“Oh sorry, I can’t join you on the ride, I’m going to Bangkok for the weekend.” When I uttered those words, I looked around to see if someone else said them, because I’m really just not that cool. Seriously – read that sentence aloud and you’ll see that it makes you feel like a total baller. Like, chest puffed out, strutting around like George Jefferson – you are living large, my friend!
It’s just a quick hop to Bangkok from Malaysia, so my friend, Jays, and I decided to indulge in a weekend of eating, exploring and shopping. Little did we know that we’d also be fulfilling our destinies to be international women of mystery.
Well, maybe not quite that, but that’s how Bangkok makes you feel since its mix of affordable luxury, exotic nightlife, ornate temples, steamy, bustling markets and futuristic urban vibrancy convince you that you were born to rock this crazy city.
If you’d like to feel like a total badass and experience the glamorous, adventurous life you were meant to lead, here are some great things that will make a fabulous weekend in Bangkok:
Have dinner at Namsaah Bottling Trust
Soi 7, 401 Si Lom, Silom, Bang Rak
Open the door to this quirky, cozy pink house nestled between skyscrapers in the Soi 7 Silom neighborhood and you’re suddenly transported to a burlesque club in the 1860s (minus the dancing girls with sparkly things twirling from their mangoes). The Namsaah Bottling Trust is a hidden gem and culinary treasure. The imaginative, luscious adult beverages will leave you swinging from their ostrich-feather chandeliers, and the inventive Thai fusion food will make you gasp with joy. As your waiter walks past the glowing pink bar draped with thick gold-fringed curtains and serves your salmon wanton tacos while you gracefully repose on your red velvet couch sipping a tamarind-chili mojito, you’ll wonder when the paparazzi will be arriving to take your photo.
Hop a boat to the Asiatique Night Market
Winding its way through Bangkok, the Chao Phraya River used be a busy transportation artery for Thai merchants. Nowadays, hotel boats draped with twinkling lights and small ferries take awed visitors to various riverfront temples, markets, restaurants and attractions. Hop on one of the free boats to the Asiatique Night Market, which is the newest and most upscale open-air market in Bangkok. The vendor’s prices are so affordable that you’ll be buying all the silk scarves, pashminas, sundresses and bags that your arms can hold, and you’ll still have plenty of baht left over for dinner at one of the cute waterfront eateries.
Visit Chatuchak weekend market
With its 9,000 individual vendors, you can find pretty much anything on earth at the Chatuchak market, but note that it’s only open on weekends. It’s the largest market in all of Thailand. Want a life-size bronze dolphin fountain that costs about as much as a speeding ticket in your home country? Gotcha covered. A full set of gorgeous handmade stainless steel utensils for roughly the cost of a pair of shoes? Sure. Designer jewelry? Yep. Need to buy enough antique Buddhas to fill a monastery? No problem. This place makes you feel like the world is your oyster. (Especially when you get a delicious foot massage in the middle of your shopping extravaganza).
What Wat Where?
Before you get carried away with your new life as a trendsetting globetrotter, ground yourself and be enveloped in peace by visiting some of the most beloved wats in Thailand. Many are within close range of each other, like the ceramic mosaic-encrusted Wat Arun, which is just across the river from Wat Pho, which houses the giant, golden reclining Buddha.
Have breakfast or high tea at the Peninsula Hotel
333 Charoennakorn Road, Klongsan
Walking down the beautifully landscaped path leading to the Peninsula, you’ll quickly realize that you’ve never seen so many orchids in your entire life. Not just in one place…like cumulatively, over the course of your whole life. Giant sprays of purple and white dendrobiums and sunny yellow cattleyas compete for attention everywhere you look. There are also beautiful little idyllic nooks in quiet corners of the Peninsula where you could spend the whole day sipping tea, planning your next massage, watching the boats float down the river and fantasizing about having your own private butler named Jeeves.
Have drinks on top of Bangkok at the Banyan Tree Hotel
Thaiwah S Sathorn Rd, Thung Maha Mek, Sathon
Have you ever been to a concert and got a contact high from all the people nearby smoking pot? Having a cosmo at the Vertigo and Moon Bar on top of the Banyan Tree Hotel will make you feel kickass by association – kind of a like a contact high of coolness. The sweeping 360 views of Bangkok and the glowing bar contribute to that mesmerizing sensation. The tinkling laughter of bejeweled, fresh-off-the-catwalk, stilettoed models lures you in and makes you feel like one of them. Then, as you toss your hair in the lemongrass-scented breeze, the wafting waves of EDM music will gently pulsate through your brain and hypnotically lull you into believing that you’re 6 inches taller, as fit as a superhero, and a solid candidate for an elite spy agency. Yes, this is the magic of Bangkok.
This beautiful fantasy lasts up until the moment you reach the airport and catch a glimpse of your passport photo. You will stare in disbelief at the snapshot of yourself looking like a slightly startled collector of preserved kidneys. “Who is that person?! I’m way more fabulous than that!” you’ll gasp in horror.
So book a ticket, grab the tiger’s tail and hold on because you’re about to rule Bangkok like the rockstar that you are. Go get it and enjoy, my fabulous friends!