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Itinerary: 5 Days Family trip to Thailand

Trip details:

I'm going to Thailand for around 5 days in a group of 4 travellers - my husband and 2 kids. I'm going from Bangalore. I'm looking forward to relaxing, beaches, great vegetarian Thai food, fun for kids (ages 7 and 3), and lots of snorkeling. Some bargain shopping in Bangkok would also be good. I would like to avoid too much sightseeing, package tour crowds, crowded places. Also note that I haven't decided when to go - I'd like to go sometime in early 2014, but not sure if its a good time. Not too fixated on budget but don't want to splurge too much.

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30 January - 2 February : Krabi stay:

Stay in Krabi for 2 nights, 3 days at a resort which has water activities, clean beaches and lots to do.


The reason I choose Krabi is because it has clean beaches, less crowd and lots of activities for the children as well as adults. It is safe and very authentic. There are also lots of little islands around Krabi that you can cover in a day trip on the boat, combined with Snorkeling. 


Poda Island beach


Note: Please let me know if you had any particular beach destination in mind that you would like me to look at instead. Phuket gets very crowded and is also more expensive. 


You can refer to this article on TripAdvisor, where Traveller's choice awards for best beaches in Thailand in 2013 were given - the top 2 beaches are in Krabi.. :)

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Krabi - attractions:

Krabi has 2 beaches - Ao Nang, which is the main beach front filled with restaurants, bars, shops and lots of hustle-bustle. Nopparattara beach, 1km from Ao Nang beach front is much quieter, cleaner and has great little shacks on the beach to watch the sunset, enjoy some refreshments and lots more space for the kids to play around.


Nopparattara beach


Your hotel is about 2kms from Nopparattara beach and is a good stroll down the road among traditional houses and lush green surroundings. 


Your hotel provides the following:



  • Complimentary Tuk-Tuk transfers to and from Ao Nang from 9.00 – 17.00 (9 am -5 pm)

  • Villa staff can assist guests with tour booking and car / motorbike rental.


So there will be easy transport available to Ao Nang beach in the morning and return. In case you want to stick around longer in Ao Nang in the evenings, there are always options of booking a cab back. They are not expensive.


 Krabi is famous for the following:


- Boat rides to surrounding islands and snorkeling


- Thai massage and spa, specially near Ao Nang beach - quite cheap and very relaxing


- A visit to the virgin rainforest


So here are the following things that you can do:



  1. Book yourself onto a Long tail boat ride for 4 islands trip - Tup and Chicken Island, Poda Island, Railey Beach and Pranang Cave. Railey beach is beautiful to swim in, very calm and clean. The boat ride is exclusive to you and provides snorkeling gear so you have the leisure to stop where you want, do a bit of snorkeling and see the parts of the sea that interests you. You can book via this - http://www.aonangtravel.co.th/package/en/94/4+Islands+by+long+tail+boat

  2. The Krabi rainforest and Emerald pool are really famous. There are natural hot springs to enjoy and the rainforest trek can be quite fun. This trip entails all of that including a visit to the famous Tiger Cave - a buddhist monastry. This will give you a chance to see the traditional thailand. Book it here.

  3. This is something I would highly recommend. A day trip to Phi Phi island, including many stops on the way to famous islands - Maya Bay (where The Beach was shot), Monkey Bay and Phi Phi in itself, which is beautiful. And this is by Speadboat. There are tours that run as well from Krabi to these destinations. We took one of them but realised it was too rushed, too packed with other tourists and very hurried. Plus the lunch provided was inedible! We realised, it costs about 500Baht more but totally worth it, as you have the convenience. Specially when you travel with kids, you need to have convenience in mind and the tours make it very 'touristy'. http://www.krabi-hotels.com/tours/speedboats/phiphi.htm

  4. Spa and Thai Massage - On the day you spend on the Ao Nang beach front, walking about at leisure, shopping at its various stalls (lots of haggling for sure), make way to Soi 17 Road, Walk right to the end of Ao Nang Beach road, go past a junction, where there is a road turning left (McDonalds, KFCs etc are here), keep going straight into a tiny lane by the beach – Soi 17 Road. This is a traffic-free road, with lots of hotels, restuarants and on-the-beach massage places. Pick one of your choice to get into, they are pretty relaxing. Around 250Baht for a full-body massage. Two places that I would highly recommend - Blooming in front of Golden Beach Resort, BF massage. It is in a small building also right on the lane way - near Ideary Coffee Shop, right in front of Aonang Villa - happy hours between 10am-2pm. :) 


I would suggest booking the boat rides soon, so you dont have to worry about it when you go there. Or else the hotel may try and sell tours to you at a higher rate considering its tourist season in Jan-Feb.


Restaurants: Ao Nang is famous for its multi-cuisine restaurants due to a high number of european settlers. So you are in for amazing italian and german treats that you may not get as authentic, anywhere else, apart from the countries themselves. Some of the options are below. But ofcourse, the entire street of Ao Nang beach road is dotted by restuarants so you can pick and choose what excites you the most. Even the street with the massage beds, Soi 17 Road at the far end of Ao Nang beach, has many options including buffet. 



  • The last fisherman - on the Soi 17 Road - see TripAdvisor Review - Very good meal, view and perfect if you want a bit of sunset dining.

  • Bernie's Place - vegetarian friendly - 80mtrs from Ao Nang Beach. 

  • Wanna's Place - right on the beach front, located in The L Resort on Ao Nang Beach road, has fabulous thai curries. See TripAdvisor Review. It is a bit 'steak' lovers paradise, but be assured, vegetarian thai curry and rice would be lovely here.

  • Krua Thara - located on Nopparat Thara beach, for thai food, a good walk from your hotel and faces the beach.

  • Bussaba Thai Restaurant - another favourite among locals. See TripAdvisor Review.


 Let me know if there is anything else you want me to tell you and I can do some research.

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Fly Krabi - Bangkok: 3rd Feb:

Domestic flight

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Bangkok things to do:

Your hotel is situated on Phetchaburi road, right opposite to Platinum Fashion Mall. It has perfect location as it is right next to the mall district aka about 6 malls in your vicinity at walking distance.


Bargain Shopping:




  • Pantip Plaza is just down the road from your hotel, on Phetchaburi road and is known for electronics and gadgets. Really good prices and lots of options. However be very careful as the plaza also sells counterfeit side by side the genuine. So you must know exactly what you are looking for.




  • IF you are looking for Bargain fashion outlets, Platinum Fashion mall is the place to go. this mega mall filled with well over 1,000 shops is often compared to an indoor street market. It is open from 10:00 until 22:00 every day and most importantly the discounts offered if you bulk buy. If you see three or four items that you want, be sure to try and haggle, sometimes you can get as much as 30% discount.




  • If you want to shop like a Bangkokian, or even just soak up the atmosphere of shopping like a local, then we recommend that you head to Pratunam Wholesale Market. Like many other markets, you can negotiate, but you won’t be able to try things on. Walk down from your hotel on Phetchaburi road and cross Pantip Plaza, take right on Phetchaburi 15 alley and then a left from ‘White Palace’.




 


Shopping malls:




  • Central World Siam - a 10 minutes walk from your hotel to Ratchadamri Road, you will come to one the biggest malls in Bangkok. Lots of eateries, kids fun zones and shopping to do, it is quite an entertainment venue.500 shops, 100 restaurants and 15 cinemas, kids zones - you get the picture. :)




  • Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and Siam Centre - Walk on from Central World and you will first come to Paragon then Centre and then Discovery. All 3 are shoppers paradise with high-end retailers and amazing restaurants. Apart from the shopping, the one thing I would recommend at Siam Paragon is the Siam Ocean World. 2 floors below the ground, this is a paradise for adults and children alike. I would suggest booking the tour to avoid queues. this is the link - http://www.bangkok.com/recreational-tours/siam-ocean-world.htmand in this I suggest take the super value offer of siam ocean world and madame tussauds for 1079bht per person. It is quite a good rate.




  • Siam Square is across the road from Siam Discovery, on Phayathai road. Siam Square itself is something of an open-air shopping complex that radiates a feeling of creativity. Tribes of bright and bold-slogan T-shirts meet with tailored suits, sporting eccentric accents. A very chic shopping complex compared to the high-end retailers in the previous malls. This is very individualistic and trendy.




 


Attractions:


Since you have only 2 days in Bangkok, 1 day would be for shopping and 1 day for sightseeing. In sightseeing, Bangkok is famous for its temples, grand palace and the riverways which still have the traditional and cultural part of Bangkok intact. So below is the list of must-see attractions and put as per what you should do first.


Note: A strict dress code applies. The Grand Palace with The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand's most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple.




  • Thonburi and canal cruise including Wat Arun - On this morning tour, a long-tailed speedboat whisks you down the Chao Phraya Riverand canals (khlongs) of Thonburi – the original site where Bangkok was founded, before King Rama I moved the capital's epicentre across the river to the Rattanakosin Island. Honestly, the best way to explore Bangkok away from the urbanization is to take a river cruise. Take a Khlong tour from Thonburi - http://www.bangkok.com/city---culture-tours/klongstour.htm You can book into a tour or take a private tour, in my opinion they are both at a very good price. What I found even more price-wise attractive was the combined tour of the river cruise + grand palace. Entry to grand palace is 400tbht pp and if you can get both for a cheaper cost, I would take this.This duration is 7:00am to 12:30pm. You can take a taxi from your hotel for convenience to go to Thonburi.








  • Wat Arun -  It is easily one of the most stunning temples in Bangkok, not only because of its riverside location, but also because the design is very different to the other temples you can visit in Bangkok.




Wat Arun



  • The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha - If there is one must-see sight that no visit to Bangkok would be complete without, it's the dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace, undoubtedly the city's most famous landmark. The palace and the temple are open only till 3:30pm, which is why taking the Khlong combined tour is a good option to finish everything by 1:00pm.








  • The next attraction on your list should be Wat Pho. It’s an easy ten minute walk between here and the Grand Palace, and I recommend coming to Wat Pho second, because even though the golden Buddha here is just as popular many people don’t take the time to wander around the rest of the complex so the experience tends to be far more relaxing. It is 100bht entry and is open till 5:00pm.




Wat Pho



  • But Wat Pho is best at sunset when the lights are turned on. So take your time, walk around the riverways, see the market and possibly go to Chinatown. In the Yaowarat district, It is a bit touristy and lots of street shopping, but quite an experience. It is a 15 mins walk from Grand Palace. But you can take a tuk-tuk ride to it. Dispersing off the main roads is a series of smaller roads, narrow alleys and backstreets. Each of these offer great insight into how the Chinese community have preserved their cultural traditions, celebrations and identities for over two centuries.




In terms of transportation:

Tuk-tuks, taxis and bus rides are best options for safety and convenience. Since you will only need a taxi ride to Thonburi the 2nd day and then everything is walking, it is the best option rather than taking sky trains or other public transport.

In terms of food:

you have a lot of indian and thai options in the malls and the riverside when you go to the temples and grand palace. Chinatown is famous for authentic chinese cuisine too. 

Let me know what else you may be interested in and I can share those information with you. Hope this helps.
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Getting started By Anonymous
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Anonymous wrote:  

Ok, so how do we get started? :)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

Firstly thank you so much for choosing me to plan your travel. Thailand is one of my favourite destinations and I planned someone's honeymoon last year around the same time! :) I am a lover of non-touristy things.. So be assured that I will try and plan the best relaxed holiday for you.

I do understand your requirement, if you can give me till tomorrow, I will come back to you with a draft itinerary of what I think would be ideal for you and that will be in the Itinerary tab above. We can then talk in detail.

 

Thank you! And looking forward to planning your family vacation.

Tanu

Anonymous wrote:  

Great. Will look forward to the itinerary. Do let me know which season I should plan to go for good weather and off season rates. I would prefer to be there on Feb 1, 2014 as it's our 10th anniversary, but not if it's a bad time to go there.

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

hope you are doing well this weekend! So if you go on the Itinerary tab, I have drawn up a quick outline for you. You can comment on each activity with questions etc. Also, mention any preferences you may have for any of the activities. I will make it more detailed once we are happy with the basic plan. 

Note: Krabi is my favourite destination in Thailand and I highly reccommend it, especially when you are travelling with kids.

Let me know your thoughts and during the week we can start looking at more details. The dates are flexible but I tried to keep your anniversary in mind and thought celebrating it in Krabi, on the beach, with candlelight dinner et al, would be lovely! :)

Also, do note, I am based in London so with the time difference, if there is any delay in my response, I apologise. Will come back to you as soon as I can. Hope we are able to plan a fab vacation for you and your family!

Anonymous wrote:  

Thanks for the plan, Tanu. I've posted a comment about selecting Krabi or considering Koh Samui etc. I'm guessing a lot will depend on the resort we choose - do share your thoughts on that.


Krabi first or Bangkok By Anonymous
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Anonymous wrote:  

I noticed that there are direct connection from Bangalore to Krabi and I thought it might make sense to head directly to Krabi and do Bangkok on the return leg. This is basically because the flights from Bangalore are all late night flights and we'll all be sleep deprived the next day. I'd rather let the kids recover in relaxed Krabi than have to deal with their crankiness while exploring Bangkok. What do you think?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

I definitely think the direct flights are better option. My only constraint was the budget. But what I can do is, get you both the options with cost and you can decide which one to book. Even the non-direct one, will keep the late night thing in mind for the kids.

Over this week, let me get you some flight options, so that you can book those asap, if they are in good rates. And then will start sending you hotel options. If you can share an estimate budget range (for hotel stay) with me, then I can look better.

Anonymous wrote:  

I don't really have a specific budget in mind. We generally stay in the Rs. 5-10k per night range. I'd be willing to go as high as Rs. 15k per night.

More importantly though, I would like a place that boutique/stylish, on or very close to a beach, quiet, and preferably not too big a property. Oh, and also can cater to vegetarians.

In Bangkok, I'd like to be close to most of the action.

Tanu Anand wrote:  

aaah brilliant! I can already picture you in some of the choices I have. So let me get back to you by Wednesday with a couple of hotel choices and flight options and lets take it from there. I would suggest booking the flights first to get the best option!

Anonymous wrote:  

Any updates on the hotel choices?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

Hope you are doing well. I had a really heavy week at work and so wasn't able to do research. I have added some flights and hotel options. Let's finalise the first leg of the journey - BLR - Krabi and Krabi hotel. While you do that today, I will send you bangakok hotels and return flight options by tomorrow.

 

Once we finish this, we will move to more detailed part of the itinerary, i.e., things to do, activities, what to see etc etc etc. :)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Please check out the hotel and flight sections in the itinerary page, i have edited them to add more options and get back to me as convenient if you are happy with any. thanks!

Anonymous wrote:  

Hi Tanu,

I've finalized the Krabi hotel and all the flights. Still need to choose a hotel for the 2 nights in Bangkok. Would like to finalize the rest of the plan (things to do, etc) soon.

Ashwini

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini, yes. I will be sharing the Bangkok hotels this week. Will also be sending you the itinerary for things to do for both places soon. Work weeks are crazy so I try to do things on the weekend. Hope that works ok with you and not too troublesome.

Anonymous wrote:  

Sure - now that we have the basic plan in place and the bookings done, I'm not in much of a hurry. But would be good to finish it off so we don't drag this on for too long. :)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Yes.. I agree. within the next 2-3 days, I will send you a basic itinerary of things to do and see in Krabi and Bangkok so you will have an idea. Will also include specific names and instructions...

Anonymous wrote:  

Hey Tanu, any updates on this? I'd like to wind this up because I need to keep coming back and check often for updates (and it gets tiring).

PS: I understand this isn't your fault and I've written to the PlanMyTravel guys about getting updates automatically, but they said that will take time to implement :(


Car rentals By Anonymous
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Anonymous wrote:  

Quick question about getting around in Krabi - is it possible to rent a self-driven car there? If so, do you have recommendations for any agencies, or are the big international car rental chains active there?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Krabi is a seaside town with a rainforest as an attraction in its interiors, which the hotel will arrange transport for you. 

Most of the 'things to do and see' are by the sea-side or needs a boat ride out to other islands. Your resort is 2.7kms from the main beach, Ao Nang and 1.9kms from the neighbouring beach with many restaurants, Noppharat Thara Beach. If you still feel the need to hire a car, then I would suggest to hire one from the Krabi Airport for the next 3 days but you may end up using it only to go to Ao Nang in the mornings and get back to hotel in the evening. There are local auto-rickshaw-type options available that people usually use to go to and from hotels. So I would let you decide that.

Also note: you need an International Driving Permit obtained through the AA or RAC on-line or from major Post Offices before you leave home to drive legally in Thailand. Secondly, ensure your hire includes First Class Insurance (nearest equivalent to our Fully Comprehensive). So I would suggest to go for Avis, Budget or Hertz. They are slightly expensive than local ones but atleast reliable and trustworthy.

Avis is about 10,000/- for 3 day hire.
Budget car rental is also about 10,000/- for 3 days (Honda city car)

I would let you decide the need for it. But I would suggest, wait till I share the attractions for Krabi before you decide that. I would also suggest to write to the hotel and check if they have a free pickup and drop to aonang beach service daily (most hotels have that). 

Anonymous wrote:  

Thanks. I guess we'll decide once we're there.


This weekend By Tanu Anand
Replies (+)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

Haven't been really well this week.. the Flu caught up with me.. I will be sending you the 'to-dos' and interests this weekend for sure... thanks!

Anonymous wrote:  

Thanks. Will look forward to it. Get well soon. :)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Heylo! Check out the Itinerary page. Added Krabi bit. :) Will do Bangkok too, today. And also, add some photos (from my visit) to help you identify some of the things.

Anonymous wrote:  

Hi Tanu! Thanks. The Krabi info looks great. Will look forward to the Bangkok things to do.

Anonymous wrote:  

Hey, any updates on the plan for Bangkok?

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini,

Have had a lot of family engagements past weekend. Could not update the Bangkok stuff. Will be doing it within this week or the weekend. Apologies for the delay..

Anonymous wrote:  

Sure - lets try and finish off this weekend please.

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Hi Ashwini, despite the delay and losing my work 3 times.. :) I have put bangkok things to do in the tab. HAve a look and let me know if ou want more information on something specific. Thanks for the cooperation in waiting.


Thank you! By Tanu Anand
Replies (+)

Tanu Anand wrote:  

Thank you Ashwini.. I am glad you liked the planning and hope you have a fabulous holiday with your family. And I am also thankful that you endured the delays.. :)


Bangalore - Krabi flight:

29 January - Direct flight BLR to Krabi


The flights that are slighter cheaper and with not too many stops are at 1am, unfortunately. The ones that are in the night, 9:30pm are with 2 stops so a lot of moving around, which I am not sure you will be ok with. However, I am giving you 2 options here for you to choose from. 


Flight options: I prefer Thai as it is faster and cheaper. But please choose and let me know. I found both the prices on makemytrip.com. I checked couple of other websites too and amongst them, makemytrip has the cheapest prices.


Sri Lankan Airlines (12 hours flight) - 29 Jan, 8:55pm via Colombo and Bangkok to Krabi on 30 Jan, 10:40am. Cost = Rs. 84,486


Thai Airways (6 hours flight) - 29 Jan, 1:00am via Bangkok to Krabi on 30 Jan, 9:20am. Cost = Rs. 56,976


OPTION WITH STOPOVER


Here you go. Book using expedia. The timings are pretty good and the most important thing is you are getting a good carrier, Thai. I suggest you book it soon, the total comes to Rs. 96,228.


Book the time slots that are -
30 Jan, BLR 1:00am - Krabi 9:20am
3 Feb, Krabi 10:05am - Bangkok 11:25am
4 Feb, Bangkok 21:35pm - BLR 23:55pm


The link to the search results on Expedia is here

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Krabi hotels:

Here are a few that I think you may like. 


Irawan House


This is another option. The reason I like it is because it is a Villa for 45k which is so much better than hotel room with extra bed. :) I am not sure of your hotel preferences, but if i were going as a family, I will choose this. 




Ok here is another one - Thai Villa Resort - and book the Family villa...


Very traditional Thai feel, not very far from the beach but also have the hill-side views, which are green and very lush.


I also want to check with you, are you comfortable with getting a deluxe room with a double bed and getting an extra bedding for the kids? Because then in that case, I could get more choices.




Realized, you would be asleep now, and since I am doing some research, here are options - 


Ban Sainai Resort - this is a traditional thai resort with individual cottages by the hillside, 0.3kms from the main beach.. brilliant reviews...

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Bangkok hotels:

With Bangkok, the choice of hotel should be lean towards chic and glamourous. Also, the choice of area is very importnant. So very important to choose something that is family friendly, yet close to all the attractions. With this in mind, 2 areas come up - Pratunam and Lumphini/Sukhumvit. They are closest to the shopping centers and are family friendly. 


With this in mind, I have the following hotel options for you. Let me know if you like any of these and based on that, can suggest a few more.


Baiyoke Sky Hotel. Pretty gorgeous and good value. This is right besides Siam Square - the biggest shopping destination and Pratunam Market, famous street market and has direct train access to all the attractions by the river. Rs. 4500 - Book it here 


Amari Watergate hotel. Pratunam area. A pretty gorgeous hotel, again very close to shopping centers and attractions. Rs.6300 per night. Book it here


Sala Arun. Beautiful location, opposite the river and direct view of Wat Pho temple (one of the biggest tourist attraction). Away from the shopping center and markets and closer to the attractions and the river. If you are looking for peace and pretty views as opposed to proximity to shopping centers, I would sugges tthis. Per night it is Rs. 5900 approx. Standard room with Wat Pho view is worth it. Book it here

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Great advice and in-depth detail

Tanu saved me a ton of research and helped me choose the right destination for our holiday. She paid great attention to every requirement and sent me very detailed plans for both place (Bangkok and Krabi). I'm really excited about my trip now.