Because Bangkok is one of the more important hubs in South East Asia, chances are you get to spend some time there as you fly east (or perhaps west, if you are from Canada or the USA for instance). This is a good thing, because Bangkok is actually pretty cool. To be more precise: it’s frikkin’ awesome. Of course 24 hours in Thailand’s capital is not enough, but with my tips you’ll make the most out of it and enjoy to the max.
Bangkok is a big ass city and because you only have a few hours to go sightseeing, I suggest you focus on the old city and temple area around the Chao Phraya river. Take a boat to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, which is actually my number one in my ‘sights to see in Bangkok’ list. Take the ferry back to the other side, the old city, and visit Wat Pho, the temple of the Reclining Buddha. I know, it’s a bit of a cliché, but still quite impressive. You just have to see this. After you’re done here, you can go to the Grand Palace and Wat Prakeaw, just around the corner. Be sure not to wear short shorts and a wifebeater here.
Breakfast you’ll have in the hotel, lunch you take on the street, but for dinner I recommend Breeze, the open air Asian restaurant of the Lebua hotel (at State Tower). The restaurant is located on the 51st and 52nd floor of the building. Needless to say the view is breathtaking. Luckily also the food and service are up to scratch. If this is not high enough for you, please enjoy a gin and tonic before dinner in the famous Lebua Sky Bar on the 63 floor of the building. Don’t forget: there’s a dresscode here (both bar and restaurant).
Doing the nineties backpacker thing
Of course you’ve all seen and thoroughly enjoyed the movie The Beach. And of course you all want to see Khao San Road, which incidentally is in the same area as where you went sightseeing today (so it might actually make more sense to just see Khao San Road while you’re there). Anyway, is Khao San Road still cool? The answer is probably ‘no’, but you know… you still wanna see it. And get some streetfood and a massage while you’re there. And enjoy a terrible nineties music cover band or onemanshow in a random pub.
Of course Lebua hotel is a nice option, but perhaps you should give Eastin Grand Sathorn a chance. Located in the Sathorn district, it’s covered by the Skytrain which takes you to the river in one stop and to the MBK mall in five stops in the other direction. The view from the executive floor (32 if I’m not mistaken) and from our room on the 31st floor was quite amazing. The executive superior sky rooms are well worth it: very spacious, perfect views, great bed and awesome bathroom. The pool on the 14th floor is equally cool, although you have to be fast to get a good sunchair in the morning.
When you arrive in Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) there are a few options to go to your hotel or directly downtown. One is the Airport Link, which connects to the Sky Train. It’s quick and cheap, but not really convenient if your hotel is not located near a station. I tried Blacklane Limousines to take me from the airport to my hotel. This is an Uber-like service that allows you to book a ride – a limousine of course – directly from your smartphone. Or you can do it online (www.blacklane.com). Blacklane is a premium chauffeur service based in Europe, but they have recently started operating worldwide. And they’re doing a good job! I got picked up in a very comfortable Merc S300. Beats taking the Airport Link after 11 hours of flight. (by the way: the price was about 100 USD to get me from the airport to my hotel. I did the other way with UberBLACK which cost me about 40 USD. Obviously the car was no Merc limousine, but still a decent car.)