Monday, July 18, 2011


Author’s Lounge – 48 Oriental Avenue (at Mandarin Oriental); 011-66-2-659-9000;; 19th Century landmark; restaurant has 100 red lanterns hanging over entrance; for afternoon tea.
Karmakamet – 205-207 Rama I Road (Pathum Wan, at Central World, Zone C, 2nd Floor); 011-66-2-613-1397;; tea room that serves brews and sweets.

Adhere 13th Blues Bar – 13 Samsen Road (Phra Nakhon, Banglamphu); 011-66-89-769-4613;; small (tiny).
Aqua – 155 Rajadamri Road (Bang Rak, at Four Seasons Hotel); 011-66-2-126-8866;; stylish spot for nightcap, given breezy courtyard setting and extensive martini list.
Badmotel – 55 Sukhumvit (between Thong Lo Soi 15 & 17); 011-66-2-712-7288;; multi-purpose, 3-story shophouse; ‘demolition chic,’ half building is rubble, with big, gaping holes giving passersby chance to glimpse inside & see young artists creating abstract graffiti on walls upstairs, while on ground floor, full length windows show off impressive cocktail bar running along one wall, with bare concrete floors & whitewashed brick that is reminiscent of New York loft party; out back, beautiful garden with enough fans to give illusion of sea breeze & some interesting art installations.
diVino – 16 Thonglo (Watthana, at Penny’s Balcony, Sukhumvit, Lane 55); 011-66-2-714-8723;; Bangkok’s largest selection Italian wines; reservations essential.
Eat Me Restaurant – 2 Phipat Lane (Bang Rak, Si Lom, just off Convent Road); 011-66-2-238-0931;; art-society favorite modern, international; try lemongrass, ginger, and kaffir lime Siam daiquiries.
Hailang – 1 Soi Daeng Udom Sukhumvit 33 (Klongton Nua Wattana, at Bangkok Hotel Lotus Sukhumvit); 011-66-2-610-0111;; for Japanese whiskey, in particular (Karuizawa).
Le Lys – 6 Nang Linchi Lane (Sathorn); 011-66-2-287-1898;; Graham Greene would feel at home; sexy hideaway tucked down quiet, tree-lined street; excellent bar and food; locals come to cheer soccer team on bar television.
Mellow – 16 Thonglo (Watthana, at Penny’s Balcony, Sukhumvit, Lane 55); 011-66-2-382-0065;; in semi-industrial space warmed by exposed bricks and large windows that look out over street; wine bar that offers charcuterie and cheese plates.
No Idea – 8/3-4 Sukhumvit, Lane 22 (Klong Toei); 011-66-2-663-6686;; wine bar and gastropub in polished concrete and dark timber space.
Sip – 33/32 Sukhumvit, Lane 63 (Watthana); 011-66-2-714-2223;; wine bar.
Sky Bar – 1055 Si Lom Road (Bang Rak, at Lebua Hotel, in State Tower); 011-66-2-624-9999;; must go to see; highlight is steep staircase that descends dizzingly down to bar, compact, open-air turret on skyscraper’s side; don’t be deterred by “smart-casual” dress-code; only means no flip-flops, torn clothes, or shorts.

Anantara Bangkok Sathorn – 36 Narathiwart-Ratchanakarin Road (Yan Nawa); 011-66-2-210-9000;; in city’s heart, moments from business and shopping hubs with incredible, panoramic views across downtown; for both leisure and business travelers; fastidious designer surroundings; from studios to spacious 2 bedroom suites; 37 floor, twin tower structure; outside pool deck with infinity edge swimming pool; restaurant and spa.
Arun Residence – Maharat Road, 36-38 Pratook Nok Yoong Lane (Phra Nakhon, on Rattanakosin Island); 011-66-2-221-9158;; less expensive but still stylish; on Chao Phraya River.
Conrad – 87 Wireless Road (Phatumwan, at All Seasons Place); 011-66-2-690-9999;; highly functional and minimalist.
Dream Hotel – 10 Sukhumvit, Lane 15 (Watthana, Kloengtoey Nua); 011-66-2-254-8500;; 5-minute walk from subway and Skytrain; 100 sleek rooms with platform beds; November-April is coolest; smaller standard rooms are perfect for luxury on budget.
Eugenia – 267 Sukhumvit, Lane 31 (Watthana, North Klongtan); 011-66-2-259-9011-7;; modern manor in colonial style artfully incorporates 100s antique pieces from owner’s collection; sizable, celadon-tiled pool under palm trees; hand-beaten copper tubs; coolest November-April; ask for Room #302 for top-floor pool views.
Four Seasons – 155 Rajadamri Road (Bang Rak); 011-66-2-126-8866 or 800-819-5053;; good location; pool and spa set in garden.
Hansar Bangkok – Rajdamri Road, 3 Mahadlekluang 2 Lane (Pathum Wan, Lumpini); 011-66-2-209-1234;
Mandarin Oriental – 48 Oriental Avenue (Bang Rak); 011-66-2-659-9000;; 19th Century landmark; restaurant has 100 red lanterns hanging over entrance; Joseph Conrad and Somerset Maugham stayed here.
Metropolitan – South Sathorn Road (Sathorn, Tungmahamek); 011-66-2-625-3333;
Okura Prestige – 57 Wireless Road (Lumpini, Pathumwan); 011-66-2-687-9000;
Peninsula – 333 Charoennakorn Road (Khlong San); 011-66-2-861-2888;; graceful and elegant interiors; spa; 3-tier pool.
Praya Palazzo – 757/1 Somdej Prakinklao Lane 2 (Dusit, Bangyeekhan); 011-66-2-883-2998;; 17-room mansion on Chao Phraya River; this might be my 1st choice.
Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel & Towers – 2 Charoen Krung Road, Lane 30 (Bang Rak, Siphya); 011-66-2-266-0123;; every room has view of Chao Phraya River; waterfront restaurant.
Shangri-La – New Road, 89 Wat Suan Plu Lane (Bang Rak); 011-66-2-236-7777;; impressive, comfortable, and convenient.
Siam Hotel – 3/2 Khao Road (Dusit, Vachirapayabal); 011-66-2-206-6999;; 3-acre, riverfront property.
Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok – 991/9 Rama I Road (Pathum Wan); 011-66-2-162-9000;
Sukhothai – 13/3 South Sathorn Road (Sathorn, Thungmahamek); 011-66-2-344-8888;; pitched roofs, lotus ponds, frangipangi-scented gardens, wonderful pool; and 13th Century replica stupas.

Bo.Lan – 42 Sukhumvit, Lane 26 (Khlong Toei); 011-66-2-260-2962;; stylish, low-slung restaurant with patio dining; traditional Thai cuisine.
Café Chilli – 991 Rama 1 Road (Pathum Wan, at Siam Paragon, on ground floor); 011-66-2-610-9877;; sleek café in tranquil, air-conditioned corner of sprawling mall; northern Isaan cuisine presented on bilingual menus; try som tam (classic Isaan salad) and best sticky rice in town.
Chon Thai – 3/2 Khao Road (Dusit, Vachirapayabal, at Siam Hotel); 011-66-2-206-6999;; set within cluster of 3, century-old Thai teakwood houses (once antique dealer and OSS agent Connie Mangksau’s home); hallowed venue entertained global glitterati like Jackie Kennedy, John Rockerfeller, Roger Moore, William Holden, and Henry Ford; traditional, home-cooked Thai cuisine.
Eat Me Restaurant – 2 Phipat Lane (Bang Rak, Si Lom, just off Convent Road); 011-66-2-238-0931;; art-society favorite modern, international; try red papaya and black-chicken salad.
Gianni Ristorante – Ploenchit Road, 34/1 Tonson Lane (Pathum Wan, Lumpini); 011-66-2-252-1619;; innovative Italian fare; try tuna carpaccio with avocado and crayfish flan.
Hazara – 29 Sukhumvit, Lane 38 (Khlong Toei, Prakanong); 011-66-2-713-6049;; northern Indian fare.
Hyde & Seek Gastro Bar – Wireless Road, 65/1 Ruamrudee Lane (Pathum Wan, Ploenchit, at Athenee Residence); 011-66-2-168-5152;; local cuisine done with modern flare; Asian-continental fusion.
Krua Apsorn (Apsorn’s Kitchen) – 503-505 Samsen Road (Dusit, Wachira Phayaban, north of National Library); 011-66-2-668-8788; royal Thai family favored hangout; bright restaurant that locals love; house specials are crab meat in southern-style yellow curry with river prawn and lotus shoots; many consider Bangkok’s best restaurant; King orders take-out from here.
Le Lys – 6 Nang Linchi Lane (Sathorn); 011-66-2-287-1898;; Graham Greene would feel at home; sexy hideaway tucked down quiet, tree-lined street; excellent bar and food; locals come to cheer soccer team on bar television.
Long Table – 48 Sukhumvit, Lane 16 (Watthana, Khlong Tan Nuea, in Column Building); 011-66-2-302-2557 or 011-66-2-302-2559;; ask for banquette; high design Thai food.
Nahm – South Sathorn Road (Sathorn, Tungmahamek, at Metropolitan Hotel); 011-66-2-625-3333;; Australian chef merges Scandinavian minimalist decor with authentic Thai cuisine; try ma hor, traditional appetizer made of minced pork mixed with garlic, palm sugar, peanuts, pineapple, and shallots; also, to extent you are curious about fruit called “durian,” durian and sticky rice dessert here is considered “masterpiece” (best months for durian are April-September).
Naj – 42 Convent Road (Bang Rak, Si Lom); 011-66-2-632-2811;; dine like Siamese royalty in this 3-story, King Rama V-era house decorated in silk and teak; try pomelo salad with prawns or deep-fried chicken.
Ruen Mallika – 189 Sukhumvit, Lane 22; 011-66-2-6633-2112;; highbrow Thai cooking in 2-story, 180 year-old teak house; herb-filled dishes; beautiful setting.
Sabai Jai Kai Yang – Sukhumvit 63 Road (Ekkamai); notable for grilled chicken.
Soo Jai Kai Yang – Kamphaengphet Road (Chatuchak, at Or Tor Kor Market); legendary son tam Thai, Issan restaurant in market back; sign only in Thai; also notable for fried or grilled chicken and pork (kai yang means grilled chicken).
Tang Jai Yoo – 85-89 Yaowa Phanit Road (Samphanthawong, on ground floor, in Chinatown heart); 011-66-2-224-2167; excellent suckling pig; open-air, seafood restaurant, full of festive round tables; whole crabs, lobsters, or sea leech come live from tanks inside restaurant; stewed turtle soup; roasted pig skin is among best terrestrial options; set menus are best way to sample various dishes.

Amita Thai Cooking Class – 162/17 Wutthakat Road, Lane 14 (Thonburi, Talad Plu); 011-66-2-466-8966;; glimpse life on Bangkok’s hidden canals from boat that takes you to class; teacher harvests some produce from own garden and then prepares meal for you, instructing all while; lovely open-air kitchens.

Almeta – 23 Sukhumvit (Watthana, Khlong Tan Nuea); 011-66-2-258-4227;; fine silks; on-site tailor; affordable (relatively speaking).
Asava – 20/16 39 Sukhumvit, Lane 20/16 (Pathum Wan, at Siam Paragon, 1st floor); 011-66-2-662-6526;; architectural, sleek dresses.
Chatuchak Weekend Market – Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road (Chatuchak);; 35 acres; 8K stalls tucked into narrow sois (lanes) overspilling with produce; attracts some 200K browsers, buskers, and shoppers each Saturday and Sunday.
Doi Tung Lifestyle – Rajadamri Road (Pathum Wan, at Siam Discovery Center, 4th Floor); 011-66-2-658-0427;; not-for-profit, northern Thai tribal rug dealer; many locations.
Enlever ses Vetements – 59/3 Sawatdi Lane (Watthana, Klong Tuea Nua); 011-66-2-260-4660;; bespoke suit tailor.
Karmakamet – 205-207 Rajadamri Road (Pathum Wan, at Central World, 2nd Floor, Zone C); 011-66-2-613-1397;; Thai perfumerie.
Manop Rachote – Ploenchit Road, 21/1 Ruam Rudee Lane (Pathum Wan, at Central Chidlom Department Store, 5th Floor); 011-66-2-793-7777;; home accessories.
Nang Leong – Nakhon Sawat Road (Dusit, Nang Leong, near Thanon Phitsanuloke); city’s oldest market.
Narai Phand – 973 Ploenchit Road (Pathum Wan, Lumpini); 011-66-85-100-1293;; government sponsored handicrafts shop; have to hunt through clutter but worth it.
100 Tonson Gallery – 100 Ton Son Lane (Pathum Wan, Lumpini, just off Ploenchit Road); 011-66-2-684-1527;; Bangkok’s top young artists.
Or Tor Kor Market – Kamphaengphet Road (Chatuchak, at Pahonyothin Road); across from Bangkok’s Chatuchak weekend market; for foodies, required destination; note that very clean and well-organized.
Paul’s Antiques – 50 Sukhumvit, Lane 13 (Watthana, Khlong Toei Nuea); 011-66-2-253-9025;; colonial era and/or Thai antiques.
Siam Square – Siam;สยามสแควร์วัน; city’s de facto center; home to some Bangkok’s best shopping, including “mega-malls,” as well as under-radar Asian fashion, interiors, and beauty brands, as well as tiny sois (alleys or lanes) that hold boutiques, cafes, and galleries; also, Jim Thompson house.
Sukhumvit – Bangkok’s Champs-Elysees (Bang Na, Khlong Toei, Pathum Wan, Phra Khanong, and Watthana);; starts just west of “Siam” and extends all way to Cambodian border (almost).
Jim Thompson – 9 Surawong Road (Bang Rak, Suriyawong); 011-66-2-632-8100 or 011-66-2-234-4900;; main store for this well-established silk product chain.

Bangkok Arts & Culture Centre – 939 Rama1 Road (Pathum Wan, Wangmai); 011-66-2-214-6630;; city’s official home for contemporary art, film, music, and theater; space age aesthetic makes building itself destination.
Chiang Mai – easy train trip from Bangkok; back-packing destination; artists’ and expatriates’ colony.
Cineplex of Siam Paragon – 991 Rama I Road (Pathum Wan, 5th floor); 011-66-02-1294-6356;
Elephant (Chang) Building – 369/38 Phaholyothin 2 (Chatuchak, at Ratchadaphisek Road); 011-66-2-937-3300;; high-rise building located in North Bangkok; among city’s most famous buildings because has elephant characteristics; bizarre.
Erawan (Thao Mahaprom) Shrine – 494 Rajdamri Road (Pathum Wan); 011-66-2-252-8750;; built in 1956 to appease supposed evil forces that were taking construction workers’ lives and causing other calamities in construction of what is now Grand Hyatt Erawan (misfortunes caused, it seemed, by starting construction on unfavorable date); after shrine erected, construction deaths stopped and hotel prospered; among Thailand’s most revered spots; in 2006, mentally disturbed Thai man attacked statue with hammer so onlookers beat him to death in broad daylight (statue replaced within 2 months, incorporating pieces from original); located on Grand Hyatt property’s northwest corner, near skytrain’s Chit Lom stop; golden, 4-faced Hindu god Brahma statue beneath glittering canopy, surrounded by offerings of flowers, incese and candles; always wafting with incense smoke.
Grand Palace – Na Phra Lan Road (Phra Nakhon, at Maharaj Pier, next to Wat Phra Kaeo Temple Complex); 011-66-2-224-1833;; Thailand Kings’ official residence from 18th Century on.
National Gallery – 4 Chao-fa Road (Phra Nakhon); 011-66-2-282-2639 or 281-2224;; though doesn’t get nearly as much attention as National Museum, permanent collection (modern and traditional Thai art) worth taking time to see; also frequent temporary shows from abroad and around country; ask hotel’s concierge to call, as not likely to get English-speaker on phone.
Prasart Museum – Krungthep Kritha Lane (Hua Mak); 011-66-2-379-3601;; founder Prasart Vongsakul was so upset that many Thai treasures sold abroad so built this museum; eccentric, eclectic building assembly, all influential Thai houses, palaces, and royal residences replicas; some date as far back as Ayutthaya period; highlights include Red Palace re-creation, Chedi, Goddess Guan Yin Shrine, and Lopburi-style chapel; set in lush tropical garden exuding peace and serenity; pieces from Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods, including several Sukothai Buddha images and furniture items.
Ratchaprasong – Pathum Wan (adjacent to Siam); or; shopping district located at BTS Skytrain’s Chit Lom Station and Phloenchit, Rama I, and Ratchadamri Road intersections); many hotels and shopping malls; also Erawan Shrine; can be explored by hopping off at Chidlom Skytrain (BTS) station and straight onto skywalk.
Thailand Creative & Design Center – 622 Sukhumvit, Lane 24 (Klong Toei, at Emporium Shopping Complex, 6th floor); 011-66-2-664-8448;; make sure to visit boutique when done.
Jim Thompson House & Museum – Rama I Road, 6 Kasemsan Lane 2 (Pathum Wan); 011-66-2-216-7368;; Thompson first came to Thailand as US spy during WWII; later returned to live and salvaged dying silk industry.
Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawaramahawihan – 158 Wang Doem Road (Yai); 011-66-2-891-2185;; Buddhist temple (wat) on Chao Phraya River’s Thonburi west bank; among Thailand’s best known landmarks; named ”Temple of Dawn” because morning light reflects off temple’s surface with pearly iridescence; although has existed since at least 17th Century, its distinctive prang (spires) were built in early 19th Century during King Rama II’s reign.
Wat Pho Temple Complex – Chetuphon Road (Phra Nakhon); 011-66-2-222-0933;; 2 walled compounds; north contains reclining Buddha and massage school; south, Tukgawee, is working Buddhist monastery with monks in residence and school; largest and oldest wat in Bangkok and home to more than 1K Buddha images, more than any other temple in country; shelters largest Buddha image in Thailand: Reclining Buddha (Phra Buddhasaiyas), 46 m l and 15 m h; body covered in gold plate; decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay on eyes and soles of feet, which also are intricately decorated with 108 auspicious scenes in Chinese and Indian styles.
Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan (Golden Mount) – 344 Chakkraphat Diphong Road (Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bang Bat); 011-66-2-621-0576;; temple complex dating back to Ayutthaya era, when known as Wat Sakae; when Bangkok became capital, King Rama I renovated and gave present name; Phu Khao Thong (Golden mountain) is artificial hill inside compound; Rama I’s grandson, King Rama III (1787-1851), started to build huge chedi inside compound but collapsed during construction; over next few decades, abandoned mud-and-brick structure acquired natural hill shape and was overgrown with weeds; locals called it phu khao, as if it were natural feature; during King Rama IV’s reign, construction began of small chedi on hill; completed early in his son, King Rama V’s reign (1853-1910); Buddha relic brought from India and placed in chedi; surrounding concrete walls added in 1940s to stop hill from eroding; modern Wat Saket built in early 20th Century of Carrara marble; 5-minute walk from here is Saen Saeb canal, which can take you back to central shopping district (will have to ask passengers for alert because no signs).

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