camps near Chiang Mai (will do that when I return in September). CM is a great walking city, a great place to take interesting photos, shop, and eat the street food. I can recommend a great, reliable driver in CM if you need one.
     
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  20. LAXtraveler
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    Are the markets in Chiang Mai all day on Sunday or only evening?

    Trying to determine when is the best time to catch a flight to BKK. Ideally I would like most of the day in CNX but still able to arrive in BKK with time to at least get to a rooftop bar in the evening. Then I can have an entire day in BKK and a late night departure out of the city.

    Also do any of the airlines fly nonstop from USM to CNX?
     
  21. FlyingFree
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    The main markets for tourists in CM are the night markets - they tend to start roilling around 5 or 6pm, and pick up steam through the evening. The main nightly market is on the east side of the city, adjacent to the LeMeridien Hotel. The same times basically hold true for the Sunday market, which stretches from Tha Prae Gate to Wat Phra Singh.

    I'd strongly recommend getting the "Nancy Chandler Maps" of both CM and BKK if you're going to be looking for dining, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities. I found them very hepful when visiting both cities.
     
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  22. LAXtraveler
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    Thanks. So if we do the night market on Saturday night in CNX would it be OK to shorten our time at the one the next night?
     
  23. FlyingFree
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    Probably yes...I have only been to the Sunday Night Market, not the Saturday Night one, but have heard that the items on offer are similar...note that they are in different locations...the Saturday market is on Th Wualai, the Sunday market is on Th Ratchadamnoen.
     
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  24. Kalboz
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    Agreed, Hua Hin, as we experienced it, was hardly a place for the oldish and mature. We were pleasantly surprised that it is a great place ... Hua Hin has everything you need: 5 star properties & budget hotels, good family restaurants & adult-themed pubs, scenic vistas, historic sites including some important palaces, ponies to rent & ride at the beach, night markets & modern shopping malls, etc.

    Here is more on our trip: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kalboz/collections/72157623540872334/
    [​IMG]
    The view from our Marriott Resort room​
     
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  25. LAXtraveler
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    Another question for the Thailand experts: St. Regis Bangkok or The Peninsula Bangkok?

    Preferences and why. Thanks.
     
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