Subject: Sights in Bangkok
We stayed at the Royal Hotel. Nothing special , exactly as Eldad describes but in a really great location. I would stay there again. If you get the chance spend a Sunday afternoon with local families flying kites on the Parade Ground, next to the hotel and in front of the Palace. The Grand Palace is amazing, we went 4 times in as many days. Go early, as the gates open to avoid the tour buses. Riding up and down the river on the long tail boats to reach the temples is an experience, as is the chance to observe life on the Klongs. The boats never seem to come to a complete halt, one just leaps on and off. A favourite spot was the Lakmuang Shrine where we saw Thai theatre and dance surrounded by local people, we didn't understand a word but the rest of the audience was in stitches at the antics of the monkey and his wife. The temples the shrines the floating markets are all fascinating but again try to be there early. We even enjoyed hanging out in the bars on Kao San Road watching the world go by. Kanchanaburi with the bridge over the River Kwai, Erawan national park and waterfalls are close to Bangkok. An overnight train will carry you to Chiang Mai, Sukhothai and Doi Suthep. We also went on a 8 day jungle trek, very primitive and not for everyone but the highlight of our trip. If you decide to do this ask around to find one not on the main tourist trail. Our villages had rarely been visited and had no souvenir stalls etc. It must be harder to find now but worth trying I think. Can't advise on the marvellous beaches. We spent a final week on Koh Samet for a bit of R&R before the flight home but there are much better beaches than that if beaches figure in your plans. Oh how I envy you your first trip to Thailand. Check out our website for photos and information.

Sue Toronto Canada