I'm looking for some advice please. We are going to Thailand in April and will be spending 2 nights in Bangkok and then 5 nights in Phuket. As we are only going to be in Bangkok for really one and a half days as we arrive mid afternoon on our first night, I wondered if someone could advise me on the best must-see places. I would also like to get a little shopping in too if time permits. We will be staying in the Royal Orchid Sheraton on the Chao Praia River, so it would be handy to go to places which are easily accessible from there. Hope someone can advise me . Cheers.
Hi! Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE Thailand and the Thai people!
With such a short time you may want to consider a guided tour for one day ... yes I normally skip tours, but with such a short time available I'd definitely consider it. Contact your hotel in advance to see what tours are available. Also consider booking a private tour (also through your hotel).... not that expensive and it can be personalized to your desires. At a bare minimum you need to see the Palace, the Emerald Buddah, and the Reclining Buddah.
Thank you Vavrap. Do you know the names of any private tour operators which you could recommend using? The three you mentioned, are they fairly close together and howlong would it take us to reach them from our hotel? Do you think it would best for us to book a guide to show us around before we go or wait until we arrive? As you are well informed on Thailand, can you recomend any place to go for sightseeing when we are in Phuket. We would probably only want to do a couple of excursions in Phuket as we plan tojust "chill-out" around our pool and at the beach. We will be staying at the Banyan Tree in Phuket. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Cheers.
Does anyone recommend getting any immunisation shots before we go? What about malaria? Would you recommend getting that too? I ahve read that some of the preparatonsagainst Malaria do make some people feel unwell. In Phuket we may do a couple of excursions but doubt they will be to anywhere too remote. Would like to visit the Elephant Rehab Centre that many people talk about. Does anybody know if this is in a remote part of Thailand? We go in April so when would we need to get these jagsto make surethat we are covered for going to Thailand? Thanks.
If you are staying on the Chao Praya River, you can get to the Palace, (Emerald Buddha at the palace complex)and the Reclining Buddha (at Wat Pho) by taking the river taxis. They are really cheap, the stops are well marked, they're pretty fast, and you can see a bit of Bangkok from the river. Your hotel chould be able to give you information about them all. If you go to Wat Pho, try to get a Thai massage at the massage school there - it costs around $6-8 US for close to an hour. (you're in a big room with a lot of people and you'll be given loose cotton clothes to wear - it's not a "spa" but it's a great jet lag cure!)
There is a neat open air food market when you walk from the ferry stop to the Palace, that is also worth a look.
You will be approached by people trying to sell you guided tours and the like, when you get off the ferry- a polite "no" as you keep walking usually stops that.
To get into the main tourist sites, you cannotwear shorts or flip-flops (thong sandals). Men need to wear long pants and women can get by with pants or skirts that fall below the knee. Thai people are generally modest and these sites are of political and religious significance to them, so it is important to respect their preferences - no T-shirts or tank tops; a casual shirt that covers the shoulders is fine.We found light linen pants and linen shirts to be the best all-purpose clothing when we were touring. We kept our feet well groomed, and dressy, open toed leather sandals (for both men and women) were fine. As you enter the tourist sites, there will be people who will point at your clothing or shoes and make signs like you are not dressed appropriately; sometimes they do that to try to rent you a "wrap" to go around your lower body or otherwise cover you up. But if you're dressed as I've described above, you should be fine. Another thing they try to do is tell you that there's "no electricity" or that the site is "closed" - again, if you've checkedwith your hotel and the ticket office looks open, just ignore - these folks are trying to take you on a taxi ride to gift shops.
1-1/2 days is barely enough time to see even one of the sights listed above, so don't feel like you have to cover all that ground, andenjoy your trip!!
P.S. as cruisinred said, no malaria precautions necessary - and we got bitten a lot when we were in Koh Samui!