The Thai capital is a city that’s constantly evolving but if you only have a few days in Bangkok here’s where you should stay, dine and explore.
Start your exploration of the Thai capital at one of its most coveted accommodations. Capella Bangkok is perched on the banks of the iconic Chao Phraya River and boasts just 101 opulent suites and villas. This boutique pied à terre features residential-styled guest spaces with calming, contemporary décor – for a real treat book ahead for one of the popular riverfront villas, each of which boasts a private balcony or veranda and a plunge pool for those balmy Bangkok evenings.
Fuel up at Phra Nakhon, the hotel’s sun-washed conservatory restaurant, where authentic Thai flavours are celebrated and ingredients are sourced from the property’s own Greenhouse (you’ll soon be able to book this unique setting for private dinners). The fresh coconuts and Khao Tom Pla, boiled jasmine rice in a sea bass stock with coriander and Chinese celery, are worth the early start. Also, be sure to try Capella’s classy river transfers (below).
They say you should never cook when hungry so now that your appetite is sated perhaps head to the Blue Elephant Cooking School, where you’ll learn the art of authentic Thai cuisine at the hands of experienced chefs. You’ll visit a local market with the chefs, and then learn four to five recipes during the half-day session.
Alternatively, explore the network of canals that form their own precinct on a four-hour private tour. You’ll cruise the Chao Phraya River before ducking into the canals to spy Wat Paknam Bhasicharoen in Thon Buri, visit the Klong Bangluang community, and The Artist’s House, a hidden gem for culture buffs, before finishing at an orchid farm.
For a spot of authentic Thai street food, you can’t beat renowned eatery Raan Jay Fai. The court of 73-year-old queen of Thai food Supinya ‘Jay Fai’ Junsuta, this holein- the-wall earned its way onto both the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants list and the Michelin Guide. Only available for walk-ins, the restaurant is most famous for its crab omelette (below), although the tom yum soup and stir-fried crab in yellow curry are also worth the wait, while the drunken noodles are earning cult-like status.
Walk off that omelette with a stroll through the newly opened KICH Gallery in Phloen Chit. Established by fine art printmaker ‘Kit’ Chirachaisakul, the gallery is housed in a minimalist white building that cleanses the sensory palate for what lies within. The venue’s latest exhibition is titled CAT’s Kaleidoscope: The Celebration of Imagination, by Aimi Kaiya, which delves into the possibilities between art and science.
You can also get your coffee fix at the city’s highest coffeeshop, The Other Café, which is located on the 74th floor of King Power Mahanakhon, Thailand’s tallest building (you’ll have to pay the entry fee to the tower, which costs from THB880). This sleek java joint matches minimalist steel design with innovative beverages – try the Air Max, sparkling yuzu topped with an espresso shot.
Prepare to delve into Bangkok’s nightscape with a libation at Capella’s intimate cocktail bar Stella, where the By Jove martini, with Roku gin, Tio Pepe, Mancino Secco, botanical syrup, and cucumber bitters, marries the cultures and traditions of the capital’s waterfront district.
Alternatively, the elegant Jack Bain’s Bar has reopened at 137 Pillars Suites & Residences Bangkok, with head bartender Thavon Wongyai mixing up signature libations (above) amid gentleman’s clubesque interiors by Santhaya & Associates. Try the Baan Dum, a blend of Issan Thai rum, triple sec and lime rimmed with roasted ground rice.
For one of the city’s best dining experiences you can stay close to home at Côte by Mauro Colagreco, where Michelin-recognised chef Colagreco presents a contemporary reinterpretation of traditional French and Italian riviera cuisine, paired with an impressive wine list and views across the river.
Alternatively, one of the hottest tables in town, Le Du recently topped the Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants roundup for 2023. Here, chef Thitid ‘Ton’ Tassanakajohn dishes up elegant takes on local Thai fare, executed with the precision gleaned from his time at the likes of Eleven Madison Park and Jean-Georges.
Named for the Thai word for season, the restaurant showcases local, seasonal ingredients sourced from Thai farmers with dishes like pork jowl with sweet corn, burnt onion and tribal curry; and smoked barracuda with Thai rice wine sabayon, dried chili paste, maple leaf and mulberry packed with complexity and authenticity.
Join the city’s trendy set at newcomer Gir in Thonglor, a thriving precinct of clubs, bars, and restaurants. Named for the conservation efforts at India’s Gir National Park, the bar, which is located on the 40th floor of the T-One building, is centred on the coexistence between man and nature.
The drinks menu is innovative and eclectic – the Wildfire features Wagyu fat and corn butter washed bourbon topped with Angostura bitters; while the HoChiMin Pizza is made with pizza crust-infused vodka and tomato.
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