On the 63rd floor of the Lebua Hotel in Bangkok, Sky Bar offers up breathtaking views over the city. There is no entrance fee so you can get away with just going to appreciate the scenery, while some may recognise it from the opening scenes of Hangover 2.
Drinks are around 500 baht, and after the heat and hustle below, sipping a cocktail among the skyscrapers is a great way to end the day.
Head there early evening to catch the sun setting over the Chao Praya River.
Beautiful boutique hotel, restaurant and spa where you can take a rest (for both your body and mind) from the mayhem of Bangkok.
Simply the best views in town, on the 60th floor of the Lebua Hotel the keyboard offers 360 degree views of Bangkok and the Chao Praya river, get there before sunset and watch the city change from day to night in front our eyes, cocktails are amazing, dress to impress and don't forget your camera, not for people that suffer from vertigo!
1055111 Silom Road, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
+66 2 624 9999
Google map: bit.ly/Tt8Vaj
So Thai Spa is the best day spa in Bangkok and Bangkok is a city full of spas. It is very luxurious and the therapists are all talented and professional. What makes So Thai Spa stand out is the prices, which are very reasonable compared to the competition.
Terminal 21 is one of Bangkok's many shopping malls but has some unique features. It is themed with different parts of the mall based on different parts of the world, for example there is a London section. It is not just the normal chain retailers that you would expect to see in every mall, but there are many independent retailers (many of them selling high quality clothing / gifts at reasonable prices). The choice of food here is also excellent, especially the Food Hall, which all tourists in Bangkok should try as it is a good way to sample Thai street food but in a pleasant and hygienic environment (it is very cheap too).
The perfect place for your first taste of Bangkok's famous street food. Some of the best and cheapest smoothies, phad thai and mango and sticky rice I have had in Bangkok.
The start of Sukhumvit Soi 38, nearest Sky train/BTS: Thong Lor
Google map: bit.ly/yUwYlh
Press floor 64 in the State Tower in Bangkok and get transported onto a rooftop bar with a sultry jazz singer to your left, a luminous blue bar to your right and 360 degree views of the steaming city below. Step down the twinkling, sweeping staircase make your way past the beautiful people to the cocktail bar and believe it - you are living the dream :-)
State Tower, Bangkok 10500, Thailand
+66 2 624 9555
Google map: bit.ly/tdxvcL
Great little renovated Chinese shophouse with warm wood paneling inside. Cool vibe and menu includes lots of great veg dishes and hard-to-find ingredients such as quinoa. Not to be missed.
I spent two nights at the Siam Classic in Bangkok and couldn’t find fault with this stylish hostel. Handily, it’s located at Hua Lamphong (one end of the metro line), just five minutes from Bangkok Central Station and also on the edge of the old town.
For 4,500 Thai baht (about £9) I had a cosy, clean and sweet-smelling single room with free Wifi and a simple breakfast (egg and toast) in the morning. The shared showers were strong and hot and there was a lovely roof terrace - perfect for chilling out away from the city noise. There are also banks opposite and a launderette just round the corner.
I went on the recommendation of a friend who’d formed such a bond with the owners that they’d let him store some of his luggage while he went away for a month. While I’m obviously not guaranteeing they’ll provide this service for all their guests, hopefully this indicates what nice folk the guys at the Siam Classic are.
It is easy to shop til you drop in Bangkok but it can be an overwhelming experience in the heat, with the number of people on the streets and the choice on offer. Siam Paragon is a very modern high-end mall with all the designer labels and a big department store if you have big bucks to spend. It is actually worth visiting just for the fantastic open-plan food level with a huge choice of eateries including sushi, burgers, pizza, bakery and some very cheap Thai meals in the food court canteen which looked popular with locals. The supermarket seems pretty expensive though perhaps catering more to wealthy expats with money to burn on brands they recognise.
Opposite this mall is the Siam Center which has more high street clothes shops.
The Suan Lum night bazaar (nearest station Lumphini) has a great atmosphere with open-air bars and live music, definitely for tourists not locals but you can haggle and there are some good quality stalls and little boutiques run by small local designers and artists among the tat and souvenirs so you can find some unusual crafts and clothes. You can also get a foot massage or a fish spa and get a good cheap meal in the central food court. The night market at Patpong is not as seedy as you might think but only really sells the tourist tat like logo T-shirts and fake watches. You will be offered entry to a ping-pong show several times but the touts don’t hassle you much and there is nothing offensive on the street it’s all behind closed doors so you might just see a glimpse of a girl in a bikini. There are a couple of good shops offering the better standard of copy if you’re in the market for a fake handbag but they’re fairly arrogant about the value of their merchandise and start negotiations at inflated prices so it can be hard to make them budge enough to really get a real deal.
The main market experience in Bangkok is undoubtedly Chatuchak (also called JJ’s) which is only on at weekends. You can get the Skytrain to Mo Chit or use the Metro. It is an amazing sight to behold and hard work on a hot day but there is so much to see and Thai families come for a day out so it’s not just for tourists. There are plenty of weird and wonderful things to buy and eat. The fresh coconut icecream is delicious! Another place you can buy anything and everything but with aircon is MBK which is a huge shopping centre not far from the others at Siam but in a very different style. It is set over seven enormous floors and is more like an indoor market with hundreds of small shops and stalls and although you can get a map to help you navigate it would still be easy to lose track of time or the will to live if you’re not a hardcore bargain hunter. If you want to get round a few of these shopping areas, it is definitely worth getting to grips with the Skytrain system to avoid the traffic but the taxis outside the rush hour are fairly cheap as long as you make sure they use the meter which some drivers refuse to and quote a set rate upfront.
991/1 Rama 1 Road Pathumwan Bangkok 10330 Thailand
Google map: bit.ly/fov4tQ
MBK Center, 444 Phayathai Rd., Patumwan, Bangkok
Google map: bit.ly/fDpj4A
We paid 1400 Baht each (£28) for the full day countryside tour. Our tour guide Piu was sweet and friendly with good English but a bit shy and we would have liked her to talk and explain more along the way without waiting for us to ask questions. We boarded the train in Bangkok after a quick look round a local market to kill time and picked up our bikes at the other end which were in need of a good service but did the job. No helmets are provided. We were never cycling for more than 20 minutes at a time with frequent stops to look at local herbs and plants, try fried bananas from a foodstall and look at a temple. There were bottles of cold water provided and refreshing chilled wet wipes. We didn’t see another tourist all day which made a nice change but we didn’t have much chance to interact with the villagers we came across and expect they are very used to seeing Westerners on bikes as the same route is used every day. We had a lovely home-cooked lunch in a Thai house but ate separately from the family. We went on a Saturday so missed out on visiting a local school which was a shame but some local kids still came up to talk to us. It is a long day but if you tot it up, 3-4 hours in total is spent waiting at the station and then on the train which does feel a bit of a waste of time. In hindsight having travelled to other parts of Thailand and Cambodia this now seems on the expensive side for a day trip bearing in mind what you get for your money but you are helping the local economy and also paying for the privilege of an experience you would be hard pushed to do independently. If you are on a city break for a few days and want to do something different and get out into rural Thailand it is ideal but if you are travelling further afield for example to Chiang Mai then you will find far more lush countryside as around Bangkok the landscape is flat and full of paddy fields.
As holidaymakers rather than backpackers, we decided to get the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai instead of flying, more for a different experience than to save money. We got the 1935 train which arrives at 0945 and as First Class with a private berth was full, we got tickets for the open-plan Second Class carriage costing 841 Baht each (about £17). You book two seats that face each other in a booth with a table then later in the evening a guy comes round and converts both those seats into a lower bunk made up with a sheet and blankets then pulls down another bed which is stored in an overhead locker and has a ladder to get up there but no window. They will ask at the station which combination you want and it is worth booking one up/one down so that you have your own curtained off area on one side of the corridor and can both sit on the lower level together if you are not ready to go to sleep when they turn the lights out. A woman comes round shortly after departure with a menu and you can order dinner. We paid 150 Baht and got soup, main course with rice and fresh pineapple slices. It is all lukewarm and in plastic bowls with clingfilm over so not exactly gourmet cuisine but felt like part of the experience washed down with a bottle of cold beer. You can also order breakfast but we took croissants with us. It is not warm on the train so take a fleece and it rattles along the tracks so earplugs would be a good idea. We didn’t sleep well with the noise and fairly cramped conditions. The shared bathroom is basic with a hole in the ground for a toilet. We were glad we had booked a flight onto our next destination as it’s a long, fairly uncomfortable journey but felt like an adventure!
Lub D is a funky well-located well-appointed hotel in Silom district. The staff are young and hip with fair English and a helpful manner; the hotel is new and very clean; the other visitors are varied and well-travelled. Nice European breakfast, great bathrooms, free 24 hour internet, all very clean and secure. Email them if you want to stay seven nights or more, they'll do you a bespoke rate (I saved 33% with a single email this way). A local market with many fresh cheap eats is three streets away. You'll pay 500 baht taxi from the airport at 3am including tolls and tip; Lub D will email you a taxi map in Thai when you confirm your booking making it so easy. Note that some tour bookings can be achieved more cheaply from travel agent on Silom especially if there are two of you - we saved 250 Bt each on the floating market this way.
Simply the most magical place I've ever stayed. We came off two longish flights from a cold UK to take a life-affirming short boat trip down the river that couldn't have been further from December London, and ended up in the suite with the terrace that faces directly onto Wat Arun.
The view, the sounds, the smells all what you go on holiday for. The small things (shower, bed, ipod music thing - I am 40:-)) all present. About seven rooms and a simple breakfast to the sound of the lapping of the river.
Not cheap, but this is what you save money for ...
36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong, Maharat Road, Rattanakosin Island, Bangkok 10200, Thailand
+66 2221 9158-9
This is a great second hand book shop in central Bangkok near BTS Phrom Phong with a lovely cafe inside. The staff are very friendly and all books are catalogued and can be accessed through their website or just ask one of their helpful staff to look it up in-store for you. What's also great about Dasa is that once you have read a book bought from there you can take it back and they will discount your next purchase. This is a gem of a book shop for both ex-pats and travellers passing through.
+66(0)2 661 2993
714/4 Sukhumvit Road (Soi 26-28)
Klongtan, Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110
It is a lush sprawling cultural park on the outskirts of Bangkok in Samut Prakan. It is a great way to see all the major monuments of Thailand in three hours or so. But more than this, it is a green, cool peaceful oasis. Try to avoid Thai public holidays as it can be crowded then. You can hire bicycles, take a golf buggy or hop on a tram. There are plenty of places to buy food around the park. There is a street market and floating village and prices of souvenirs are cheap. Children will love it as they can run around. In nine years of living in Bangkok this was always on my list of must-sees for visitors. At around 350 baht plus bike or golf buggy hire t is excellent value for money as you will spend at least four hours here.
Rooftop pools always do it for me. There is something surreal about sipping a poolside cocktail perched in the clouds. Century Park's pool is a gorgeously appointed, luxurious experience 24 stories above Bangkok's bustling Pratunam District. The pool is a tongue-in-cheek (surely) design classic of its type, complete with a raised infinity-effect platform, mock Buddhist Temple bar and palm fringed seating areas. But the view from the pool seals it. The hotel is located just to the north of the main centre and affords a revealing view of high-rise Bangkok and a bewildering sight of the seething traffic around Victory Monument at sunset.
CENTURY PARK HOTEL
9 Ratchaprarop Road, Pratunam-Victory Monument, Bangkok.
+66 02 246 7800
E-mail : email@example.com
I bought two suits each with a second pair of trousers and five shirts from Tailor Pro and I love them - great fit and good quality.
Dont buy "cheap" suits in Bangkok. If you purchase a cheap suit, it is likely that it will fall apart by the time you get off the plane coming home.
Inside Somerset Lake Point Hotel
51 Nuay, Sukhumvit Road Soi 16
Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand
Central Chidlom is considered the flagship store of the Central Department Stores chain. It offers a variety of local handicrafts from all over Thailand, designer fashion, home-wares, children's wear, cosmetics, watches and pens, electronic equipment, household appliances, jewelry and gems and leather accessories. It also houses a number of eateries, ranging from popular fast-food outlets to fine restaurants.
Address: 1027 Ploenchit Rd., Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
Google map: tinyurl.com/2vlmzy5
Opening Hours: 10:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. everyday
Located in the tallest building in Thailand, this hotel has three top notch buffet meals to enjoy. I recommend the international buffet, and going there for dinner to enjoy the best views of Bangkok at night. It costs about 15 euros and is very much worth it. We go there every time we visit Bangkok.
It is located in the top floors of the Baiyoke Hotel in Bangkok.
Address : 222 Rajprarop Road, Rajthevee Bangkok Thailand 10400
Tel : 66(0) 2656-3000, 2656-3456
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