Luxurious Adventure in Southeast Asia
Bangkok is a city of delightful contrasts and contradictions. Here, ancient temples reside in the shadow of skyscrapers, street food vendors toss noodles outside extravagant fine-dining establishments, and night markets stand adjacent to glass-fronted shopping malls. If you like adventure and variety, you’ve come to the right place.
You could visit a wat every single day for a year and still not manage to see every temple Bangkok has to offer. If we had to pick a favorite, though, it would be Wat Arun. The Temple of Dawn, as it’s also known, has a design that’s noticeably distinct from the city’s other wats: an arrangement of white spires adorned with decorative porcelain tiles that twinkle in the sun. The best time to visit is first thing in the morning, before the temperature and the influencers begin to feel stifling.
At 137 Pillars each suite comes with its own wine cellar, butler service, a personal cell phone and a giant spherical bathtub even shower people will appreciate. If you’re jet lagged and struggling to wind down, try the hotel’s “sleep by design therapy” – a holistic treatment incorporating gentle front-body massage, aromatherapy oils, reiki and a techy headset that plays calming audio and visual recordings. If that doesn’t do the trick head to the roof and swim laps under the moon; 137 Pillars’ infinity pool is open 24/7 to suite guests.
Situated on the rooftop of the Banyan Tree Hotel, Vertigo Restaurant and Moon Barhave perfect cityscape views from every angle. Make your way to the 61st floor for sunset and sip cocktails as the sky pinkens. You’ll see Bangkok anew after night falls, when temples gleam under golden spotlights and tuk tuks zip past packed street markets below. If you’re in the mood for a bite, grab a table at adjoining seafood restaurant Vertigo, and don’t forget to ask one of the servers for a photo; they illuminate the scene using table lamps to create a shot worth printing.
In an alley adjoining a starkly lit dining room, one of Bangkok’s most celebrated chefs works over two giant woks. Her name is Jay-Fai, and she’s the eponymous owner of the only street food spot in Bangkok to be awarded a Michelin star. The 74 year old (who you might recognize from the Netflix show "Street Food") dons oversized plastic goggles as she whips up her own gastronomic inventions: fluffy-as-a-cloud omelette stuffed with silky crab meat, slightly smokey “drunken noodles” that melt on your tongue and a unique tom kha soup that’s somehow prepared dry while retaining its spicy-sour deliciousness. If you didn’t email to book and don’t fancy waiting an entire day for a table, stroll a few doors down and try some of the city’s best noodles at Thipsamai Pad Thai.
You’d be remiss to visit Bangkok and not get at least one massage. For a more high-end experience book the Royal Thai Massage at PAÑPURI WELLNESS – a clean beauty spa and wellbeing haven with its own Japanese-style onsen. The treatment is a traditional blend of targeted bodywork and assisted stretching designed to loosen the muscles, leaving you thoroughly floaty and chilled. Afterwards, decompress in the wellness bar with a veg-centric snack or a healthy elixir before heading back out into the city.