I was just thinking that you might have to go to Chiang Mai before you go to Phuket. I know that Thai has a nonstop flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket, but I don't know if they have one going the other way. So, if you flew USA-Bangkok-Chiang Mai-Phuket-Bangkok-USA, that's probably your best schedule.
You'd probably want to go to Phuket last anyway if at all possible... just got back from the Marriott there and it is sooooo relaxing and wonderful. It's a great way to end your trip after more "active" exploring in other parts of the country (we spent a week in Bangkok first, hope to go to Chang Mai next time as well).
BTW, lots of great Thailand advice on the Asia Discussion board of fodors.com.
I'm just back for a week and still not over "yearning for Thailand." Already planning the return trip. Have a great time!
thank you all but we have two problems: one we are also going to Cambodia for 4 nights and also taking the Orient Express. Soooo, we have to land in Singapore for 3 nights (by choice) then take OE to Bangkok. Reason is that OE doesn't run the one day we need it to go opposite direction. Our itinerary looks like it will be fly to Singapore 3 nights, OE 2 nights, Phuket for 7 nights, Chiang Mai, 3 nights, Chiang Rai 2 nights, Seam Reap 3 nights then fly to Singapore home. Anyone see a problem with that as we haven't signed on the dotted line yet. BTW, Singapore Airlines has a direct nonstop - that is why the agent is leaning this way.
Cathy, your itinerary sounds wonderful! BTW, on the Fodor's discussion board the group has a recommendation for a guide at Siam Reap. She was a former school teacher and also assists tourists with giving school uniforms to help kids afford school -- a good way to give back in a very poor country. In one case she also arranged a visit to the school. She sounds wonderful. Might be worth looking at if you need a guide.
Cathy, the URL is http://www.fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?fid=27. That will get you to the Asia board and from there you can select the threads for Thailand. The board is quite busy with lots of trip reports and great information about restaurants, shopping, and activities.