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Need Thailand Advice

jfjfbf

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I'm thinking about going to Thailand in 2006. I can only travel in May or September. It sounds like May is very hot and sweaty and September is Monsoon season. Any ideas for which month might be best of the two?
I am mainly interested in the islands/beaches, hilltribes in the north and the older Wats/temples.
I would be most interested in going to Ankor Wat in Cambodia, but will not have enough travel time. Any ideas for large or particularly scenic Wats within Thailand?
Which Islands would be best during those times of year (Phuket on the west coast, Koh Samui on the east, some other islands altogether? Would Pattaya be a good substitute for a beach holiday?
Does anyone know any reputable operators for short (single or multi-day) tours?
Thanks in advance to anyone with any advice.
 

Cruiser Too

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Greetings and welcome to TUG :)

I would NOT go to Thailand in May or September for the reasons you stated.
Yes... it'll be HOT in May but "Hot" is a relative term.
The best times (IMHO) to travel to Thailand are from late November thru February.
These are the "cooler" and dryer months but.... It'll still be hot and humid !!! :p

The only beach areas I'm familiar with is the Phuket region.
(Stayed at the Marriott Timeshare).
There's a tour in the area that I'd strongly recommed.

But depending on you and your traveling companions... Phukett may not be the best choice for you.

Tell us more about your "likes and dislikes", info about the members of your traveling party.
Have you traveled internationally before and which countries ?
Are you familar with SE Asian (not Chinese !) foods ?

We used many different tour operators and would not hesitate to use any of them again.

I'm confident you'll be interested in any of the many, many, many Thai temples (Wats) you visit.

PLEASE learn a little about the Thai customs so you won't be another "Ugly American" there.

I don't visit the TUG BBS as often as I'd like to, so it may take me awhile to respond but hopefully others will jump in with their advice.
 
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ValHam

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I traveled to Cambodia in March of 2005 Ankor Wat is amazing and could take a few days to fully explore all the temples. I spent about 3 days at Ankor Wat and did not make it to all the temples...It is a great time to see Ankor Wat as it is not yet crowded with tourists and you are fully able to explore the ruins. When I was there many brand new really nice looking hotels were being built or were recently finished being built. The area is definitely beginning to develop to attract more tourists.
 

jfjfbf

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Unfortunately May or September are the only months that my wife and I can possibly travel. I do not have experience with Southeast Asia (however, I have been to Mainland China <mainly Beijing and Shanghai and points in between>, Hong Kong and Bali). I realize it would be a whirlwind trip, but I'd like to fit in some hilights so I can get a taste of the country and know where to go back later.

The three separate areas in question are based on our vacation preferences. We love island and beach environments and generally our favorite vacations are of the warm weather variety (that is why the islands or beach areas interest us). We are always interested in learning about some of the indigenous cultures such as the hill tribes (that is why we have been to places such as Africa (Zulus,etc), Australia (Aboriginals), New Zealand (Moaris), etc. Thirdly, we are interested in ruins and old structures such as the Wats (this interest mainly comes from seeing the Mayan ruins in Mexico and Belize). Finally, we'd also like to see some Asian Elephants as a novelty to compare them with all the African elephants we saw on Safari last year.

Thanks for any thoughts.
 

DebBrown

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Doug, We'll be staying at the Marriott in Phuket at the end of March. Can you give me some tips about your favorite tours and activities?

Thanks!

Deb
 

aleksir

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Samui in May

We spent 3 days in Bangkok & 7 on Samui in May of 99. Yes, it was hot, but not unbearable by any means. Chaweng beach on Samui is wonderful, great weather for swimming or sunning. I would much rather go in May than during Monsoon. We did have some days with rain, but not every.

One of the reasons we choose Samui rather than Phuket was it was less commercialized (at least back then). Get the Thai massage on the beach - the best money you'll spend.
 

Cruiser Too

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jfjfbf said:
The three separate areas in question are based on our vacation preferences. We love island and beach environments and generally our favorite vacations are of the warm weather variety (that is why the islands or beach areas interest us). We are always interested in learning about some of the indigenous cultures such as the hill tribes ......... Finally, we'd also like to see some Asian Elephants as a novelty to compare them with all the African elephants we saw on Safari last year.Thanks for any thoughts.
Hi jfjfbf !!!
(Sorry for my delayed response)

If you're interested in visiting the Hill Tribes, you should squeeze in either ChiangMai or preferably ChiangRai !
Send me a Private-Message with your real email-addy and I'll send you an "invite" to visit my online Album.

As far as Elephants... you can do better than just "seeing" them !
How about riding them ??? !!!
Your wife and you can ride together on an elephant without much trouble in most parts of Thailand.
We rode elephants in Phuket and ChiangMai.
Also saw demonstrations of elephants at work and an re-enactment of elephants in battle.

A strong recommendation is to learn a few Thai words and a basic knowledge of their customs.
I would be happy to assist here if desired :)

Doug
 

Cruiser Too

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DebBrown said:
Doug, We'll be staying at the Marriott in Phuket at the end of March. Can you give me some tips about your favorite tours and activities?
Thanks!Deb
To echo aleksir's suggestion about Thai Massages, you can do that two ways at Phuket-Marriott:
  1. At the Spa at the Marriott, Luxury but you'll pay for it !
  2. By the Thai ladies on the beach in front of the Marriott.

But... negotiate the price before taking one.
Back in 2003 I negotiated a massage for the five of us.
200-Baht ($5.00) per person for a 60-minute massage !!! ;)

Also, if they're still there... have a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) at Linda's Seafood Restaurant next to the Marriott.

We ate there quite often !!!

Let me know if you're interested and I can go into more details.

I don't visit TUG as often as I'd like to, so sending me a PM would be more reliable.

Doug
 
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jancurious

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Massages - Marriott Phuket

The ladies on the beach are still here but have posted signs that massages are 400 bahts per hour. We tried negotiating but they balked & we decided $10/hour was a pretty fair price!

Linda's is gone. The restaurant was wiped out by the tsunami & they never rebuilt. We did walk a bit of the ways down the beach (south) and found a local restaurant that was quite good & very cheap.

Jan
 
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