Why Is This Place so Great?
As one of the most socially advanced and accepting cities, Bangkok offers a diverse amount of activities for all folks of different strokes. This ultimately led Bangkok to become one of the world’s most visited cities consistently in recent years. Thailand’s capital truly has it all. Luxury travelers can explore historical palaces and temples by day and relax in trendy rooftop bars before heading back to their considerably affordable luxury hotel room at night. Lifestylers can immerse themselves in a plethora of natural sceneries including the Bang Krachao Gardens, Lumphini Park, or Benjakiti Park and follow it all off by treating their muscles to a well earned Thai Massage. Boutique travelers enjoy endless activities from trying a number of street foods at different markets, marveling at unique architectural designs, or joining Bangkok’s thriving nightlife scene.
Luxury Hotel: Banyan Tree Bangkok
Banyan Tree Bangkok is located in the Sathorn/Silom area, the business district of the city which transforms into a food haven at night providing visitors with numerous restaurants and a large daily operating night market. While the main shopping districts of the city are found in Sukhumvit Road and Siam (just a 5-10 minute drive away), everything in Silom is much more affordable in comparison.
The Banyan Tree Bangkok is the only 5-star hotel in the entire city that purely features suites throughout the entire property. With the height of luxury in mind, all guests are provided with satin and wooden hangers, potpourri, digital scales, bath oils, bath salts, and bath foam.
The hotel’s 327 rooms are split between seven categories, with Horizon and Oasis Retreat considered as their lowest two categories. Horizon rooms span approximately 517 square feet in total space and are decorated in traditional luxury finishes and furnishings including a marble bathroom with a tub and separate shower. The suite also features a private living room with comfortable seating for up to three guests.
The Oasis Retreat is the smallest of all rooms, spanning a total of 474 square feet of space, and is considered the junior suite of the hotel. Encompassing a different vibe from the Horizon suites, the Oasis Retreat has a contemporary design featuring an open plan design with a smaller lounging area by the window. The bathrooms feature large soaking tubs, double vanities, and a separate shower stall.
Guests looking for an extra luxurious stay should book a Serenity Club room or higher to receive club access on the 19th floor. Here, guests will be granted VIP treatments including complimentary breakfast, up to three hours of boardroom usage, non-alcoholic refreshments, light snacks, and free-flow of local beer.
The hotel offers an astounding 10 different food and beverage outlets. This includes a poolside juice bar, afternoon tea in the lobby, Thai street food at the alfresco Sky Garden, Japanese cuisine with teppanyaki options, and fine dining Cantonese cuisine. If you’re truly looking for something special, watch the sunset at the alfresco rooftop Moon Bar (often named amongst the world’s top 10 rooftop bars) followed by dinner at Vertigo, the bar’s adjacent rooftop restaurant on the 61st floor that provides 360° views of Bangkok’s skyline whilst enjoying sumptuous international cuisine ranging from seafood, prime cuts of meats. Another not-to-be-missed experience is dining at Aspara to enjoy royal Thai cuisine whilst floating down the Chao Phraya River on a vintage rice barge.
Luxury Activity: Treat Yourself to a VIP Cinema Experience
While luxury cinemas have been popping up globally, with iPic sweeping America as well as Electric Cinemas and Everyman Cinemas gaining popularity in the United Kingdom, Bangkok has taken luxury film experiences on an entirely different level.
Embassy Diplomat Screens by AIS is our top luxury pick. Located on the top floor of the Central Embassy Mall, the cinema has five screens with the capacity to seat 203 people in either reclining cocoon-style dual seats or two-person beds. Prior to the movie experience, guests are invited to dine in their lounge an hour before their designated screen time to enjoy complimentary welcome drinks, a wide selection of hot and cold finger foods from their buffet, as well as complimentary coffee and tea. Once in the theater, cinema-goers are provided with complimentary slippers, pillows, blankets, a minifridge filled with beer and soft drinks, and butler service that respond with the simple click of a button to provide you with any additional food or drinks that you may desire. Spirits and popcorn cost extra but since the theater only serves freshly popped gourmet popcorn (in original, sour cream, caramel, or black truffle flavors) we think it’s well worth the price.
Our next pick is the Paragon Cineplex located on the top floor of Siam Paragon Shopping Center. Offering movie lovers a number of different experiences from the Siam Pavalai 1,096 seat capacity 2D split level theater showing ultra HD images using the world’s best projection laser technology, 3D IMAX or RealD experiences, and True 4DX Theater that enhances various film effects with the help of vibration, wind, smell, lighting, and more. Despite all this, the most luxurious experience here would be Enigma the Shadow Screen that provides guests with a complimentary entrée sized meal, drinks, popcorn (sweet, salty, or cheese flavored), and butler service whilst enjoying the movie in a 180-degree reclining bed/seat filled with pillows and a blanket. We suggest arriving at least 30 minutes in advance to enjoy the Enigma’s candle-lit lounge that is fully equipped with massage chairs and a full bar.
The luxury movie theaters tend to show many (if not exclusively) Western films in English with Thai subtitles, so there’s no fret on language barriers; however, do remember to stand up during the short anthem before the movie in respect to Thailand’s King.
Luxury Dining: Saawaan
Saawaan is a one Michelin starred restaurant located in the Sathorn district of Bangkok. Head Chef and restaurant owner Sujira “Aom” Pongmorn comes from a family of cooks and gained her own experience from a number of reputable restaurants including the Lord Jim restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok, two Michelin starred Le Normandie, as well as Sra Bua by Kiin Kiin which also holds a Michelin star. At Saawaan, Chef Aom offers her patrons a unique 9-course culinary experience where they will taste different local ingredients sourced from all over Thailand that has been cooked using techniques and concepts found native in Thai cuisine.
To heighten patrons’ dining experiences, the restaurant offers tea and wine pairings with the menu. The teas are grown by Fhaang, a company that picks naturally grown Wild Estates teas from the forests of Northern Thailand as opposed to tea sourced from the average plantation. The wines are from a variety of New and Old World wine regions ranging from Australia, France, Spain, and Italy.
Situated in a converted shophouse, the restaurant is relatively small with the capacity to seat 24 people in its dining room. Consequently, we recommend making bookings here well ahead of time.
Lifestyle Hotel: Anantara Riverside Bangkok
The Anantara Riverside Bangkok is a resort located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, just 20 minutes away from Sathorn Pier (the city’s main pier located in Silom, the central business district filled with restaurants and some stores) with easy transfer to the Skytrain, and other boat lines) using the hotel’s complimentary luxury shuttle boat transfer. Due to the resort’s location by the river, it offers guests a quiet oasis amongst 11 acres of private greenery providing them with an escape from the city’s hustle and bustle should they choose to.
The resort’s 376 guestrooms and suites provide a minimum of 409 square feet of space and are designed in a contemporary Thai style with soft Thai silk embellishments balanced out by the solid Makha wood flooring that leads to a private balcony providing views of the lush gardens or vibrant city. The bathrooms are designed with marble and all have a deep soaking tub and separate rain shower stall. With sustainability in mind, the resort has made an effort to eliminate single-use plastics. Consequently, all bathroom amenities and potable water will be found in glass bottles.
Guests looking for added luxuries should book a Junior River View Suite or higher since they will be given access to the Kasara Executive Lounge where guests can enjoy complimentary iPad usage, all-day non-alcoholic beverages, high-tea pastries, as well as pre-dinner cocktails, wines, and canapés. Kasara guest benefits also include personalized service by the Kasara Concierge, complimentary international breakfast at The Market restaurant or a pre-ordered selection from the lounge, 1 hour of meeting room usage per day, unlimited garment pressing services, as well as discounts at the bar, spa, and for laundry services.
Kindly note that these benefits do not apply to any reservations in the Deluxe Juinor Suite or Family Suite; however, guests staying in these room types will have a Nespresso machine, iPhone dock, and additional lounging space. Family Suites will also have the inclusion of an additional single bed and a Wii game console.
Anantara Riverside is our featured lifestyle hotel due to its balance in wellness and sustainability. In addition to the resort’s state of the art fitness center, tennis courts, swimming pool, and table tennis facilities, the resort also offers a wide range of classes from private Muay Thai Kickboxing with their professional instructor in a full-size boxing ring, private or group yoga classes, power step, aerobics, Zumba, pilates, and stretching. Guests focusing on wellness can even enquire a one, three, or five-day program to be tailored to your needs with their spa.
Following your workout, nourish your body at one of Anantara Riverside’s eight dining establishments, ranging from teppanyaki at Benihana, Italian food at Brio, to a Thai dinner on the resort’s rice barge while floating down the Chao Phraya. The restaurants all source their fruits and vegetables from the hotel’s rooftop hydroponic farm, which uses technologies to reduce water consumption by 90%, land by 70% and fertilizer by 50%. Their farm helps produce approximately 110 pounds of organically certified produce ranging from melons, tomatoes, chilies, and various salad greens 2 to 3 times a week.
Lifestyle Activity: Find Peace at Benjakiti Park
Having opened in 2004 in honor of Queen Sirikit’s 72nd birthday, Benjakiti Park is one of the more recent additions of green spaces in Bangkok offering visitors a quiet oasis amongst a bustling city. Spanning close to 21 hectares of space, the park’s main feature is its large artificially made lake surrounded by beds of flowers and filled with hundreds of fish and turtles that can be fed or seen up close on swan structured paddling boats; however, the park is most commonly known amongst locals as a quiet place for outdoor exercising. Containing its own 2km running track and separate bike path with bike rentals available, it is one of the few places in Bangkok where athletes will be uninterrupted by pedestrians, which allows bikers to ride up to approximately 12.5 miles per hour.
Those looking for a more holistic approach to wellness, bring a towel or mat with you and meditate or do some yoga on the sprawling lawns whilst watching a beautiful sunset across the lake. You can even bring a picnic with you to maximize your time in the park.
If you’d like to explore a busier park on the same day, then you’re in luck! The most popular green space in Bangkok – Lumpini Park – is a short walk or bike ride away through the Green Mile. This track is accessible through several spots but is most commonly entered at the end of Soi 10 or off of Ratchadipesek Road near the main entrance of the park.
Lifestyle Dining: Na Aroon
Within the Ariyasom Villa Boutique Hotel in Sukhumvit lies a pescatarian and vegetarian restaurant named Na Aroon that serves both Thai and Western dishes with some vegan options. Featuring healthy, fresh, and organic ingredients, vegetarians can enjoy a wide range of Thai classics including Summer Rolls, Spring Rolls, Tofu Satay, Mee Grob Crispy Rice Noodles, Dumplings, Thai Salads, Soups, Pad Thai, and numerous curries. All dishes are cooked at a milder level of spice in comparison to the average Thai dish found in Bangkok, so ask your server if you want to taste the authentic level of spice!
Boutique Hotel: Siam@Siam Design Hotel Bangkok
Siam@Siam Design Hotel is located across from Bangkok’s National Stadium in the Siam district amongst gigantic malls that are considered to offer the best shopping in the city. Those who enjoy sightseeing should not miss the Jim Thompson house on the next street over, which provides visitors the opportunity to see traditional wooden Thai houses filled with historic art. The hotel is also very conveniently located next to the BTS Skytrain, providing guests with easy transportation throughout the city. While this is a great added benefit, the noise from the trains may prove to be too much for those who are sensitive to noise.
The hotel’s 221 rooms are spread across 8 different categories of rooms with three different designs: Deluxe, Heritage, and Club. All guests staying here will receive rooms with a minimum of 301 square feet containing bathrooms with deep soaking tubs combined showers (with separate soaking tubs and showers in higher room categories).
Deluxe is the lowest room category within the hotel, with the option to stay in a Superior, Deluxe, or Grand Deluxe Family Room that contains three beds. Deluxe rooms were all designed using local Thai artwork to reflect the elements of earth, fire, wind, and water. All guests staying in Deluxe rooms will receive Malin & Goetz toiletries.
Heritage rooms are the next category up, which ranges from Grand Deluxe Heritage, Club Heritage, and Suite Heritage. These rooms were designed based on the history and heritage of Thailand using wood pannels and painted murals to reflect the Rama VI period. Guests staying here will have the added benefits of a Nespresso machine, Smart TVs, Pranpuri amenities, and may have access to the hotel’s My Club lounge on the 22nd to 2rth floor depending on the package booked with your travel provider (including us!) as long as the hotel reservation is not made under a room only rate. There are a few Heritage rooms that do not have any windows, so speak to reception if this is a concern of yours during check-in.
Aside from the Suite Heritage, Club rooms are the highest room category at Siam@Siam. In addition to the upgraded amenities Heritage rooms receive, guests staying in Club rooms will have access to VIP check-in and check-out services at My Club and rooms with marble floors, wood-accented décor, and a large Thai abstract-style mural. Guests with club access will have the opportunity to enjoy complimentary private breakfast service at the club or the standard buffet breakfast at Party House One, afternoon tea sets, all-day hot and cold beverages, evening canapés, as well as a range of business services.
While Heritage and Club rooms are nicer, guests staying in Deluxe rooms shouldn’t fret since the hotel has two additional dining establishments: Party House One and The Roof Gastro. Party House One is the hotel’s all-day dining establishment where guests can enjoy a large selection of international and Thai options at the buffet whilst enjoying music and a wide collection of art. While the club does have its own egg station as well, the overall selection at Party House One is much larger during breakfast hours.
The Roof Gastro is a dinner-only restaurant that offers guests the opportunity to dine under the stars with 360-degree views of Bangkok whilst enjoying a meal made by fresh ingredients sourced in local markets on a daily basis.
Guests looking to stay fit during their stay at Siam@Siam also can enjoy the hotel’s outdoor infinity-style pool overlooking the city or use their 24-hour on-site fitness center.
Boutique Activity: Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Match
While Muay Thai fights are now quite commonly found all over the country due to tourists’ heightened interests, Bangkok is still the best place to watch a match due to its authenticity in both the fight and the experience. Muay Thai venues are one of the few places where gambling is still legal in Bangkok, which creates a very exciting atmosphere filled with locals and visitors alike participating in rowdy betting and loud cheering.
Typically, Muay Thai stadium events feature between 7 to 9 matches (each containing 5 three-minute rounds and two-minute breaks in between unless a knockout occurs) showcasing the most juvenile fighters first and gradually leading up to the most experienced fighters dueling it out in the main event.
Although Lumpinee Stadium is the most famous Muay Thai venue across the entire country (due to the vast number of legendary boxing stars it created), the venue moved to Ram Intra Road near the Don Mueang International airport in 2014 and is no longer easily accessible, especially during rush hour. Consequently, we suggest travelers staying in the city center to visit Rajadamnern Stadium in the Phra Nakhon district instead. Showing similar quality elite fights, Rajadamnern hosts fights every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday starting at around 6:30pm. Thursdays are most commonly the best nights to watch fights here since the entire event is nationally televised. Seating options here vary with Second Class tickets selling the cheapest, offering visitors with eye-level views of the ring with free seating choice amongst the concrete steps. Club seats are the next tier up in terms of pricing, providing guests with eye-level views whilst enjoying the comfort of stadium seats with a back to lean on. Ring-side seats are the most expensive. While the stadium chairs here have partially obstructed views by the ring itself, visitors will be closer to the action while having the option to purchase food and beverages that are served straight to your seat. Tickets at Rajadamnern are available for purchase on their website; however, we suggest buying them directly from the stadium’s box office where visitors will have the opportunity to negotiate on the price. Furthermore, if guests purchase their tickets in advance and the event gets canceled for unforeseen circumstances (which doesn’t happen often) the stadium will not provide refunds.
Visitors looking for a free Muay Thai match can head to the Channel 7 stadium, located near the infamous Chatuchak Weekend Market, which hosts free to attend matches on Sundays that start at approximately 2:15pm and are televised nationally as well. The stadium has a designated foreigner seating space for travelers to marvel the sport, but since this complimentary show is no longer a well-kept secret, we advise visitors who want to watch the entire event to arrive between 45 minutes to an hour early to get some good seats; however, be aware that the benches here are unbelievably hard and the stadium is incredibly packed. Consequently, we generally recommend travelers to visit after 3:00pm (when the amount of tourists generally starts to thin out) and watch some of the better quality matches instead. Since the stadium is so crowded, we also suggest visitors to use the restrooms before they enter the arena since they’re not easily accessible from the seating areas.
Boutique Dining: Enjoy Some Michelin Starred Street Food
Eating street food from the thousands of vendors has become a favorite pastime of locals from Bangkok. Some of the best authentic street food remains in Yaowarat, Chinatown, where the street food trend started more than 200 years ago when the city became one of the leading trading hubs of Asia. However, some delicious finds can also be found on Silom Road, Soi Rambutri, and Banglamphu (towards the end of Khao San Road close to the police station).
This being said, one of the best street food stalls is Jay Fai in Samran Rat. The family-owned street-side restaurant was beloved amongst locals long before it received its first Michelin accolade in 2018 for its wok-fried seafood dishes made with heart and soul by Supinya Junsuta who wears her trademark beanie, black apron, and ski goggles for protection from the searing hot oil. Jay Fai is most infamous for their Crab Omelet (Kai Jeaw Poo) made with generous amounts of crab meat covered by some egg made to look like an egg roll; however, their Drunken Noodles (Phad Kee Mao Talay), Tom Yum Goong, and Crab Yellow Curry (Poo Phad Phong Karee) are also some of their must-try dishes.
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Open Tuesday to Sunday from 2.30pm to midnight, Jay Fai has quickly become one of the busiest street food hawkers in Bangkok that serves hundreds of covers per day. Consequently, we highly recommend making reservations with them at least two to three months in advance by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org and provide them with a couple of your preferred dates for a higher chance of making a reservation. Conversely, if you don’t have a booking, don’t fret! The restaurant accepts walk-ins as well by using a number system where patrons put a name down for their party as early as 10.00am. The number next to your name is your designated queue number. They only call out queue numbers two to three times before moving on to the next table and will not seat you if they’ve moved past it, so be sure to remain close by when your number nears!