TBT: The Banyan Tree, Bangkok

One of the highlights of my Bangkok trip was sleeping at this ginormous proud tree (pun intended haha) in Silom. Yes, I am that lola.

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I never planned to book a room here at first because it was intimidating but I really do want to give myself a reward (yuck, self-serving, but read on) and I don’t wanna go here just for Vertigo (later) and Moon Bar. At 61 floors, this is one of the highest towers in the Bangkok Skyline. I booked a room for a little above PhP8,000 per night.

IMG_3767 I love the lobby… idk how they do it but you just can’t sense the noise even if everyone’s talking

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IMG_3773And et voila, the suite! We weren’t upgraded or anything but our suite sits atop at the 58th floor.

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IMG_3777And that bed might be the most comfortable bed I’ve ever lied upon

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Banyan Tree offers the works of a Bangkok holiday — from temple tours to culinary indulgences to a tour of the famous floating markets! We could’ve availed of those but then again, I’d like to wing and DIY shit when I’m traveling. But extra brownie points for the full-circle offerings, Banyan!

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At 58th floor, this is the view which will wake you up each day! I cannot even believe we’re staying at the topmost rooms (floors 59th – 61st are already amenities and restaurants). This is a a true testament to Thailand’s value for money. We can go dirt cheap on accommodations and still enjoy BUT if there are options like this… WHY NOT?

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Tuk-tuk and van transfers to the nearest train station is also available for free from the concierge. It’s very convenient especially if you consider that’s one less concern to think about.

IMG_3812Some much-needed pool time after a day of strolling around the megalopolis

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We wanted to try the Thai selection from the hotel, but we settled for Japanese instead. Taihei is Banyan Tree’s premiere Japanese restaurant, serving only the freshest sashimi and other Japanese favourites. We were the only ones to dine their that time, so I guess we experienced the ultimate service. Extra brownie points for an open kitchen!

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It’s a hotel restaurant, we thought, it might be over-the-roof expensive. But Banyan Tree continues to sweep us off our feet and were surprised when the bill came. I think we spent just a little over THB2000, and I think it is well worth it!

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IMG_3822Cha Soba for the warm Bangkok nights

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Then we spent a few hours at Moon Bar on the 61st floor. It’s an upscale watering hole atop the Banyan Tree and it provides you a good 360-degree view of Bangkok’s skyline and oh, was that a beautiful sight! Save for the crowd because it was sooooooooo packed it’s hard to get a drink.

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I really do hate to leave 🙁

Banyan Tree Bangkok
100 S Sathorn Rd, Yan Nawa
Bangkok, TH
+66 2 679 1200
[email protected]

All photos taken using iPhone 5

First few hours in Thailand

Wow! Has it really been just six months since I was on a trip? It feels like forever though. Not that I don’t like my job now (which admittedly was one of the reasons why I went on this trip. When I do most times, I need to clear my head.) Now I just wanna go… especially I get to use my leaves now! *brings out a map, closes eyes, drops a pen* Wanderlust is real, once you pop you just can’t stop!

We arrived in Bangkok via Poipet border before dusk coming from a temple-tramping beer-swiggin’ adventure in Siem Reap. It was a painful six-hour (was it, or eight?) overland trip. While I made it clear to drop us at Silom, where we stayed in Bangkok, the minivan driver decided to drop us at Khao San Road instead. I didn’t know what to do already, and we really didn’t want to take the cab. So with huge backpacks, and tired selves determined to take a shower and stretch our legs and feet, we walked to the Chao Phraya pier and took the Skytrain to the hotel. I know what it feels to be tired, but it’s different when you’re in transit for almost half a day already.

But I was so ready for the night! Even I surprise myself when I’m traveling. All we needed was to freshen up in the hotel, stretch a little, then we were headed out again.

I was so determined to see the Thailand Creative and Design Center, which is just a train ride away. But that’s for another post just because I was so thrilled to see a museum inside a mall. After visiting the museum though, we took a short train ride to Thong Lo to see if we can grab something to eat. By then, I can imagine how famished we were for some Thai food!

It’ll help a lot if you get a reloadable rabbit card for your stay in Bangkok!

Just a few walks away from the station was this strip of street food vendors and some hole-in-the-wall eateries. In the middle of the busy buildings and roaring roads was this street which I forgot where the food was without frills and null of any pretension. I was so thrilled to see it not that crowded too like what we see in travel shows. I guess this is not the main thoroughfare for street food, but idc really. Food was good, and the people were friendly – a couple expats here and there, and locals as well!

We settled in this eatery and ordered phad thai, and spring rolls. Then a couple struts would bring you to a satay stand and just beside it was a drink stand (Thai milk tea for me of course!)

We tried to find Ella’s favorite banana-milo crepe but to no avail. Plus we were full anyway! That mean phad thai can really get you filled to the brim. Wash it with Thai milk tea and it’s the perfect end to a meal. I wish I can find that good of a plate of phad thai here in Manila!

A walk around the Thong Lo neighborhood was a sight in itself, too. It’s not urban escape for nothing. Design is strong in this country, and I hope it continues to grow. I like the minimalist touches, and the subtle merge between traditional and contemporary. It’s weird but I do get giddy when I see design this good. Plus, here in Thong Lo, you can notice that there’s a lot of izakayas, ramen-ya’s, and teppanyaki places, among others serving authentic Japanese fare. It’s because it’s the Little Tokyo around here. (A clue where I’m planning to go next *crosses fingers*)

We did stroll at the mall near our hotel, and found these pretty restaurants

I was tempted to buy one of each at a local specialty bookstore!

It wasn’t a fast nor a slow night. We just wanted to take it easy and stroll around the neighborhood, as the following day we were headed to the Grand Palace to see some temples.

Few more tips when in Bangkok!

  • We were mostly in Sukhumvit and Silom, and that left us no time for Khao San Road — where there is relatively cheap food and booze plus backpackers (ergo, cheap accommodation as well!). I’d love to go back there and have the full Khao San experience!
  • What Sukhumvit and Silom lost in grittiness and temple-tramping, they make up for with museums and cafes around. I love that there’s even a museum inside the mall! It’s a fast-paced neighborhood, but it’s you who really choose the pace anyway.
  • Oh, and malls abound the city center, too! Take the train to Siam station for the more famous malls like Siam Paragon and MBK Center.
  • Speaking of coping, you’d never need to worry about your mobile phone bill with Globe Telecom’s fixed roaming rates on mobile surfing! Enjoy unlimited mobile surfing while in Bangkok for just PhP 599. You don’t even need to register, that easy! Learn more here.
  • There is no direct train to Rattanakosin, where the Grand Palace and other temples are.  So you may need to take the Chao Phraya Express Boat to get there without taking a cab.
  • From Sukhumvit or Silom line, take the BTS Skytrain to Saphan Taksin, then find the pier just near the station. Get off at Tha Chang pier for the Grand Palace, at Tha Tien for Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha).
  • Take the ferry shuttle in Tha Tien to take you across the river in Thonburi for Wat Arun.
  • The Wat Arun is majestic at night!
  • Also, take the boat if you want a scenic way to see both sides of the river (Old and New Bangkok). Mingle with locals and expats alike, and get to know their everyday life by way of the river.
  • If I had more time in this place, I’d probably gone to see the local third wave coffee scene. But that’s for another visit, I suppose.

Photos taken using an iPhone 5

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