One day (and night) in Bangkok

A mass of contradictions, Bangkok is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Whether you’re there for business or pleasure, and interested in the old or the new, there’s more than enough to keep you busy, no matter how long (or short) your stay.

Photo: Shangri La

A five-star dream

The five-star Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok is one of the most luxurious in the city. Occupying a prime position on the bank of the Chao Phraya river, enjoy the height of luxury in any of its 802 rooms and suites that offer a mix of traditional Thai style and modern comfort, and spacious balconies to maximize the sumptuous waterfront views.

Rolling down the river

Like many of the world’s greatest cities, Bangkok is built on the banks of a river. For this reason, a trip to the capital is never complete without a cruise along the banks of the Chao Phraya that cuts through the city, before flowing out into the Gulf of Thailand. The best way to make the most of it, is to enjoy an evening buffet dinner cruise from the luxury five star Shangri-La, a magnificent hotel set on the banks of the “River of Kings.” The superb Horizon Cruise offers breathtaking views as you gently meander for two hours through the city after sunset. Tuck into a sumptuous international buffet and refreshing beverages in the comfort of an air-conditioned cabin and on the open-air deck, as Bangkok treats you to an unforgettable display of illuminations, that include the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), the Golden Rama Bridge and the Royal Palace. The cruise departs from directly outside the Shangri-La at 7.30 each evening, Monday through Sunday.

Photo: Shangri La

By royal appointment

An easy, 20-minute ride from the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok* lies the city’s most recognizable landmark and the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom, the Grand Palace. Originally constructed in 1782, you could easily spend an entire day in wonder at the intricacy of the detail and the awesomeness of this incredible building. Still home to the Thai King and the administrative seat of government, the Grand Palace is a maze of fine architecture and holy significance.

Shop till you drop

From the most celebrated designers, to craft markets helping keep Thai artisanship alive, Bangkok has peerless shopping possibilities to suit every taste and budget. If it’s designer chic you’re after, head for the sumptuous Siam Paragon, a heaven for serious credit-card bashers that oozes luxury from the minute you walk through the door. Other high-end malls to head for include Central World, and the King Power Complex and the latest addition, the stunning riverside -ICONSIAM complex. Situated almost opposite the Shangri-La Hotel, Bangkok, this mixed-use space features some of the best shopping and entertainment in the city and is set to become a true Bangkok landmark. At the other end of the scale an abundance of street markets offer all the sights and smells that make them such a quintessential part of life in the city. If your schedule permits, the Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest of its kind in the world, is the one to check out.

Photo: Shangri La

The answer to your prayers

Each with their own architectural stamp, Bangkok’s temples are key to understanding the history and culture of the Thai people. Wat Phra Kaew, (“Temple of The Emerald Buddha”), housed within the walls of the Grand Palace, contains the deeply revered Emerald Buddha, dating back to the 14th century. Lying majestically on the river bank almost opposite the Grand Palace is Wat Arun (“Temple of Dawn”), perhaps Bangkok’s most iconic place of worship. For some of the best views of the city, it’s well worth taking the climb up the steps of the main tower. The other “must-see,” Wat Pho (“Temple of the Reclining Buddha”) is named after an Indian monastery where Buddha reputedly lived. It housed the first ever Thai massage school, and remains a place of study to this day.

Wat Phra Kaew

Hit the heights

Rooftop bars are a stunning feature of many a city, and Bangkok is no exception. Fortunately, the Thai capital has plenty to choose from, whether you’re after a breathtaking ariel glimpse of the skyline, the River of Kings, or simply the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most contrasting cities. Among the most noteworthy are the aptly named 61st floor Vertigo, Above Eleven in the upmarket Sukhumvit district, the Cru Champagne Bar at CentralWorld, or, for something a bit -funkier, the Escape offers the chance to do just that!


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