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First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Boston...
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First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Hi All, we’ve (couple late 20’s) been searching the forums, reading the FAQs and quite a few websites to plan our end of May to June trip to Thailand-first timers. We are still having a hard time choosing a hotel and figuring out where to go first. We would like to visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Phuket not necessarily in that order. This morning it dawned on me that it’s probably best to start at Chiang Mai when we land Sunday night (29th after 4pm.) do you think we’ll be able to catch a flight or train to Chiang Mai by the time we get through customs? It will be a long trip but we figure what are a few more hours. I just feel that after travelling so far (Boston) dealing with the hectic pace of Bangkok might be too much and best to start with Chiang Mai. Spend about 4 days there and return to Bangkok on the 2nd (fly) and leave for Phuket (fly) on either the evening of the 5th ( or first thing Monday morning the 6th. Does the above make sense or best to do Bangkok, Chiang Mai then Phuket? I really would appreciate the feedback.

1. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

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Southampton, United...
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2. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

hi Kim,

just read your post in the bangkok forum and couldn't help notice the similiarities in your proposed options in your trip.

Thought I might share my trip itinerary with you and see if it can help...

I'm going to Bangkok 29th April, and will arrive on 30th april at 1540. Like you, I wanted some peace and quiet to start the holiday off, so I've booked Bangkok airways for their 2030 flight. I did have the option to book an earlier flight, but after looking through forums about how much time to leave for between flights. I've allowed an hour for immigration and picking up luggage. Then I plan to check in about 2 hrs before. I have allowed time for a little bit of delay but most long haul flights i've been on has always been on time if not early (lets hope I haven't jinxed it). I'd rather catch my flight with time to spare than worry about it on the way to bangkok. Bangkok airways is pretty good. Food's included, luggage allowance (20kg) included, the staff are nice and friendly, and there's a little lounge even for economy customers to get a drink (even though it's just squash, but still a nice gesture) and a little snack.

I'm spending 4 nights in Chiang Mai. Then flying from chiang mai to Phuket with Air asia. Reason for going to Phuket after Chiang mai is because I want to be in Bangkok last so I dont need to worry about any delays from phuket to bangkok for my flight home. And Bangkok is a shoppers paradise, so I dont need to carry a heavy piece of luggage to phuket. To my knowledge, there aren't many airlines that flight from Chiang mai to Phuket.

So last leg of the journey is bangkok. I've booked to stay at the grand millennium sukhumvit. If you pay a little bit more, you can stay at the club room which includes breakfast, access to club lounge which is where you can have breakfast if you choose to (but less selection), but you can also have an evening snack and cocktail for free between 6-8pm. otherwise, free soft drinks throughout the day. it is also close to MRT and BTS skytrain.

Anyway, hope I didn't bore you and hope it did maybe help with your decision a little.

Good luck and have fun planning!

Brisbane, Australia
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3. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

You could go Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket - which will start fast and be a gradual wind down.

But, I also like the idea of flying directly to Chiang Mai and then Phuket and finishing in Bangkok.

As far as hotels go - if you give an idea of the kind of place you are looking for and a rough budget (backpackers, 2 star, 3 star etc) it will help to suggest some possibilities.

Chiang Mai has many wonderful thai style B&B and guest houses which are beautiful places to stay and will give you a real feel for the place. However, you might prefer a high rise. Many of the highrise style hotels are around the night market area.

Caroline.

California
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4. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

I usually do:

1) Chiang Mai, Phuket, and then stay at a riverside hotel in Bangkok to relax.

2) Doing Bongkok, Chiang Mai, and then Phuket is also good.

If you need to stay in Bangkok to catch your returning flight back home, I think that 1) will be the best option.

Doing Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and then Phuket is my least favorite.

I also recommend you to stay at a boutique style hotel or B&B in Chiang Mai, which will give you a real feel of Chiang Mai.

Port Macquarie...
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5. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Hi Kim - it will be my first holiday to Thailand in May (my husband has been before). I too spent ages deciding on accommodation and itnerary.

This is what we are doing - fly to Phuket from Sydney - 4 nights at Karon, fly Air Asia to Bangkok 4 nights, fly Chiang Mai Air Asia - 6 nights - fly Chiang Mai to Phuket stay Kamala 3 nights - back to Sydney.

We were constrained by our international flights arriving and departing from Phuket. Initially we wanted to get the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai but decided against because we would be travelling at night and would not see too much and Air Asia was very cheap.

Whatever you decide I hope you are as excited as I am at our upcoming holiday!

Boston...
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6. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Thanks for all the replies-well appreciated. We were debating on the way home this evening and he thinks Bangkok to Chiang Mai to Phuket then back to Bangkok (we fly in and out of Bangkok) is more appealing and makes sense travel-wise than travelling from Bangkok on arriving to get to Chiang Mai after 22 hours of flight then to Phuket and back to Bangkok. It seems like just about the same to me. IDYC I like your Itinerary particularly because of the shopping part-makes sense. I know my bag is almost too big already so better to lug around with less luggage to Chiang Mai and Phuket then end it in Bangkok where if we end up shopping too much I can buy an additional suite case or something. We plan on attempting to carry one suite case each and carry on. Air Asia seems to offer the best rates with flight times that fit our schedule. We arrive at 4 and I think I saw a 6pm flight to Chiang Mai on Air Asia so it’s doable. I might need to look at later flights with another airline.

I am not so confused about the hotels in Chiang Mai-there I will get to have my way and stay at a B&B probably will go to the one currently #1 if they have space available or perhaps find one in town. Will likely try to find an in-between; some place on the edge of town but not too far out that it will be over 30 minutes drive away. Absolutely no high rise as I’ll probably be staying in one of those in Bangkok.

I must say in all our years of travelling and plotting not once I have gotten a minor headache just from trying to figure out the hotels lol and that’s just in Bangkok alone! I think Royal Orchid Sheraton might be the winner. So many options. I haven’t even begun to look at Phuket hotels yet.

I/we are very excited and can’t wait to escape!

Port Macquarie...
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7. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Kim - after sooo much procrastination I decided on the Royal Orchid Sheraton too. We have also picked a family style B&B in Chiang Mai. Good luck.

Brisbane, Australia
Destination Expert
for Chiang Mai
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8. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Don't just go for the number 1 or 2 B&B - go through the top ten and look at specialty as well. Some of the top 10 are well out of town. Also those in the top ten will vary from very cheap to very expensive - all still popular but a wide variety of price range.

Caroline.

Port Macquarie...
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9. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

Hi Caroline - I have picked Baan Oripan because of the lovely reviews and also the location (although having never been to Chiang Mai - what do I know?)! I will find out in about 3 weeks!

Boston...
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10. Re: First Trip-Advice needed Chiang Mai/Bangkok/Phuket

I emailed Baan Orapin earlier and hope to hear from them before the week ends. I would have chosen Pak Chiang Mai but unfortunately no pool and I'd like to have that option. Oh we decided on the route Chiang Mai-Phuket-Bangkok. So the turn around time to leave between flights should be about 3 hours just in case of delays. I really would like to visit the Sunday market since it will be our only Sunday in Chiang Mai! (thou we'll be jet lagged and tired but we're energetic so must be able to manage). Probably a crazy idea but worth a try-how late does the Sunday market run???

Edited: 9:30 pm, March 29, 2011