|Subject: Re: Thailand|
>A specific question I have is if it is better to take land transportation
That is a matter of personal preference. The boat gives you a different perspective than going by road or rail. I would imagine the difference wouldn't be more than an hour since Ayuttaya is only 74 km north of Bangkok.
>I don't know where in Thailand you live, but do you or others have any
If you are talking Thai food, just look for open front restaurants and a lot of Thais eating there. I'm a bit embarrassed as I lived in Chiang Mai for more than a year and can't remember the names of some of the places. One tends to dine in one's neighborhood. I lived on Klongcholprathan which is toward Doi Suthep. The best eating establishment in that neighborhood was a small place in the Chomdoi Condotel #2. Also, just down the road is the Wild Orchid, or something like that ... great food.
Western food, JJ Bakery and steaks, Philmore East.
A lot of the restaurants along the river are good, and not too pricey.
>Since you're a resident and not a tourist, do you know if the quality
Almost every hotel has a tour desk. Tell them what YOU want, negotiate for a lower price and don't be afraid to say, Sorry!
Try small local travel agents. They will often know tour guides.
I am trying to develop a source on independent tour guides. Part of it depends on what type of tour. If it's the Grand Palace, get a taxi. If it's Wat Po, Wat Arun ... get a taxi. It's hard for me or anyone else to make recommendations on tours when we don't know what you have in mind.
I have a few recommendations that generally irritates the heck out of tour agencies.
-50% better service costs you double. -Never let a tour guide take you shopping ... it will cost you 20% of whatever you buy as their commission although the guide and merchant will both tell you what a great negotiator he is.