Relentlessly busy, noisy, smelly and stiflingly scorching: it’s straightforward to see why for a lot of, Bangkok is little greater than a spot for a short stopover.
However dig a bit deeper and also you’ll discover a burgeoning arts scene, a raft of recent eating places and chic galleries.
Here is tips on how to spend 48 hours within the Thai capital…
Important attraction: The gorgeous Temple of the Daybreak
We arrive within the Thai capital after per week on the idyllic island of Koh Lanta. If baggage isn’t an excessive amount of of a difficulty, the sparkly new Airport Rail Hyperlink Metropolis Line runs each 15 minutes from contained in the terminal, prices 45 baht (about £1) and takes simply 25 minutes to the town’s central stations.
As a rule, getting round Bangkok by public transport is way much less problem than utilizing taxis, that are infamous for scams. Our first cease is the Mandarin Oriental, the chain’s 140-year-old flagship property, affectionately often known as La Grande Dame. It’s on the sting of the buzzy Silom district, a colonial period oddity in a metropolis stuffed with 1970s concrete blocks and glass skyscrapers.
Even should you’re not checking in, it’s value taking excessive tea within the Authors’ Lounge. The lodge is legendary for its writers-in-residence, from Dame Barbara Cartland to Somerset Maugham and Gore Vidal.
Golden glow: Wat Arun, one of many iconic temples in Bangkok
We head for a late lunch at The Jam Manufacturing facility arts advanced (dbalp.com), a part of the town’s new Artistic District. The Jam Manufacturing facility is a transformed manufacturing unit – a group of low-rise, industrial-style glass-and-steel buildings sit round a central backyard courtyard.
At our restaurant, The By no means Ending Summer season, a Buddhist ceremony is occurring within the backyard. Monks wrap silk ribbons round big timber, including to the peaceable vibe.
The meals is show-stopping: grilled catfish with candy sauce and stir-fried glass noodles are musts.
Afterwards, we drop in to Santi Chai Prakan Park, the positioning of a blindlingly white 18th Century fort the place at 5pm each day there’s communal outside aerobics, yoga or dance courses.
Even should you’re not feeling fairly that energetic, it’s good to look at.
After a late breakfast, we go to the Artists Home – in any other case often known as Baan Silapin (fb.com/Baansilapin) – within the stylish Thonburi district. That is ‘outdated Bangkok’: sleepy, picket buildings and winding alleys that fringe the canals. It’s a bit off the crushed observe however value visiting.
The Artists Home is a 200-year-old teak constructing. As you wander alongside the canal previous little cafes serving stir-fried dishes, from time to time an aged woman on a ship will pull as much as promote skewers of barbecued meat.
You’ll in all probability not see too many vacationers on this a part of the town, bar the occasional boat-load being whisked alongside a canal.
The Home itself is constructed round a 700-year-old Buddhist stupa, and at 2pm you’ll be able to watch a standard Thai marionette present. Youngsters are invited to color paper masks and take part within the occasion.
Totally ready to get a bit misplaced, we head east over a footbridge and into the bustling streets round Soi Charan Sanitwong, the place avenue distributors promote fried fish balls, noodles and candy treats.
Loosen up: Guests take pleasure in a street-side foot therapeutic massage, which is ideal after a protracted flight
Because the solar goes down, we encounter an evening market – meals, toys, electrical items and garments are all on the market and value subsequent to nothing – then hold heading east to Wat Arun, one in every of Bangkok’s most iconic historic temples, overlooking the Chao Phraya river. From there, a river taxi will take you again to the opposite facet, the place we drop into The H Gallery (hgallerybkk.com), which exhibits Thai artwork in an attractive 125-year-old mansion.
Within the night, we head to Maggie Choo’s (maggiechoos.com), a subterranean bar, restaurant and stay music venue beneath the Novotel which is legendary for its must-see drag exhibits. Later, should you’re feeling courageous, strive a foot therapeutic massage at one of many spas lining the streets.
Lastly, there’s time for a nightcap again at our lodge’s cosy Bamboo Bar, the place a stay jazz band is in full swing. For those who can survive the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, there are many causes to make this metropolis greater than only a one-night stand.
Jonathan Neal was a visitor of the Mandarin Oriental, the place double rooms price from £385. For extra data go to mandarinoriental.com/bangkok.