Boutique Hotels Update 2017

Mandarin Oriental

The number of hotels in Bangkok continues to grow at a steady rate. In 2016 Trip Advisor listed just over 800 hotels. Now it has early 870 hotels that it follows. It is the same trend seen in the B&B category and the speciality lodging category. A few of the new accommodation options in Bangkok claim to be ’boutique’ but we are going to stick with our original selection of boutique places to stay in Bangkok. We believe they still represent the unique, stylish and exclusive hotel experience that encapsulates the boutique experience.

Below is a list of the hotels we list and notes concerning their review ratings on Agoda and Trip Advisor. Since Agoda ratings tend to be fairly static we have used the Trip Advisor rating to determine whether a hotel has improved or not.

The Winners

Baan Noppawong stayed at 8.3 on Agoda and rose from 21 to 14 in the B&B category.

Baiyoke Sky Hotel is in Bangkok’s tallest building. The famous hotel and sky bar moves up 69 places in the hotels category from 365 to 296. The Agoda score stays at 7.6

Davis Hotel maintains its solid 8 score on Agoda and moves up 20 places on Trip Advisor from 260 to 245 in the hotels section of the site.

The Eugenia Hotel is unusual. It is not listed on Agoda but is listed on Booking.com. The two booking engines are owned by the same company so the reason for the move is not apparent. On Trip Advisor The Eugenia has gone from not available to 442.

Triple Two Silom is a modern hotel in the heart of the commercial district of Bangkok. It has improved its Trip Advisor ranking in the hotels category, going from 76th to 55th.

Another winner is The Four Seasons. It has jumped from the 35th best hotel to the 28th best hotel in Bangkok according to Trip Advisor.

Hotel Muse Bangkok is clearly a very well-run establishment – it has gone from 124 to 36 in the hotels section of Trip Advisor. The only disappointment is that the new management has felt the need to inflict their branding on the hotel name. It is now called ‘Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan – MGallery Collection’. Trips off the tongue, doesn’t it?

Loy La Long Hotel is a delightful micro hotel by the river. It continues to charm as it moves from 22 o 16 in the B&B section of Trip Advisor.

The Losers

Baan Pranond in contrast to Baan Noppawong has slipped slightly down the ratings. It has gone from 17 to 23 in the B&B section of Trip Advisor. However, the Agoda rating has increased from 8.6 to 8.7.

Chakrabongse Villas retains its impressive Agoda score of 9 but falls in the speciality lodges category from 35 to 105. That is a big fall that management will no doubt be keen to address over the following 12 months.

It is hard to think of the impressive Peninsula Hotel as a ‘loser’ but it dropped from the 6th best hotel in Bangkok to the 7th. It still retains the second highest Agoda score of all the boutique hotels in Bangkok – 9.1.

The Praya Palazzo Hotel fell over a hundred places in Trip Advisor’s hotel section going from 115 to 265.

Shanghai Mansion, one of the leading hotels in Chinatown, has fallen from 79 to 85 in the hotels section of Trip Advisor.

The Hansar Bangkok has had a horrible year. It has kept it high Agoda score of 8.9 but has dropped from the 2nd best hotel in Bangkok to the 40th according to Trip Advisor reviewers!

The Luxx has, sadly, performed poorly too. Complaints of looking old and worn and its plumbing needing attention has seen it drop from 409 to 576 for hotels in Bangkok.

Whereas Maduzi improved its Agoda rating from 8.8 to 8.9 it dropped 40 odd places in the hotels section of Trip Advisor to 99.

Others

The Navalai River Resort changed category rather than going up or down. It could be termed a sideways move. The Agoda score stayed at 8.2. The Navalai is now the 37th best speciality lodging in Bangkok.

It is impossible for anyone who stays at The Mandarin Oriental to feel they are staying in anything but a world class 5 star establishment. It dropped from first to second best hotel in Bangkok. However, its Agoda score just keeps getting better – going from 9.2 to 9.4.

For some reason The Metropolitan Bangkok (now COMO Metropolitan) has no Trip Advisor score, but did improve its Agoda score to 8.6 from last year’s 8.5

Conclusion

The boutique hotels in Bangkok continue to draw myriad reviews from lots of customers. These select hotels inspire comment. The jury is divided – just as many hotels we recommend improved as did fall in the ratings. Next year the tables will turn again. It is a cutting edge that determines success in this niche of the accommodation market in Bangkok; fashion ,expectation and hot spots change bringing some places into the light, while casting others in the shade. This is perhaps the main reason why traveller reviews can be so valuable.

Getting from Bangkok to Chumphon

Visitors to Thailand arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok. They typically spend a few days in Bangkok seeing the sights and getting acclimatised, and then head out of the city to explore the Kingdom further. One of the main tourist destinations outside of Bangkok is Koh Tao.

Koh Tao doesn’t have an airport. Those in a hurry for whom cost is not an issue catch a Bangkok Airways flight to the neighbouring island of Koh Samui, and from there board a ferry to Koh Tao. Those not in similar circumstances have to make their way to the south of Thailand by either train or bus.

You can catch the 17.35 train from Hualamphong Train Station in Bangkok to Chumphon in the south. This train arrives early the following morning at 2.48. This allows plenty of time to catch a transfer mini bus to the Lomprayah Ferry Pier. From Chumphon it is about an hour on the Lomprayah high speed catamaran to Koh Tao island.

The only downside to this trip is the over night on the train. The alternative is to travel to Chumphon arriving on the day and then finding a hotel for the night and catching an early morning ferry to Koh Tao.

The cost of a second class sleeper on the train is 1,000 Thai Baht and the cost of the ferry from Chumphon to Koh Tao is 600 Thai Baht. This is a considerable saving on catching a plane. For many the train journey is a chance to see something of rural Thailand. If the Gulf is calm the ferry journey can also be most pleasant. It’s not exactly a boutique travel experience but it is normally stress free. Remember that there are often delays with train and boat travel but you invariably get there in the end.

To find out more about this route and to book travel tickets online see – http://www.thailandtrains.com/buy-train-tickets-from-bangkok-to-chumphon/

Review of Onyx

Onyx is one of the best nightclubs in Bangkok. For those not interested in cover bands or DJs playing pop anthems Onyx has become the club of choice for bass heads.

Modern Club in Bangkok

Onyx is a large club. It has the biggest single dance space in Bangkok that can hold 2,500 people. The floor is orientated to face the large DJ booth with a large LED screen behind. It is very much like a club in London or Tokyo.

A Place To Dance

There are some impressive embellishments as well: laser shows, CO2 bombs and confetti drops. This is a club not for the high society folk to sip cocktails and nod to DJ music, rather this is a place for electronic music lovers to thump and pump their way through happy hours listening to big name DJs.

The club is located between Phetchaburi Road and the Sirat Expressway, a short taxi ride from the Sukhumvit Road. See the location map below.

Location of the Onyx Club

  • Address: Royal City Avenue (RCA), Soi Soonvijai, Rama IX Road Bangkapi, Huaykwang, Bangkok 10130
  • Telephone: +66 (0)81 645 1166

Club Information

The club opens at 21.00 and stays open late. Entrance costs 500 Thai Baht with a couple of free drinks. It is not cheap entry and the drinks aren’t cheap, but this is a serious club, not a place for working girls to get a John.

The headline DJs are booked in advance – they get in plenty of local talent as well as international DJs. You can find out who is playing on their website – http://www.onyxbangkok.com/- I note as writing this that Australian duo Slice and Dice are up next. They do a brand of mash up electronica with a theatrical element. They are new and relevant.

As you would expect, the sound system is excellent. Plenty of bass as well as treble clarity. Along with the high ceiling the sound system does justice to the music.

Reviews

Trip Advisor at the time of writing rated Onyx as the fifty-fourth best night spot in the city. So far nobody has rated the club as ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. Over time it is certain that the more positive reviews will follow.

Next read about Glow Nightclub on Sukhumvit Soi 23

Rod Fai Market

Rod Fai Market (Train Market) is in a way the opposite of Patpong Market. Whereas the latter has a vast array of fake goods, Rod Fai Market has a bewildering array of original goods and vintage goods. For anyone looking for something unique and not mass produced and corny this is the place to head.

A wide variety of things are sold at the Rod Fai market

A wide variety of things are sold at the Rod Fai market

The Rod Fai Market Has Moved

Originally the market was next to the railway lines at Chatuchak Market but in 2013 the market was closed because of the BTS sky train expansion. That was not the end of Rod Fai Market. It was moved to the suburb area of Srinakarin. At this location it is open 17.00 to midnight at the weekend.

And Another Second Similar Market has Also Opened

In January 2015 another vintage market along the lines of the original Train Market opened at Ratchada at a more central location that can be easily reached by the MRT (alight at Thailand Cultural Center station).

What is Different About the Rod Fai Market?

So what is at the Rod Fai Market? Well virtually anything that people collect, the stuff some people think are cool from leather jackets to 1950s Cadillacs. There are Japanese action dolls, French chandeliers, film cameras, replica guns, vintage jeans, coins, ceramics, stamps, coca cola bottles, Hawaiian dresses, odd bric-a-brac. This market is the closest you will get to Ebay. It is a cornucopia of the weird and unusual. It is stuff that has a value because it is not currently mass-produced; it is not main stream.

If you are looking for a special souvenir; for a quirky birthday present; for a home-moving present; for a gift for a loved one; for a killer club wear item then head to Rod Fai Mai.

A Night Out As Well As A Place To Shop

What really suits this market is that it is a night market. It is a place where you visit to hang out, have some food and soak up the atmosphere. In this way it is like Patpong – it is a night out. You could just as easily check out some great little eateries and hang out at little bar soaking up the atmosphere, admiring the devotion of collectors and otaku types.

rod fai market

There are collectables for sale at the Fod Fai Market

Location Of The Original Rod Fai Market

  • Srinakarin Soi 51, just behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall

Location of the New Fod Fai Market

  • Ratchada, near Thailand Cultural Center MRT Underground Station, behind Esplanade Shopping Mall.

Photos from: https://isaacloo.wordpress.com

Next read about Chatuchak Weekend Market

Costs for Hotel Dining in Bangkok

Hotels.com recently conducted a survey of hotel food prices around the world. The survey showed that Bangkok came 24th out of 28 countries for price of food. Only Madrid, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and Bogota came out on average cheaper. What does that tell us about food pricing in hotels around the world?

Comparison of average food prices in Hotels around the world

Comparison of average food prices in Hotels around the world

How the Survey was Conducted

The survey covered 28 countries. Capitals or major tourist destinations were chosen for each country. For each country 30 hotels were visited and prices recorded. The hotels ranged from 3 stars to 5 stars. The comparison refers to a burger meal, a glass of red wine, a club sandwich and a cup of coffee. The results have been tabulated and put into Baht by the Bangkok post. See the graphic above.

Hotel Food is Relatively Expensive in Some Countries

The first thing to note is that the table reveals that there is little correlation between the comparative cost of items in a country as a whole and hotels in that country. While Switzerland is notoriously expensive (and is number 1 in the list), India is one of the cheapest countries in the world, and yet its hotel prices are ranked at 20. Indeed, Madrid is a capital in a developed country and yet it is cheaper than Bangkok.

Clearly hotel pricing inhabits its own orbit, not related to the market forces governing food prices outside the hotel doors. It is more likely that hotels, especially chains set prices in relation to its competition and running costs rather than in relation to restaurants in the surrounding area.

Hotel Food is Great Value in Bangkok

For those looking to promote Bangkok hotels (such as the Bangkok Post) the table reveals Bangkok hotels are some of the best value in the world. A similar survey for room prices around the world would reveal a similar result. In particular 3 and 4 star hotels in Bangkok are good value.

This is no doubt connected to supply and demand. In places like Sukhumvit, Silom and even Khao San there are so many hotels to choose from (and so many ways to book online) that price promotions as well as facilities (such as swimming pool, gym and restaurant) are essential to the success of a hotel business. Trip Advisor and its reviews of cleanliness and hotel service also go a long way to making or breaking a hotel.

This view of hotels seeking to maximise profits through comparatively expensive food would also explain the popularity of Japanese cuisine in Bangkok hotels. The Japanese food is trendy in Bangkok, and is perceived as more costly than say Chinese food. So it makes good business sense to give one of the hotel restaurants a Japanese theme.

It is Still Cheaper to Eat Outside Hotels in Bangkok

From a consumer point of view, the table should show that it is always better value to eat outside the hotel. While you take your chances with quality (less so if you study Trip Advisor before dining) you will invariably save money if you don’t eat in the hotel. In a place like Bangkok where it is safe to walk the streets at night and there is an overwhelming profusion of eating options it pays to not eat in the hotel restaurant.

Next see Thailand Life’s List of Recommended Value for Money Hotels in Bangkok

Cool Bars in Bangkok

Bangkok has an amazing number of bars. Thailand, although a Buddhist country, has a cheap and plentiful supply of cold beer. Thai people love going out to eat and drink. It is therefore not surprising that Bangkok has lots of really cool bars. It would be impossible to list all the great bars and pubs in Bangkok. Instead I will limit my list to a view of the stand-out places.

Sky Bar

It is a bit of a cliché, but still a great bar. The movie Hangover 3 featured this uber chic roof top bar. While the movie will soon be forgotten this bar stays in the memory. The island bar changes colour every 90 seconds.

Sky Bar at the Lebua Tower

Sky Bar at the Lebua State Tower

The bar is on top of one of Bangkok’s tallest buildings, the Lebua State Tower. As a consequence the view is amazing. It is also just next to the award winning Sirocco Restaurant.

  • Location of the Sky Bar:

Moon Bar

This bar is 61 floors off the ground. It is credited as the bar that made roof top bars so in vogue. Moon Bar is on the Banyan Tree Hotel roof.

Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel

Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel

This is a sophisticated bar with less of a show-off feel to it than Sky Bar. It is at the end of the roof. It is just a pity that most of the roof space is given over to dining space. This makes Moon Bar better for a sunset drink rather than a place to settle for the night.

  • Location of the Moon Bar:

Nest Rooftop Lounge

This is perhaps the bar with the best design in Bangkok. It is beach loungers and stools with low tables. Only it’s not the beach but at the top of Le Fenix Hotel in Sukhumvit.

Nest Rooftop Bar at Le Fenix Hotel

Nest Rooftop Bar at Le Fenix Hotel

This is a cool bar and a bit of a place to be seen. They have DJs and sometimes live music to keep the cool quotidian high.

  • Location of the Nest Rooftop Lounge:

Hippie De Bar

Hippie de Bar puts the lie to all those ex-pats that prefer Silom and Sukhumvit and who wouldn’t dream of going out for drinks in Khao San. Hippie de Bar is one of the funkiest bars in the capital and it is in backpacker central.

Hippie de Bar on the Khao San Road

Hippie de Bar on the Khao San Road

The furniture and wall decorations are an eclectic assortment. It is big bar spread over 2 levels with outdoor areas as well. It is interesting to just wander around when the place is not busy to just admire the quirky retro make-over.

There are pool tables. The cocktails are nicely strong and the music is not so loud you can’t talk.

  • Location of Hippie de Bar

Cheap Charlie’s

Cool bars don’t have to be on a rooftop of a hotel and sell expensive drinks. Cheap Charlie’s is a Bangkok institution. It is just a small shack in the heart of the red light area of Sukhumvit. You sit out on the street, drink cheap beer and soak up the lively and colourful atmosphere.

Cheap Charlie's off the Sukhumvit Road

Cheap Charlie’s off the Sukhumvit Road

You can find Cheap Charlie’s on Soi 11 off the Sukhumvit Road No reservations required. No dress code.

  • Location of the Cheap Charlie’s:

Telephone

Telephone is the most famous gay bar in Bangkok. It’s on Soi 4, just off Silom Road.

Telephone is Bangkok's Most Famous Gay Bar

Telephone is Bangkok’s Most Famous Gay Bar

Each table has an old fashioned telephone. This allows clients the chance to flirt with the other patrons without having to get off their bar stool. As you can see in the photo, they throw parties that are very ‘gay’ that pulls in an up-for-it crowd.

  • Location of Telephone:

Raintree Pub

Raintree Pub keeps it old skool. It is a pub lovingly decorated with odd artefacts, driftwood and buffalo heads.

Inside Raintree Pub

Inside Raintree Pub

The pub is located at 116/63-64 Soi Rangnam, off Phahon Yothin Road. They have live bands. It attracts a good mixed crowd of tourists, ex-pats and young Thais.

  • Location of Raintree Pub

Next read about the Best Go Go Bar in Bangkok

Best Bangkok Bargains

fruit

There is a growing perception that Bangkok and Thailand is becoming an expensive country. There has been a surge in inflation that has accompanied the continued expansion of the economy since the 1990s. Tourists often seem to get the brunt of the high prices as many hotels base their profit margins on inflated food and beverage prices. There is also a massive ‘middle-man’ sector to the economy that organise tours, tickets and rental vehicles for prices that include a 20% profit margin.

All is not bad, however. Thailand still remains a country with man fabulous bargains for shoppers, culture vultures and foodies. Here is a list of some of the best bargains in Bangkok

Bangkok Metered Taxis

If you make the effort to walk out of your hotel and around the corner you will soon find a taxi prepared to go on the meter. Don’t get a taxi on the main road in Khao San. Walk towards the river and you will soon secure the services of an honest taxi driver. The meter starts at 35 Thai Baht. If you share a taxi it is cheaper than the sky train or underground. For just a few dollars you can get to all the major shopping and tourist spots in Bangkok. If you speak a bit of Thai the drivers are often keen to chat; some turn out to be real characters. You could base a blog around the bizarre conversations to be had with Bangkok taxi drivers.

Street Food

There are thousands of small places to eat on the pavement. They vary in quality. Hygiene might be an issue for those with delicate stomachs. I have, however, never been poisoned by street food. You can get a great phad Thai for 40 Baht. I have also had some brilliant massaman curries from street vendors. They are a fraction of the price of restaurant dishes, and often just as good. For more information about street food in Bangkok see the articles on this page.

Shakes, Juices and Fruit

Thailand has some of the best fruit in the world. The tropical climate produces bumper crops of fruit that you can buy very cheaply from street vendors. For 10 Baht you can get a bag of pineapple. You can also get cold and freshly squeezed orange juice on the street. It is better than any juice in a carton you will get in a supermarket. Another great experience is coconut juice. It has a distinctive taste and is a great way to re-hydrate.

Software

Forget fake watches and replica football tops at night markets like Patpong. The real pirate bargains in Bangkok are found in MBK and Pantip Plaza. Don’t fancy giving Microsoft $300 for Office? Then pick up a copy for $10. For high –end professional software as well as PC games you can save yourself hundreds of dollars. You just have to read the installation instructions carefully. You could always get a knowledgeable friend or a computer shop back in your own country to help you with installation if you run into difficulties.

Hotels

At the budget end of the accommodation market you get few bargains in Bangkok. Cheap rooms are generally small and very basic. This is especially true around Khao San. For those prepared to spend $30 a night there are some real bargains to be found. Areas such as Silom and Sukhumvit have plenty of good mid-range hotels. The intense competition means they often offer discounts. For $30 a night you can get an air-con room with satellite TV and fridge in a hotel with a swimming pool.

If doing Bangkok on the smallest possible budget possible then you can find hostels near Khao San as well as along the river and in the suburbs where they have beds for as little as $4 a night. A good place to search for such dorm beds and cheap guesthouses have a browse of www.bangkokbudgethotel.info

Medical Procedures and Dentists

Bangkok is the number one destination in the world for medical tourism. For those who want a breast enlargement, eye improvement procedure, sex change etc. Bangkok is the place to go. There are several reputable clinics in the city as well as the excellent Bumrungrad Hospital in Sukhumvit. Bangkok also has a number of firsdt class dentists that offer implants at a fraction of the cost in Europe, the USA or Australia.

Getting a feel for Bargains

As you explore Bangkok you will discover the bargains to be found in this great city. You will also get a feeling for places that have inflated prices.

Boutique Shopping Suggestions

MBK-tuk-tuk
Boutique shopping is difficult to exactly define. It could be shopping in small shops (boutique means ‘small shop’ in French). It could be a shopping experience that is personalized. And finally it could mean visiting shops that are stylish and unique. No doubt, boutique shopping in Bangkok contains some of all three types of experience.

There are plenty of one-off shops in all shapes and sizes – uber cool, antique old, indoors, outdoors, big and small.

There are the smart fashion shops and tech shops in Siam Square. In Chinatown there are crowded backstreets filled with the weird and wonderful for sale. Night markets such as Patpong, Pratunam and Khao San offer lots of opportunity for those looking to browse: there is a glittering array of clothes, souvenirs, jewellery, watches, tablets, DVDs and bric-brac.

Shopping Malls generally aren’t thought of as boutique as they are big and give a standardized context to big brand shops. It is an experience designed to be monotonous, and slightly depressing in its drabness. Not so in Bangkok. Shopping Malls in Bangkok are full of life and exuberance, each with its own personality.

Each of the major shopping malls in Bangkok are geared to slightly different consumer profiles. It is thus a chance to personalize your shopping time. In general, Siam Paragon is a luxury mall with fashion boutiques, high-tech gadgets and expensive sports cars. They also have the biggest aquarium in the country, ‘Siam Ocean World’.

Central World, also in Siam, appeals to the younger set. There’s an ice skating rink. The shops sell Timberland, Izzue and Gap. There’s plenty here to hold the attention of 20 and 30 somethings.

MBK is for those looking for a bargain on just about anything. It is like an indoor mega-market with over 2,000 shops selling everything. If you are looking for something particular that is hard to find, MBK is a good place to start.

That is unless it is digital. The home of digital is Pantip Plaza. It is a mega mall just for computers, IT, cameras and all things digital. You can find computer parts in buckets and build yourself a computer for just a few dollars if you know what you are looking for. There is also lots of rare photography equipment to be found at Pantip. The experience is made more bewildering and somehow cool by the noticeable presence of monks testing their Buddhist resolve against alluring smart phones.

If you like outdoor crowds the ultimate Bangkok shopping experience is a visit to the Weekend Market at Chatuchak. It covers 27 acres and is one of the world’s biggest weekend markets. It is a maze of fascinating little shops selling textiles, carved wares, lighting, home décor, antiques, plants, art work and pets. It can be frustrating to try and go back to a shop you had visited before. Such is the souk like feel of the place. Around the outside of the market is a festival atmosphere of bars, musicians, food vendors and cafes.

For those looking for a more sedate shopping experience there are several good department stores in Bangkok. Robinsons is charmingly old-fashioned but has good prices and a very handy attached supermarket popular with ex-pats. There is also the Japanese department store, Zen. They have trendy brands and high prices but great for a girl’s splurge. You can also find promotions on some top brands. The prices at Zen guarantee a quiet and exclusive shopping experience.

From the above it is clear that you can find a wonderful cornucopia of shops in Bangkok; something for everyone. Doing your research before you leave your hotel can make your boutique shopping experience fun. However, just stepping out and heading down Siam can lead to some great discoveries.

And of course when you have had enough of boutique shopping there is always dinner destinations to consider.

Goodnight but not Goodbye to Bed Supperclub

Bed Supperclub ran for over 11 years from its location on soi 11. Its futuristic white tube shape became an iconic reminder of the advances the Sukhumvit area has made in recent years from go go bar enclave to the centre of modernity in Bangkok.

The concept of Bed Supperclub was to provide a boutique nightlife experience that combined sophisticated cuisine with the best international DJs. The lower floor provided beds and the upper floor a viewing walkway. The theme was complimented by encouraging customers to wear white. The result was a nightclub that started off laid back and developed over the night to a lively nightspot with the best dance and hip hop beats. DJs such as Calvin Harris, Brodinski, Chuckie and Laidback Luke have frequently supplied the tunes for the club.


People might have scoffed at the bizarre idea of bed-dining 10 years ago, but not anymore. The concept has been franchised and has become popular in Germany, the UK and the USA. Of all the supperclubs the one on soi 11, Sukhumvit was one of the best.

Sadly, the lease ran out and the club was forced to have its final party on August 31st, 2013. The party was not an event for sadness but for celebration for all the good times the club has provided for Bangkokers and tourists over the years.

The current situation is that the management of Bed Supperclub intends to re-open at another location in Bangkok. At the moment they are researching other possible venues to hold the club.

Since much of the success of Bed Supperclub was down to its ultra chic interior it is not a simple matter to move to another building. Rather a new spot has to be found and designers brought in to create another special space. No doubt they will stick with the modern, sleek look but seek to create something original rather than derivative.

We wish Bed Supperclub a quick revival. Sukhumvit misses you.

The video above is taken at the last party of Bed Supperclub on Soi 11.

Making the Most of your Time in Bangkok

Bangkok is a big and chaotic city. The roads are full of traffic, the pavements are jammed with people and the air is often polluted. Add to this the fact that it is always hot and humid. These conditions can deter people from fully experiencing the delights of Bangkok. Here are a few tips on how to make the most of your time in Bangkok.

Tourist Sites

If it is your first visit to Bangkok you will surely want to visit the main cultural sites of the city. The best way to do this is by the Chao Phraya Express that runs up and down the main river in the city. It is a refreshing and cheap way to get around; besides the overhead train and metro don’t run to these places. It is possible to see Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, the famous reclining Buddha and Wat Arun in a day using the boat to get from one location to the next. If you are staying in Sukhumvit catch the ferry at Saphan Taksin. If your hotel is in Khao San then the nearest ferry pier is Phra Athit.

Boutique Hotels

Bangkok is a great city to splurge on better accommodation. Hotels are cheap. You can often get a room in a 4 star hotel for as little as $60 a night. To complete your Bangkok experience it is a fantastic idea to stay in a hotel with an extra something rather than an identikit chain hotel. There are some great riverside hotels such as Sala Arun, Chakrabongse Villas (a converted Royal residence), Loy La Long Hotel and Navalai River Resort. There are also some ultra contemporary and stylish places to stay such as Siam@Siam Design Hotel, MaDuZi and the Metropolitan.

For something really unique there is Imm Fusion that has a Moroccan theme or Shanghai Mansion that has a strong 1930s Shanghai art deco interior design.

It is worth paying a bit extra to not only get creature comforts while staying in Bangkok but also a unique experience.

Shopping

People fly to Bangkok just to do their shopping. It is a place with thousands of great bargains to be found. There is also a growing trend, especially in Sukhumvit, for lifestyle malls that combine designer label shops, spas, café culture and fine dining options.

For those looking for souvenirs, clothes and just about anything there is one of Bangkok’s largest shopping mall called the MBK. It is also connected to Siam Paragon and Siam Discovery shopping centres. MBK is reached via Siam or National Stadium BTS stations.

If you want cheap electronic goods or just enjoy seeing bucket after bucket full of computer parts, the place to go is the Pantip Plaza. It also contains every game, movie and software program imaginable most of it in flagrant disregard for copyrighting laws.

A great shopping day out is to be had at Chatuchak Weekend Market. It is 27 acres of shopping heaven. The market consists of a warren of walkways between stalls selling textiles, souvenirs, pets, house ware, glassware and clothes. Professional shoppers come here to buy in bulk. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants around the edge of the market. It is fun to take a break and watch the numerous performances by street musicians in this lively market.

Nightlife

Bangkok is famous for its nightlife, and rightly so. It is safe to walk the streets of Bangkok at night. Even in the red light districts it is no problem to stroll along the main drags and watch the demi-monde cast its spell over the punters.

Soi Cowboy and Patpong are the two most famous places to try a go go bar or see a performance that is hard to forget. For those not keen to see this side of Bangkok there are several great clubs and music venues to check out. These include Bed Supperclub, Q Bar and Glow.

Visitors to Bangkok are also spoilt for choice when it comes to restaurants. There are excellent Thai restaurants such as Cabbages and Condoms as well Vietnamese, Laotian, French, Scandinavian, Italian and Indian cuisine to enjoy.

Conclusion

With a little bit of research about what Bangkok has to offer as well as a quick look at a city map you can easily plan some fantastic daytime and night time adventures in the City of Angels in the East.

Author Bio

Joe K. Johnson currently lives in Bangkok. He works as a freelance writer and website designer. He writes extensively about Bangkok boutique accommodation and things to do in the city, as well as keeping several blogs about his experiences in Thailand.