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  • 1. BANGKOK GUIDE YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS www.asiawebdirect.com Cultural phenomenon, shopping haven and tourist treasure. Welcome to Bangkok; one of the most cosmopolitan, contrasting and, above all, compelling of Asian cities. A steamy, pulsating, yet smiling metropolis of more than ten million souls – intense at first, but addictive as anything. Come find your niche among dazzling temples, hotels of every type and size, eclectic markets, gleaming palaces, ritzy shopping malls, a famous nightlife and the many things in between. Enjoy a memorable dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River. Bask in the city’s warm, affluent glow at a skyscraping rooftop bar. Experience all the things – a tuk­tuk ride, a ladyboy show, Muay Thai (kickboxing) match, Thai massage – everyone always comes home talking about.WEATHER Bangkok has a tropical monsoon climate and holds claim to being the hottest city in the world. Sitting close to the equator, it is both hot and SIM CARDS AND DIALING PREFIXES humid in equal measure, is unrelenting simply because it doesnt cool significantly at night. Pre­paid SIM cards are available for purchase at most convenience stores (you will find 7­Elevens everywhere) as well as the service The period between April and May is the steamiest (avg. 25­35° C). operators’ shops – DTAC, AIS and TRUE – located inside shopping The Southwest monsoons arrive between May and October, and with it malls. To make a call to a landline within Bangkok, dial 02 then the pouring rain and thunderstorms – for many, though, this is a welcome seven­digit number. Making a call outside Bangkok requires a three­digit respite. area code, starting with 0, the area code, then the six­digit number. Calls between mobile phones require the three­digit prefix (08x), followed by http://www.bangkok.com/weather.htm the seven­digit subscriber number. CURRENCY Thai baht (THB). US$1 = approximately THB 30.00 You’ll find the current conversion rate at the top of the Bangkok.com web site. GETTING AROUND TIME ZONE Bangkok’s traffic is notorious, particularly during the rush hours when road transport should be avoided at all costs. Better alternatives are the GMT+7 (the same as Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam). Skytrain (BTS) and Underground (MRT) rail systems (06:30­midnight), together connecting the main shopping, entertainment and business areas of the city. Consider buying a one­day BTS pass, which may help save you a few baht, or a store­value Smart Card, for the sake of ELECTRICITY convenience. Voltage is 220 Volts with either two flat blades (NEMA 1­15 Taxis are ubiquitous, while tuk­tuks – once an icon of Bangkok – are fast or JIS C 8303) or round two pin plugs (Europlug CEE 7/16). disappearing from the streets; simply hail one from anywhere along the pavement, but be careful not to block the on­coming traffic. For sightseeing along the riverside, the river ferries and express boats (06:00­20:00) come in handy. Start your journey at the Sathorn PierIMPORTANT PHONE NUMBERS (BTS Saphan Taksin), then hop on and off at whichever point you like.­ Police 191 http://www.bangkok.com/information­travel­around/­ Tourist Police 1155­ Ambulance 1554­ Fire 199 AIRPORT TRANSFERS­ Samitivej Hospital 02 711 8000 All road transport to downtown Bangkok is located on the 1st Floor. The­ Bumrungrad International Hospital 02 667 1000 Airport Link (06:00 ­ midnight) is the fastest mode (Express Line takes­ Medical Emergency 1669 only 15mins), while taxis require an additional 50 baht on top of the meter fee and expressway tolls. Running a fixed route to four downtown­ Operator­assisted overseas calls 100 areas, namely Silom, Sukhumvit, Khao San or Hualamphong (Central­ Directory Assistance 1133, 13 Train Station), the Airport Express Bus (05:00­midnight) is the cheapest way to go.­ Airport Flight Schedules 1566 If cost is not your main concern, then why not save the trouble and use­ Traffic Hotline 1197 the airport limousine service (24 hours)? You can book one in advance­ Immigration 1111 through the Bangkok.com website or, upon arrival, locate the nearest service counter in the arrival hall (2nd Floor). http://www.bangkok.com/airports.htm
  • 2. BANGKOK GUIDEYOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE www.asiawebdirect.comFROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515BANGKOK AREA GUIDESCovering an area of 1,500 sqkm, the greater Bangkok Metropolis fits into the ‘big city’ league with ease. Add to that an estimated ten million inhabitants, morethan 30,000 taxis and an ever-increasing number of tourists, and you’ll soon realise that getting to grips with such a vast concrete jungle is no easy feat,especially if you’re a first-time visitor. This is where our Area Guides come in pretty handy… 1.Sukhumvit The longest road in Thailand, both it and its many adjoining sois (sub-streets) are poor on traditional tourist attractions but rich in of-the-minute shopping, eating and nightlife. While there are touches of Thai-ness on every corner, the many fashionable restaurants, bars, air-conditioned malls, luxury hotels and hip clubs give the area a distinctly modern, cosmopolitan, aspirational flavour. Some of the citys most ‘sinful’ spots, red- light districts Nana Plaza (Soi 4) and Soi Cowboy (off Soi 23) are also found here. The elevated Skytrain (BTS) helps make exploring its daunting options incredibly easy. 2.Siam Siam is unquestionably the centre of shopping in Bangkok, home to some of the citys most popular and important shopping centres like MBK Center, Siam Discovery Center, Siam Center, and Siam Paragon. Within Siam Square itself, there is a wide range of shops and services, including restaurants, cafés, designer clothing boutiques, record stores, cinemas, bookshops, a Hard Rock Cafe, hotels and banks. Shoppers vary, from young-aged school and college students to office workers, trend-setting city dwellers and, of course, throngs of tourists. 3.Silom Who would have thought that an empty, swamp-like field with a tall silom (windmill) stuck in the middle would somehow become Bangkoks equivalent to New Yorks Wall Street? Today, Silom (by day anyway) is undoubtedly one of the citys most important financial districts with many bank headquarters, financial institutions and office buildings. Fine hotels, smaller type malls and great restaurants abound in the area too – and then of course theres the infamous nightlife scene of Patpong. 4.Riverside Bangkoks riverside is where its historic roots lie; the traditional heartland of this magical city with origins that read like an epic novel – complete with fallen and rising Kingdoms, heroes and traitors. One of the most fascinating and scenic areas of Bangkok, the riverside reflects a constantly changing scene day and night; water-taxis ferrying commuters and heavily laden rice barges chugging upstream, set against a backdrop of glittering temples and palaces, historical landmarks and luxury, five-star hotels. Despite some condominiums and corporate towers that have risen from the river banks over the past decade or so, the area has retained its unique identity, exclusiveness and seductive charm. 5.Khao San and Old City The Old City (Rattanakosin) is where youll find Bangkoks most spectacular and revered historical attractions, among them The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho. Not only part of the Kingdoms rich past, but intrinsic to it, a day or two spent exploring here will give you a deep insight into the heart, soul and psyche of the Thai people. Part of the Old City, Khao San’s 500-metre long strip – dubbed backpacker’s street – is jam-packed with budget guesthouses, internet cafés, swanky bars and clubs, restaurants, massage parlours, travel agents, bookshops, market stalls, tattoo shops and much, much more. 6.Chinatown Packed with market stalls, street-side restaurants, shrines, Chinese medicine stores and probably the greatest concentration of gold shops in the city, Chinatown is an experience not to miss. After sunset, the entire strip becomes a food haven for new-generation gourmands who flock here to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine. The energy that oozes from its endless rows of wooden shop-houses is plain contagious – it will keep you wanting to come back for more. Plan your visit during major festivals, like Chinese New Year and the annual vegetarian festival in October, and you will see Bangkok Chinatown at its best. More at http://www.bangkok.com/bangkok-area-guide.htm
  • 3.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 BEST LUXURY HOTELS  1.The Peninsula Bangkok, Riverside  There  are  probably  not  enough  walls  in  all  of  this  uber-elegant  hotel  to  hang  the  awards  it  has reeled in since opening in 1998. At Bangkok’s postcard-pretty Riverside, The Peninsula proudly lives up to the reputation this global   luxury  hospitality  group  has  earned  the  world  over.  The  indulging  of  guests  starts  from  the  moment they check in and, frankly, never stops. A well-deserved place for a nothing less than sumptuous treat. http://www.bangkok.com/peninsula/  2.Grand Hyatt Erawan, Chidlom-Ploenchit  This prestigious five-star hotel is as famous for its exemplary service and culinary offerings as its location right next to the  sacred  Erawan  Shrine  and  the  BTS  Skywalk.  The  hotel’s  380  rooms  and  suites boast an elegant, modern     ambience,  complemented  by  sweeping  views  of  the  cityscape  or  landscaped  pool  from  the  panoramic  windows. Dining  is  a  big  highlight,  with  seven  gourmet  restaurants  and  bars  topping  the  city’s  dining  hotspots  chart. For guests, the resort-style i.sawan residential spa and club is the best part of the Grand Hyatt Erawan experience. http://www.bangkok.com/hyatterawan/  3.Sukhothai Hotel Bangkok, Sathorn  Renowned  for  exquisite  taste  and  service  that  goes  far  beyond  the  call  of duty, expect beautifully stylised interiors with  rare  artifacts,  reams  of  exotic  silk  covering  windows,  and  lily  ponds  that  have been featured as backdrops for   fashion shoots. And that’s just a small tease! Enter the guestrooms and you’ll be bowled over by the sheer elegance of this good-taste experience. http://www.bangkok.com/sukhothai/ BEST BOUTIQUE HOTELS  1.Hansar Bangkok Hotel, Siam  In the middle of a bustling city full of sights and sounds, a haven of elegance, sophistication and exceptional comfort – welcome to Hansar Bangkok. Look up ivy-trimmed edges stretching upwards into the sky, the lights from Bangkok   city streets reflecting off flashes of glass and chrome. Unrivalled in architectural elegance and timeless style, Hansar Bangkok  is  a  monument  of  iconic  design  rising  up  through  the  Bangkok  skyline,  and  your  gateway to discovering what this unforgettable city really has to offer.  http://www.bangkok.com/hansar-bangkok-hotel/  2.Davinci Suites, Sukhumvit This  boutique  hotel  houses  just  15  rooms,  each  elegantly  adorned  with  stylish interiors and equipped with modern conveniences  such  as  Wi-Fi  and  cable  TV.  The  colonial-style  building  and  its  high  ceilings  are reminiscent of a     European hotel, with its distinct warmth and use of Da Vinci art on the walls enhancing the feeling of originality and exclusivity to the property. http://www.bangkok.com/davinci/  3.Mystic Place Rooms in Bangkok, Chatuchak  Embracing a quirky interior design concept, Mystic Place is a welcome surprise. Vivid colours, street art and free-form furniture pieces all add up to spice up the interiors. Each guestroom is individually decked out in various imaginative   themes,  including  vintage  country,  boudoir  chic,  pop  art,  street  graffiti,  illusion  and  wacky  art.  Exuding  an  equally artsy vibe, Mystic Café makes for an ideal lounging and dining space. The BTS Saphan Kwai is a short stroll from the hotel, and Chatuchak Weekend Market just one Skytrain station away. http://www.bangkok.com/mystic-place/ More at http://www.bangkok.com/top10-hotels.htm 
  • 4. BANGKOK GUIDEYOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE www.asiawebdirect.comFROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515BEST BUDGET HOTELS 1.Lub d Bangkok, Silom Raw industrial chic – exposed steel and brushed concrete – fills this trendy hostel in Silom. The result is funky and comfy: super clean dorms with big beds and private lockers, twin rooms with bunk beds, double rooms with en-suites. Free public internet, a café and a cosy TV area heighten the appeal of this amiable alternative to the traditional backpacker dive. http://www.bangkok.com/lub-d-hotel/ 2.Take A Nap Hotel, Silom What happens when you combine 30 basic rooms, a location near Silom and eye-catching pop-art? ‘Take a Nap’, Bangkok’s trailblazing boutique inn, is what happens. Each room and dorm sports a funky one-off wall design, styles ranging from hyper-real evocations of the Grand Palace to kitsch depictions of fairytale forests. Flamboyant and functional. http://www.bangkok.com/take-a-nap/ 3.Rambuttri Village Inn, Khao San Ideally located a few minutes’ walk from the world-famous Khao San Road and Thailand’s leading historical sites, places of tourism called ’Rattanakosin Island’. Rambuttri Village Inn offers its guests a superb location whether your pleasure be shopping, entertaining, dining or simply exploring Bangkok. One of the latest and most beautiful guesthouses in this area, Rambuttri Village Inn has an enviable modern Oriental-style architecture and landscaped garden. Guests will enjoy staying in the resort-style guesthouse at budget prices. http://www.bangkok.com/rambuttri-village-inn/BEST SERVICED APARTMENTS 1.Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok, Riverside Towering above Bangkoks legendary Chao Phraya River, with sweeping cityscapes from its oversized windows, the five-star Chatrium Suites Bangkok hotel features luxury accommodations designed expressly to meet needs of discerning business and leisure travellers. Its riverside location was carefully chosen to afford ready access to road, Skytrain and boat transport, assuring that all points of the city are within reach, from the major thoroughfares of Silom, Sathorn and Rama III roads to expressway links that make Suvarnabhumi International Airport a mere 45- minute drive away. http://www.bangkok.com/chatrium-hotel-riverside/ 2.Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Sukhumvit A landscaped garden in one of Bangkoks most vibrant areas provides a sense of privacy for the urban dweller. Offering a stylish option for modern city living, the luxurious 163 serviced apartments, comprising studio to three- bedroom feature contemporary living rooms, fully-equipped kitchens and expansive en-suite bedrooms. All apartments are enhanced with tech-savvy services from high-speed broadband internet access, online concierge, and MP3 connectivity to a high-end entertainment system for business or pleasure. http://www.bangkok.com/fraser-sukhumvit/ 3.Rongratana Executive Residence, Chidlom-Ploenchit Set on tree-lined Soi Lang Suan, this 22-unit property exudes an air of European elegance with a contemporary twist. The interiors feature subdued colour tones that feel sophisticated and warm. Rooms are spacious and fully furnished with an equipped kitchen, floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows and plush fittings. Facilities include a rooftop pool, Jacuzzi, coffee shop, and fitness centre. The BTS Chidlom and Ratchadamri are 5-10 minutes away on foot. http://www.bangkok.com/rongratana-executive-residence/ More at http://www.bangkok.com/top10-hotels.htm
  • 5. BANGKOK GUIDEYOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE www.asiawebdirect.comFROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515WHAT TO SEE IN BANGKOKBangkok began as a small trading centre and port community on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River some 200 yearsago. Today, while the city is up to speed with modern times, the grandeur and glory of its illustrious past still prevails. Be itdazzling temples, spectacular palaces, a world­famous floating market or colourful Chinatown, each of these famous placeshas an intriguing story to tell. 1. Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaew, Old City A dazzling site from afar, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew command respect from all who have walked in their sacred grounds. Built in 1782, the Grand Palace continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail. Wat Phra Kaew enshrines the highly revered Buddha image Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), carved from a single block of jade, dating from the 15th century AD. Open: 08:30­15:30 Location: Between Wat Pho and the Royal Field How to get there: taxi 2. Chinatown (Yaowarat) Chinatown is a colourful, exotic and pleasingly chaotic area, packed with market stalls and probably the highest concentration of gold shops in the city. During major festivities like Chinese New Year and the Vegetarian Festival, the dynamism and spirit of celebration spreads across town like wildfire, and if you happen to be around, don’t miss an opportunity to witness Bangkok Chinatown at its best. Location: Yaowarat Road MRT: Hua Lamphong How to get there: taxi or MRT then walk five mins. 3. Floating Market, Damnoen Saduak The pioneer of all floating markets, Damnoen Saduak continues to offer an authentic experience despite its increasingly touristy atmosphere. Imagine hundreds of wooden row boats floating by, each laden to the brim with farm­fresh fruit, vegetables or flowers. Food vendors fill their vessels with cauldrons and charcoal grills, ready to whip up a bowl of ‘boat noodles’ or seafood skewers upon request. Location: Ratchaburi Province How to get there: best to book a tour, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 4. Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), Riverside Constructed during the first half of the 19th century by King Rama II, in the ancient Khmer style, the stupa (or ‘Prang’ in Thai), showcasing ornate floral pattern decked out in glazed porcelain, is even more stunning up close. Apart from its beauty, Wat Arun symbolises the birth of the Rattanakosin Period and the founding of the new capital after Ayutthaya fell. Contrary to what its name suggests, the temple appears most beautiful at sunset. Open: 8:30­17:00 ­ Location: Thonburi ­ How to get there: river taxi to Tien Pier, then cross the river via ferry 5. Wat Pho, Old City There’s more to Wat Pho than the gigantic reclining Buddha and traditional Thai massage. Once a centre for public education during the reign of King Rama III, Wat Pho harbours a fascinating collection of murals, inscriptions and sculptures that delve into various subjects, from warfare to literature, astronomy to archaeology. The vast temple complex contains a landscaped garden with stone sculptures, stupas adorned with glazed porcelain, a souvenir shop and the College of Traditional Medicine. Open: 8:00­18:00 ­ Location: Sanam Chai Rd. ­ How to get there: Taxi or river taxi to Tien Pier 6. Chao Phraya River & Waterways, Riverside The areas from Wat Arun to Phra Sumeru Fortress are home to some of the oldest settlements in Bangkok, particularly Bangkok Noi, where you can still revel in the charming ambience of stilt houses and markets flanking the complex waterways. One of the most scenic areas, the riverside reflects a constantly changing scene day and night: water­taxis ferrying commuters and heavily laden rice barges chugging upstream, set against a backdrop of glittering temples, historical landmarks and luxury, five­star hotels. Open (river taxis): 06:00­20:00 ­ Location: start from Sathorn Pier (Central Pier) ­ Book tour: call +66 (0)2 651 9515 7. Jim Thompson’s House, Siam Jim Thompson’s three decades of dedication to the revival of Thai silk, then a dying art, changed the the industry forever. After he mysteriously disappeared into the jungles of Malaysia, he left a legacy behind, which is reflected through his vast collections of Thai art and antiques now on display at the Jim Thompson’s House and Museum, itself a lovely complex of six Thai­style teakwood houses preserved to their original glory. Open: 09:00­18:00 - Location: Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd. - BTS: National Stadium 8. Vimanmek Mansion, Old City Once the royal residence of King Rama V, Vimanmek Mansion is an architectural marvel – the entire structure is fashioned entirely from gold teakwood without using a single nail. The interiors resemble a living museum, where you can walk through (under strict guidance) some of the rooms and marvel at a treasure trove of rare arts and furniture pieces from the early Rattanakosin Period – all belonging to the late king. Open: 08:30 until 16:30 (Tues­Sat), last tickets 15:30 Location: Rajavithee Road How to get there: taxi More at http://www.bangkok.com/attraction/
  • 6. BANGKOK GUIDEYOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE www.asiawebdirect.comFROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515WHAT TO DO IN BANGKOKSights, sounds and smells? Does it enlighten, enrich and entertain? The following Top 10 Tours in Bangkok have beenselected based on these factors. When it came to the crunch, the best not only offer insight into what makes Bangkok one ofthe most exciting Asian cities – be it culture, history or back-to-nature – but are also … well, fun. And who are we to judge?Simply put, we’ve tried them all, that’s how. 1.Bangkok City, Temples & Grand Palace Old City – Tour Duration: 3hrs 30mins Bangkok has hundreds of temples, each with thousands of reflective surfaces that dazzle. But this particular tour is a must-do because it introduces you to three of Bangkok’s most dazzling – Wat Trimitr, Wat Pho and Wat Benjabophit. What’s more? It also takes you to Thailand’s foremost religious site: The Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 2.Ayutthaya Tour by River Sun Cruise Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya – Tour Duration: 8hrs Some tours are jam-packed with facts, sights and history – so much that you barely have a moment to yourself. This day trip to Ayutthaya, Siam’s war-ravaged former capital, has plenty of substance but doesn’t test your staying power. A morning spent exploring temple ruins is followed by an afternoon on board a luxury cruiser – all that’s left to do is laze happily on deck, with only the memories, river breezes and Bangkok’s bristling skyline for company. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 3.Siam Niramit Ratchadapisek – Tour Duration: 5hrs Packing all the splendour of the Land of Smiles into an 80-minute stage show is no easy task. But Siam Niramit succeeds – and spectacularly. How so? Try the world’s biggest stage, a cast of hundreds, and bags of Thai finesse. The first act describes how Siam became a crossroads where civilisations met, the second how karma binds the Thai people, the last how religious ceremony earns Thais merit in this life. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 4.River Kwai Tour including Long-tail Boat Kanchanaburi – Tour Duration: 10hrs There’s more to the River Kwai than solemn WWII sights. And this tour around Kanchanaburi, a lush, unspoilt province bordering Burma, proves it. Visits to the Death Railway, the Bridge over the River Kwai and the memorial museum, are tastefully juxtaposed with thrilling doses of back-to-nature: undulating mountains, rugged landscapes, as well as activities like elephant rides and tiger temples. Very few tours manage such a gratifying combo, both thought-provoking and adventurous. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 5.Candle light Dinner by Grand Pearl Cruise Riverside – Tour Duration: 2hrs 30mins Experience the Chao Phraya River by candlelight. After being welcomed aboard with a cocktail, youll be in awe of the architectural beauty of passing sights like Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew. After dining on a lavish Thai and international buffet, relax under the stars and moonlight. A live band will perfect the mood, before you reach Rama VIII Bridge and turn back for one last glimpse at Bangkoks time-honoured temples. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 6.Thonburi Klongs combined Grand Palace Riverside, Old City – Tour Duration: 5hrs Bangkok’s ‘klongs’ (canals) aren’t mere remnants of the past. Many are still functioning transport arteries that play a significant role in city life. This morning tour focuses on the more scenic waterways of Thonburi. A long-tail boat glides you past floating kitchens, mobile shops and all kinds of colourful river scenery, before stopping at the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun). The trip ends with the Royal Barges Museum. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 7.Ayutthaya Day Trip Ayutthaya – Tour Duration: 9hrs An easy day trip out of Bangkok, this tour kicks off with a visit to Bang Pa-In, the spectacular Summer Palace, followed by a lazy boat trip across the Chao Phraya River, and finally to the island of Ayutthaya, the Kingdom of Siams former capital. Visually rich and architecturally astounding, it is an excursion that inspires. It is also a veritable treasure-house for photographers. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 8.Floating Market and Cycling Tour Damnoen Saduak, Ratchaburi – Tour Duration: 9hrs A cycle tour is the best way to explore corners of Bangkok that most tourists never know exist, let alone discover. With little more than the clank of your bicycle gears, a cool breeze and the waves of locals for company, there’s nothing jaded or cynical about a two-wheeled adventure. After the floating market, you peddle past fruit orchards, old temples and ancient army garrisons, heading further back in history and culture with each forward turn of the wheel. Where some tours can be somewhat limiting, this one is a true revelation. Book now, call +66 (0)2 651 9515 More at http://www.bangkok.com/tours/
  • 7.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 WHAT TO EAT While  Thai  food  needs  little  introduction,  these  popular  dishes  are  must-try  while  you  visit Thailand. The below list spans everything from staple backpacker favourites to Thai classics. Although some of them may sound familiar, don’t be surprised if they taste nothing like what you usually find back home. 1.Tom Yum Goong (Spicy Shrimp Soup)   A  bold,  refreshing  blend  of  fragrant  lemongrass,  chilli,  galangal,  lime  leaves,  shallots,  lime  juice  and fish sauce. Tom Yam is a versatile dish that can fit within virtually any meal – its invigorating sour-spicy-hot taste just screams Thailand!       2.Pad Thai (Thai style Fried Noodles)   From Cape Town to Khao San Road, the default international Thai dish. Dropped in a searing hot wok, fistfuls of small, thin  noodles  do  a  steamy  minute-long  dance  alongside  crunchy  bean  sprouts,  spring  onions  and  egg,  before     disembarking for the nearest plate.   3.Gaeng Daeng (Red Curry)   Made  with  morsels  of  meat,  red  curry  paste,  smooth  coconut  milk and topped off with a sprinkling of finely sliced kaffir lime leaves, this rich, aromatic curry always gets those taste buds tingling.       4.Som Tam – (Spicy Green Papaya Salad)   Hailing from the Northeast (Isan), this outlandish dish is both great divider - some cant get enough of its bite, some cant handle  it  –  and  greatly  distinctive.  Garlic,  chilies,  green  beans,  cherry  tomatoes  and  shredded raw papaya get     dramatically  pulverized  in  a  pestle  and  mortar,  so  releasing  a  rounded  sweet-sour-spicy  flavour  thats  not  easily   forgotten. 5.Tom Kha Kai (Chicken in Coconut Soup)   A  mild,  tamer  twist  on  Tom  Yam,  this  iconic  soup  infuses  fiery  chilies,  thinly  sliced  young  galangal,  crushed shallots, stalks  of  lemongrass  and  tender  strips  of  chicken.  Topped  off  with  fresh  lime leaves, its a sweet-smelling concoction,     both creamy and compelling.   6.Pak Boong Fai Daeng (Stir-fried Morning Glory)   The leafy plant with hollow green stems and thin fragile leaves forms the main component of this super easy favourite. Cloves of garlic and birds eye chilies join it in a wok alongside oyster sauce, fish sauce and fermented bean. A few lazy     stirs, and its done!   7.Gaeng Keow Wan Kai (Green Chicken Curry)   Another  all-time  favourite  dish,  served  alongside  a  bowl  of  fragrant  rice.  Green curry paste and coconut milk form the creamy  base.  Morsels  of  fresh  chicken,  cherry-sized  eggplants,  bamboo  shoots,  sprigs  of  coriander  and generous     handfuls of sweet basil add body to this seminal curry.   8.Yam Nua (Spicy Beef Salad)   If  there  was  such  a  thing  as  a  Salad  Hall  of  Fame,  Yam Nua would surely take pride of place. The fresh, fiery thrill of Yam  Nua  –  with  its  sprightly  mix  of  onion,  coriander,  spearmint,  lime,  dried  chili  and  tender  strips  of  beef – perfectly     embodies the invigorating in-the-mouth-thrill of all Thai salads, the yummy-ness of yam.   More at http://www.bangkok.com/restaurants/ 
  • 8.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 BEST DINING EXPERIENCES   When it comes to what to eat in Bangkok, the sky’s the limit. With a host of eateries mushrooming all over town, dining takes on a deeper meaning. Why limit yourself to just Thai food, a quick fix at a street­side stall, or an elaborate sit­down meal at a   posh  hotel,  when  you  can  enjoy  dining  as  an  experience  here  in  Bangkok?  Each of the below experiences is the best in its category – give them a try! 1.Thai Cuisine – Bo.Lan   Slow  food  is  in,  and  the  atmospheric  Bo.Lan  is  the  best  place  to  indulge  in  the experience. Trained by celebrity chef David  Thompson  of  the  Michelin­starred  Thai  restaurant  Nahm  in  London,  the  two  chef  owners  adhere  strictly to the principles of freshness and preservation of natural tastes through the use of seasonal ingredients. Despite its innovative       concept, Bo.Lan is not a fusion restaurant but quite the opposite, as its menu is inspired by ancient Thai recipes and the tastes  are  truly  original.  Advanced  reservation required. Open:  18:00  until  late  (Tues­Sun) Tel:  +66  (0)2  260 2962 Location: Sukhumvit Soi 26 (next to Four Wings Hotel) BTS: Phrom Phong 2.Street Food – Chinatown   Chinatown,  or  Yaowarat,  houses  some  of  the  most  expensive  Chinese restaurants in Bangkok, along with many of the tastiest  and  cheapest  food  stalls,  especially  at  night.  Stroll  down  the  jam­packed  pavements for all kinds of culinary     spectacles, from slicing, dicing and dipping to fire­blazing wok action. But don’t sit down and have one big meal at one   go – try sharing a dish or two then move on to the next stall. And don’t go too early, rather plan to arrive after 19:30 to experience Yaowarat at its best. MRT: Hua Lamphong 3.Sunday Brunch – Four Seasons Hotel   Kick­start your Sunday with a sumptuous brunch buffet at the Four Seasons and you will feel happy for the rest of the day. For starters, all the gourmet dining outlets inside the hotel participate in the brunch, so you can get a sample from all of them, whether imported meat, giant river prawns, jet­fresh sashimi, Sydney rock oysters, cheeses, caviar, kebabs,       Thai  curries,  and  many  more.  The  best  part  is  the  free­flow  alcohol  –  wine, champagne, cocktails, martinis – and a delicious array of homey desserts. Advanced reservation required. Open: 11:30­15:00 Sundays Tel: +66 (0)2 126 8866 Location: Four Seasons Hotel, Ratchadamri Rd. BTS: Ratchadamri 4.Asian Fusion – EAT ME   This  gallery­cum­restaurant  has  been  casting  a  magical  spell  over  Bangkok’s  contemporary  dining scene for over a decade. Come not for the art on the wall, though, but for a taste of its head chef’s brilliant culinary creations—a creative     fusion of flavours, textures and colours from the eastern and western hemispheres. Pair your selection with a bottle of   wine from the cellar, and do leave some room for excellent homemade desserts. Advanced reservation recommended. Open: 15:00­01:00 Tel: +66 (0)2 238 0931 Location: Pipat Soi 2, Convent Rd. BTS: Saladaeng 5.Sunset Dinner – Kin Lom Chom Saphan   This long­time riverside dining establishment offers the best value when it comes to tasty Thai­style seafood, charming open­air ambience and one of the most picturesque Chao Phraya sunset views in Bangkok. The extensive menu may be     a little daunting to those unfamiliar with Thai food, so here are a few hints: try salt­baked sea bass, grilled king prawns   and  curried  mud  crab.  Live  music  entertainment  begins  after sunset.Open: 11:00­02:00  Tel:  +66  (0)2  628  8382­3 Location: Samsen Soi 3, near Rama VIII Bridge, Old City 6.International Buffet – Lord Jim’s at Mandarin Oriental   Lord Jim’s Sunday lunch buffet has a legendary reputation. Named after the seafaring hero in Joseph Conrad’s novel, the  restaurant  invites  you  to  step  aboard  its  ‘pleasure  boat’  and  indulge  in  all  the  finest  treasures of the sea. The famous  Iced  Seafood  Tower  is  best  known  for  its  jet­fresh  rock lobster, tiger prawns, oysters, crab claws, wild smoked       salmon  and  a  selection  of  sushi  and  sashimi.  Don’t  miss  the  dessert  station,  with  mouthwatering  classics  like crêpes suzette and Valrhona chocolate fondant. Advanced reservation required. Open: 11:00­15:00 (Sunday buffet lunch) Tel: +66 (0)2 659 9000 ext. 7680­1 Location: Mandarin Oriental Hotel, Charoenkrung Soi 40 BTS: Saphan Taksin 7.Heritage Dining – Blue Elephant   This well­known chain of Thai restaurants already had branches in Europe and the Middle East before opening a venue in Bangkok. Set within a gorgeous colonial home, the food featured on the menu is reminiscent of ‘Royal Thai Cuisine’ sealing the restaurant a place on the ‘must­eat list’ for Thai culinary enthusiasts. Classic dishes not to be missed include       larb  salmon  –  a  spicy  tartare  with  fresh  Thai  herbs  –  wing  bean  and  pomelo  salad,  or  rock lobster with green apple. Open: 11:30  ­14:30  (lunch),  18:30  ­  22:30  (dinner) Tel: +66  (0)  2673  9353 Location:  233  South  Sathorn  Rd.  BTS: Surasak 8.Rooftop Dining – The Dome at LeBua – Silom   Comprising six multi­national restaurants and bars, and with sweeping views of the cityscape and riverside, The Dome is the  place  to  impress  your  date.  The  setting  is  as  eclectic  and mesmeric as the food, whether the outdoor terrace with 360­degree panoramas, glass sky­bridge suspended mid­air, under the signature golden dome, or inside the tastefully       decked out lounge. If you have only one night in Bangkok, and would prefer to spend it in style, The Dome is the place to  be.  Open: varies,  depending  on  the  restaurants;  18:00­01:00  for  the  bars Tel:  +66  (0)2  624  9555 Location: Westernmost end of Silom Rd. BTS: Saphan Taksin More at http://www.bangkok.com/top­10­bangkok­dining.htm 
  • 9.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 WHERE TO GO FOR NIGHTLIFE “One  Night  in  Bangkok  can  make  a  hard  man  humble”.  It’s  the  old  cliché,  from  the  old  musical  ‘Chess’.  What  this  lyric ignores is the diversity, the fact that Bangkok  now  registers  a  strong  steady  blip  on  the  global  nightlife  radar.  Raucous,  refined  or  raunchy?  Culture,  carousing  or  some clubbing? Forget what you’ve  heard,  one  night  in  Bangkok  can  make  man  or  women  not  just  humble  –  but happy. Proof can be found in this eclectic blend of old classics and new school, our Top Ten nightlife experiences. 1.Dinner Cruises on Chao Praya River   Thai  history,  culture  and  cuisine  converge  with  a  journey  along  Bangkok’s  River  of  Kings.  Aboard  a luxury cruiser or teakwood  rice  barge,  admire  sparkling  temples  and  the  bustle  of  river  life  while  enjoying  a sumptuous meal.     Spellbinding. Book a tour, call +66 (0)2 651 9515   2.Naughty Night on the Go-Go Trails   For  pole-swinging  temptresses,  exotic  boy-meets-girl  creations  and  notorious  take-home  pleasures,  head for one of Bangkok’s  lust-driven  dens  of  sin.  Patpong  (BTS  Saladaeng),  Nana  Plaza  (BTS  Nana), or Soi Cowboy (BTS Asoke) –     take your pick. Best time to go: after 21:00   3.Bangkok Ladyboy Shows   Nothing  out-glams  a  Bangkok  ladyboy  show!  The  flamboyant  costumes, spectacular sets and crazy musical tributes to the female form, will leave you dazzled by the performances, and most definitely smitten by the ‘girls’. Book a tour, call     +66 (0)2 651 9515   4.Cocktails at a Rooftop Bar   Fancy  touching  the  clouds  while  sipping  a  cocktail?  The  city’s  handful  of  rooftop venues has elevated the Bangkok nightout  to  stratospheric  new  heights.  Breathtaking  vistas  merge  with  stunning crowds at this higher breed of open-air     bar.  Recommended:  Vertigo  and  Moon  Bar  at  Banyan  Tree  Bangkok,  Sathorn  Road  (MRT  Lumpini, open 17:00 -   01:00) 5.Club Night   Asia’s  finest  clubs  unite  with  the  world’s  best  DJ’ing  talent  at  Bangkok’s  many  hip, happening club nights. Find dance floors covered in cute creatures, whisky-sipping adolescents and boozy expats. The soundtrack: a storm of dark, twisted     beats. Recommended: Bed Supperclub, Sukhumvit Soi 11 (BTS Nana, open 19:00-01:00)   6.After-Dark Shopping Experience   If  you’re  not  ready  to  hit  the  bars  and  clubs,  scratch  your  shopping  itch  with  some after-dark shopping. Malls do a storming trade until late. But its Khao San Road, with its carefree traveller attire, and the bootleg heaven that is Patpong     Market, that really wow. Best time to go: after 20:00   7.Siam Niramit Cultural Show & Dinner   Packing all the majesty and splendour of the Land of Smiles into a spectacular 80-minute stage show, is no mean feat. Using the world’s biggest stage and a cast of hundreds, Siam Niramit more than manages it. Show Time: 17:00-22:00     Location: Tiamruammit Road, opposite Thailand Cultural Centre MRT: Thailand Cultural Centre (exit 1)   8.Bars and Pubs   Tatty  Euro  taverns  and  hip  design  bars  are  just  a  couple  of  players  on  Bangkok’s  ever-evolving boozing scene. Everything  from  fine  brown  ales  to  head-spinning  cocktails  and  binge-drink  inducing  deals are yours for the downing.     Recommended:  The  Long  Table,  25th  Fl.,  Column  Building,  Sukhumvit  Soi  16  (BTS Asoke, MRT Sukhumvit, open   17:00-02:00) More at http://www.bangkok.com/nightlife/ 
  • 10.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 WHERE TO SHOP Shopping in Bangkok is a day-and-night activity that runs parallel with the best in the West, while also giving a flavour of the cultural uniqueness of the East. Work your way through these experiences, and you’ll soon come to realise why Bangkok is such a famous shopping hub. 1.Siam Paragon   From a sporty yellow Ferrari to a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes straight from the set of Sex and the City, Siam Paragon is a shopping mall without rival in Southeast Asia when it comes to luxury goods. This gleaming, modern up-market mall and     entertainment complex offers 500,000 sqm of retail space and is home to more than 250 famed international and local   luxury brands. Open: 10:00-22:00 Location: Siam BTS: Siam How to get there: BTS Skytrain 2.CentralWorld   Siam Paragon’s close rival in terms of retail space and shopping experience, CentralWorld encompasses more than 500 brand-name stores, 100 eateries, a 15-screen Cineplex, an ice skating rink, two anchor department stores, as well as a trendy  food  court  and  an  outdoor  square  used  for  Bangkoks  official  New  Year’s  Eve  countdown  party. Compared to       Siam  Paragon,  CentralWorld’s  collection  of  shops  has  a  more  youthful  and  funky personality. Open: 10:00-22:00 Location: Ratchaprasong Intersection BTS: Siam, Chidlom How to get there: walk about five mins from either Siam or Chidlom Skytrain. 3.More Shopping Malls   In a city blessed with some of the world’s most sumptuous malls, how do you choose where to go? Do you want bargains galore?  Go  to  MBK.  After  luxury  designer  labels?  Gaysorn  is  your  ticket.  How  about classy? Make your way to The     Emporium or Siam Discovery Centre. And if you are a fan of local fashion design brands, there’s no better place to go   than  Siam  Centre.  Open:  10:00-22:00  Location:  downtown  Sukhumvit,  from  BTS  National  Stadium  to BTS Phrom Phong. How to get there: BTS Skytrain 4.Chatuchak Weekend Market   The  market  of  all  markets,  Chatuchak  Weekend  Market  is  the  ultimate.  You  will  be  amazed  by  its  sprawling size, but perhaps even more so by the unbelievable variety of wares. Stumble across anything from vinyl records, beads, suits of     armour to a live seahorse! Haggling is encouraged – just do so politely. Possibly the most exhilarating, chaotic and lively   shopping  experience  that  can  be  had  anywhere  in  the  world. Open:  06:00-18:00  (Sat-Sun) Location:  adjacent  to Chatuchak Park How to get there: BTS Mo Chit, MRT Chatuchak 5.Night Markets   In most cities nighttime means closing time. Not so, here in Bangkok. Come dusk, Khao San Road teems with unkempt travel wear. And Patpong Market’s tarpaulin covered stalls – each brimming with counterfeits or exotica - don’t even kick     into life until the area’s office workers are tucked up in bed. Just two examples, among several, of Bangkok’s love affair   with after-dark shopping. Best time to go: after 20:00 How to get there: taxi (Khao San), BTS Saladaeng (Patpong) 6.Chinatown   There  is  something  oddly  kitsch,  charming  and  nostalgic  about  Bangkok’s  Chinatown.  Walking through the many little streets you might find yourself in a market, a shop-house-lined backstreet or a crowded space jam-packed with hawkers     of  every  ilk.  Along  with  many  gold  shops,  you’ll  also  find  sacks  of roasted chestnuts, sequins, feather boas, eccentric   virility boosters and martial art weapons. Best time to go: after 17:00 MRT: Hua Lamphong How to get there: taxi, or walk about 10mins northwest of the MRT 7.Pratunam   Pratunam  is  well-known  among  locals  as  the  wholesale  fashion  district,  where  street  ware meets odd fashion meets tomorrow’s trends. Shopping here is fun because there’s a whole gamut of accessories to dress you up from head to toe –  at  a  bargain.  The  original  wholesale  market  is  outdoors,  around  Indra  Hotel  and Baiyoke Sky Hotel, while the air-       conditioned malls are located across the main street, from Pantip Plaza to Pratunam Centre. Best time to go: morning (for  outdoor  shopping)  BTS:  Ratchathewi,  Chidlom  How to get there:  taxi,  or  walk  about  15mins  from  the  two  BTS stations 8.Rod Fai Market (Talad Rod Fai)   Vintage  is  in  at  this  open-air  bazaar  set  beside  an  abandoned  railroad  track.  Spread  on  the  ground  are  all  kinds of accessories  and  knick  knacks  from yesteryear,  from  wooden  furniture  to  vintage  bicycles,  hippy  fashion accessories,     offbeat  collectibles,  Mao  kitsch  and  more.  Street  food  is  not  lacking  either. The overall feel is down-to-earth cool, and   Rod Fai Market definitely stands out from the hordes of outdoor markets across Bangkok. Best time to go: after 18:00- midnight (Sat-Sun) MRT: Kamphaengphet How to get there: take exit 1 (MRT) and walk westwards about 10mins More at http://www.bangkok.com/shopping-area.htm 
  • 11.   BANGKOK GUIDE   YOUR FREE BANGKOK GUIDE  www.asiawebdirect.com FROM THE ASIA TRAVEL SPECIALISTS Book online or call us at +66 (0)2 651 9515 TIPS AND GOOD TO KNOW   Carry small change Thailand is relatively inexpensive, unless you plan to enjoy all your shopping, dining and nightlife inside a hotel or upscale shopping malls. Taxi drivers,     food  vendors  and  shop  keepers  usually  don’t  carry  change  for  big  bills.  So,  make  sure  that you break the 1,000 baht notes into a few 100s and small coins upon arrival at the airport. The 5 and 10 baht coins usually come in handy when taking a taxi or public transportation.   Barter, but nicely The first rule of shopping in Thailand: if there’s no barcode or set price, get haggling. It’s expected. However, instead of adopting a confrontational “give me it for this price, now!” attitude, try the gracious, smiley “what’s your best price, my friend?” approach. Why? Because a smile here goes further than a     sneer.  Aim  to  chip  anything  from  10-40%  off  the  quoted  price.  And  by all means, walk away if the price is disagreeable – more  often  than  not you’ll be called back for last ditch negotiations!   Beware scammers It  begins  with  a  polite  stranger  offering  to  take  you  sightseeing  around  the  city.  You  thank  them  and tell them where you’re from. Then, before you’ve even  had  a  chance  to  shake  their  hand,  you’re  gripping  the  sides  of  a  tuk-tuk  as  it  whizzes  towards temples your guidebook has never heard of, and     (drum  roll)  pushy  gem  stores.  The  moral  of  this  all-too-common  scam?  Savour  contact  with  the  locals but, please please, beware the shysters. The general, but by no means universal, rule of thumb: a Thai who approaches you in the street is after more than a chat.   Drink lots of water This tip, of course, applies even to the Antarctic. But packing a supply of the wet stuff in Thailand’s sticky, stifling heat is even more crucial to your well- being. Our unscientific rule of thumb: drink more than you sweat. Fortunately you are never more than a few paving stones from a drinks vendor. Always     make sure bottled water is sealed. For a change, take your chosen tipple modern Thai-style, in a small plastic bag with handle and straw. Its quirky but, as you’ll find when rummaging around overheated markets, also convenient.   Carry a photocopy of your passport Whether  it  be  an  impromptu  demand  from  a  local  policeman  or  a  request  from  security  at  one  of  the city’s swanky nightspots, carrying ID is a must in     Thailand. The fact that you are 25 but look like you’re pushing 40 doesn’t matter – proving who you are is a day-to-day formality, something the Thais are finicky about. Instead of dragging your passport around with you, and with it the constant fear of losing it, take a photocopy.   Carry a hotel card with Thai directions It’s simple. It isn’t rocket science. But this ingenious device, little more than a piece of card with your hotel’s address written on it in Thai, will save endless     how-do-we-get-home headaches. Flash it beneath the eyes of your chosen driver and watch how his shrugs of utter incomprehension instantly change to reassuring nods. EASY THAI PHRASES Krab / Ka = Words added at the end of a sentence/phrase to add politeness. Krab if you are a male. Ka if you are a female Phom / Chan = I (male / female) Khun = You (polite) Sawad Dee (krab / ka) = Hello (male / female) Khob Khun (krab / ka) = Thank you (male / female) Phom / Chan Pood Thai mai pen = I (male / female) don’t speak Thai Hong nam yuu nai? = Where are the restrooms?     Tao rai (krab / ka)? = How much does it cost (male / female)? Lod dai maak sood tao rai? = What’s your best price? Pood len rue plao = Are you kidding? Nii khong jing rue khong plom = Is this real or fake? Ao ped ped = I want my food very spicy Mai ped = Not spicy Check bin / Kheb tang = Can I have the bill please? Khun lor / suay maak = You are very handsome / beautiful