Thursday, September 27, 2012

City At A Glance

Executive summary by darmansjah

Bangkok lives up to being Thailand’s glitzy capital – its sights and sounds offer a spectrum of entertainment and activities that both entertain and titillate.

Transport – Air-conditioned taxis roam the streets alongside public buses connecting commuters to different corners of the city. Hopping on the Bangkok Mass Transit system, commonly known as the BTS Skytrain, an elevated rapid transit system,  the MRT underground railway line and the elevated Suvarnabhumi Airport Link (SARL), are options to evading the city’s notorious traffic jams. Travelling on foot is thebest way to take in the sights and sounds of this bustling cosmopolitan capital.

Season – There is no real winter season in Thailand, so expect generally hot and humid weather, with a good measure of rain, year around.

Sprawling Bangkok can often become an enigma for first time visitors. While the inner city boasts modern city transportation and dine-dining restaurants, behind the nooks and crannies you can spot Thai architectural homes standing next to skyscrapers and sino Portuguese edifices.

One of the most exiting ways to explore Bangkok is by foot. For gastronomy enthusiasts, the open air food markets are a huge opportunity to experiment and tantalise your palates. A leisurely stroll opens up opportunities to also come up close and personal with the locals, and experience first-hand how tradition and modernization exist side-by-side. After all the walking, there’s always a therapeutic Thai massage waiting around the corner.

Update – Thailand’s tourist sites that were badly  affected by the month-long flood late last year are slowly getting back to normal as waters begin to slowly but steadily recede in these areas. Tourist spots in the capital Bangkok are relatively unscathed as the floods were mostly restricted to residential communities. Other than the Grand Palace area, popular tourist hubs like Siam, Sukhumvit, Silom, and Khao San Road were not affected.

One of the best places to tantalise you taste buds is Yaorawat, the capital’s Chinatown. Cluster of food stalls pop up to serve dinner after 6pm in the vicinity surrounding Tahon Mangkon. It is a good idea to start along Soi Leng Buai and walk your way up. Here you will come across a large array of family restaurants, offering typical mouth-watering Chinese favourites like Hainanese chicken rice, known locally as kaho man kai and of course rice congee. Typical Thais dishes such as tom yam kung, path thai and yam talay are also widely available along the street corners.

Just over an hour’s drive from Bangkok, the Nahkhon Nayok province is a popular getaway among nature lovers thanks to its lush landscape. Nakhon Nayok also provides home stays for tourists keen on learning about the lifestyle of local farmers. ThaDan Home stay I one of the oldest serving home stays, housed in the lush fruit garden of farmer Prasit sumontha. The rustic accommodation comes with basic comforts such as clean running water, electricity and freshly washed pillowcases and bed covers (66 0 3738 5015; 54/2 Mu 3 Tambon Hintung Amphoe Mueang, Nakhon Nayok).

Located in up market Rajdarmri Road, the luxurious Hansar Bangkok just turned a year old. This member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World boasts an intimate 94 suites, enabling it to offer a boutique experience while keeping rooms sufficiently spacious. All suites feature sleek and inviting design, with blissful king-sized plus beds and unique individually hand-beaded headboards by Chiang mai artisan Kachama, and rain-showers and free-standing terrazzo bathtubs in the bathroom. Outside the room, Hansar Bangkok offers a plethora of dining options likebreakfast venue Shine , Zest juice bar, Café Boca, lobby bar Vue and French-inspired restaurant Eve (

If you are going to be in Bangkok for a week or more, make Marriot Executive Apartments Sukhumvit Park Bangkok you choice of stay. These stylish apartments offer the best of both worlds; take advantage of indulgent hotel services In the comfort of your own cosy getaway, backed up by the trusted Marriot name. guests get to choose from a comfortable studio to three-bedroom apartments. Beyond the gourmet kitchen and quality furnishings, each apartment comes complete with LCD TV, DVD player, a working area with private phone line and voice mail (

One of the oldest trading areas of Bangkok, Pratunam, is now a haven for those seeking discounted garments, shoes and fashion accessories, as well as a good deal on IT equipment. The Pratunam are bgins on Pehtchaburi Road at its intersaction with Ratchaprarop Road and extends wesward down Phetchaburi toward Phya Tahi Road. People desiring to shop in a cool air-conditioned environment can pick from a list of discount malls, the most popular being Pratunum Fashion Mall, Indra Arcade, Pratunam Centre and the IT Paradise Pantip Plaza.

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