Our trip to Thailand was terrific. Although we had previously traveled to other foreign destinations, we had no experience with Thailand. Our travel specialist created an excellent itinerary for us that provided a good introduction to the country. We spent time in the northern, middle and southern regions of Thailand which gave us a good overall exposure to the country and its culture. We visited both urban and rural regions and visited several major attractions.
Everything worked efficiently. Our travel specialist handled all the arrangements including airline bookings, hotel reservations, special excursions, and private guides. She also provided a lot of information pertaining to travel planning, packing lists, currency exchange, and cultural awareness. At each new location, we were met by personable guides and drivers.
hotel accommodations were high-end, and included wonderful breakfasts. The hotels were typically located in areas that provided convenience and exposure to the local culture.
While planning the trip, our travel specialist was quite sensitive to our interests. We wanted to get a good sense of the Thai culture and history, and to use our limited time efficiently. She delivered quite well in that capacity. During our time in Thailand, we were able to connect to our travel specialist’s local travel partners. This provided us a good sense of assurance and comfort while in country (although we had no problems).
In summary, our Thailand experience was exquisite, and we are grateful to our travel specialist for her efforts.
The Thai people were wonderful. Everyone we came into contact with was very friendly and helpful. If you made attempts to use their language (fairly complex for English speaking people), they were always appreciative and would take the time to help you with pronunciation’s and meanings.
We enjoyed several destinations and activities. The most notable of these was the elephant encounter at the Elephant Sanctuary near Chiang Mai, and Ziplining - also near Chiang Mai. In each case, we were transported to and from our hotel to the site. The guides and experts at each destination were very knowledgeable and personable. They provided good explanations and guidance, and also made the activity fun and enjoyable. In both instances, we were treated to a tasty Thai lunch after the activity.
We also enjoyed a half day of kayaking along the coast near Krabi. Krabi is a southern tropical destination in Thailand located on the Andaman Sea due east of Phuket. We were in a small group of six (3 couples). Each couple had their own kayak. The guides were very personable and provided a lot of information and education. While on the excursion, we observed beautiful limestone cliffs, majestic jungle-canyon areas, deep mangrove growth, various sea life and monkeys.
in the Krabi area, we also enjoyed staying at the Beach Resort. Although we had wonderful accommodations at most destinations, this resort was top notch – a beautiful beach, exquisite ocean view room, excellent food, and exceptional staff. In Chiang Mai, the Hotel was– upscale, excellent staff and very nice accommodations. The same can be said for the hotel in Bangkok – excellent location, very classy, excellent cuisine and outstanding staff. Our only disappointment was our stay at the Resort on Koh Lanta. Although the resort is quite nice and sits on the coast, it lacks adequate beaches (only rock formations and cliffs) and the staff service was average. In addition, the location is quite hilly making it difficult to get around the complex easily. They provide shuttles for this, but that requires a lot of wait time, etc. The hotel also has no elevators even though rooms are located on multiple levels. In short, a nice resort that simply didn’t suit us.
In Bangkok, we enjoyed the sky bar atop a skyscraper building. At 314 meters (1036 feet) high, the 360 -degree view of the Bangkok region is exhilarating. It also boasts a glass walkway that extends into space…a bit spine-tingling, but very cool. We also enjoyed a wonderful (and very affordable) dinner at a local restaurant near our hotel. They served authentic upscale Thai cuisine. Located on an unimpressive street in an older remodeled house, we highly recommend this spot for those that want a local experience and enjoy excellent Thai food.
Although our itinerary provided good exposure to Thailand, our schedule limited our destinations and activities. If we were to return, we would be interested in spending more time in the southern regions of the country and perhaps including some time in Malaysia. Phuket is of less interest to us since it is a major tourist destination, but there are many other locations in the south part of the country that should be worth exploring. While in the Krabi region, we would be interested in more beach time as well as scuba diving and snorkeling. Exploring Ko Samui in the Gulf of Thailand also sounds appealing.
Our time in Bangkok was adequate…perhaps a day or two longer would have been useful (we spent 2.5 days here), but you get your fill of the bustling metropolis fairly soon. While in Bangkok, we would make a point to see Siam Niramit, a large stage production that presents the history of Thailand and the land of Siam. In addition, we would be interested in learning more about Thai silk culture. We would also visit a few more of the sky bars in Bangkok. We visited only one, but there are several within the city and they make for a fun outing in the evening.
In Chiang Mai, we would take more time to visit the ‘old city’ (Ku Muang) which lies in the center of town. In addition, a visit to Chiang Rai, another old city in the north country, may be interesting. Finally, more ziplining would be fun…never get too much of that.
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