Travel Review: Best of Bangkok, Thailand
Ever flown to the Thai islands and merely stopped over in Bangkok without visiting it? Shame on you! Or rather, your loss. The Thai capital has built up quite the reputation over the years – sufficient to become the most visited city in the world. According to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index, Bangkok had 21.5 million visitors who stayed at least one night during 2016. By comparison, London had 19.9 million overnight visitors last year, while Paris had 18 million. And with good reason. Bangkok has something to o er every calibre of traveller, and best of all, it’s much more a ordable than its competitors. Whether it’s culture, shopping, partying, food or even relaxation you’re looking for, Bangkok has you covered. But with so much on offer in such a diverse city, it’s often difficult to decide where to stay. Fortunately, Team Ahlan! are Bangkok connoisseurs, and have listed four of the city’s top districts to consider when booking your next trip.
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THAILAND'S TOP FOUR DISTRICTS
Best for: Markets, nightlife, street food, spas
If it’s hustle and bustle you’re after, look no further than the manic streets of Silom. While traffic may be a nightmare at most times of the day, the area is well connected to the BTS train system. There are hundreds of tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis to get you around, too. Tiny bars, nightclubs, street food vendors and markets fill streets that rarely sleep, ensuring you’ll never experience a dull moment. Thanks to countless alleys (or sois, as the locals call them) on the main road, you can happily explore Silom by foot, finding hidden gems where you least expect them.
Where to stay: Dusit Thani Bangkok
If you’re looking for luxury in the heart of Silom, Dusit Thani Bangkok is easily your best bet. Located adjacent to both the BTS Sky Train and underground MRT, as well as the lush expanse of the nearby Lumpini Park, this iconic hotel has been around since 1970, so you can expect vintage Thai glamour blended with convenient modern touches. Offering 517 rooms and suites, the hotel features elegant Thai décor and furnishings made of silk and teak, with views of the city skyline.
Hungry? Tuck into a scrumptious international buffet at The Pavilion, soak up the scenery at the famed panoramic rooftop venue 22 Kitchen & Bar, or tuck into gourmet Thai cuisine at Benjarong (which you’ll recognise from the Dusit Thani hotels in Dubai and Abu Dhabi). Of course, the hotel also features a spa with 14 treatment rooms, a fabulous outdoor pool to cool you down from the BKK humidity, and a fitness centre to work o the Thai hops. But you’ll have to hurry if you want to experience this iconic hotel. The property is expected to undergo major renovations throughout 2018 and will be closing its doors completely during this period, so be sure to book this one ASAP.
INFO: 946 Thanon Rama IV, Khwaeng Silom, Khet Bang Rak, +66 2 200 9000, dusit.com/dusitthani/bangkok
Best for: High-end restaurants, business, parks
If you like the buzz of Silom but you don’t want to sleep in the middle of it, Sathorn is just a stone’s throw away from the madness and chaos. This stunning business district is home to a variety of high-end hotels and restaurants, along with the new MahaNakhon skyscraper (Thailand’s tallest building). Featuring a hotel, retail shops and residences, this stunning tower is the shape of a square prism with the appearance of a rough spiral with cuboidal surfaces. Looking for some greenery? Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s biggest park, o ers the ideal escape from the city’s fast pace.
Where to stay: COMO Metropolitan Bangkok
Luxury, serenity and privacy in the heart of one of the busiest cities in the world? It doesn’t get better than the exclusive COMO Metropolitan Bangkok. Located in a side alley o the main road, it’s hard to believe you’re in Bangkok while staying at this magnificent property. The hotel is situated between the river and Sukhumvit District, is 10 minutes away from Silom’s buzzing nightlife scene and easily reachable by BTS Station or MRT train networks.
Created by architect Kathryn Kng, the hotel has 169 generously sized rooms and suites. All of them are clean, crisp open spaces filled with natural light from floor-to-ceiling windows. With juxtapositions of materials and influences from the East and West, rooms are serene and sophisticated. Details include Asian antiques, furniture by contemporary designers and artists, mosaic bathrooms, Thai silk curtains and, in select suites, private terraces with outdoor showers.
The cuisine doesn’t disappoint either. Swing by Nahm on the hotel’s ground floor, which serves innovative Thai delicacies. But be sure to book in advance, because the restaurant has secured itself on the world’s best restaurants lists since it opened its doors back in 2012, ensuring it’s always busy. It’s that impressive.
If you’re really keen to splash out, the hotel’s magnificent COMO Suite is 240 square metres of luxury and has hosted the likes of Mariah Carey. The stunning two-storey suite has its own lift, which goes down to a private entrance, ensuring complete privacy. If it’s good enough for Mariah, it’s good enough for us.
INFO: 27 S Sathorn Road, Khet Sathon, +66 2 625 3333, comohotels.com/metropolitanbangkok
Stay and save!
Fancy taking a city break without upsetting your bank balance? Luckily for you, COMO Metropolitan is currently o ering a fab deal in Bangkok. Stay three to five nights and receive one complimentary night, or stay six to eight nights and receive two complimentary nights. Visit the hotel’s website for more info on these and other amazing deals.
Best for: Nightlife, street food, spas, a ordable restaurants, shopping malls
Thailand’s longest road, Sukhumvit Road, is the commercial centre of Bangkok and is flanked with top hotels, shopping malls and bustling bars. Popular with expats and travellers to the city, Sukhumvit runs from downtown area Nana at one end to suburban district Bearing at the other. Sukhumvit has endless 24-hour restaurants selling authentic Thai cuisine at a ordable prices. If you’re looking to party and eat, head over to the madness of Sukhumvit Soi 4. Tip: here you’ll find the best Thai green curry (in actual Thailand) for a mere Dhs20 at a charming restaurant called Bus Stop.
Where to stay: Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit
For a five-star experience in Sukhumvit, try the incredible Bangkok Marriott Hotel Sukhumvit. Located in Bangkok’s Thonglor district, only moments away from the area’s best shopping, dining, and entertainment, the hotel boasts an impressive variety of premium amenities to ensure total relaxation. The gorgeously designed rooms and suites are beyond comfortable and the hotel’s luxury resources set the stage for a remarkable stay. Of course, it also features a state-of-the- art spa, a cutting-edge fitness centre and pool, superb on-site restaurants and a sleek rooftop bar with incredible views.
In terms of dining, you’ll be spoilt for choice. The District Grill Room & Bar o ers an award-winning steakhouse experience, while 57th Street serves up traditional Thai home-style cooking in a vibrant, inviting ambience. However, our favourite spot is undoubtedly Octave Rooftop Lounge & Bar with its spectacular vistas.
There is also no shortage of local attractions near the hotel. From Madame Tussauds Bangkok, Terminal 21 Shopping Mall and the Bangkok National Museum to Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World and Central World Plaza, you won’t know where to start your adventures.
INFO: Sukhumvit Soi 57 Klongtan Nua Wattana, +66 2 797 0000, marriott.com/hotels/travel/bkkms-bangkok-marriott- hotel-sukhumvit
Best for: Culture, picturesque views, river markets
Bangkok’s riverside, the traditional heartland of this magical city, is where its historic roots lie. It’s here you will find old-school water-taxis ferrying commuters, and rice barges chugging upstream, set against a backdrop of splendid palaces and five-star hotels. If you’re looking for a slightly more relaxed and calm stay, the hotels along the river o er peace and tranquillity away from the city life, with spectacular views.
Where to stay: AVANI Riverside Bangkok
Rising above the banks of Bangkok’s picturesque Chao Phraya River, AVANI Riverside Bangkok o ers a smooth blend of contemporary style, modern warmth and stunning views across the city.
From the top of the 26-storey hotel at the rooftop bar and pool, to the lobby, the hotel is the perfect place to relax and unwind, and a base to start exploring nearby neighbourhoods and popular tourist sites. Each of the hotel’s 248 stylish guest rooms and suites boasts uninterrupted city and river views. The hotel’s neutral décor is a blend of comfort and modernity, natural materials and high-tech equipment, along with extra conveniences such as a rain shower, dedicated work station with free Wi-Fi and a media hub docking station.
The rooftop space on the 26th floor, which is breath- taking, is the ideal place to take in the incredible views of the city skyline while relaxing at the infinity pool, enjoying a sundowner. This is where you will find Attitude, Bangkok’s newest rooftop hotspot. Areas of the restaurant and bar are designed for different styles of socialising and include an indoor lounge with a DJ booth, an open show kitchen and outdoor lounge-style restaurant and bar. In terms of Bangkok’s social scene, this is the It place to be seen.
The property also features a state-of-the-art gym, AVANIFIT, and spa, AVANISPA, to keep you fit and relaxed during your stay. Fortunately, the hotel’s convenient riverside location makes many of Bangkok’s attractions easily accessible. Shuttle-boat services link to the Asiatique night market and entertainment complex, and the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin boat pier allows swift connections to the commercial, shopping and entertainment districts. If you’re not in the mood to venture out too far, Riverside Plaza adjoins AVANI Riverside Bangkok Hotel, offering a variety of restaurants, bars and shops catering to your every need. Bingo!
INFO: 257 Charoennakorn Road Khwaeng Samre, Khet Thon Buri, +66 2 431 9100, minorhotels.com/en/avani