Left to Right: 1&5 Grand Palace, 2&3 Tea at the Mandarin Oriental, 4 Wat Pho
On our way to Vietnam, my family and I decided to stay in Bangkok for 2 and a half days to revisit Thailand after almost 17 years! While the stop wasn’t completely our choice (the only flights going to the far-east from Pakistan are via Bangkok) we enjoyed a wonderful few days in bliss.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the lovely Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit which was not only a superb hotel in terms of its fabulous facilities but also its location connected to the major shopping malls on Sukhumvit Road by Skytrain making its super accessible to get around without spending hours stuck in the infamous Bangkok traffic jams. While the hotels by the river can often be very tempting for their incredible quality guests (such as another friend in Bangkok at the time) can find themselves being stuck far away from the main shopping and downtown areas. We loved the wonderful Balinese-style pool and the well-equipped gym at the hotel although we didn’t end up using them very much during our short stay. The breakfast of course was amazing but sometimes overwhelming in terms of its quality and quantity. This hotel is highly recommended for anyone with limited time looking to see and do as much as possible !
What we did:
Because we came on a night flight much of our first day in Bangkok was spend recovering and roaming around close by to our hotel. I spent most of the first evening shopping for some new winter wardrobe pieces and looking around the different malls. Even though I was coming from America where there is no shortage of malls this term in college I hardly made it out of campus and so didn’t have much time to explore New York or Boston. In the evening, we watched the new Star Wars movie Rogue One and absolutely loved it! The next day we decided to properly start our sightseeing adventures so we visited The Grand Palace and saw the Emerald Buddha, we also went to Wat Pho to see the Lying Buddha. After that we took a boat ride down the river which was a lovely way to see many of the sites of Old Bangkok and then we went for a classic luxurious Bangkok experience: Afternoon Tea at the Mandarin Oriental. The hotel has a very long and interesting story first opening in 1876 as the “Oriental Hotel” when Siam (Thailand) first opened for trading and played host to a number of famous guests such as Joseph Conrad and Tennessee Williams. We then decided to check out the Siam Centre shopping mall before heading out for dinner. The next we spent the morning at our hotel by the pool and at the Jim Thompson Museum, a lovely house with a wonderful garden which reminded me of Jardin Majorelle the home of Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech. Jim Thompson was an American businessman and architect who is credited with reviving traditional Thai craft and increasing the demand for Thai silk, his shops have some wonderful treasures worth looking at. In the evening, we took our flight to Hanoi.
What we ate:
Bangkok has grown to become a culinary destination in Asia from multiple celebrity chefs setting up shop here to the delicious and omnipresence of street food around the city there is no shortage of delicious food where every you go! While on our first day we just ate at places close by to our hotel even the food quality here was superb. We ate some Bibimbap for lunch the first day and some French food for dinner. But on our second day we went for a whole food adventure starting of with our ever-expanding hotel breakfast (not the best match for our ever-expanding stomachs but nonetheless delicious) After walking around the Grand Palace we throughly enjoyed our afternoon tea at the Mandarin getting both the Continental and Thai Tea set we sampled a variety of sandwiches, scones, pastries, cakes and much much more… it was definitely worth it, especially coming from somewhere where tea is basically is treated meal. The passionfruit scone and Mango jelly and the micro-cakes were definitely a highlight! For dinner we had another fabulous experience at Nahm at the Como Metropolitan Hotel while we initially got lost in our taxi trying to find the hotel it was well worth the wait! Every dish had incredible presentation with bold textures and ingredients. Even though dietary restrictions and a shellfish allergy restrict our choice we had a lovely meal. For starters we had the beef salad with mint and lemongrass which had a delicious lime dressing. We then moved onto catfish curry with a tamarind and chili relish and neem leaves an unusual but very flavourful combination and a classic stir fried beef although this one came with three different types of chilli and was lethal but fabulous nonetheless. Truly unforgettable meal and highly recommended…