Sunday, July 19, 2015

Thailand Itinerary and Notes

I have become quite the planner when it comes to trips -especially those that are international!  There are just so many places to visit, so many restaurants to research and since WiFi and cell service is often unreliable, my itineraries become extremely detailed. 

It’s become common practice for me to distribute my travel itineraries to friends and colleagues to help them plan their trips, so I thought I’d do the same here!  Some of the information won’t matter too much to you, but hopefully you’ll find my notes, itinerary outline and attraction tips useful.  So without further adieu, I give you my Thailand itinerary and travel tips:

Thailand Itinerary and Notes

February 4th & 5th: Travel to Bangkok

American Airlines Flight 2413
Depart DFW at 8am CST for LAX.  Arrive at 9:29am local PST

Cathay Pacific Flight 885
Depart LAX at 11:25am PST for Hong Kong.
Arrive Thursday, February 5th at 7:05pm local time.
*Checked bags cannot exceed 20kg; 44lbs.  May be able to go beyond this leaving the US, but getting back will be strict

Cathay Pacific Flight 709
Depart Hong Kong at 10pm local time.
Arrive in Bangkok at 11:55pm

Airport transportation:  taxi.

Notes on taxis: When you get into the taxi, make sure the meter is on and showing 35 baht. On arrival at your hotel, you’ll have to pay the fare on the meter, plus an airport surcharge of 50 baht that is not shown on the meter. In addition there may be optional expressway tolls of 75 baht which you should pay directly at the two toll stations. Typical cost: 250 to 400 baht in total (including metered fare, surcharge and tolls) depending on distance and traffic conditions. The average seems to be around 300-350 baht to most inner city destinations. Average Time : About 30 to 45 minutes.

Taxi drivers are not normally tipped, although rounding of odd amounts (e.g. 97 baht to 100 baht, or even sometimes of 101 baht down to 100 baht!) is commonly practiced.

Bangkok: 2/5- 2/8

Hotel: Hilton Sukhumvit Bangkok
11 Sukhumvit Soi 24
Bangkok, 10110, Thailand
+66 2 620 6699

Places to go:

·       Sirocco: tallest open-air restaurant/bar in the world.  Go at sunset for a drink
·       Grand Palace.  [Closes at 4pm; audio guides stop at 1:30pm; must have your knees and shoulders covered and pants cannot be tight]
·       Temple of Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew)  looks like it’s located within the Grand Palace
·       Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) most famous and photographed temple in Bangkok.  Pretty close to Grand Palace, just West of the river and down South just slightly.
·       Jim Thompson House – he has plenty of stores throughout Bangkok, this is more of a house tour.  Looks like it’s on the way from the Hilton to the Grand Palace.  Could also do it on our way to Sirocco possibly.

Grand Palace
February 7th:
Dinner at Hamilton’s Steakhouse at 7pm
Dusit Thani Bangkok Hotel
946 Rama IV Road,
Bangkok 10500
+66 (0) 2200 9000 ext 2345

Bangkok Notes:
·       Skytrain is also known as BTS
·       There are 3 types of transportation: the BTS, the MRT (metro) and Airport Link
·       13 hours ahead
·       Ask taxis to always use the meter, otherwise negotiate on cab fare

February 8th Travel to Phuket

Air Asia flight FD3005
Depart Bangkok (DMK) at 12:45pm
Arrive Phuket (HKT) at 2:00pm
*DMK is Don Mueang International Airport; different from when we flew in

Air Asia Baggage Notes:
·       Checked bags need to be 20kg/44lbs or less or we’ll be charged
Catch Beach Club
·       Checked bags cannot exceed 81cm (H) x 119cm (W) x 119 cm (D)
·       Each passenger is allowed 1 carry on and 1 purse.  Cannot exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm and cannot weigh more than 7kg; 15lbs

Airport transportation: taxi

Phuket: 2/8 – 2/11

Hotel: DoubleTree Phuket Surin Beach
106/27 Moo3, Cherngtalay Surin Beach
Phuket, 83110 Thailand
+66 76 303 300

February 10: Koh Phi Phi Island Tour
Koh Phi Phi Island
Andaman Leisure Phuket Co
Koh Phi Phi + Maya + Bamboo island day trip
Contact: nick Candu
+66 (0) 818 955 766
Pickup at hotel at 8:40am.  Return around 5:30pm
Price per person is 3,300 TBH + tip.  Pay in person
*bring sunscreen, nausea meds, beach towel and maybe water shoes

Things To Do in Phuket:
·       Beaches, gyms and yoga studios mainly
·       Phuket Big Buddha – on the Southern tip of Phuket; taxis may be expensive.  Look into public transit if we want to go.  May be cool around sunset.
·       Catch Beach Club – across from hotel, will rent out bean bags on the beach, restaurant and night club

February 11th: Travel to Chiang Mai

Air Asia Flight FD3161
Depart Phuket (HKT) at 10:35am
Arrive Chiang Mai (CNX) at 12:30pm

Air Asia Baggage Notes:
·       Checked bags need to be 20kg/44lbs or less or we’ll be charged
·       Checked bags cannot exceed 81cm (H) x 119cm (W) x 119 cm (D)
·       Each passenger is allowed 1 carry on and 1 purse.  Cannot exceed 56cm x 36cm x 23cm and cannot weigh more than 7kg; 15lbs

Airport transportation:  Resort is sending a complimentary car

Hotel: Oasis Baan Saen Doi Spa Resort
199/135 Moo 3 Chonpratan Road, Mae Hia,
Muang, Chiang Mai 50200 Thailand

Blue Elephant Tour
Booked: 2 Paradise of Oasis treatment from 14:00 – 18:00.
3,920 TBH after the 20% discount; however, there is a 17% VAT and tourism fee.  Include tip as well.  Pay after services.

February 12: Day Trip
Blue Elephant Super Day Trip: Elephant Interaction + Chiang Mai Zipline + lunch at tiger Kingdom
Price per person: 4,900 TBH to be paid in person.  Tip is encouraged
Pickup at hotel at 6am
Contact: Surin Riangtong
*email Surin with our room number once we arrive
Blue Elephant Tours.  +66 (0) 81 884 3295
Highly, highly recommend this tour!

Blue Elephant Tour
Things to do in Chiang Mai:
·       Salsa Kitchen – North of walled city; Mexican food; knows about Celiac
·       Yummy Pizza – fairly close to the hotel; good reviews; $3-$15; Australian owned
·       Note on food: Butter is Better and Blue Diamond Breakfast Club sometimes offer gf baked items, but they are not actually gluten free. Stay away.
·       Wat Chedi Luang – used to house the Emerald Buddha, ancient ruins; #3 in TA
·       Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – beautiful, 30 minutes outside of city.  Reviews say it’s not to be missed, view of chiang mai from top is amazing (stairs are involved), see monks and maybe get blessed.  Can get guided tours that talk about Buddhism.  Bring offering. Traveler’s Choice Award.  Looks really cool.
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
·       Wat Phra That Doi Kham (Temple of the Golden Mountain)
·       Wat Suan Dok
·       Royal Park Rajapruek – flower gardens.  Close to hotel

Other Notes:
·       TripAdvisor reviews mention a shuttle that takes guests into the walled city and back every day.  May only run 2 times a day, but may be worth asking about

February 14: Travel to Hong Kong

Dragon Air – HKG Flight 233
Depart Chiang Mai (CNX) at 6:25pm
Arrive Hong Kong (HKG) at 10pm
*Checked bags cannot exceed 20kg; 44lbs.

Hotel: Regal Airport Hotel, connected to airport

·       Hong Kong Airport Express takes passengers from the airport to the city center; located in the airport.  It operates until 1:15am with the last train leaving Hong Kong Station at 12:48am.  Journey time from airport to Hong Kong is 24 minutes; roundtrip ticket is $28 or 180HK$.   If we do want to go into the city, we may be able to train there but we may have to taxi back based on time. Hotel also offers shuttles based on availability
·       $1 USD = $0.78 HKD
·       14 Hours ahead

February 15 Fly Home:

Cathay Pacific Flight 806
Depart Hong Kong (HKG) at 11:50am
Arrive Chicago (ORD) at 12:20pm on 2/15 local time
*Checked bags cannot exceed 20kg; 44lbs.

American Airlines Flight 2335
Depart Chicago (ORD) at 2:38pm
Arrive DFW at 5:20pm

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