As an 18-year-old in a dusty bar in Bangkok I was scouted for a soap commercial, while playing blackjack by an Irish guitar player with the eventual photo shoot taking place in an Indian bar owned by a transvestite record producer. This is the kinda shit that goes down in the Thai capital. It’s no coincidence that The Hangover 2’s producers set their hearts on the city, stretching the production budget in the more bang for your buck location where the food is spicy and the characters fiery. Here are some suggestion of where to stay, people watch and drink in Bangkok.
Most currencies still extend pretty far in Thailand and the value for your money in hospitality is phenomenal. If ever you need some luxury, buy it in Bangkok. Check out The Arun Residence (36-38 Soi Pratoo Nok Yoong | Maharat Rd | Bangkok 10200, Thailand) that has what? Well, actually a view of a wat, which is a Thai temple. The Arun is close to the Chaopraya river and blends traditional Thai hospitality with luxurious touches.
Your heart raced and your palms are sweating like Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer at a pre-court hearing as you wonder ‘How can I afford this dress of your dreams?’ Well, two things don’t exist in Bangkok, silence and copywright. Take a photo of any outfit, shoe, wedding dress or otherwise on your travels and a tailor will create it and drop at your hotel. These guys are artists. At the real quality end is Tailor Pros, (Inside Somerset Lake Point Hotel 51 Nuay, Sukhumvit Road Soi 16 Klongtoey, Bangkok 10110, Thailand) so get to magazine snipping and find your dream threads.
Spa therapists in Bangkok will treat you like a piece of prime Kobe beef and massage you until you reach perfection. Spa culture in Thailand is a natural extension of the gorgeous generosity and spirit of the Thai people and the “Land of Smiles” title is rightly deserved. The spa menus give you the basics but within reason most therapists will vary the treatments to fit you perfectly. The Dahra Spa ( Dahra Beauty & Spa Silom Road 154 / 8-9Bangkok Thailand) is a jasmine scented mix of value but exquisite luxury.
For some the shine has dulled on U.S. President Obama a little, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi is like the shameful uncle who chases tail when he should be chasing his retirement and French President Sarzoky maintains that special kind of arrogance reserved only for the glorious French nation. However, whatever loose tongued jokes we make about our politicians, do not do the same for the Thai king. He is extremely revered and even a joking aside can land you in hot water. Show respect and save your funnies for the flight home.
PEOPLE WATCH and EAT:
I’ve sweated over peanuts like a crazed monkey but never been able to recreate the curries of the Blue Elephant ( Blue Elephant Building 233 South Sathorn Road, Kwaeng Yannawa, Khet Sathorn, Bangkok 10120, Thailand). Thnkfully, it’s not uncommon to pay the cheque then slip next door and book into a Blue Elephant cookery class for the next day. For a great skyline view though there isn’t anything close to The Dome at lebua ( 1055 Silom Road Bangrak, Bangkok 10500 Thailand), a collection of restaurants over the city scape. You are over 50 floors from the ground but you never escape Bangkok’s dull roar of erratic driving, steaming woks and if a bus goes by with a photo of an overly made up 18-year-old urging you to get “squeaky clean” with some soap, well, that aint me …
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