Bangkok, selected

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I thought I’d raise some selected Bangkok tips & recommendations I haven’t shared yet. You can find the previous Bangkok articles here.

A hotel with a rooftop pool

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A choice that elevates both your overnighting experience and holiday spirit. We stayed at Adelphi Suites Bangkok in the Sukhumvit area. A swim in the pool above the rooftops both kick-started the day in the morning and provided a soothing moment in the evening before heading out into the night.

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Get a piece of clothing custom tailored

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We tried Tailor on Ten on 93 Sukhumvit Soi 8. It is high-end.  The service is very professional and the craftsmanship is first-class. You can really feel the difference between prime quality and above average.  They have an online store and once you have had your measurements taken at the tailor, the sizes will be saved in the web shop. Book an appointment in advance, if you want to visit the tailor.

The Temple of the Reclining Buddha

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The Wat Pho temple complex houses many Buddha images and the most impressive one of them is the 46 metre-long reclining Buddha.  Even the soles of the feet are around three metres high. On the other side of the Buddha there is a row of 108 bowls for coins.  They also  teach and give Thai massage at the temple. The temple was clearly a popular visiting destination but not too busy. Remember to wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

Our original plan actually was to visit the Grand Palace and we took a tuk-tuk there in the day. My travel companion queued to the Textile Museum in order to rent pants of full length for the palace visit. After a 30 minute wait we were ready to head for the ticket office. But, not so fast, it turned out. I had a big scarf that covered my arms and shoulders but the person working at the counter lifted it, shrook her haid and waved that more clothing was needed. Since another half-hour wait wasn’t too tempting, we went our way.

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Snack time!

There’s absolutely no point in skipping snack time as the street gastro is so fresh and juicy, be it fruit or seafood. Or insects, but my first and so far last insect tasting/ testing was on a street festival in Seoul a few years back and I think I’ll leave it at that for now. But, mangos, watermelon, pineapple and the fruit of the sea were all tasty.

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Glide down the Chao Phraya in a river boat

A convenient way to get around. Many of the attractions are close to the river. We took  a boat from the Reclining Buddha to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The price is very cheap, around 15 baht.  The river bus ride gives a different angle to the city. It’s a good idea to have a look at the map, to follow the route and learn the name of your stop, because it’s not too difficult to miss the intended pier. But definitely recommendable: a scenic boat trip through Bangkok for less than one euro.

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Jim Thompson’s House: if the turtles could talk

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Really, it’s worth the visit. I must admit, based on what I had read, I expected it to be nice, but I didn’t anticipate that it would be as interesting as it was. Jim Thompson was an American entrepreneur who brought silk to the Western market. He disappeared all of a sudden in 1967. His house represents traditional Thai architecture and houses fine interior design and beautiful art works. One curiosity was a labyrinth for mice; pastime a  of the old times, supposedly. Maybe the big turtles in the pond know what happened to Mr. Thompson…

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Hmmmm, what else? Definitely visit the buzzling China Town and have a tasty lunch, snack or dinner, or all three, there. For going to places catch a tuk-tuk, the three-wheel moped taxi. State your destination clearly right in the start;  if the tuk-tuk/taxi-driver says that China Town is closed on that particular day, he just might not be telling the truth. The Skytrain or BTS is a really fast, effective and effortless way to get to places and to avoid the traffic jams.

Take with you a water bottle, a little patience and a lot of lust for adventure and you’re set to go. Take in the lively bustle of Bangkok.

Dining and cocktail o’clock in Bangkok

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Where can one have a delicious meal in Bangkok? In so many places, based on what we saw and tasted during our trip. Bangkok truly is a city of street kitchens and great variety. The fresh and juicy seafood and fruit, the tasty curries, fried noodles (pat thai), the dim sum in Chinatown, and the delicious list continues.

I felt safe to try different delicacies on the street, because the food was well cooked. When talking about recommendations and Bangkok it can be difficult to suggest a particular place, because all the small restaurants don’t necessarily have names. We often go where there are a lot of local people. But I’ll still share some dining and cocktail time tips.

If we go for a minute from where to eat to what to have, the indisputable first place goes to Tom yum soup (in the picture above). We had it for the first time on the day we arrived at the Chatuchak Weekend Market and pretty much had  it every day since. And with that I mean that we shared a portion or a hot-pot and had other dishes as well, but the soup became a must-have. It’s a spicy soup with a clear broth and often it contains prawns. It can have other seafood, mushrooms, lemongrass, chili peppers and chicken as well. We even bought the soup in instant form as homecoming gifts for our family and had it for breakfast at the airport. So yeah, it’s safe to talk about an addiction.

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One good place to have dinner is the lively Chinatown. You’ll see food stalls one after another and the plastic chairs of the small restaurants spread on the streets. The neon signs shine as the darkness comes down, the streets are full of bustle and the air is filled with different aromas. Chinatown is a good possibility to try some dim sum, whole white fish in lime juice and Beijing Duck, to name just a few.

One original restaurant experience was Cabbages and Condoms in the Sukhumvit area (10 Sukhumvit Soi 12). The restaurant was established partly to increase better understanding of family planning and to generate income for the activities of population development. The restaurant has a big garden which is quite atmospheric in the evening with the lanterns and the lights in the trees. Mannequin dolls were wearing creative costumes made out of condoms. The service wasn’t super friendly and one of our orders was forgotten but due to the tasty food, cosy garden and the special decor the place deserves a mentioning.

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One thing I wanted to try in Bangkok was an afternoon tea. First we planned to have it at the known Mandarin Oriental Hotel (48 Oriental Avenue ) by the River Chao Phraya , but we ended up changing that plan to having drinks on the riverside terrace of the hotel. It was really nice as the lights on the riverboats and the trees lit. If you decide to go there, note that the dress code of the restaurants changes around six o’clock (if I recall correctly) and becomes stricter.

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But back to tea. We enjoyed it at TWG Tea at the Siam Paragon Shopping Centre (Rama 1 Road, Pathumwan). The tea shop/salon was beautifully decorated with tea items and orchids. Although the tea room was inside a shopping mall, the atmosphere was calm. We chose to have the tea time set menu called Dignity (points to the branding people here) which consisted of a shared pot of tea (chosen from a very comprehensive list), four cocktail canapes, two oven warm scones served with jam and whipped cream and three macarons. Everything was savory and of very good quality. I would like to attach a picture of our tea time menu products here, but they were strangely strict about what one could take pictures of. Frankly something I don’t really understand. But besides the photo control it was pleasant and delicious. The price for one person was 740 Baht. Energized by the tea we headed to the tailor and to do some shopping.

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And what is a visit to Bangkok without visiting a sky bar? We tried three and undeniably the best one was the Vertigo and Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel (21/100 South Sathon Road, Sathon). It’s an open-air bar and a restaurant on the 61st floor of the hotel.  You really get the feeling of being on top of Bangkok there. The prices are rather high but having one or two drinks with the view is definitely worth it. Quite the perfect datenight spot on the top, with a pinch of luxury and the magic of the metropolis.

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Vibes of Bangkok and Koh Samet

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We got back from Thailand last week. We spent five days in Bangkok and three on the Island of Koh Samet. Exciting, vibrant, sunny, hot and unforgettable are the first words that come to my mind. I’ll soon share tips from both destinations but first some vibes and moods.

Bangkok. Carts selling seafood (from huge tiger prawns to juicy octopus), deep fried chicken, fresh mango with sticky rice and roasted insects. At the lively Chatuchak market there are so many booths and stalls selling almost anything you could think of from art to flowers and pets.

The elaborate golden decorations in the many temples and the altars by many buildings with candles, insence, fruit and flowers. It also became clear why there was a museum of textiles right by the entrance of the Grand Palace (reason to be revealed in upcoming post).

Cocktails with style above the rooftops on the top of Bangkok at the Vertigo Bar at the Banyan Tree hotel.  And a quality afternoon tea  in Siam. And again back to the lively bustle of the streets: the tuktuks, motorcycles, taxis and vendors.

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And then Koh Samet. The colourful wooden Big Boats that took us there. The string of white sandy beaches: one, and another and another. The pink and green pennons decorated with golden writing hanging from the trees. The mosquito net on top of the bed (luckily, as we found out). The sweetly burning sensation created by the chili in the delicious and addictive Tom Yam soup. Having cocktails on the beach during the low tide and watching the stars. And suddenly fireworks start.

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