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Bangkok: The Flip Side

Think Bangkok and the mind fills with images of wild streets, raunchy bars and wholesale shopping. And although there is much to be said about each of these offerings, there’s also a different side to the city. One that strays from the sleaze but still knows how to keep you hooked. So next time you’re looking for a luxurious weekend getaway from India, don’t disregard Bangkok. Instead take a few tips from here about how to do it right.

Think Bangkok and the mind fills with images of wild streets, raunchy bars and wholesale shopping. And although there is much to be said about each of these offerings, there’s also a different side to the city. One that strays from the sleaze but still knows how to keep you hooked. So next time you’re looking for a luxurious weekend getaway from India, don’t disregard Bangkok. Instead take a few tips from here about how to do it right.

The Sukhothai, Bangkok

Stay

The Sukhothai Bangkok: The beautiful thing about the Sukhothai is that it makes you feel like you’re in a sprawling resort, while still being bang in the centre of a bustling city. A walk around the property takes you through well-designed pavilions, corridors with placid pools between them and impeccably maintained courtyards. The rooms are as inviting, with traditional and modern elements coming together with great elegance. The Thai restaurant Celadon is very well regarded and the Italian restaurant La Scala has its share of patrons too.

3 S Sathorn Rd, Yan Nawa, Sathon; +66 2 344 8888

Eat

Gaggan: If our side of the world was in the running for Michelin stars, Chef Gaggan Anand would be sitting pretty on a couple, that’s for sure. One-time apprentice to the Father of Molecular Gastronomy – Ferran Adrea, Gaggan has carved for himself a space so exclusive that he has patrons fly down to Bangkok just for a meal here. Molecular elements applied to Indian and Thai cuisines, the sheer inventiveness of Gaggan’s plates is very likely to blow your mind!

68/1 Soi Langsuan, Ploenchit Road, Lumpini; +66 2 652 1700

Dine in the Dark: They say that when one sense is dimmed, the others are heightened. I wouldn’t attempt such an experiment for much, but food has a way with me. At Dine in the Dark your sense of sight is rendered useless. Guided and seated by a visually impaired staff, guests are called to dine in a pitch black room – no watches, cellphones or cameras to help you sneak a peek either. It is amazing what the ears hear, the nose smells and the tongue tastes, without the eyes to help. Sometimes intricacies that would otherwise be missed, other times you are so completely off the mark that you can’t tell fish from pork. It is one of those once in a lifetime experiences that make for great conversation after.

Ascott Sathorn Bangkok, 2nd Floor, 187 South Sathorn Road, Yannawa, Sathorn; +66 2 676 6676

Party

La Derriere: Soi 11’s Q Bar has been a go-to party spot for over a decade, with an unwavering stream of partygoers filling it night after night. Now it has a new spot hidden away at the back which takes you from funky to fancy in a heartbeat.  The décor, with its plush velvet sofas, iron lampshades and patterned wallpaper is reminiscent of a Parisian speakeasy. The bar boasts of a variety of absinthe and wine, especially champagne. So be ready for a ‘sparkling’ night and let the purse strings hang loose.

34 Sukhumvit soi 11, 02-252-3274; www.qbarbangkok.com

The Dome at Lebua Bangkok: The Hangover steps – that’s what the 63 is famous for. A bachelor party gone terribly wrong, the boys find themselves on the stairs of this rooftop bar in the Hollywood blockbuster movie. The view from the Sky Bar at night is certainly arresting, but you’ll find most guests are there for the pictures over the cocktails. Still, it’s a good place to begin the night, perhaps with the ‘Hangover Cocktail’ – go ahead and do it for the tick in the box!  

1055 Silom Road, Bangrak

Iron Fairies: Unless you are specifically looking for it, you’re likely to miss this hole-in-the-wall bar. An old wooden door leads you into the two-story ironsmith workshop that doubles as a rustic jazz bar. Cool and comfortable, the Iron Fairies is one of my favourite spots in the city. The miniature iron fairies scattered on the table on the lower floor make for cute souvenirs with some magic fairy dust for good measure, of course!

Iron Fairies; 394 Thonglor Road (Sukhumvit Soi 55), opposite Ton Krueng Thai Restaurant; +66 (0) 84 425 8080

Shop

Siam Paragon: If uber-luxury is what you’re looking for, head to Siam Paragon. 250 shops are spread out over the sprawling expanse of the mall, which is conveniently located at the city centre.  And if all that shopping has built an appetite worry not, there’s an entire level dedicated to the Food Hall and Gourmet Market. There’s even an Ocean World and cinema hall handy. An entire day well spent. Or maybe two.  

Jim Thompson House: One man is responsible for the rebuilding of Thai silk industry. An American settler, Jim Thompson, is credited for bringing recognition to natural Thai silk. His beautiful traditional Thai-styled teak home is now a museum dedicated to his life and work in Thailand all the way to his mysterious disappearance in a Malaysian jungle. Shop at the brand store on the ground floor, or one of the other 12 in the city.

Jim Thompson House, 6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama 1 Road, +66 (0) 216 7368

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