My favorite tool for planning trips is Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree message board.
You can ask a question about virtually anywhere in the world and someone will answer it.
You’ll need to register but its completely free.
A couple of etiquette tips:
1. Make sure you search first to see if your question has already been asked and answered. Lots of questions (e.g. What’s the best beach in Thailand) are asked at least weekly.
2. Thank the people who reply to you.
Check it out here