Two years ago I flew into the Thai capital to toast my retirement and had myself such a good time that I’ve returned; this time to celebrate my big 4-0 wedding anniversary. My husband jokes he’d get less for murder, but I know he’s quietly pleased we’re not letting this decade anniversary slip by without fanfare.
We treated ourselves for a week at the beautiful Banyon Tree, enjoying the view from 57 floors up and taking away good memories of kind and efficient staff, fabulous food at their restaurants and appealing (read very drinkable) cocktails from their rooftop bars (one of which is the feature photo above).
Bangkok is all about food and with over 50,000 places to eat, it was easy to mix up the offerings. I’m pleased to say taste and value were delivered by the bucket load. First up was Chinatown where the street food and atmosphere are hard to beat.
Dinner at Banyon Tree’s Saffron Restaurant was a good choice. Food, wine and views all added up to something special.
A short walk from our hotel was ‘Eat Me’, a restaurant with a fabulous atmosphere and equally fabulous fare especially the lemongrass creme brulee and Chilean red wine. Chocolate vodka, made on the premises was easy going down the gullet. The restaurant attracts a lively clientele who mingle easily and are definitely not vegan since slabs of wagyu and plus size racks of lamb are on the menu.
Next to Banyon Tree Hotel was the beautiful Sukhothai Hotel and its very nice Celadon Restaurant.
It was easy to be seduced by the pomelo salad before the duck spring rolls, chilli beef and crab omelette. Thai dancing where the girls’ hands performed double jointed feats was mesmerising. The Sukhothai was hosting the Japanese ASEAN contingent so the atmosphere was bright and bouncy.
Vibrant Silom Rd was close to our hotel and we ate our way along its entire length. I couldn’t go past my firm Thai favourites; pad thai and mango sticky rice topped with coconut cream.
Silk buying was on my agenda this visit and I sought out the lesser known Baan Krua area which is across San Saeb Canal, quite close to the more well known Jim Thompson House. The Baan Krua weavers were the original suppliers of silk to Jim Thompson from the 1940s until Thompson’s mysterious disappearance in 1967. From what I could see, Aood is the only silk weaver left in this area and given his age, the end of an era may well be on the cards.
The west side of Bangkok is home to the very interesting Thonburi Klongs (canals). My favourite temple Wat Arun was the starting point for our long tail boat trip down the klongs.
Along the klongs, which I suspect may well be another feature of Bangkok life that is fast disappearing, are temples, teak houses and shops. It’s good to see a place from the water; the perspective is definitely different and for two hours it was interesting to observe people in their stilt houses going about their day to day life, kids at school, shops trading – a truly vibrant snapshot of life on the water. Development is encroaching on the klongs – highrises and express ways are never far away.
Given BBK offers so much, it’s a bit churlish to complain about the traffic, but traffic is a real problem here, especially at night. Tuk tuks are the answer – they weave in and out – close your eyes though!
We mastered BKK rail and rode the underground metro as well as the sky train. Super easy and super efficient.
Bangkok’s magnificent malls around Siam Square are in the next photo. Easy to spend a whole day here – their food halls are equally magnifique,
The ASEAN summit was held here during our stay. Security was tight as leaders and their entourages from 10 member nations and 6 trading nations (of which Australia is one) descended on Bangkok. Of course trade and territorial disputes were on the agenda, (Vietnam opened some relevant discussion on the South China Sea) and it was good to see concerns related to children getting a mention; especially that all Asean children, Rohingya included, have access to excellent education and health.
Bangkok. Was. Fabulous. I have to give a big thumbs up to https://luxuryescapes.com who offer beautiful hotel stays at good prices. Their website was super easy to navigate. One transaction was all it took to book hotel with extras like Club Access as well as airfares with Thai. Guess this first time user will be a repeat customer when I next celebrate a milestone.
I can’t finish this blog without recommending a couple of good websites.
If you crave a news site that presents articulate and insightful Asian news, then subscribe to https://darimulut.substack.com (From Mouth to Mouth). An Aussie, Erin Cooke gives bang for buck for her $60 annual subscription by keeping readers up to date about a region of the world that’s undergoing rapid change.
Likewise, if you crave a good travel site that deals specifically with Asian accommodation, dining and sightseeing, then subscribe to https://www.travelfish.org
Stuart Macdonald, an Australian, has committed a lot of time gathering information for his website and it’s excellent. Especially geared to independent travellers.