Bustling Bangkok

May Swan-Easton on 22 January 2014
We flew from Heathrow to Bangkok via Kuala Lumpur on Christmas day aboard the new A380 with Malaysian Airlines but there are non-stop services also available. There’s 2 airports in Bangkok; Suvarnabhumi for international flights and Don Muang for domestic flights, 40-50mins away by taxi.

The weather in Thailand is generally marked by three seasons, rainy season (Jul-Oct), hot season (Mar-Jun), and cool season (Nov-Feb), though the climate is generally pleasant year round. The southern, coastal region of Thailand really has only two seasons – rainy season and dry season. Fortunately, for those planning a beach holiday, Thailand’s two coasts have slightly different rainy seasons, allowing visitors to find sunny beaches nearly all year round. We spent 3 nights at 5* Eastin Grand Hotel, in the Sathorn district. Brilliant location and a very impressive hotel featuring 390 rooms and suites that enjoy stunning views of the majestic Chao Praya River or Bangkok’s imposing skyline. Hotel offers an outside infinity pool & bar on the 14th floor, fitness centre, complimentary Wi-Fi throughout hotel and is unique in being the only hotel in Bangkok with its own direct access to the BTS Sky Train system at Surasak Station. It took 50 mins to get from the airport to the hotel using the train with just 2 simple changes en route. The things that stood out for me at this hotel were:- • Good choice and well stocked buffet breakfast • USB connector outlet in room safe so you could charge your tablet/phone during the day whilst you were out. • All power sockets were multi-national so UK 3pin/US or EU 2 pin could be plugged in without the need for an adapter.

We also visited the stylish 5* Siam Hotel for dinner and site inspection and was bowled over by this boutique hotel. It enjoys a riverside location in the Historic district and offers 38 spacious suites and is uniquely THE ONLY HOTEL in Bangkok that offers Pool Villas. Every room is catered for by a personal butler, upon request, and complimentary Wi-Fi is available property-wide. There’s no wonder it’s won so many awards including most recently, Best City Hotel 2013 -Tatler Magazine. A perfect choice for my discerning clients and honeymooners.

Taxis are mostly metered but Bangkok is highly congested. However, Bangkok has a sky-train system and all the trains are clean, efficient, have A/C and do not allow eating or drinking on board. The carriages are wide and the Thai people very courteous so no jostling for a seat. Trains are very cheap and easy to buy tickets as you obtain your change from a manned counter then put the coins into the machine for the ticket. Tuk Tuks were also a fun way to get around; there are over 10,000 of them in Bangkok alone. They can nip in and out of traffic getting you to your final destination quicker than a taxi, but do check the price before you get in and barter to get a better rate.

We pre-booked in UK, a full day tour to Kanchanaburi (Bridge on River Kwai) from 0645 to1730 which stopped off at an Orchid farm & Floating Market en-route & was one of the best tours I’ve ever done. I’ll never forget quietly walking across the bridge where so much sadness took place to hear the sound of children’s voices singing from the Temple on the opposite side of the river.

A visit to Bangkok wouldn’t be complete without a night time visit to Pat Pong Market. Meander past the Racy Bars, restaurants & shops jotted along this street & barter like there’s no tomorrow at the market stalls. There’s also day/night river cruises plus over 485 temples to visit in Bangkok alone & 27,000 in the whole of Thailand.

Food: Restaurants abound and you’ll be spoilt for choice, some you need to make reservations at before you leave the UK (we did at all 3); • Chon Thai Restaurant at the Siam Hotel for authentic Thai Cuisine with the highest service levels. • 7Spoons was a mixture of Thai meets Med, simple but edgy food in a modern bare-walled restaurant. • Il Bolognese - by far the best Italian outside of Rome, everything about our meal was perfect from the greeting to the farewell by the owner and everything in between.

What a fun bustling city and 3 nights was only a taster. A great stop over to the Thai islands where there’s frequent hourly flights or on the way to Australia/New Zealand.