Combining tradition with modernity, the sparkling city of Bangkok is less than six hours from Dubai. Offering a mix of futuristic skyscrapers and quaint streets bursting with local culture, the capital is a sprawling metropolis full of must-see sites, food and vibrant character.
Vertigo: A must for all visiting Bangkok, a trip to Banyan Tree’s Vertigo is definitely the best way to see the city. The rooftop restaurant offers a dining experience overlooking the glittering cityscape – one of Asia’s first. Dine on fork-tender seafood and premium steaks while feasting on incredible skyline views. If you’re not in the mood for food, head to the adjoining Moon Bar. Set on the 61st floor, both locations are set for those special occasions, offering a panoramic vista of the downtown business district and the Chao Phraya River.
Gaggan: One of Bazaar’s favourite restaurants in the city, Gaggan, is up there with the most expensive restaurants in Bangkok and is definitely a once in a lifetime experience. Opening in 2010 with a mission and vision to reinvigorate Indian cuisine, Gaggan has created a menu offering "progressive Indian cuisine” by using contemporary techniques and adding molecular twists to traditional Indian dishes. Get stuck into the delicious 27-course tasting menu where you will experience a range of textures and flavours – and if you are really lucky, you might get a chance to talk to the Michelin star chef himself.
Nahm: With many accolades to its name, Nahm is definitely one of the best places for Thai food in central Bangkok, offering fresh flavours of traditional Thai cuisine alongside surprising tastes and textures in dishes of all varieties, whether savoury or sweet, meats, seafood or vegetables. Occupying the ground floor of COMO Metropolitan, overlooking the outdoor pool, visit to experience Nahm’s robustly flavoured ingredients, sophisticated, subtle elegance and perfect balance - evident in everything from the food and interiors.
The Siam: One of our favourite hotel’s in the historic heart of Bangkok, The Siam, cleverly marries Thai influences with art deco touches, and is packed with beautiful pieces and ancient antiques. Set on three acres of verdant frontage alongside the Chao Praya River, the 39-room private urban retreat was designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, giving his future guests an array of superlative amenities at their fingertips. With three dining options, there is something for everyone. The Chon serves signature Thai food, doubling as a cooking school where you can savour and create authentic Thai cuisine. The Deco Bar & Bistro serves western delicacies whilst Café Cha, the hotel’s all-day dining option, offers some of the best pastries in the city. Wellness plays a big role in life at The Siam, starting with the Opium Spa, a haven of calm. They have their own luxury Kickboxing gym complete with ring and professional trainers, resulting in a simulating experience for the mind, body and spirit.
137 Pillars Suites and Residences Bangkok: Soaring above the streets of Bangkok, 137 Pillars Suites is a distinctive boutique hotel designed with ultimate luxury in mind. Set in the heart of the fashionable Thonglor district, the 34 beautiful suites, named after the great royal periods in Thai history, are complemented by a full range of personal services with private dining options, large balconies, expansive ensuite bathrooms with large round baths and walk in wardrobes – add to this a private butler and you have an executive home in Bangkok. Limousines (kitted out with wifi) and tuk tuks are available at the press of a button, and the hotel’s Leonowens Club will create a tailor-made tour of the sprawling city.
Mandarin Oriental Bangkok: Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, built in 1876, has long been famous for its service, style and grace. With 393 beautiful rooms and suites, the hotel boasts three wings as well as eight restaurants, our favourites are Le Normandie offering a French dining venue, The China House with its avant-garde 1930s Shanghai Art Deco interior and Sala Rim Naam Thai Restaurant, revived into a mini palace serving a lavish Thai Buffet lunch spread daily and set dinner with a nightly Thai Classical dance show.
Afternoons are well spent at the Oriental Spa which opened as the first city spa in Bangkok in 1993, and offers a unique Thai-style health and beauty centre, featuring the latest spa techniques in a traditional Thai setting. Also on offer is an exclusive range of healing, natural rituals and rejuvenating therapies straight from the great traditions of “Keraleeya Ayurveda” in a tranquil ambiance. On hand to give consultations and present tailor-made yoga sessions is a yogic lifestyle trainer direct from India.
Out & About:
The Floating Markets: Even though the boats on the river attract more tourists than locals these days, this market is something to be witnessed. Piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables, ready-to-drink coconut juice and local food cooked from floating kitchens located right on the boat, this is a well worth the experience for all newbies to the city.
The Grand Palace: If there is one site to visit then this is it – they say you haven’t been to Bangkok until you have seen the palace. Built in 1782 – and for 150 years, the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government – the Grand Palace of Bangkok continues to awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, full of colour, history and of course, religion.
Chatuchak Weekend Market: Originally a flea market started in the 1950s by a former prime minister, Chutuchak, known to the locals as JJ Market, is now the largest market in Thailand. If this is one for the agenda, make sure you’re in town over the weekend as the market only opens its doors on a Friday and Saturday, offering its patrons 500 stalls selling everything from clothing, antiques and plants as well as plenty of Bangkok’s famous street food.
Siam Square, Sian Plaza and MBK: A top choice purely for its range of variety, prices and convenience. Expect to find everything from fancy frocks to fun footwear, Thai trinkets and casual beach wear – the best thing is that it’s nothing like you could find on the high street at home, all clothes and accessories are a bit different to the norm and resemble designer items (but at high street prices).
Oriental Place: With a five-star reputation in the land of luxury, Oriental Place is your one stop shop for the first antiques and art. Seen as more of an art gallery or museum, rather than a department store, the 50 boutique strong hold hosts fantastic pieces to both admire, and if you’re lucky, take home. As well as fine art shops, it’s also a great place to visit if you are in the market for jewellery or are looking for tailored goods.
King Power Complex: Cute and quaint, the King Power Downtown Complex brings all designer brands together under one roof. Bright, light and most importantly, clean, the three-story tall building also offers mega duty-free and tax-free deals with more than 100 of the world’s leading fashion brands.
FlyDubai, offering double daily flights starting from Dhs1,499