One Night in Bangkok… – TravelMole true

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One Night in Bangkok…

Monday, 12 Feb, 2008 0

If you’re wise to traffic and public transportation, 24 hours in Bangkok can get you more than just a smattering of sensory experiences. Here are our 6 am-to-6 am recommendations:

Early-bird it down to Lumpini Park to observe the dawn rituals of Bangkok’s fittest: synchronised tai chi-enthusiasts, joggers and roller-bladers, aerobics participants and weight lifters in the outdoor gym. Later on come the badminton players and star-crossed lovers, but you’ll be long gone by then.

For a quick breakfast bite, join legions of scrubbed-up office workers in nearby Silom Road for some café yen (iced coffee) and a tantalising roti at Roti Boy on Silom Road, right outside the skytrain exit (although rumours abound that punters are paid to stand in line here).

What next? If it’s the weekend, now is the time to venture out to Chatuchak weekend market (Mo Chit skytrain station; Mo Chit underground station) as crowds, heat and general chaos are at a minimum. Or, take a skytrain to Saphan Taksin (or a taxi to Wat Po pier), where longtail boats cost around USD 9 for a 90-minute boat ride through Bangkok’s riverside villages – a total eye-opener for those interested in seeing remnants of rural, riverine Bangkok. Another a.m. option is the floating markets, either Damnoen Saduak (appallingly touristy, but open weekdays) or Taling Chan (on the Thonburi side of the river, weekends only, less crowded), both uniquely Bangkok. There’s also the Flower Market, a perennial 24-hour jam of fresh flowers picked from all reaches of Thailand. Taxis/concierges can direct to any of the above.

Come lunchtime, the options are many. If you’re keen for Indian food, Little India, with its mélange of fabrics, spices, incense and jewellery, is on the brink of Chinatown and somewhat close to the river. Back in Silom is Somtam Hai on Convent Road: crunchy somtam (papaya salad), great laab (minced salads – fish option is super) and moo yang (grilled pork neck) – all clean, unbeatable Isaan grub.

By afternoon, the sun is high and air-conditioning beckons: if you are going to hit Bangkok’s mega-malls, now is the time to do it. Take the skytrain down to Siam Square and duck into high-end Siam Paragon or Siam Discovery, or bargain-friendly Siam Centre and MBK.

To rest your feet, catch a matinee in Gold/Platinum Class at any of the above malls: plush remote control recliners and blankets are pure red-carpet treatment at around USD 10! Take your tea in five-star style at The Oriental, Peninsula (there’s also an imaginative Chocolate Bar here) or the Four Seasons, all of which lay it on thick for a price that wouldn’t get you a sandwich and a cuppa back home.

Next, receive some serious stretching with a good old-fashioned, semisadistic Thai massage. Parlours abound (some of them questionable), but our favourites are King’s Massage in Thaniya Plaza and Ruan Nuad on Convent Road (see Down-time Spas).

Sadly, Bangkok’s nightlife is more fling than affair, so get an early start. Consult our recommendations on the following pages for drinks/dining, and make sure you fit in either Moon Bar or Sky Bar; there’s no disputing that Bangkok’s best side is as seen from above.

Though the bars might close early, you’ll never go hungry: late-night appetites are sated at one of many street-food areas. If you don’t mind a bit of CO² with your kwait yao gai (chicken noodle soup), Sukhumvit’s Soi 38 offers terrific variety – soups and satays, plus a killer cow moo and mango/sticky rice. Silom-siders have Yong Herh Soya Milk Restaurant (2/5 Silom Soi 19), a petite, casual Northern Chinese eatery famed for its homemade soya milk, xiaolongbao (steamed pork/beef dumplings, serving size: eight) and legendary hand-made noodles.

By Peter Myers & Jane Teeling

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