Planning our Cambodia and Thailand trip

Introduction

Every year at around this time, the wife and I go on vacation.  We pick Thanksgiving because our coworkers usually take Christmas off.  After visiting the Seychelles last year and having been to Bora Bora and the Maldives already, I wanted to visit the Conrad Koh Samui.  Yes, I chose our vacation based on a hotel more than the city/country.  Plus neither of us have been to Thailand recently, and since we were in the area, I figured we’d also do Cambodia.  So here’s the rough itinerary:

 

  • Arrive into Phnom Penh at night.  It seems Korean Air removed their Seoul to Siem Reap direct flight, and so we’re flying into Phnom Penh instead
  • Spend 2 full days there (please let me know of any tour suggestions for 2 full days there – I know visiting the killing fields is the biggest attraction, but anything else?)  I booked a booking.com hotel via a $50 rebate promotion.
  • Next day fly from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap via Cambodia Air (about ~$50 USD per person)
  • Booked 2 nights at the Park Hyatt on points.  Spend a full day visiting Angkor Wat (I thought about doing 2 days and will probably regret not doing so)
  • Next day fly from Siem Reap to Bangkok to Koh Samui (about $150 USD per person)
  • Five nights at the Conrad Koh Samui (3 of them were bought with a package, which I’ll write about later.  The other 2 nights were free weekend nights.)
  • Then fly to Bangkok via Bangkok Air (about ~$100  USD per person)
  • Four nights at the Hilton Millennium (chose this because of a Hilton sale, Diamond status, and Citi 4NF.  Plus, it’s close to the temples from reviews.  I had booked St Regis initially, but Bangkok is a terrible use of points.)

 

Flights

For flights, we chose Korean Air all the way.  It was something like 95,000 miles and $65 per person ONE WAY from Seattle to Phnom Penh and then the same 95K but $208 in fees on the way back from Bangkok.  A few things I learned – there’s only 2 F award seats from SEA-ICN.  Someone had booked the 1 F seat on the day I wanted, and so I was gonna route through SFO instead.  Eventually I realized how ridiculous it was to fly to SFO and then pay for a hotel room, and so I booked 1 F seat and 1 J seat to ICN on the day that I wanted.  Then there was only 1 J award seat to fly into PNH, and so I’m going to let the wife fly F to ICN and then Y to PNH (6 hr flight) while I’ll fly J the whole way.  Shhhh don’t tell her any of this.

On the way back, it was actually easy for us to find 2 F seats from BKK-ICN-SEA.  I also have a reservation out there on JAL J from BKK-NRT-LAX-SEA that I’m waiting to see if F opens up.  If it does, I may cancel my KE flight because I haven’t done JAL F yet.

 

Activities

The ONLY thing I have planned so far is the driver to pick me up from Siem Reap, a full day tour of Angkor Wat, and the airport dropoff.  We have some excursions lined up at Koh Samui, but most likely will just be relaxing.  I don’t yet know what we’re going to do in Phnom Penh (I’m looking for a full day or 2 day tour) or Bangkok (full day tour companies.)  If you have suggestions, please leave a comment.  THANKS!

  • nick

    My wife loved the Conrad! We didn’t leave the hotel that much as a result, although we were there only 2 nights. The higher the room the better, even though each balcony is private if you look over the infiniti pool you can see the infiniti pool of the room below you. I think we had a voucher that we used on Tom Yum Pizza and Tom Yum Mixed nuts that was pretty good. The island is run by the mafia so the cab rides are absurdly expensive for Thai standards. That hotel has the private butler service, although we didnt use it.
    Have you been to Chiang Rai? https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/70412500da383cb42fc475f890da959ba117c6e2585410338b20a23925f46a33.png

  • Mark Ostermann

    Hope you guys have a great trip!!

  • J. Grant

    Exciting! Wife and I don’t regret not doing 2 days of temple tours. 1 was enough – and we spent 5 nights in Siem Reap. We had a great driver who knew all the sights. We did the main Angkor sights, but there’s tons more to see miles away that you could also check out. Fewer tourists make it out there, so I heard. Enjoy the trip, I miss SE Asia so much now that we’ve moved back to Seattle.

  • Jason

    If there’s any way to extend Siem Reap another day or two, I would do that. I spent three days touring the temples, and it was spectacular. The stuff in Bangkok can’t compare.

    • Miles per Day

      I’ve heard so many things – half of ppl say 1 day is fine and other half say more days. Can’t change it now, so I’ll make do.

  • King of the Castle

    When my wife and I were in Bangkok for a week a couple of years ago we did two full days with thaitourguide.com. Really good guides. On top of what you’d usually expect from a tour we had a desire to eat non-watered down Thai food and they really delivered. They took us to a couple of places where we were clearly the only tourists and the food was great. Highly recommend them.

    • Miles per Day

      Thanks for the link. Just what I was looking for.

  • Paul LoBo

    When my wife and I went to Cambodia in 2014, I hired a photo guide in Siem Reap; Eric Dvries. https://photocambodia.wordpress.com
    One of the best tour decisions I ever made. Angkor is huge, and Angkor Wat is where you probably shouldn’t spend too much time. We did one day in Angkor, and the next we did a “countryside” photo tour that was amazing. Whether you’re serious about photography or just looking for a guide, Eric is the way to go in Siem Reap.