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Been in Thailand for about 3 weeks now... My overall thoughts...


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#1 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 17:53:53

Howdy wai.gif

 

I arrived in Thailand at the start of August for a 1 month holiday that was suppose to be out of this World. Unfortunately that's not quite how things have turned out. Some of the problems are probably my fault, but frankly I don't see what I could have done different at the time of planning... It seemed like a great plan and everyone who I told said it was great too (this forum included).

 

So the plan was... Arrive in Bangkok, spend 3 nights. Travel down to Samui and spend 9 nights. Then to Phangan spending 5 nights, then over to Krabi (Lanta) spending 6 nights (that's where I am now) and finally up to Chiang Mai for 5 nights (2 in Pai) and then 2 nights in Bangkok on exiting the country. In my opinion this was a pretty balanced trip that would enable us to see a good variety of Thailand.

 

First off let me start by saying I have nothing against Thailand or the Thai people. In fact one of the things that has blown me away has been the absolutely awesome level of service at the resorts we've stayed at. No attitudes, very polite, very helpful. The point of this thread is simply 2 reasons... Firstly I want to see if I'm missing something and secondly I want to inform other people who may be thinking of doing a similar journey of the negative sides involved. If someone had told me what I have learned over the last few weeks I probably never would have come, simple as that.

 

Okay so we arrived in Bangkok staying at Lebua at State Tower. As far as I know it's one of the most famous hotels in Bangkok, partly due to the Hangover II movie. For a 5 star the rooms are pretty sucky. The furniture is dull and the views are of the wrong side of the city... Also the hotel itself is a little out of it location wise. Don't even bother going to the Sky Bar unless you enjoy barely being able to move due to so many people. Anyway I don't want to ramble too much about the hotel... Bangkok itself... It's polluted, over crowded and in a large part ugly. Probably the highlight of Bangkok for me was Siam Paragon and the VIP cinema (how silly is that). This cinema is one of the best I've ever been too. I also enjoyed eating dinner at the Mandarin Oriental by the river... I'd highly recommend that. As for other activities in Bangkok... I went to the shooting range and blew $300 in about 15 minutes on pretty much nothing, such a waste of money. Also went to Lumpini Park which was full of protestors screaming down microphones and not much else. Add to the fact the sweltering heat makes going to a park a bit of a drag. Maybe Bangkok is more fun if you're single and can hang out with a load of lady boys... Who knows...

 

That was Bangkok. Bear in mind it has taken about 11 hours of pure flight time alone to get to Thailand at this point... Another hour to and from the airport to the hotel, now we have a 1 hour flight down to Samui which isn't so bad. However one thing I must stress to people is the amount moving around takes it out of you. Getting to and from airports, flying, going through security, getting to and from hotels, moving your bags about, packing and unpacking, it all adds up and the more places you visit the more messing around you have to do. A 1 hour flight to Samui isn't a 1 hour flight... It's more like 3 or 4 hours when you've added in all the transfers and check-ins. Just wanted to point that out.

 

We arrived in Samui and first impressions were very good. I loved the airport. Our first hotel that we stayed in The Briza Beach Resort was overall very nice. The villa was massive for the price and it was right on the beach. Great restaurant too (loved the red duck curry). Everyone seems to give Samui a bad rap but I actually liked it there more than anywhere I've been so far in Thailand. The Tesco in Chaweng is massive and has everything you need, including bowling for a bit of fun. The beaches aren't too crowded (this time of year anyway) and there are some awesome restaurants on the island. My favorite was Coconut Willy's who do insanely tasty steak sandwiches and pizzas. One thing I didn't like about Samui is how touristy they made the elephant reserve. It was crap and you could tell the people there only run it for profit. The aquarium on the other hand was a solid experience and one I'd recommend. Make sure you rent a car or scooter to get there though.

 

Another thing I should point out at this stage is Thailand is not cheap. I don't care what anyone says it simply is not. You cannot have a meal at any half decent restaurant on Samui for 2 without spending 1,000+ Baht at least. If you take a taxi on Samui (any taxi) they will rip you off. They will charge you 500 Baht to go pretty any where and simply aren't interested in negotiating. Things like the Muay Thai stadium are also expensive... 1,000 Baht each for the most basic seats. So yeah it's not a cheap place. No where I've been in Thailand is cheap.

 

The second hotel we stayed in Samui was more expensive and had a much smaller room. Chaweng Regent was the name. I'd not recommend staying at this resort (even thought it has good reviews on booking.com). It has nice gardens and that's it. They even want to charge you for Wi-Fi, which at a $300 a night hotel is outrageous.

 

After 9 nights we left Samui and headed to Phangan. For me this is where the holiday started to go to crap. Up until now it had been a pretty decent holiday... The ferry to Phangan takes about 1 hour by the time you've boarded and got off etc. Our resort on Phangan was meant to be one of the best (Panviman) and located on the best beach in Phangan (Thong Nai Pan Noi). Let me start by saying the main road in Phangan is dreadful. Without a doubt the worst road I've ever traveled on. How people don't die on that thing daily is beyond me. It's essentially a dirt track with massive slopes, holes and cliff drops either side for about 40 minutes straight. Arriving in Phangan and getting driven to the hotel down this road was less than a pleasant experience.

 

Once you arrive in that part of the island you're essentially stuck there. Unless of course you want to travel down death road (I did this a few times on a scooter, but for a family it would be next to impossible). I will say there is a lovely little village in that part of the island that has a French colonial style (maybe that's why the resorts are full of French people?).

 

The restaurants on Phangan suck, so other than laying on the beach I'm not sure what there is to do. In fact there's nothing really to do on Phangan, it's essentially a crappy version of Samui with a couple of slightly nicer beaches and a Full Moon Party which I've heard has become a sausage fest full of idiots. I did try my best to explore and discover Phangan, but after the 5 days there I just couldn't wait to leave. It was a massive relief to get off that island.

 

Now started another journey from hell, which was traveling from Phangan to Krabi, or rather Ko Lanta. It's a 2 hour ferry from Phangan to Donsak and then (if you're lucky) a 5 hour drive from Donsak to Lanta. This alone is probably more traveling than most families do to get to their holiday destination. We actually hired a private transfer from the pier to Lanta (5,000 Baht down the toilet), so if this was bad I can't imagine how it must be on a bus full of sweaty people.

 

We're here now in Ko Lanta, we arrived at 7PM yesterday having left our hotel in Phangan at 10AM. The hotel we're at is called Pimalai and is meant to be the best on the island. It's a nice hotel in nice grounds, but you're isolated and literally perched on a cliff at the edge of a jungle. That's cool and all, but you're pretty much stuck in the resort for however long you come here. Why are you stuck? Well BECAUSE THERE'S NOTHING TO DO ON KO LANTA. I've literally driven around the entire island today in a rental car and there's nothing. The beaches that I've seen have massive waves and are full of rocks. The restaurants seem to be run by crazy people who have lost the plot and that's about it. There's 1 main road full of crappy buildings and huts and not much else. I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would rave about Ko Lanta. Want to leave Lanta and go up to Krabi or Phuket? Good luck! Depending on where you're situated on the island it's a 1 hour drive to get to the North where you'll need to take 2 ferries to get to the mainland. I'm not sure how long the drive is to Krabi or Phuket from there but I imagine it's a long bloody way.

 

The plan is in a day or so we're taking a ferry to Phi Phi and staying the night there. At this point though I'm not really sure what to expect or how to enjoy anything. The trip so far has been so full of traveling to get to mediocre places that I've sorta given up. I only hope that Chiang Mai is better and we can spend a good 5 days there enjoying Northern Thailand. Mind you getting there will be another 4 hour flight plus hotel transfers.

 

Here's what I've learnt so far... Stay away from Phangan and Ko Lanta. In fact if you're a couple traveling stay away from Bangkok too. Fly in through Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) and then go direct to Samui... It's a short flight. Then maybe go up to Chiang Mai (although I have no idea what it's like there yet). If you're single then Bangkok is probably a lot more fun, so it might be worth going through there to Samui.

 

I actually spent a decent amount of time planning this trip. I asked for advice on 3 forums and kept an open mind to everything. I wanted to see as much as Thailand as possible. This was a big mistake. In hindsight I should have gone to Bangkok, Samui and Chiang Mai and that was it. Then maybe seen another part of Asia, perhaps Japan. Funnily enough this was the exact thing my GF told me to do, so I'm a fool for not listening. I can only advise others to keep your trip as simple as possible... See 2 or 3 main locations and make sure you keep your transfer as fast and easy as you can.

 

In conclusion if I could go back a month and not come to Thailand I probably would. This will be a $20,000 trip at the end of things and although I have a couple of nice memories, it's nothing that much. I've vacationed in Europe for far FAR less and probably had just as many pleasant experiences.

 

That's about it! Thanks for reading tongue.png



#2 greg71

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:28:34

I could have guided you for lets say 5 thousand dollars lol



#3 Goompa

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:36:13

Wondered when we would get a reply , almost stopped to finish reading the post



#4 thaicbr

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:41:49

I would say just bad planning on the latter part of your trip. Also 5 star hotels are not Thailand..
Have fun in Majorca next year :D

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#5 Gsxrnz

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:42:22

Blame yourself if you had a bad experience.  You seemed to have planned badly with your eyes wide shut. 

 

I mean...BKK has a pollution problem, and that came as a shock!

 

Holy Cow Batman.....to the batmobile  and off to Sin City, for surely the Joker is up to his evil tricks again, he's polluted Bangkok and the tourists are revolting!w00t.gif



#6 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:44:26

I would say just bad planning on the latter part of your trip. Also 5 star hotels are not Thailand..
Have fun in Majorca next year biggrin.png

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Funny because most people on this forum said my plan was very good.

 

5 star hotels are not Thailand? How do you figure that? A large majority of the resorts are now 4 and 5 star...

 

And thanks but no thanks to Majorca, have a bit more adventure in me than that smile.png



#7 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:46:44

Blame yourself if you had a bad experience.  You seemed to have planned badly with your eyes wide shut. 

 

I mean...BKK has a pollution problem, and that came as a shock!

 

Holy Cow Batman.....to the batmobile  and off to Sin City, for surely the Joker is up to his evil tricks again, he's polluted Bangkok and the tourists are revolting!w00t.gif

 

You obviously completely missed the point of my post, did you even read past the first paragraph?

 

Of course I knew Bangkok was polluted, I'm not stupid. I was just summarizing overall Bangkok as a city and pollution was one point of it. I actually don't regret staying in Bangkok, it's the Phangan and Lanta parts of the holiday I regret thus far



#8 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:52:10

I planned poorly and yet I spent 2 weeks researching everything I could, looking on booking.com, TripAdvisor, these forums, 2 other Thai forums. Took advice from loads of people and put together the best locations and hotels I could find at the time.

 

I'd say I did more planning than most actually xhuh.png.pagespeed.ic.6VcCaNwNXg.png



#9 thaicbr

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Posted 2013-08-22 18:52:45

I would say just bad planning on the latter part of your trip. Also 5 star hotels are not Thailand..
Have fun in Majorca next year Posted Image

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Funny because most people on this forum said my plan was very good.
 
5 star hotels are not Thailand? How do you figure that? A large majority of the resorts are now 4 and 5 star...
 
And thanks but no thanks to Majorca, have a bit more adventure in me than that Posted Image


I simply meant that you went on holiday at 5 star resorts which generally people do if they just DO the resort. You didn't do Thailand. It's well known that travelling in Thailand can be a chore. If people here on TV said it was OK then either they have never been or understand the traveling.
Anyway at least the 1st bit was fun.

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#10 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:01:12

I simply meant that you went on holiday at 5 star resorts which generally people do if they just DO the resort. You didn't do Thailand. It's well known that travelling in Thailand can be a chore. If people here on TV said it was OK then either they have never been or understand the traveling.
Anyway at least the 1st bit was fun.

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Yeah I understand that point, but surely there is some middle ground between going around the place with dreadlocks and a backpack and staying in a nice modern hotel.

 

Yes there are 5 star ultra luxury resorts that you're just meant to stay contained in and then there are medium level resorts (4 star and sometimes 5) that are centrally located where you can explore the surroundings.

 

Both the places we stayed in Samui were 4 and 5 star and located on the main road in Chaweng.

 

In Phangan where should I have stayed? The main town there is a total dump and in no way the "real Thailand." In fact I would say the isolated part of the island we were in was more reflective of what that island is about.

 

In Ko Lanta my point is wherever you stay on the island there is bugger all to do. You are isolated for the simple fact of being on Lanta.

 

Bangkok is Bangkok regardless of what star rating hotel you stay in. You can get any where you want with the Skytrain. It's just whether you sleep on a nice bed or not.

 

I really don't see how staying in a nice hotel is avoiding seeing the real Thailand



#11 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:11:48

I mean truly please tell me how I can see this amazing real Thailand. Shall I check into a dirty hostel with bed bugs then go eat some fried chicken at a street vendor on my way to a lady boy ping pong show? Is that the real Thailand? Shall I spend 2 days on a cramped train traveling down the country looking at one banana plantation after another?

 

I just don't get it. What have I missed?

 

In Bangkok I went to all the recommended places. In Samui I went all around the island, went to the all the best rated spots, saw a bunch of different beaches, ate at a load of different restaurants. In Phangan I nearly killed myself on their stupid roads trying to explore the place. And now in Lanta I spent 2 hours driving around the whole island just looking for something cool. So tell me, what am I doing so wrong? I'm not sitting in my hotel every day watching cable TV. I've really tried to see and explore. Were the destinations I chose crap? If so what are good places to visit?



#12 wolf5370

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:17:44

Maybe you'll have more fun up here in CM when you get to that part. I live here, so don't do the holiday planning much any more. However, when I did used to come on holidays, I always spent most of my time up north (CM and above) - Ayuttaya on occasion (the old capital) but only for the temples and old palace (did that water park ever open????). I think real tourists (like you - as opposed to those that just come for the booze and sex - or to sit in a spa/hotel/resort for the entire time by a pool) tend to be either beachbums, sightseers or sporties (my names for them). The former love the islands and beach places like Pattaya, Bangkok, Hui Hin, Phuket, the  Kohs, etc. The second like to back pack travel about - these people like Ayutaya, the north generally, Kanchanaburi (death railway/bridge over the river kwai/pow graveyard) and quick visits to places like Mini-Siam (Pattaya), Old City(Bkk), snake/crocodile/silk/butterfly/orchid farms (everywhere). The latter like white water rafting and trekking (Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai) and diving (see beach areas).

 

So depends what sort you are - and you should have planned your holiday accordingly. Guest Houses and smaller hotels are often much more fun here in my view - you meet more interesting people (if any in 4/5 star hotels) and often nearer to the life. 

 

Where are you staying in CM? Plenty to see up here - lots of tours to do and stuff to do in the city itself (new shopping mall too as that was your Bkk highlight lol!)

 

 

ps:  I can't stand beaches/beach holidays and also dislike Bangkok - so we are probably alike in that regard, I like to be doing something (I include sightseeing) - that's why I spent most of my holidays here in the North and live here now. 


Edited by wolf5370, 2013-08-22 19:23:32.


#13 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:24:07

Maybe you'll have more fun up here in CM when you get to that part. I live here, so don't do the holiday planning much any more. However, when I did used to come on holidays, I always spent most of my time up north (CM and above) - Ayuttaya on occasion (the old capital) but only for the temples and old palace (did that water park ever open????). I think real tourists (like you - as opposed to those that just come for the booze and sex - or to sit in a spa/hotel/resort for the entire time by a pool) tend to be either beachbums, sightseers or sporties (my names for them). The former love the islands and beach places like Pattaya, Bangkok, Hui Hin, Phuket, the  Kohs, etc. The second like to back pack travel about - these people like Ayutaya, the north generally, Kanchanaburi (death railway/bridge over the river kwai/pow graveyard) and quick visits to places like Mini-Siam (Pattaya), Old City(Bkk), snake/crocodile/silk/butterfly/orchid farms (everywhere). The latter like white water rafting and trekking (Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai) and diving (see beach areas).

 

So depends what sort you are - and you should have planned your holiday accordingly. Guest Houses and smaller hotels are often much more fun here in my view - you meet more interesting people (if any in 4/5 star hotels) and often nearer to the life. 

 

Where are you staying in CM? Plenty to see up here - lots of tours to do and stuff to do in the city itself (new shopping mall too as that was your Bkk highlight lol!)

 

Hey,

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

We are staying in Bodhi Serene hotel in Chiang Mai for 3 nights (it's very central) and then going to Pai for 2 nights (staying in Pai Island Resort) for a total chill out. Knowing what I know now I probably would have stayed at least 7 nights in the North instead of 5, to allow a bit more flexibility with travel.

 

I had down the Baan Chang or Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and also Tiger Kingdom, all of which are meant to treat the animals very well



#14 Hedghog

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:25:27

Thailand obviously isn't for you.
Next year go somewhere suitable

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#15 howerde

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:26:41

Possibly over planned, see nothing wrong with the places you went,, sometimes just go with the flow, but yes Thailand is not a cheap destination anymore



#16 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:27:53

Thailand obviously isn't for you.
Next year go somewhere suitable

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So you believe Thailand is just for people with dirty hair and massive backpacks or what? Because I consider myself someone who likes to explore and see real places... I hate the idea of being trapped in some silly resort on a package holiday



#17 Songhua

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:33:38

No Phuket or Pattaya on your itinerary, OP?

#18 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:36:06

No Phuket or Pattaya on your itinerary, OP?

 

Plan was to go all around the Krabi area (including Phuket), but it turns out Lanta is the worst possible place to do that from. Would have been nice to know this!

 

As for Pattaya why would I go there? Isn't it full of old fat dudes trying to get laid? I'm with my GF and have no need for that nonsense smile.png



#19 tjshannonigans

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:41:32

You should probably stay home for next vacation. Sounds like you have had a nightmare holiday..
I truly can not understand how bad your experience has been.
I have always had the time of my life.


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#20 Neo6

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:46:43

You should probably stay home for next vacation. Sounds like you have had a nightmare holiday..
I truly can not understand how bad your experience has been.
I have always had the time of my life.


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Why would I stay home? I just won't come to Thailand... Or at least avoid the places I've discovered to be WAY over rated smile.png

 

I want to go to Switzerland for Christmas... Let's hope that doesn't end in disaster too!

 

Mind me asking where you went and what you did that made your trip to Thailand so amazing?



#21 wolf5370

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Posted 2013-08-22 19:57:53

 

Maybe you'll have more fun up here in CM when you get to that part. I live here, so don't do the holiday planning much any more. However, when I did used to come on holidays, I always spent most of my time up north (CM and above) - Ayuttaya on occasion (the old capital) but only for the temples and old palace (did that water park ever open????). I think real tourists (like you - as opposed to those that just come for the booze and sex - or to sit in a spa/hotel/resort for the entire time by a pool) tend to be either beachbums, sightseers or sporties (my names for them). The former love the islands and beach places like Pattaya, Bangkok, Hui Hin, Phuket, the  Kohs, etc. The second like to back pack travel about - these people like Ayutaya, the north generally, Kanchanaburi (death railway/bridge over the river kwai/pow graveyard) and quick visits to places like Mini-Siam (Pattaya), Old City(Bkk), snake/crocodile/silk/butterfly/orchid farms (everywhere). The latter like white water rafting and trekking (Chiang Mai / Chiang Rai) and diving (see beach areas).

 

So depends what sort you are - and you should have planned your holiday accordingly. Guest Houses and smaller hotels are often much more fun here in my view - you meet more interesting people (if any in 4/5 star hotels) and often nearer to the life. 

 

Where are you staying in CM? Plenty to see up here - lots of tours to do and stuff to do in the city itself (new shopping mall too as that was your Bkk highlight lol!)

 

Hey,

 

Thanks for the reply.

 

We are staying in Bodhi Serene hotel in Chiang Mai for 3 nights (it's very central) and then going to Pai for 2 nights (staying in Pai Island Resort) for a total chill out. Knowing what I know now I probably would have stayed at least 7 nights in the North instead of 5, to allow a bit more flexibility with travel.

 

I had down the Baan Chang or Thai Elephant Conservation Centre and also Tiger Kingdom, all of which are meant to treat the animals very well

 

Yes think a few beach days and then sightseeing in the North would have suited you better - think I'd not have bothered with Pai either (can get there easily enough from CM for a day/night trip - but anything there that CM doesn't have really - and a whole lot less to do - pretty though). Don't know the hotel - Google Maps puts it in the old city not far from Thaipae Gate - should be fine, might be a bit of a nightmare on Sunday (see here http://www.visitchia...day_market.html)



#22 wolf5370

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Posted 2013-08-22 20:04:23

 

You should probably stay home for next vacation. Sounds like you have had a nightmare holiday..
I truly can not understand how bad your experience has been.
I have always had the time of my life.


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Why would I stay home? I just won't come to Thailand... Or at least avoid the places I've discovered to be WAY over rated smile.png

 

I want to go to Switzerland for Christmas... Let's hope that doesn't end in disaster too!

 

Mind me asking where you went and what you did that made your trip to Thailand so amazing?

 

I honestly think most people really love Thailand the second time they come - the first time they try and cram everything in (like you have I'm afraid) and end up missing everything in the bargain. Next time you will know where the best place to go is (for you) and then can organise it around that place rather than the whole country (Thailand is the size of France - people rarely go to France for 3 weeks and tour the whole place - they go to Paris and do the sgihts/EuroDisney/food/Museums/etc - or to the wine regions or the south and look at expensive yachts/cars/houses, casinos and the mountains - or the East and go skiing).

 

BTW I like Switzerland for skiing (plenty of off piste powder skiing and trees to ski through), but was pretty bored after a few days when I visited outside of the skiing season - xmas should be fun though (take your skis and do a few ski lessons if you can't ski before you go - and then some more when you're there, make great friends this way).



#23 Spoonman

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Posted 2013-08-22 20:08:27

You got stooged at Chaweng Regent. current advertised rate is between Bt5000 and Bt,7000........ or were you staying in the Royal sute @ Bt11,000?

Welcome to Thailand, so far all of your listed destinations I adore and have the most amazing relaxing time (although I thought Samui to be a bit meh).

Phi Phi is spectacular, I hope you enjoy.

#24 tjshannonigans

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Posted 2013-08-22 20:14:12

You should probably stay home for next vacation. Sounds like you have had a nightmare holiday..
I truly can not understand how bad your experience has been.
I have always had the time of my life.


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Why would I stay home? I just won't come to Thailand... Or at least avoid the places I've discovered to be WAY over rated Posted Image
 
I want to go to Switzerland for Christmas... Let's hope that doesn't end in disaster too!
 
Mind me asking where you went and what you did that made your trip to Thailand so amazing?

Cant help ya mate. Your mind is made up.
Good luck enjoying your next voyage.
Try to keep an open mind. Get involved more with the locals. Stay away from franchised 5 star resorts.
And gobtake your face for a shit


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#25 tjshannonigans

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Posted 2013-08-22 20:23:56

You should probably stay home for next vacation. Sounds like you have had a nightmare holiday..
I truly can not understand how bad your experience has been.
I have always had the time of my life.


Sent from my GT-I9300 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

 
Why would I stay home? I just won't come to Thailand... Or at least avoid the places I've discovered to be WAY over rated Posted Image
 
I want to go to Switzerland for Christmas... Let's hope that doesn't end in disaster too!
 
Mind me asking where you went and what you did that made your trip to Thailand so amazing?

Cant help ya mate. Your mind is made up.
Good luck enjoying your next voyage.
Try to keep an open mind. Get involved more with the locals. Stay away from franchised 5 star resorts.
And gobtake your face for a shit


Sent from my GT-I9300 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app

Sorry please disregard the last sentence.
My thai wife got involved.

Sent from my GT-I9300 using Thaivisa Connect Thailand mobile app







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