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Where To Go, Stay, And Eat During A Two-Night Stay In Bangkok, Thailand

If you’re not a first time tourist to Bangkok; the numerous temples, reclining Buddhas, river cruises, and elephant rides may no longer spark the kind of fascination they may hold for the maiden visitor. After all, there are only so many times we want to post an Instagram of a shiny snake curled around our forearm, or of a bevy of crocodiles scrambling over each other for their live food, or develop a sense of déjà vu as we enter our fifth temple of the afternoon. The city beckons; and the urban sprawl that is Bangkok today is as alive and cosmopolitan as say, Tokyo or Hong Kong.

First order of the day is where to stay, and on this trip to Bangkok we discovered a new hotel that’s centrally located on Wireless Road, across the US Embassy, and a short walking distance from the Ploenchit BTS station on the Sukhumvit line. Hotel Indigo is a boutique hotel that has a young, hip vibe without scrimping in comfort, amenities and service. It’s a brand that exists under the IHG (the Intercontinental and Holiday Inn are the better known brands of the Group), and it’s hotel DNA is to assimilate some of the local flavor and culture of the cities where they’re located.

 


We love the inspired use of the History of Technology in the lobby, against the walls, and in the rooms—old transistor radios, celluloid movie cameras, robot clocks, and first generation home computers. There’s a quaintness that’s cool, and it makes for a refreshing change from the classic, conservative chains we're used to. Reasonably priced, I would definitely consider Indigo for any return trip to Bangkok—it’s modernity with a respectful eye to our past.

 

 

 

While much has been written about the hawker and street food of Bangkok, there also exists a host of fine dining establishments that together, have made Bangkok the unofficial culinary capital of the region. This is well established via Michelin stars and plum notices at regional culinary awards and citations; and so each visit, we make it a point to make a stop at one of these noted, well-reviewed establishments. 

If last March, it was Paste at Gaysorn Village mall which became my all-time favorite for Thai cuisine via twists on heirloom recipes and traditional dishes; this visit was reserved for Sühring, run by twin brothers Matthias and Tomas, and found in a leafy residential neighborhood that’s off the beaten path—it’s a converted house, much like Gaggan and Gaa

 

 

 

Chef Matthias Sühring, Issa Litton, and your writer



Be forewarned that Sühring is all about German cuisine; but throw out the window your concept of German food as pig’s knuckles, piles of sausages, and rich desserts and tortes. Sühring will tease and fascinate with their degustation menu that’s characterized by delicacy, refinement, and a visual aesthetic that the two brothers have winningly brought to this part of the world—and the whole culinary world has taken notice.

 

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There’s a heady mix of traditional and modern culinary techniques at play. I’ve included a photo of the menu and all 13 tasting courses; but look out for the one with green orbs, as that’s the Chicken Salad. The green orbs are the essence of lettuce and greens that pops in your mouth as you mix it with the under layer of chicken purée on a pastry shell. And you’ll love the smoked sturgeon, cured trout, and filet of sea bream dishes, as they showed a lightness without sacrificing flavors—a far cry from how we stereotype German dishes. And the three desserts! Pure genius as Matthias Sühring mixed consistencies, textures, fruits, and sorbets.

 

Chicken Salad



And what’s daytime at Bangkok without hitting the malls for shopping. At Central Embassy, a Botero horse welcomed visitors and there was a lobby display for the Chanel Holiday Collection. And if it’s bookstores with an exhilarating interior, head to the 6th floor of Central Embassy, where Open House awaits you. Terminal 21 is a medium-priced mall that’s designed to take you around the world; and I loved how one pillar on the Japan floor was decorated with sumo wrestlers. 

 

The latest art installation by Choi Jeong Hwa, ‘Fruit Tree’, is on display at Central Embassy 

 

Chanel's set up, aptly named La Pausa—Chanel’s summer house in the South of France—to showcase its Cruise 2019 collection

 

Open House

 

Our new find this trip was the Bangkok Soap Opera—an artisanal workshop of soaps and related products done via hot process, and with the most premium of ingredients, but at a very reasonable price. Maria Kalita is the super friendly and enthusiastic Ukranian proprietress; and if you catch her at the store when you visit, you will be so charmed and convinced of how she treats her business like a religion—wanting to spread the word and have us create our own soaps, and minimize the use of chemical-laden commercial products. She also preaches recycling and being sustainable; using local flowers, plants and extracts for her product lines. 

 


 

It’s no surprise that Thailand enjoyed over 35 million visitors last year—of which some 26 million visited Bangkok alone. It’s a fascinating city that’s constantly evolving and changing, and its taking its place among the great cities of the world that tourists of a broad range feel they have to visit. The bitter pill that may be hard to swallow is how we can actually learn a lot from how Bangkok has arrived at this status over the last 20 years.

 

Lead image from unsplash

Photos by Philip Cu-Unjieng