Thailand Trip Details

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Travel Date: April 2001
 
Thailand is an amazing place.  The people are so friendly, the food was amazing, the sights are spectacular and once you are there you can travel and stay  pretty cheaply. We loved it and would recommend it to any of our friends. You can stay very cheaply if you chose or you can stay in world class resorts at a fraction of the cost of other places.  For most people I would recommend spending enough to at least get air-conditioning. Honestly, on this trip we chose to live it up and stayed at  mostly high end places.

Hotels in Phuket - We did a lot of research on hotels. The web is a great resource for finding pricing and booking information. We booked one hotel through a discount web site since they seemed to have the best price.  The other we dealt directly with the hotel via FAX and phone and got a good deal. We wanted to have the places in Phuket booked before we arrived.  In Phuket we stayed at two places.  The first was The Chedi which was absolutely amazing. It shares an almost private beach with the very exclusive Amanpuri resort.  It comes complete with beach ladies who will give you a great 45+ minute Thai massage for about $5 USD. The Chedi is removed from the crowds of  Patong Beach which is great if you want some peace and quiet but it will require a cab ride if you want to go into town.

The second hotel in Phuket was The Panwaburi  which was on the opposite side of the island and a more of a locals resort. This resort was also secluded and away from any sort of town.  The beach is not great and the view would occasionally by filled with a large commercial cargo ship but the resort itself was very nice and the pool was wonderful.  It was also reasonably close to the boat launch point for going diving or to the Phi Phi islands. 

Activities - In terms of activities we enjoying kayaking around some of the islands.  We actually went on a trip that takes you and your inflatable kayak to a group of small islands & lagoons.  We also went on a three in one safari - boating  down a local river, a jeep tour and an elephant ride.  On the same tour you visit a traditional Thai villiage, ride a water buffalo and learn how rubber is harvested and made from the rubber trees.  The diving was also wonderful.  The water clarity wasn't great but the diversity of life was incredible and the water tempurature was like taking a bath.
 
Hotel in Bangkok -The Bangkok hotel we booked once we were there and had decided what nights we wanted to stay in Bangkok. We got a great deal on  a room at the Royal Orchid Sheraton.  We had a choice of  a couple of different free upgrades and took the one putting us on the "Towers" business floor which was fantastic. Free cocktails in the floor lounge every afternoon with a beautiful view of the river.  Staying on the river worked out great because you can take the water taxi to see all of the major Wats. 

Airlines - We flew from San Francisco to Taiwan, from Taiwan to Bangkok and then took a short flight from Bangkok to Phuket.  A very long trip indeed (something like 23 hours including layovers)!  Fly direct to Bangkok if you can afford it.  We flew on China Airlines which was inexpensive but not great and we later learned had a very poor safety record with a number of fairly recent crashes.  Once in Thailand we flew Thai Airways International with whom we were very happy.

Thailand Travel Links

Hotels:

The Chedi - Great beach resort hotel in Phuket.
The Panwaburi  - More of a high end locals resort on the very tip of Phuket. Not nearly as nice as The Chedi.
Phuket Hotel Guide by WiredDestinations - The Chedi - Pricing web site for hotels in Phuket. This link is specifically for The Chedi Hotel and includes rates, descriptions, pictures and maps. We actually booked one of our hotel stays through them.
Chedi Bungalow Map - Another traveler's (German) web site with a nice map of the Chedi.

Royal Orchid Sheraton - Beatuiful hotel on the river in the heart of Bangkok. Right next to a water taxi stop means easy access up and down the river to many of the sights such as some of the more beautiful Wats (temples).

Phuket Diving:

The Sea Bees - A very good professional dive company  in Phuket. Run by Germans but plenty of English speakers as well. We did a wonderful couple of dives at Anemone Reef .  Their boat "The Excalibur II" was a large comfortable boat.  Once at the dive site we broke up into small groups, ours being the English group had only 2 people in it.

General Info:

Phuket Maps - Maps of the Phuket area.
Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) - General information about Thailand travel.
Lonely Planet Guide to Thailand  - A great guide for the budget traveler.
2bangkok -  News from Bangkok and Thailand.  Also has a price guide for local hotels. Feels to me to be for english speaking Expats.

Photos:

Thailand Travel Photos - Photos of from our trip to Thailand including Phuket and Bangkok.

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