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106 posts

Master Geek

#305888 11-Jun-2023 17:51
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My family is looking to spend 2-3 weeks in Thailand this December.   I want to make this a special trip as the kids are slowing dispersing and I am not sure how many more family holidays we will have.   My daughters will be 14, 17, and 19.


I am thinking of three locations, Phuket, somewhere else, and then a few days in Bangkok.


Does anyone have recommendations for resorts to stay in and around Phuket and the islands?   I am looking for ones near the beach, and also with nice pools.


Any other recommendations for places to visit in Thailand too would be welcome.




Thanks in advance!





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Mad Scientist
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  #3088641 11-Jun-2023 20:24
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Kanchanaburi and stay on a floating river resort?


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  #3088832 12-Jun-2023 09:34
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Kao Samui is a nice place to not do much. There are things to go and see and do, but if you're happy beside a beach or pool, wandering local villages, eating at very expensive western style restaurants in resorts or cheap local places, it's pretty good.

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  #3088911 12-Jun-2023 11:09
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I agree that Koh Samui is (in my opinion) a nicer location than Phuket.  While it certainly caters for differing activities out of the resorts, it's just a lot less "touristy".


An option for your third location could be Chiang Mai.  It's a nice break away from the heat/bustle/noise but still offers plenty of activities (and food!)

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  #3088919 12-Jun-2023 11:21
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When we were in Chiang Mai about ten years ago it was super super humid, very warm, and had a lot of pollution. Very different from Kao Samui, worth a trip, but lots of heat and bustle. Less than Bangkok though.

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Master Geek

  #3088920 12-Jun-2023 11:25
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Phuket -> Phi Phi Islands -> Krabi -> Fly to Koh Samui -> Flyback to Phuket to go home.


Phuket for the markets, tourist stuff, massages
Phi Phi for the snorkelling and boat trips
Krabi for scootering around countryside, markets, the food, more chill atomsphere
Koh Samui for relaxing


If domestic flying is too expensive you can boat/ferry between Krabi and Phuket

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  #3088963 12-Jun-2023 12:35
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- Main beach is Patong.  Personally find it to be awful.  Think Bali, with average accom, and in reality a city.  I go to Phuket to relax as shopping etc is better in Bangkok.
I like Mai Khao and can recommend IF you want a quiet place.  Be warned though it is far from anything else and Phuket does not have meter taxis like Bangkok.  Its somewhat of a racquet, it is what it is
Have stayed in Mai Khao at (order is preference) Sala, Renaissance and Holiday Inn in this location.  Some local places to eat around there.  The first two are next level, HI was fine just not as nice :D


Best thing in Phuket for me is doing absolutely nothing at the resort.  But I did enjoy our Phang Nga Bay tour so check that out

- Really two options here.  Stay in the city or stay on the river.  I have done both, and the last time we were there we stayed on the river, and I actually preferred that.  Caveat being I used to live there, and so have done the city many times, so the river was just a nice change, but also great to leave the absolute hussle. 

The key to Bangkok is being near the sky train.  So we stayed at Avani Riverside (free boat across to sky train 8-midnight) can recommend.  If you want to stay in the city I am a big fan of Holiday inn Bangkok (the one by Chitlom skytrain).  This is very central, you have some great sky bars nearby, 4 massive malls walking distance (or a sky train stop if you prefer).  The big electronic mall (Pantip Plaza) is nearby.  And there are night markets in the area too.  All round great spot.  Have stayed also at Amari Watergate its just not as convenient there though, but a lovely hotel.

Best things in Bangkok would be food tour, long tail boat cruise on the river, shopping.

Its been about 4 years since I was last there (damn kids and Covid!), but it is a great place.



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  #3089091 12-Jun-2023 15:45
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Thanks to Covid we haven't been back to Thailand since 2018 so missed the BIL's wedding on 2020. But even back in 2018 on a trip to Phuket we were unhappy with how over-busy both Phuket town and Patong had become so wouldn't really recommend there. Karon was still OK and there's plenty of things to do which are only a short local bus trip away from there.


On the mainland, Rayong is a nice relaxing place with, like most everywhere else, plenty of things to do and see in the nearby environs. You could even venture down to Trat and catch a boat over to Koh Chang. White sands beach is a beautiful place to stay, although I hear it's also becoming very touristy now.


Chiang Mai has been mentioned - great food, loads and loads of things to see and do. Doi Suthep offers spectacular views, you could go to a Khantoke dinner/cultural show, loads of cottage industry type places to visit, night markets, the list goes on and on. Being far more northerly, it's cooler than places like Bangkok. From there you could also day trip to places like Chiang Rai and see things such as the white and gold temples, and/or Lampang to see loads of other things and visit the hot springs etc. Chiang Dao has nature trails, bamboo rafting and a whole bunch of other things - including hot springs :-)


Kanchanaburi has also been mentioned. If you go that way there's, obviously, the bridge over the river Kwai. I almost melted last time I was there - over 40ºC, high humidity and not even a hint of a breeze. Shouldn't be too bad for the time of year you're going though. There's also the Sai Yak Noi national park, Erawan national park and much, much more.


You'll be there too late for Loy Kratong unfortunately. However, if you're spending time in Bangkok; do things like a river dinner, head up to Ayutthaya to see the ruins of the old capital (second capital after Sukhothai) which was sacked by invading Burmese in 1767. Maybe try Mangosteen restaurant - it used to be Studio 9, then Patravadi. I haven't actually been to the new incarnation but if it's anything like the previous ones it's a good nights entertainment by the river. Asiatique is also a bit of fun; catch a Thai puppet show, have a nice dinner, wander round, go on rides, etc. Shopping in Bangkok is awesome, lots of massive multi-level malls. You might be interested in Pantip Plaza... If you want to see Bangkok night time party life in full swing visit Khao San Road. If you're into viewing architecture, Bangkok will blow your mind. You probably should visit MahaNakhon for a skywalk. Dinner in the Baiyoke Sky Tower (Bangkok Sky Restaurant) is very nice too.


If we're not staying with family, we usually stay in serviced apartments not too far (like itxtme) from a skytrain stop on the Sukhumvit line. We usually stay a little further out than Chitlom though, around the Phra Khanong area.


Wherever you go though, try and avoid being part of what I call the 'animal abuse tourism' crowd. Most elephant 'rescue' sanctuaries are not what they're cracked up to be. Baby elephants are separated from their mothers at a young age then chained and repeatedly beaten until they become acquiescent to learning tricks, being petted by stangers etc. Tiger parks tend to feature drugged up (sub 9 month old) animals which is how you get to be able to pat them etc. Many older animals have their claws cut off and are kept confined, for safety, to attract tourists rather than actually being prepared for release into the wild as is often claimed.


It's a brilliant place to go though, so most of all  - have lots of fun.


Almost forgot, learn a few basic phrases too. That'll go a long way as they show politeness and respect. Some are:
- sawasdee krup (male) the pleasant way of greeting people
- sawasdee kaa (female)
- kop khun krup (male) = thank you
- kop khun kaa (female)
- sabaidee mai = how are you
- pom sabaidee (or just sabaidee) = I'm well


If you're somewhere where no English is spoken and need to use a toilet 'hong naam yu ti nai' is how to ask 'where is the toilet.' If something accidental happens (drink spilt) and the local person starts apologising, smile and say 'mai bpen rai' (it's ok/it doesn't matter)


One of the most important phrases would be 'au bier singh sorng krup' - I want two singha beers please :-) [/joke]


Learning what some of the different foods are called can useful too. For instance:
- moo = pork (add daeng for red or kraub for crispy, i.e. moo daeng, moo kraub)
- gai = chicken
- khao phad = fried rice (khao pad gai for chicken on...)
- phad Thai = Thai noodle stir fry
- bplaa = fish
- naam menou ('water' 'lemon') is a Thai 'lemonade' and is super refreshing
- maphrao is a drinking coconut


Of course, these are just a few very basic things. These, and others not mentioned, can be tricky to say correctly as Thai is tonal language. There's 5 tones so one word can have 5 different meanings depending on the tone applied. If you know any Thai people get them to help you with this, they'll generally be happy to teach you.


106 posts

Master Geek

  #3089132 12-Jun-2023 17:37
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Thankyou all for your suggestions - I really appreciate the detail and great travel tips.   


I will do some reading tonight on each of the locations.

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