Chiang Mai, Thailand

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We are independent budget travelers who leave the country each season for five months to escape the Michigan winter...have been going to central and southern Mexico for the past six winters and really enjoying our time there. Now, it seems as though our “bucket list” is getting longer and our longevity is getting shorter so we would like to travel to a different area this season. Some of our expat friends that are living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, who moved from the States to Mexico to Thailand, say that it is much like Oaxaca, Mexico (altitude, temperature at that time of the year, and the population of the cities being similar). Presently, we would like to leave the States in early November and return toward the end of March. We will base ourselves in a rental apartment in Chiang Mai for the majority of our time. However, we hear that beginning sometime in March the farmers burn their fields (known as “slash and burn”) so we would like to be gone from that northern region. We have experienced “slash and burn” in different areas of Mexico and it is not pleasant! Questions: Has anyone been in Bangkok during the month of March? What was the weather like? We know that Bangkok’s pollution leaves a lot to be desired but... Has anyone flown Thai Airways International from LAX....any comments?? Would you be able to recommend a hotel near Bangkok’s International Airport and also a guest house in a convenient location within Bangkok? Also, would you be able to recommend a hotel near the Los Angeles Airport? Thank you for your assistance. Regards, Carole, where it is finally a beautiful time of the year in Plymouth, MI

In response to Carole's questions. Bangkok in March is ;pleasant but warm and a little humid .Thai Aira\ways from LAX is excellent and in my opinion, better than many American carriers. There are several reasonable hotels and guesthouses near LAX. Do a Google search of LAX Hotels. Do the same for Bangkok. Good luck!

Thanks for your reply and endorsement for Thai Airways.

I used Thai from LAX to BKK in Nov. 2010 and would recommend it. I traveled in economy; the food was fine, good choice of entertainment.

I stayed in a hotel called Aurum - The River Place. I really enjoyed it, but I don't know if you would consider it "convenient." It is located very near Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, so it was great for sightseeing in the Old City. Lots of restaurants and street vendors during the day. It was easy to get to the river taxis, which you could use to connect to the Sky Train and was within (rather long) walking distance to the canal boats, which is an alternate way to get downtown. I also walked to Khao San Road and Chinatown.

But, the area is pretty dead at night. There is only one restaurant within easy walking distance open at night and the alleys around the hotel are dark and shuttered at night. However,there were street vendors outside the local 7-11 who were pretty good.

I think the Novotel at the airport is the one most tour groups use. I haven't stayed there.

The Hacienda Hotel near LAX has a shuttle to the airport and usually is the cheapest "hotel", but don't know anything about what is cheaper that can still get you to the airport day and night. Often flights leave very early in the am to the far east. Be sure to check out their "select rate" drop down box for a big difference in their rates, the best being their "last minute specials". The place is very large and I assume it would rarely fill up so the "last minute specials" will probably be available. Their "advance booking" rates are better too than other options.