VIEWS: 61 PAGES: 17 CATEGORY: US Travel Guides POSTED ON: 10/14/2010
The land of a thousand smiles certainly gives you something to smile about in sumptuous Bangkok. Luxury hotels abound, while private tours wait to whisk you away from the hustle-bustle of the city. You can experience the opulence of Thai royalty at palaces and indulge a little yourself at top-rate spas. Top-of-the-world bars boast spectacular skyline views, while luxuriant restaurants wait to cater. Luxury living is never so close to reach than in Bangkok.
Abundance in Bangkok Bangkok, 3 Days Table of contents: Guide Description 2 Itinerary Overview 3 Daily Itineraries 4 Bangkok Snapshot 11 1 Guide Description AUTHOR NOTE: The land of a thousand smiles certainly gives you something to smile about in sumptuous Bangkok. Luxury hotels abound, while private tours wait to whisk you away from the hustle-bustle of the city. You can experience the opulence of Thai royalty at palaces and indulge a little yourself at top-rate spas. Top-of-the-world bars boast spectacular skyline views, while luxuriant restaurants wait to cater. Luxury living is never so close to reach than in Bangkok. 2 things to do Itinerary Overview restaurants hotels nightlife Day 1 - Bangkok Private Rose Garden Cultural Center DAY NOTE: You'll spend your first day exploring the sights within with Thai Village from Bangkok Half-day Tour the heart of the city. And while many complain about the concrete craziness of the frenzied capital, you'll be taking a more leisurely, Jesters and luxurious, approach. You'll wake up in your exquisite suite Above the rim in the Shangri-La Hotel; breakfast at one of their fine eateries before heading out. You'll escape the elbowing throngs by taking a private half-day tour of the Grand Palace Complex, where you'll Brown Sugar glimpse into the regal world of Thai royaly. If that doesn't sate Intimate jazz your lust for opulence, get a little more lavish lushness at Suan Pakkad Palace. You'll get to soak in some more sights on your dinner cuisine along the Chao Phyaya River. If you've still got some steam, head to the bar at Vertigo Grill for some seriously Day 3 - Bangkok sky-scrapping lounging. DAY NOTE: Take some time to indulge today. Golfers will adore the premium island-set course at Bangkok Golf Club, as well as Shangri-La Hotel the club's first-rate amenities. If you're in need of a little more Renowned and prestigious pampering, let Devarana Spa take you to heaven with massages and spa therapies that make you melt. For dinner, let Sala Rim Naam live up to the hype. Top the night off at top-of-the-world Private Grand Palace Complex and Wat Sky Bar, one of the world's highest bars that boasts enchanting Phra Kaew Tour panoramic views. Private Sightseeing Tours Suan Pakkad Palace Bangkok Golf Club Traditional Thai buildings meet lush gardens Bangkok's premier 18-hole course Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao Devarana Spa Phraya River Heavenly design and professional massage at one of Dinner Southeast Asia's top luxury spas Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar Sala Rim Naam Star gazing Riverside food and dancing Sky Bar Day 2 - Bangkok One of the world's highest bars DAY NOTE: Today you'll delve a little deeper into Thai culture, again in style. First, you'll visit one of the most cherished sites in Bangkok, Wat Pho, where you can gaze at the gleamingly gold- plated image of Buddah. Next you'll escape the city with a private tour of the Rose Garden, where you can experience traditional Thai village life. You'll dine at one of Bangkok's most exclusive hotels, Jesters, where you can enjoy both stunning skyline views and live bands. Get cozy at intimate Brown Sugar jazz bar. Wat Pho Large Temple, Home to the famous Reclining Buddha 3 Day 1 - Bangkok QUICK NOTE DAY NOTE: You'll spend your first day exploring the sights within the heart of the city. And while many complain about the concrete craziness of the frenzied capital, you'll be taking a more leisurely, and luxurious, approach. You'll wake up in your exquisite suite in the Shangri-La Hotel; breakfast at one of their fine eateries before heading out. You'll escape the elbowing throngs by taking a private half- day tour of the Grand Palace Complex, where you'll glimpse into the regal world of Thai royaly. If that doesn't sate your lust for opulence, get a little more lavish lushness at Suan Pakkad Palace. You'll get to soak in some more sights on your dinner cuisine along the Chao Phyaya River. If you've still got some steam, head to the bar at Vertigo Grill for some seriously sky-scrapping lounging. 1 Shangri-La Hotel contact: tel: 66 02 236 7777 fax: 66 02 236 8579 http://www.shangri-la.com/ba DESCRIPTION: One of Thailand's most renowned and ngkok/shangri-la/en/index.as prestigious hotels, the Shangri-La has been consistently voted px one of the best hotels in the world. Located in beautiful tropical gardens on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Saphan location: Taksin Skytrain station is right next door. If you really want to 89 Soi Wat Suan Plu New feel pampered, this is the hotel to stay in. It is also the largest . Road of Bangkok's fine hotels as you can drive a tuk-tuk from one Bangkok 10500 wing to the other. The Shangri-la has a number of fine eateries, especially its Italian restaurant, Angelini's. © wcities.com 4 Day 1 - continued... contact: Private Grand Palace Complex and http://www.partner.viator.com /en/6793/tours/Bangkok/Priva Wat Phra Kaew Tour te-Grand-Palace-Complex-an DESCRIPTION: This half-day private sightseeing tour in d-Wat-Phra-Kaew-Tour/d343- Bangkok is a must for anyone visiting Thailand's capital city. 3685BKK11P On this private tour you will have the opportunity to explore the complex, which houses a number of attractions including Wat location: Phra Keow (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) in the company of Bangkok Central Region a local Thai guide. Built in traditional Thai architecture mixed viator with European designs, The Grand Palace complex, once the official home for the Kings of Siam, is unquestionably one of the Thailand's major tourist highlights. The King still uses the Grand Palace for certain ceremonial occasions and the regal flavor within its enormous royal grounds is still evident. During the tour you will visit the Royal Funeral Hall and the Royal Coronation Hall. The main centerpiece of the complex however is the 45 centimeter Emerald Buddha. Carved from just one piece of Jade it is the holiest and most revered religious object in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha is housed within Wat Phra Keow, which is a very ornately decorated building whose roof tiles reach up into the sky. © Viator 2 Suan Pakkad Palace contact: tel: +66 2 245 0568 / +66 2 245 6368 / +66 246 1775 6 fax: +66 2 247 2079 DESCRIPTION: Wang Suan Pakkad ("Palace of the Lettuce http://www.tat.or.th Garden") is one of Bangkok's most delightful retreats. This peaceful oasis was the home of Princess Chumbhon of location: Nakhon Sawan, an avid art collector and one of the country's 352-354 Si Ayutthaya Road most dedicated archaeologists -- credited with having partly Bangkok Bangkok 10400 financed the excavations at Ban Chiang I in 1967. In 1952, neajjean five 19th-century teak houses were moved from Chiang Mai hours: and rebuilt in a beautifully landscaped garden on a private Daily 9am-4pm klong, separated by a high wall from the tumult of Bangkok's streets. The Lacquer Pavilion (moved here in 1958) came from a monastery grounds and was a birthday present from the prince to the princess. The balance of the collection here is diverse, with Khmer sculpture, ivory boxes, and some marvelous prints by European artists depicting images of Siam before the country opened to the Western world. There is an entire room of objects from the Ban Chiang I site, including pottery and jewelry. Look out for a superb Buddha head from Ayutthaya, and an example of a royal barge outside in a shed in the garden. Be sure to ask to see the pavilion housing the princess's collection of Thai and Chinese ceramics. The gift shop at Wang Suan Pakkad offers reproductions, and prices are quite reasonable. © Frommer's 5 Day 1 - continued... contact: Bangkok Dinner Cruise on the Chao http://www.partner.viator.com /en/6793/tours/Bangkok/Bang Phraya River kok-Dinner-Cruise-on-the-Ch DESCRIPTION: Vacations are all about treating yourself and ao-Phraya-River/d343-3685B this evening Bangkok dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya KK38 river is most definitely a treat! This will be a memorable night on board one of Bangkok's most luxurious restaurant boats location: relaxing in modern comfort and dining like King Rama V on Bangkok Central Region a variety of Thai dishes. As you cruise slowly along the Chao viator Phraya River you will pass The Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) and the Grand Palace complex which both provide sensational twilight photo opportunities. It is also a great vantage point to watch the life along the river as people slowly start to unwind or head home after a busy day. Throughout the cruise the on board band will also keep you entertained. © Viator 3 Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar contact: tel: 66 2 679 1200 fax: 66 2 679 1199 http://www.banyantree.com DESCRIPTION: They don't call this Vertigo for nothing. The views from the 61ist floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel are indeed location: dizzying. Arguably one of the most romantic spots in Bangkok, 21/100 South Sathon Road Vertigo Grill and Moon Bar provides upscale food and drink in Bangkok 10120 a smart casual environment. Grilled seafood and champagne with a 360-degree view of the City of Angels makes this place . hours: a must. Enjoy occasional jazz music as well. This is an open- M-Su 5 p.m. - 1 a.m., weather air restaurant and opening hours are weather dependent. © permitting NileGuide 6 Day 2 - Bangkok QUICK NOTE DAY NOTE: Today you'll delve a little deeper into Thai culture, again in style. First, you'll visit one of the most cherished sites in Bangkok, Wat Pho, where you can gaze at the gleamingly gold-plated image of Buddah. Next you'll escape the city with a private tour of the Rose Garden, where you can experience traditional Thai village life. You'll dine at one of Bangkok's most exclusive hotels, Jesters, where you can enjoy both stunning skyline views and live bands. Get cozy at intimate Brown Sugar jazz bar. 1 Wat Pho contact: tel: +66 2 222 5910 / +66 2 226 2942 / +66 2 226 1743 / +66 2 225 9595 OUR LOCAL EXPERT SAYS: fax: +66 2 225 9779 Get a Thai massage in an air-conditioned salon http://www.tat.or.th inside the temple complex. location: DESCRIPTION: Over 200 years old, Wat Pho is one of 2 Sanamchai Road . Bangkok's largest and oldest temple complexes. For an entry Bangkok Bangkok 10200 fee of 50 baht, visitors can roam the grounds with or without a guide, stopping along the way at numerous notable temples and sites. The most famous of Wat Pho's relics is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, wherein lies an impressive 46 meter- long gold-plated image of a reclining Buddha. A first grade royal monastery, Wat Pho is also Thailand's oldest learning center and the birthplace of traditional Thai massage. © NileGuide 7 Day 2 - continued... contact: Private Rose Garden Cultural Center with http://www.partner.viator.com /en/6793/tours/Bangkok/Priva Thai Village from Bangkok te-Rose-Garden-Cultural-Cen DESCRIPTION: Take a privately guided tour to the The Rose Garden ter-with-Thai-Village-from/d34 Cultural centre, located amidst the rural scenery along the Nakhon Chaisri 3-3685BKK12P River, 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of the city of Bangkok. The Rose Garden offers a numerous reasons to escape the city of Bangkok for location: half a day with the most attractive being the typical Thai Village. Here, Bangkok you will see local Thai villagers creating traditional village handicrafts in their natural environment. All sorts of skills are on display including; silk-weaving, pottery-making, umbrella-painting, Khon mask masking, mat weaving, doll making, fruit carving, garland-making, rice-pounding and even the delicate crafting of silver and laquerware. There are also . impressive displays of authentic Thai period costumes, a chance to see busy, typical Thai market, different styles of Thai Houses (from both the North to South regions of Thailand) and an intriguing display of Thai antiques from various parts of the country. The Thai village offers a real potpourri of different Thai cultural activities that also include Muay Thai boxing, sword fighting, Thai dances, elephants at work and much, much more. © Viator 2 Jesters contact: tel: +66 2 861 2888 fax: +66 2 861 1112 http://bangkok.peninsula.com/ DESCRIPTION: Part of the exclusive Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok, Jesters pbk/dining_01.html Restaurant and Lounge is one of the city's most happening night spots. A charming riverfront view is the setting for a meal of Pacific Rim origins. location: You can choose to sit downstairs or savour the Bangkok skyline from the The Peninsula upper level with a live band lifting your spirits. Note that children below 12 Bangkok Bangkok 10600 years are not allowed in the dining room. © wcities.com hours: Dinner: 6p-10:30p daily Jesters 3 Brown Sugar contact: tel: 66 2250 1826 location: DESCRIPTION: Long-time favorite among Thais and foreigners alike, Brown Sugar hosts jazz 231/20 Thanon Sarasin musicians from all over the world. It's a quite small venue, but has lots of character. Bangkok 10330 hours: Daily 10p-1a 8 Day 3 - Bangkok QUICK NOTE DAY NOTE: Take some time to indulge today. Golfers will adore the premium island-set course at Bangkok Golf Club, as well as the club's first-rate amenities. If you're in need of a little more pampering, let Devarana Spa take you to heaven with massages and spa therapies that make you melt. For dinner, let Sala Rim Naam live up to the hype. Top the night off at top-of-the-world Sky Bar, one of the world's highest bars that boasts enchanting panoramic views. 1 Bangkok Golf Club contact: tel: +66 (0)2 501 2828 fax: +66 (0)2 501 2810 http://www.golf.th.com/ DESCRIPTION: Located within the grounds of the Bangkok Golf Spa Resort just 30 minutes from the heart of Bangkok, location: this premier 18-hole championship golf club features a well- 99 Moo 2, Tiwanon Road maintained fairway and a challenging course amid an island Pathumthani 12000 tee, an island green and a cascading waterfall. It also offers night golfing at its nine-hole par-three course. Facilities here hours: Bangkok Golf Club include a driving range, pro shop, massage parlor, sauna, Call for details lounge, and restaurants serving Chinese, European, Japanese and Thai cuisines. © wcities.com contact: Devarana Spa tel: 66 0 2 636 3596 fax: 66 0 2 636 3597 DESCRIPTION: Often listed as one of the top spas in Southeast Asia, the Devarana is located http://www.devaranaspa.com inside the venerable Dusit Thani Hotel. Expect very professional service and divine pampering. The name means "garden in heaven" and the modern design plays with amber lighting and location: perspective to create an other-worldly feel. In addition to a full range of spa therapies, healthy 946 Rama IV Road, organic appetizers and desserts are on order. 14 treatment rooms including 5 spa suites are Bangkok 10500 available. This is located across from Lumphini Park next to the Sala Daeng BTS Station and Silom MRT Station. © NileGuide 9 Day 3 - continued... 2 Sala Rim Naam contact: tel: 66 2 437 6211 / 66 2 437 3080 fax: 66 2 659 0000 (Hotel) DESCRIPTION: The Oriental Bangkok has a reputation for http://www.mandarinoriental.c stately elegance and Sala Rim Nam, the hotel's fine dining om/hotel/510000238.asp restaurant, lives up to the expectations. Set on the banks of the Chao Phraya River directly across from the hotel, Sala Rim location: Nam boasts fine interior design showing Thai silk and etched 48 Oriental Avenue glass. Starting at 7 p.m. a professional dance troupe puts on Photo courtesy of Sala Rim Naam Bangkok 10500 their nightly show. The menu is set in the evening and lunch offers a wonderful buffet. The hotel has a free ferry for diners to hours: cross the river to the restaurant. © NileGuide Lunch: M-Su noon-2 p.m., Dinner: M-Su 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., Show: M-Su 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., Terrace: M-Su 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. 3 Sky Bar contact: tel: 66 2 624 9999 fax: 66 2 624 9998 http://bangkok.lebua.com/food DESCRIPTION: Undeniably voted as "one of the world's drink-en.html#mainText4 highest bars", Sky Bar is the most sought after in Bangkok. At the Sky Bar, situated on the 63rd floor of The Dome at State location: Tower, you get a spectacular view of Bangkok city and Chao 1055 Silom Road Phraya River. It is this panoramic setting which takes guests to Bangkok 10500 a completely different high. There is an array of vintage wines wcities and beverages to choose from. Drinks are complemented hours: with delicious appetizers. So step into the bar and reach up Daily 6p-1a to the sky or watch the twinkling stars in the midnight sky. © wcities.com 10 Bangkok Snapshot Local Info go girls perform in hedonistic Patpong and behavior and was finally ousted in a coup Soi Cowboy, but few have the supermodel that transferred power to another general, Introduction figures to rival the ladyboys at Calypso Chao Phraya Chakri. Chakri kicked off the With its intense humidity, hedonistic Cabaret. Silom and Sukhumvit are modern history of Bangkok by transferring nightclubs and hurly-burly taxiing of tuk- packed with clubs and cocktail bars, like the the capital from Thonburi to the eastern tuks, Bangkok is an exhilarating attack 61st-floor Vertigo Bar with its dazzling view bank of the river, founding Bangkok in on the senses. Sukhomvit's malls and of twinkling Bangkok. 1782 on the fortified island of Ratanakosin. gleaming skyscrapers are just a veneer of Restaurants and Dining Chakri refurbished many of the existing modernity for a city firmly rooted in ancient temples in the area, such as Wat Po, and With cooks juggling woks on every corner, Buddhist beliefs and traditions. Watch built present-day tourist sites, including Bangkok is all about grazing for street saffron-robed monks on their morning alms Wat Phra Kaew, the Grand Palace and food. Backpackers head for food stalls rounds, clouds of incense rising above the Lak Mueang, the shrine dedicated to the in Banglamphu's narrowsois, where a Grand Palace's golden spires, and long-tail guardian deity of Bangkok. The National few baht buys a sticky pad thai or spicy boats gliding along the Chao Phraya River Museum, built originally for Chakri's vizier papaya salad. Choose the Phahurat Indian at dusk to discover Bangkok's underlying Prince Wang Na, also dates from this quarter's teahouses for authentic biryanis sense of calm and the spirit of old Siam. period. and curries or buzzy Chinatown for Things to Do noodles stir-fried to perfection. The Skytrain Under Chakri and his successors, Open-air massage and fresh coconut juice speeds you to high-rise Sukhumvit and Bangkok continued to expand, mainly between temples keeps you cool and Silom, where expats and dressy locals go because of trade. New communities such calm when sightseeing in Bangkok. Arrive for global cuisine from Middle Eastern to as Yaowarat(mainly Chinese traders) early and dress modestly to seek out the Italian. and Pahurat(the Indian quarter) were dazzlingly intricate Grand Palace's sacred © 2000-2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. established, extending outward from Emerald Buddha and neighboring Wat Ratanakosin. The third king in the Chakri Pho's 46-meter-long Reclining Buddha. dynasty, Phra Nang Klao, developed a Families send colorful dragon kites soaring History new system of royal titles, naming himself at the nearby Sanam Luang square, while In just over 200 years, Bangkok has grown Rama III and his predecessors Rama I locals practice morning tai chi in lake-dotted from a small collection of villages scattered and Rama II. Rama III was responsible for Lumpini Park. Take a long-tail boat along among canals and rice paddies alongside expanding Wat Pho and Wat Arun to their the Chao Phraya River as the setting sun the Chao Phraya River to an enormous present form and also initiated the aborted silhouettes palace spires and bell-shaped sprawl of a capital. Extending upward and construction of Wat Saket, the spectacular stupas. outward to become Thailand's dominant Golden Mount Temple, completed further Shopping city, Bangkok mirrors the long, continuing down the line by Rama V. Aromatic spices, fighting cocks and every reign of the Chakri dynasty that founded it. Rama IV, also known as Mongkut, is Thai craft imaginable attract shoppers The seeds of this growth were sown back probably best known by Westerners as and people-watchers to the 15,000-stall in 1767 when invading Burmese armies the ruler inThe King and I and the more Chatuchak Weekend Market. Rise early razed the old capital of Ayutthaya by tearing recentAnna and the King. Thais tend to find to explore the market at its coolest and down its temples. Those that survived, these interpretations offensive and growing be prepared for good-humored haggling. including the royal family, were carted off evidence now suggests the accounts of Monks in flowing robes drift through as slaves. Out of this chaos, a Thai general Anna Leonowens, on which the movies atmospheric Amulet Market near the named Phraya Thaksin founded a new were based, to be pure fiction at best. The Grand Palace, while locals forage for capital at Thonburi on the western bank of real Rama IV was a brilliant leader who wholesale food in labyrinthine Chinatown. the Chao Phraya River, opposite modern skillfully negotiated treaties with foreign Sukhumvit's shiny malls and boutiques Bangkok, proclaimed himself king and powers that prevented the colonization are the go-to place for designer fashion, immediately set about recapturing much of Thailand. Under his reign, Bangkok leather and a tailor-made silk outfit from of the surrounding country. One of the few benefited from his trade policies with an Jim Thompson. surviving legacies from this period is Wat expanded port and, for the first time, paved Arun, or"Temple of the Dawn." It has since Nightlife and Entertainment streets. been enlarged and reconstructed, but was Elephants parade past party-mad clubbers originally part of Thaksin's royal temple. Rama V(also known as Chulalongkorn and tuk-tuks dart through crowds on neon- or"The Great King") took on the throne lit Khao San Road, where anything goes in Following his military successes, Thaksin in 1868 at the age of 15 and continued the pulsating bars and live music joints. Go- became more and more excessive in his his father's reforms, setting down 11 Bangkok Snapshot continued the foundations for the modern Thai to leave the country. A civilian government such as Banglampoo where backpackers government as well as moving the royal took over, but lasted only until 1976, when favor inexpensive guesthouses. More palace to Dusit and building Bangkok's more student demonstrations against the inexpensive accomodation is available first railway system. The grounds of his return of Thanom were brutally crushed across the river where some modern high- old Chitlada Palace feature the Vimanmek by right-wing forces fearing a communist rise hotels are planned and in Chinatown, Teak Mansion and the Abhisek Throne takeover. General Prem Tinsulanonda, which is one of the most vibrant and Hall, both excellent examples of royal a moderate, took power in 1980 and is typically Asian parts of Bangkok. Thai architecture. During this time, both credited for leading Thailand out of this Siam Square and Ploenchit Road the Victory Monument and Democracy mess, granting amnesty to the communists Monument were constructed to designs and overseeing a period of growth and In the area around Siam Square, you will by Corrado Feroci, an Italian credited stability that turned Bangkok into the vibrant find some very nice places to stay, along with helping found Thailand's modern art modern capital it is today. with a whole variety of shops, restaurants movement. Rama V's long reign brought and nightspots. The less expensive places One downturn in this trend of liberalization peace and stability to Thailand and his are concentrated on Soi Kasemann 1 and has been another military coup in 1991, death in 1910 ushered in a period of near Jim Thompson's House and Museum. overthrown the following year by bloody great change. The first in a long series These places, such as Wendy House, Bangkok street demonstrations. Since then, of coups was launched unsuccessfully in offer a guesthouse atmosphere with hotel a succession of four civilian governments 1912 by a group of disgruntled soldiers. comfort. has seen the capital enjoy a much more Another coup in 1932 by Western-educated stable political climate. The only other In a quiet enclave opposite Siam Square students proved more successful, ending crisis of note was the 1997 Asian economic stands an elegant low-rise modern the absolute monarchy and replacing it with meltdown, whose legacy is still apparent Thai building, the classy five-star Siam a constitutional model. in scores of unfinished condominiums and InterContinental. Another nearby luxury Rama VII abdicated in 1935, leaving the office towers. hotel is the Amari Watergate Hotel, near the 10-year-old Rama VIII in his place. Power World Trade Center. The Grand President In 2006 amidst widespread protest and passed into the hands of Field Marshall Bangkok is a 30-year-old landmark aimed accusations of human rights abuses, Prime Phibun, the first in what would prove to be a primarily at business travelers. Next to Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who came to long line of military dictators. Probably one the Erawan Shrine and across from the power with the Thai Rak Thai Party in 2001, of the best examples of 1930s architecture Central World Plaza, you will find the Grand was removed in a bloodless coup, staged is the Neilson Hays Library in downtown Hyatt Erawan, another stylish five-star while he was out of the country. Political Bangkok. Phibun allied with the Japanese hotel. Reputation precedes itself at Four turmoil has continued to show itself in street during World War II, sparing the capital Seasons Bangkok while less expensive demonstrations and most visibly with the from destruction, but lost his position of accomodation can be found at the well blocking by protesters of aiport and transit absolute power to a democratic civilian known Indra Regent and Bangkok Palace. links in late 2008. government after the war. He regained © wcities.com Chao Phraya River, Silom Road and absolute power under murky circumstances Suriwong Road surrounding the death of Rama VIII. The current King Bhumibol(Rama IX) Hotel Insights This district encompasses some of the older sections of Bangkok. The area was crowned in 1946, and the first few Bangkok offers a wide variety of around Silom Road and Suriwong Road is decades of his reign were marked by the accommodations to suit every taste and considered the financial district, and has rise of communism in Indochina, leading budget. A visitor can live royally in an a number of hotels and restaurants not to growing American military aid and a elegant five star hotel or stay comfortably far from the Patpong Night Market with its continuing succession of military dictators. in a guest house on a modest budget. easy shopping and entertainment. For a The enduring legacy in Bangkok of this time Since many hotels are often fully booked centrally located top-class hotel geared are the bars of Patpong and Soi Cowboy, during the peak season from November for both business and leisure, try the Dusit which catered to American soldiers on to March, it is recommended that visitors Thani on the corner of Silom Road. Then R& R from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. make advance reservations if they plan to there are two luxury establishments, the Another reminder of this turbulent time visit during this time. Montien Bangkok features a distinctly Thai is Jim Thompson's House and Museum, The main hotel districts are around Siam character, and the Sukhothai, which boasts preserved exactly as the silk magnate left it Square and Ploenchit Road, next to an elegant decor inspired by the walled city when he mysteriously disappeared. the Chao Phraya River, along Silom of Sukhothai. In 1973, massive student demonstrations Road and Suriwong Road, and along forced General Thanom, the military ruler, Sukhumvit Road. There are other areas 12 Bangkok Snapshot continued absolutely delicious. There are two your cuisine and somewhere there will Continue farther west, and you will reach types of Thai cooking: royal Thai cuisine be a waiter ready with an appropriate the riverbank, where some of the leading and"common" fare. The former is menu. Sample Pacific Rim offerings at hotels in Bangkok are to be found. The traditionally served to royalty, and usually Jesters or riverfront Supatra House. Enjoy Royal Orchid Sheraton offers riverfront garnished with exquisitely carved fruits Cantonese favorites at Mei Jiang. Trader luxury oriented toward tour groups. For and vegetables."Common" Thai food is Vics Polynesian bar in Bangkok is always decades, the Shangri-La has claimed to what Thais eat every day. Each of the four ready to welcome the wayfaring traveler. be Bangkok's finest hotel, though there are regions in Thailand has a distinct cuisine, now many others in its class. The Oriental, Sathorn/Silom/Bangrak but unless you are dining in a restaurant another stylish riverside hotel, is often specializing in regional cooking, you are If you're in the mood for fresh seafood, try voted as one of the world's top hotels. The likely to find a blend of cuisines on most Harmonique, where the menu is Thai and Peninsula and Marriott Spa Resort are two menus. the main ingredient is fish. Good places to other plush hotels overlooking the Chao start your Thai culinary adventure include Praya River. In the central region, the food is known for Baan Khanitha, where the food is a favorite being hot, salty, sweet and sour. Dishes Sukhumvit Road of locals and visitors alike. Large hotels such asnam phrik(dips) and soups served usually have excellent Thai restaurants, This is another area well known for shops with boiled rice are standard fare. In the among them the Celadon. While European and nightspots, including the seamy bars northeastern region, sticky rice is the restaurants are relatively new on the scene, of Soi Nana and Soi Cowboy. There are staple accompaniment to such popular there has been a recent boom in Italian some mid-range hotels and inns here, dishes assom tam(green papaya salad),gai cuisine, with oldies such as Angelini's including the Atlanta Hotel and the Bangkok yang(barbecued chicken) andlaap(salads of attracting huge crowds. Several French Inn, but the better four-star and five-star meat and fresh herbs). Much of the street restaurants have also opened to rave hotels tend to be more oriented toward food in Bangkok is from the northeast, due reviews, one of the best is Le Café Siam. business travelers than tourists. However, to the large number of vendors coming Coffee is enjoying a boom in Bangkok, what they may lack in character is made up from the region. Food from the north tends and although Starbucks may now be for in facilities. The brand-new JW Marriott to be mild, salty and sour, but not sweet. everywhere, other chains like Au Bon Pain Bangkok is a deluxe hotel geared toward Fermented sour pork sausages(you can are springing up with great success. business travelers and boasts one of the see them being barbecued on the street) most modern fitness centers in the city. are a favorite. In the south, fish and sour Then there are the"international" The Landmark and the Westin Grande curries(without coconut milk) are the normal restaurants serving Asian and Italian- Sukhumvit are two of the most luxurious diet. inspired dishes, but which refuse to be hotels on Sukhumvit, while the Sheraton Phra Nakorn easily pigeonholed: Eat Me and Indigo Grande Sukhumvit is an old mainstay with are just two that defy labels. Bangkok's There are plenty of restaurants in this business travelers. Novotel Lotus caters pubs and bars are up there with the best, district where you will find the best in Thai to business clientele. For modern-sized, although it is worth noting that steep taxes cuisine. Phranakorn Bar& Gallery has unpretentious topnotch accommodation, try on wine push even basic table vino into a popular rooftop bar where the drinks the Amari Boulevard, where all the rooms the expensive bracket. At its very core, are reasonably-priced. Be sure to try an have nice views of the Bangkok skyline. Bangkok is a beer-and-whiskey town. In authentic Thai whiskey and enjoy the More budget oriented options can be found many establishments you can order a local, contemporary music playing in the at Zenith Hotel and the Danish style Stable bottle of whiskey which will be kept for your background. The restaurant Thiptara built Lodge. next visit. There are a number of micro- on the Chao Praya River has been made to breweries to keep ale lovers happy and Wherever you decide to stay in Bangkok, resemble a traditional Thai compound. Rim plenty of bars for spirit sippers, such as the the friendly people here in the"Land of Nam Terrace can be found within the Royal more upmarket Barbican. Smiles" will make it easy to relax and enjoy River Hotel, and serves local Thai cuisine in your time in this hospitable city. a modern dining room. The tiny and ancient Pathumwan © wcities.com Chote Chitr has been turning out court style Then there are the pubs where live bands food for over 90 years while the Brick Bar play popular Thai songs and, at some serves up beer and satisfying Thai snacks. Restaurants Insights stage in the evening, the ubiquitousHotel Thonburi California. Henry J Bean's is just such a Thai cuisine has spread across the On the other hand, if it is international pub. Note that pubs and bars in Bangkok globe in the past three decades at an cuisine you are hungry for, Bangkok will serve delectable food, making an evening unprecedented speed. The reason satisfy you all the same. From Indian to of bar-hopping a fine way to pass the time. is not hard to fathom-- the food is Greek, Middle Eastern and Latin — name 13 Bangkok Snapshot continued Try the area around Phra Arthit Road or packed with tourists. A new take on nightlife Bangkok's many museums, galleries and Narathiwat Soi 15. can be found at Twisted Republic. libraries present an oasis of solitude in an Bangkok is dotted with literally hundreds of Thai Boxing otherwise hectic city. The National Museum eateries and nightspots. Do not be afraid to displays Thailand's cultural treasures, Culture of another sort, though no less be adventurous because it is difficult to find and offers excellent guided tours. On the incredible, the national sport ofmuay thai a bad meal in the"City of Angels." In fact, gallery front, while the National Gallery will is better known overseas as Thai kick- dining and drinking will most likely become certainly interest pure art fans, there is a boxing. Two major stadiums and many one of the highlights of your trip here. surge in gallery and bar combinations. This smaller ones scattered around Bangkok © wcities.com is best typified by About Studio/Café, which offer ample opportunities to seemuay thai, succeeds admirably in presenting art in complete with all its ritual rappings. Lumpini more relaxed surroundings. The Neilson Nightlife Insights and Ratchadamnoen feature some of the Hayes Library in downtown Bangkok best fighters in the country, with matches Bangkok is a city of endless diversity, where houses what is possibly Bangkok's best alternating between the two stadiums over boredom is never an option. There is a collection of English literature in a stunning the course of a week. Apart from the action whole lot more to Bangkok than its already 1930s era building. A visit to Bangkok in the ring, added entertainment is provided legendary nightlife. Children's Discovery Museum will please by the musical accompaniment played by any child. Explore traditional Thai culture Traditional Thai Dance and Drama, a traditional ensemble centered around at the Kamthieng House or Vimanmek Contemporary Theater and Cabaret thepii, or Thai oboe, plus the sight of the Museum. The National Science Museum big, rowdy crowd betting away. For something a little more cultural, has rotating hands-on exhibits. Bangkok features some excellent examples Cinema Massage/Meditation of traditional Thai dance and drama. Bangkok has been recently hit by the Known askhon, these performances If all this activity leaves you completely multiplex revolution. Almost every big involve masked actors portraying heroes, drained, what better way is there to revive shopping mall has an attached cineplex heroines, monkeys and demons from your spirits than with a traditional Thai showing the latest Hollywood blockbusters theRamakian(the Thai version of the massage? Nowadays, particularly in tourist as well as some Thai and Thai-dubbed HinduRamayana). Two of the best places areas, there is a plethora of reflexology Hong Kong films. In addition, Bangkok to seekhon are the National Theatre and and massage parlors, but you probably hosts at least three big film festivals a year, the Chaloem Krung Royal Theatre. In get the best value for your money at Wat while the cultural centers of the French, addition, there are many dinner theaters Pho, Bangkok's oldest Buddhist temple. German and Japanese embassies show catering largely to tourists, where admission Meditation courses also represent a good selected films once a week. Some of includes dinner and the show. Sala Rim way to experience a different side of Bangkok's better cinemas include United Naam, which is run by the Oriental Hotel, Bangkok. For non-Thai speakers, Wat Artists at the Emporium, Major Multiplex at features one of the more extravagant Mahathat and Wat Pak Nam, both of which the Central World Plaza and Lido Multiplex settings of any dinner theater. Others have many foreign students, are probably in the heart of Siam Square. worth visiting are Baan Thai and Maneeya the best places to visit. Lotus Room.Lakhon kae bon, akhon Theme Parks © wcities.com variant, can be seen free of charge at Whether or not you are traveling with the Erawan Shrine and Lak Mueang. children, there are several big theme parks Things to Do Insights These performances are commissioned on the outskirts of Bangkok worth visiting. by worshipers whose wishes have been Dream World, features rides that are a Bangkok may seem a bit overwhelming at granted by the deities of these busy city big hit with the kids. If you prefer to cool first, with so much to see and do, but once shrines. down, Siam Water Park will do just fine. you get used to all the traffic and confusing With an enormous wave pool, lots of water geography be ready to experience the time Also of interest for the theatrically inclined, slides, whirlpools and other forms of aquatic of your life. the Bangkok Playhouse serves as a regular venue for contemporary Thai theater and chaos, it gets crowded with families seeking Unlike many other cities around the world performance art. Lastly, there are at least to escape the heat on the weekends. At where you immediately feel a sense of awe two big tourist-friendly transvestite cabaret Safari World, a drive-through wildlife park, and wonder, Bangkok's contrasts might shows worth seeing— Calypso Cabaret at you can observe a teeming array of animals require an adjustment when first arriving. the Asia Hotel, which is the most famous through the windows of your car or tour However, it is certainly worth exploring this and possibly the best, and Mambo Cabaret bus. amazing capital. There are a number of on Sukhumvit Road, a newcomer already Museums, Galleries& Libraries areas inside and outside the city where an 14 Bangkok Snapshot continued abundance of sights and attractions can be have a bite to eat in a number of good Chan District Office, to buy fresh fruits and visited on a day tour. restaurants, including the Sidewalk Café. more at the Floating Market. Grand Palace Chinatown Lumpini Park The most famous of Bangkok's sights, the The markets, shops and remnants of Bangkok's downtown area includes the Grand Palace is a square mile of royal old-style architecture make Chinatown main financial district around Silom Road, white buildings surrounded by white walls. interesting for tourists. Check out the China the green expanse of Lumpini Park and Within the complex is Wat Phra Kaew, House, located at the Oriental Hotel, for a number of shopping centers around which contains the Emerald Buddha. To fine dining, or the Bamboo Bar for live jazz Sukhumvit Road and Siam Square, gain an overview of Thai history and art, and drinks. There are also some interesting including the Ma Bun Krong Center. Around go to the nearby National Museum, which temples in the area. Wat Chakrawat, which Siam Square, you can have coffee at offers free guided tours in English. Not far overlooks the Chao Phraya River, is home Au Bon Pain, then go on a tour of Jim south from the Grand Palace is Bangkok's to several crocodiles and monkeys. Wat Thompson's House and Museum nearby. oldest and largest temple, Wat Pho, famous Ga Buang Kim is a typical neighborhood After visiting the famous Erawan Shrine, for its enormous Reclining Buddha and temple where local residents socialize and you can go across the street and visit the its school of traditional Thai massage. the occasional worshiper drops by. Inside fabulous Thai Craft Museum, followed Dip through the Pak Klong Talat fruit and Wat Traimit, you will find the world's biggest by some duty-free shopping at the World flower market on your way to nearby solid-gold Buddha, which is more than three Trade Center. At the Snake Farm, near Wat Mahathat, the most important place meters tall and weighs five and a half tons. the intersection of Rama I Road and Silom of Buddhist learning in Southeast Asia. Stop in at Thai Nakon Intimex to admire the Road, you can see venom extracted from Finish up your day on the rooftop of the traditional craft of nielloware, or metalwork. live snakes two times a day. A few blocks Phranakorn Bar& Gallery with a refreshing Although Bangkok is generally a very safe away lies the Patpong Night Market, which drink and a curry. city, this is one area that can be dangerous is also well known for its many neon-lit go- for tourists at night. go bars. Democracy Monument Thonburi Ayutthaya Near the Democracy Monument, which There are a number of destinations outside forms the centerpiece of a roundabout, Thonburi became linked to central Bangkok Bangkok that are worth visiting. Ayutthaya, you will find a variety of important and by the construction of the Memorial Bridge the ancient capital and a World Heritage interesting temples. Wat Sa Ket may in 1932, but it retained its separate identity Site, is situated 80 kilometers north of look undistinguished, but from the top of until 1971. For an authentic Thai cuisine Bangkok. Kanchanaburi, best known as this"Golden Mount," you can enjoy some experience try the Blue Elephant, located the location of the bridge over the River truly stunning views of the city. Built by in the historic Blue Elephant Cooking Kwai, is set in some limestone hills 120 Rama V, the unusual Chinese-influenced School. Beside the Memorial Bridge lies kilometers(75 miles) to the northwest. design of Wat Ratchabophit makes it Wat Prayoon. This temple is worth visiting Worth the trip is Damnoen Saduak Floating one of the city's prettiest temples. Wat for its unusual collection of miniaturechedis Market, 109 kilometers(68 miles) southwest Indravihara, is worth visiting for a glimpse or Thai Buddhist monuments and shrines. of the capital. Here you will see canals of the towering 32-meter-high Standing A popular way to see the sights in Thonburi crowded with paddle boats laden with fruits Buddha. Nearby is the spacious, leafy is to embark on a canal tour by chartering and vegetables. area of Dusit, a royal district since the a boat at Tha Chang, in front of the Grand reign of Rama V. The last major temple Palace. A canal tour will take in one of After spending some time in Bangkok, built in Bangkok, Wat Benchamabophit Bangkok's most memorable landmarks, the"City of Angels," you will see why incorporates an intriguing mix of classical Wat Arun, also known as the"Temple many visitors keep coming back, some for Thai and 19th century European design and of Dawn." Another highlight of a canal business, some for holiday, and some to is often referred to as the"Marble Temple" tour is the museum of the Royal Barges, settle down. because of its Carrara marble walls. The where you will see a variety of fantastically Bus Tours Dusit Zoo, set in a beautiful park, houses ornamented boats used in ceremonial some rare animals, including the Komodo processions on the river. Stop in at Chao Thailand For You(+66 2671 0235/http:// dragon, the world's largest reptile. The Phraya River Cultural Center to see how www.th4u.com/guide.htm/) elegant National Library is also in this area, local crafts are made. You can purchase Walking Tours alongside a smaller library built as a tribute the ones you like, or come back in the to the present King, Rama IX. Not far away evening to see one of their regularly Walking Tour of Bangkok(http://www.visit- is the backpackers' hangout, Banglampoo, held performances. If your visit falls on a thailand.info/special-features/walking-tour- where you can do some shopping and Saturday or Sunday, head to the Taling of-bangkok.htm/) 15 Bangkok Snapshot continued Thailand For Visitors(http:// Chiang Mai, and Phuket.Bangkok Dining& at Suvarnabhumi, so all those leaving thailandforvisitors.com/central/bangkok/ Entertainment specializes mostly in Thailand-- or those in transit-- must ensure ctown-tour.html/) restaurant reviews and nightlife.BK they have enough cash for their onward Magazine is a fun, free weekly with destination before they enter passport Bangkok Private Tours(http:// info on the capital's events(available at control, especially those paying for visas on www.bangkokprivatetours.com/ any Starbucks). English-language daily arrival in countries such as Myanmar and bangkok_walk.html/) newspapersBangkok Post andThe Nation Indochina, where airside airport ATMs may Boat Tours have sections devoted to Bangkok must- not exist or may have run out of cash. sees. Getting to& from the Airports-- From Bangkok River Cruise Tours(+66 2651 9501/http://www.bangkok.com/river-cruise- Getting There both Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang, it tours/index.html/) By Plane takes about 40 to 60 minutes to drive to © wcities.com the city, depending on traffic, and over 90 Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi International minutes in heavy rain or at rush hour(or Airport(airport code BKK), opened in both). The city's larger hotels offer pickup Travel Tips September 2006, is now the main hub services for a fee, but both airports have for all international travelers arriving Planning a Trip public taxi, limousine, and bus services to Thailand; it also handles domestic to Bangkok; Suvarnabhumi also has buses The Bangkok Tourist Bureau has offices flights(with three-digit codes) in and out to Pattaya. Taking a taxi into town is your at major junctions throughout the city. Call of the capital. It's 30km(over 18 miles) easiest and fastest option for both airports. them with any questions at tel. 02225-7612; east of the city. Suvarnabhumi offers a or visit www.bangkoktourist.com. They wide range of services, including luggage At the Arrival Halls at either airport, don't provide basic information services, maps, storage, currency exchange, banks, a be tempted by the many taxi touts. In brochures, and recommendations. Their branch of the British pharmacy Boots, both airports, simply follow signs to the main office is at 17/1 Phra Arthit Rd., ATMs, a post office, medical centers(two public taxi or bus stands. Get some small just under the Phra Pinklao bridge near are 24-hr. clinics), Internet service, change,torn satang in Thai, in the Arrivals Khao San, but they also operate out of the and telephones. All of Suvarnabhumi's Hall before you leave the airport, as you'll airports and in various kiosks around the restaurant and shopping outlets are need this for the tollbooths. Without tolls, city: opposite the Grand Palace, in front infamously overpriced(up to 10 times city expect to pay between 250B and 300B(US of MBK shopping mall, at River City mall, prices), though; budget travelers would do $7.10-US$8.60/£3.85-£4.60) from either and along Sukhumvit. All offices are open well to stop by a downtown convenience airport to reach most hotels downtown. Monday to Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. store to stock up on snacks and drinks. Five Private limousine services such as AOT The Tourism Authority of Thailand(TAT; minutes away is Novotel Suvarnabhumi offer air-conditioned sedans and drivers www.tourismthailand.org) offers general Airport(www.novotel.com), a five-star from both airports. Look for the booth in information regarding travel in Bangkok hotel. For more detailed information on Arrivals. Trips from Suvarnabhumi start at and upcountry, and has a useful hotline(tel. Suvarnabhumi, see www.airportthai.co.th. 1,200B(US$34/£18). Advanced booking is 1672) reachable from anywhere in the Old Don Mueang Airport(airline code not necessary. kingdom; it's open daily 8am to 8pm. DMG) is 24km(15 miles) north of the Airport Express buses(tel. 02995-1252), Ironically, TAT's offices are not always heart of the city and was closed for a located on Suvarnabhumi Level 1 at Gate conveniently located for foreigners period in 2006. It has recently reopened, 8, are a convenient and inexpensive who don't read Thai. It has a kiosk at serving some domestic flights(with four- alternative into the city and cost 150B(US Suvarnabhumi International Airport's digit codes) and all flights on One-Two-GO $4.20/£2.30). Buses run every 30 minutes arrival floor, open daily 8am to 10pm, but and Nok Air. It no longer offers the range from 5am to midnight and cover four routes their main office is off the beaten track at of services it used to but still has cafes and most major hotels. For local and 1600 New Phetchaburi Rd., Makkasan, and diners as well as ATMs. Amari Don intercity buses, you will need to get on a Ratchathewi(tel. 02250-5500). Mueang Airport Hotel(www.amari.com) free shuttle located at Level 2 or 4, going Useful Publications-- TAT produces is opposite the airport and accessed to the Public Transportation Center. an enormous number of glossy tourist via a skybridge or a shuttle bus(book From there, buses costing around 35B(US brochures on destinations, including in advance). For more details on Don $1/55p) cover 11 city routes, including Bangkok; but beware, many may be Mueang, see www.bangkok-city.com/ major BTS stops and the Southern Bus outdated. Bangkok's free magazines, airport/airport_don-muang.htm. Terminal. For intercity services, go to the available in hotel lobbies, are more Note: As of 2007, passengers no longer relevant ticket counter(daily 6am-9pm) at current. Look forWhere orThaiways, with pay any departure taxes. But there are the Public Transportation Center; three maps, tips, and facts covering Pattaya, no ATMs beyond Immigration(airside) 16 Bangkok Snapshot continued routes serve nearby Pattaya, Jomtien, and MRT(subway) station at Hua Lamphong and can be booked by any of the agents Chonburi. for connections to the BTS. For Sukhumvit along Sukhumvit or Khao San roads. Road, take the MRT to the Sukhumvit stop © 2000-2010 by Wiley Publishing, Inc. By Train and then transfer to the Asok BTS. While a few southern-bound locomotives By Bus Fun Facts still use Thonburi's Bangkok Noi Station, most intercity trains to and from the Bangkok has three major bus stations, BangkokProvince: BangkokCountry: capital stop at Hua Lampong Station(tel. each serving a different part of the country. Thailand 02223-7010 or the hotline at 1690), east All air-conditioned public buses to the Bangkok By The Numbers: of Yaowarat(Chinatown). Lying at a major West and the Southern Peninsula arrive intersection of Rama IV and Krung Kasem and depart from the Southern Bus Population: 6.9 million(city); 11.5 roads, it's notoriously gridlocked at morning Terminal(tel. 02434-7192) on Nakhon million(metropolitan) Average Winter Chaisi and Phra Pinklao Road(near Temperature: 26°C/ 79°F Average and evening rush hours, so allow 40 Bangkok Noi Station in Thonburi; west Summer Temperature: 29°C/ 84°F Most minutes extra for traffic delays. Inside Precipitation: 1500 mm/ 59 in Temples in the station, clear signs point the way to of the river over the Phra Pinklao Bridge Thailand: about 26,000 Number of monks in the public toilets, pay phones, food court, from the Democracy Monument). Service Thailand: 200,000 and baggage check area. One bag costs to the East Coast(including Pattaya) arrives and departs from the Eastern Bus Quick Facts: 20B(50¢/30p) per day. Terminal, also known as Ekkamai(tel. Electricity: 220 volts, 50 Hz; standard "Officials" may approach you in the station 02391-2504), on Sukhumvit Road two-pin plug Time Zone: GMT+7 Country offering help. Be careful-- not all may opposite Soi 63(Ekkamai BTS). Buses Dialing Code: 66 Area Code: 02 actually be officials; proceed to the ticketing to the north arrive and leave from the Did You Know? counter or information booth directly. Northern Bus Terminal, aka Mo Chit(tel. Metered taxis from the station cost about 02936-2841), Kampaengphet 2 Road, near Bangkok is sinking at the alarming rate of 5 50B to 100B(US$1.40-US$2.85/75p-£1.55) cm/ 2 in per year. the Chatuchak Weekend Market, and a to nearby Sala Daeng BTS on Silom Road, short taxi or bus ride from Mo Chit BTS or Thailand was known as Siam until 1939. depending on the time of day; there is an MRT stations. Affordable, long-distance VIP Bangkok is calledKrung Thep in Thai, and it buses leave from various locations in town is the 22nd largest city in the world. © wcities.com Weather StatisticsJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec Temperature C Average High323334353433333333323232 Average Mean272830313029292929282827 Average Low232426272726262625252422 Temperature F Average High909294969492929191909089 Average Mean818486888785858484838280 Average Low737678808079797877777571 Rainy Days11339101313151451 Rain Fall (cm)0.71.43.25.8220.127.116.116.025.220.73.20.3 Rain Fall (in)0.30.51.32.18.104.22.168.22.214.171.124.1 © wcities.com 17
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