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Abundance in Bangkok

VIEWS: 61 PAGES: 17

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.

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									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)0.71.43.25.817.111.211.816.025.220.73.20.3 Rain Fall
(in)0.30.51.32.36.74.44.66.39.98.21.30.1
                                                                                                                                © wcities.com




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