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Bangkok June 19th
Old 06-08-2015, 08:51 PM   #1
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Bangkok June 19th

I heading to Thailand for 3 weeks. Leaving on June 19th. A friend of mine retired there in April. He has been there many times so I have someone to show me the ropes when I get there. I decided to "splurge" on a 5 star hotel in Bangkok - the Radisson Blu Plaza. I will probably take some side trips outside the city and I may head up to Chiang Mai for a couple of days. I've got some advice from another friend's Thai wife. Mostly I'm going to keep this trip relaxed and unstructured.
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Old 06-09-2015, 12:16 AM   #2
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"You'll find a God in every golden cloister,
and if you're lucky then the God's a she..."

Now I have the song and video going through MY head!

Have fun!
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Old 06-09-2015, 07:06 AM   #3
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Have a fun trip, though you are heading in to some hot and humid weather. Chiang Mai may be a good idea just for the slightly better climate. The country is lovely, there is lots of good food, and it can be very inexpensive to get around and eat well if you avoid touristy things.
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Old 06-09-2015, 09:23 AM   #4
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"You'll find a God in every golden cloister,
and if you're lucky then the God's a she..."

Now I have the song and video going through MY head!

Have fun!
Wasn't this from "The Chessmen"? I heard the song and always wanted to see the show. Did it ever become a movie?
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:08 AM   #5
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I would take a look at an overnight trip to Ayutthaya. It is only 40 miles north of Bangkok.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Na...yutthaya_(city)
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:14 AM   #6
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Also, I recommend a book called Culture Shock: Thailand. It is surprising how different Thai culture is. It will help you appreciate your trip and help you avoid some pitfalls.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:49 AM   #7
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I would take a look at an overnight trip to Ayutthaya. It is only 40 miles north of Bangkok.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phra_Na...yutthaya_(city)
Yes. This is on my list of things to do.
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Old 06-09-2015, 11:51 AM   #8
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Also, I recommend a book called Culture Shock: Thailand. It is surprising how different Thai culture is. It will help you appreciate your trip and help you avoid some pitfalls.
I have a Thai culture book. I've also got my friend to keep me in line. I'm one of those travelers that likes to not be an obnoxious American.

This is a terrific book with some very nice photos as well:

http://www.amazon.com/Very-Thai-Ever...ords=very+thai
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Old 06-10-2015, 10:56 PM   #9
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Some FYIs your friend might not be aware of.

Fly to Chiang Mai. Three reasons not to take the train. The track is old and poorly maintained so the average speed is slow. Despite that, there are frequent derailings, usually by freight trains. It's a single track so a stoppage affects everything on the line. The northernmost section of the track is the worst, so passengers transfer to buses for the last bit. Delays both in departures and in transit are the norm.

If you must go by bus, take a day bus. Overnight buses have a much higher accident rate. On private bus lines anywhere in Thailand, it's not paranoid to assume an employee with access to the luggage bay will rifle through the bags. Double decker buses have such access from the passenger compartment.

Ayutthaya was damaged by standing water in the floods in 2011 and the worse floods in 2013. I have no idea what the state of the sites are today but I'd check before going.

Me in 2005:

meAndFavoriteStoneBuddah-B.jpg

Same location 2011:

s_t28_28810137.jpg
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Old 06-11-2015, 01:58 AM   #10
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Some FYIs your friend might not be aware of.

Fly to Chiang Mai. Three reasons not to take the train. The track is old and poorly maintained so the average speed is slow. Despite that, there are frequent derailings, usually by freight trains. It's a single track so a stoppage affects everything on the line. The northernmost section of the track is the worst, so passengers transfer to buses for the last bit. Delays both in departures and in transit are the norm.

If you must go by bus, take a day bus. Overnight buses have a much higher accident rate. On private bus lines anywhere in Thailand, it's not paranoid to assume an employee with access to the luggage bay will rifle through the bags. Double decker buses have such access from the passenger compartment.

Ayutthaya was damaged by standing water in the floods in 2011 and the worse floods in 2013. I have no idea what the state of the sites are today but I'd check before going.

Me in 2005:
Hmmmm. I was thinking the train to Chiang Mai would be an adventure . . .
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Old 06-11-2015, 02:15 PM   #11
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..and please wipe that "silly grin" off your face before going thru customs and immigration!
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Old 06-11-2015, 03:06 PM   #12
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..and please wipe that "silly grin" off your face before going thru customs and immigration!
Can't help it . . . I'm retired and loving it!
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Old 06-11-2015, 08:10 PM   #13
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When I went we took the train to Ayutthaya then got a bus to Sukhothai then a bus to Chiang Mai. Sukhothai was great. You get to the ruins and rent a bicycle for the day and travel at your own pace. Ayutthaya is much more spread out. You will need to hire a tuk tuk to get around.


Have fun.
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Old 06-12-2015, 06:26 AM   #14
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Hmmmm. I was thinking the train to Chiang Mai would be an adventure . . .
Up to you, as they say in Thailand.

If returning to Bangkok by train, consider how and how long it will take you from Hua Lamphong (Bangkok station) to your destination. May be faster to get off at Bang Sue and then get on the MRT, Bangkok's light rail system. Obviously that could be an uncomfortable choice during peak commuter hours.
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Old 06-12-2015, 07:46 AM   #15
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We have spent a month or so during each of the past two winters in Thailand. It is one of our favourite places to visit. The north will definitely be cooler at this time of year.

We especially like the southern islands of Koh Samui, Ko Lanta, Ko Lippe, etc. We also like Kao Lak, north of Phuket.

Air travel within Thailand is very inexpensive and there are several low cost regional airlines. This past winter we paid $40USD to fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and $USD 60 to fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket. If your time is limited you may with to consider flying.

We find the people to be very friendly and the food is definitely to our taste. In fact, we find the food to be much healthier and much fresher.

Enjoy your trip and watch out for those tuk tuk drivers who are intent on taking you to the tourist traps!
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Old 06-12-2015, 12:07 PM   #16
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IF I do the train to Chiang Mai it will just be one way to see the scenery and for the adventure. I would take a plane back to Bangkok. I'm keeping my schedule very unstructured at this time. I wasn't planning to go south this time but who knows?
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Old 06-22-2015, 12:06 AM   #17
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My 1st 24 hrs in Bangkok have been great. Got lots of sleep (10 hrs) on the plane flight from San Francisco so I arrived in pretty good shape. My friend met me at the airport. My hotel (5 star Radisson Blu) is fantastic. We've walked around a bit and had some great meals. I like the energy of the city. Time to go out and brave the heat and humidity.
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Old 06-22-2015, 10:22 PM   #18
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If you get a chance, travel the ways some locals do....on the public transit canal boats. Very fast and very convenient depending on where you are staying and where you are going. For some reason, our hotel folk were reluctant to recommend them to us. We used them as often as possible-especially to avoid rush hour traffic.
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Old 06-23-2015, 02:43 AM   #19
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I went down to the Taksin dock today to see what's up. Looks good and I think I'll take a boat up to the Grand Palace tomorrow. Longboats on another day.
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