4 nights in Bangkok

Feb 20th, 2006, 01:49 PM
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4 nights in Bangkok

We're visiting Bangkok for the first time, arriving on 5 March and staying 4 nights in the Shangri-La. On the first night after an 11 hour flight and 7 hour time difference we intend to stay "close to home" and eat in the hotel at Angelini's. For the following three nights we've read good reports about Sirocco and the Sky Bar; China House; Celadon; Mahanaya; Vertigo; Salathip (Shangri-La) and we're also considering a dinner cruise on the Manohra Song. We'd appreciate any comments about these (good or bad) or recommendations about other good restaurants.
During the day we want to visit The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Can these all be visited in one go, or will that be a bit "mad dogs and englishmen" in Bangkok's heat and humidity? Also what's the best way to get to them - water taxi? If so, is it easy enough to pick one up near to the Shangri-La? Other sights we'd like to see are:- Wat Saket; Royal Barges Museum and Jim Thompson House. Are these all worth a visit and if so what's the best way to get to Wat Saket? Are there any other sights that you'd really recommend?
kevanw is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 03:41 PM
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I found Sirocco way over priced. And while the food is fine it's easy to get in the states for a lot less. It's main attraction is the setting and you can get that by going to the Sky Bar before going to China House for dinner.

China House is by far my favorite restaurant.

Celadon is a nice setting but I found the food only so so.

glorialf is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 07:20 PM
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I wouldn't do all of those wats at once. I find a full morning of Wats includes the Emerals Buddha, the Grand Palace and Wat Po, which can be reached via water taxi from the pier near your hotel. Spread out your sightseeing a bit and you'll be happier.

In terms of restaurants, what kind of food to you want? Persoanlly, I prefer to stick with Asian cuisines while in Bangkok, so places like Sirocco and Vertigo hold little interest for me. China House has the best Peking Duck and I recommend it highly. I also like Mahanaga. The dinner cruises get mixed reviews.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 08:15 PM
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don't plan on a big meal on day one....you won't enjopy it....you will be very tired....i would plan to hand around the pool for most of day one....you will need it or you will pay for not relaxing for the rest of your trip...

i too feel that sirrocco is over priced....go for a drink at the skybar and then return to the sh-la for a really good dinner....angelini is excellent...

china house also is excellent

veritgo is so so...

mahanaya gets great reviews...i have not been there yet...

jesters across the river in the peninsula is fantastic and well worth your consideration....\

you have way too much for touring...pare it down too

my opinions
rhkkmk is offline  
Feb 20th, 2006, 10:42 PM
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Wat Arun and the Royal Barges can be done together with a klong tour, you can do this in the morning to see some of the markets first and then see the Royal Barges, then Wat Arun or vice versa. You can arrange your own water taxi at the pier by the Shangri La, the hotel can also help you arrange this as well.

Wat Po can be done as part of a trip to the Grand Palace, they are next to each other. Wat Po does not actually take that much time to see. If you have the time, be sure to drop coins in all the buckets along the reclining Buddha. I really like to have a guide to the Grand Palace. You could arrange a guide through your hotel (my preferred way) or just get one inside the entrance gates, many will offer their services. I would take the public water bus (rather than even a water taxi) up river to the stop for the Grand Palace (Tha Chiang stop) and walk from there, it is not a long walk. (Ignore any touts telling you that the palace is closed, and that you should go to another attraction which they will take you to, this apparently has become a problem.) You could then meet your guide at the entrance gates, if you have pre-arranged a guide with your hotel, ask the guide to have your name on a signboard. I think this would save you quite a bit of time versus having the guide meet you at your hotel and driving over to the palace; although from the Shangri-La it's probably not too bad even with traffic, still the more you can avoid traffic the better, and if you want to really people watch, the public water buses are great. You can then walk to Wat Po or talk a taxi (a little bit of a walk as you have to go all the way around the entrance from the palace, but doable). After Wat Po, you can walk to the public bus pier (Tha Tien pier) or taxi to whatever you want to do next

I think the National Museum is worth a visit. English tours are usually in the mornings on Wednesdays and Thursdays, but check with your hotel for precise times and dates, or you can just go see the exhibits without taking a tour. The museum is near Thammasart University north of the Grand Palace.

I am not such a big shopper but LOVE the Weekend market, so if you are there on a weekend or a Friday afternoon, consider a trip there. Itís an experience in itself, and IMO has a lot more to offer than the night markets. If you are really serious about shopping, then I would recommend you buy a map called "Nancy Chandler's Guide to Bangkok" You can it buy it on the web from her website (Nancychandler.net), or your hotel may have a copy in their gift shop or bookshop. The guide has a specific section and map on what items are located where in the market. The market is very large and full of narrow twisting alleys, so it is very easy to get lost, and this map is invaluable. She also points out where the restaurants are.

The Vimarnmek Palace (one of the King's several palaces in Bangkok and elsewhere) is made up of several buildings and extensive grounds and is worth a few hours, they have some beautiful handicrafts for sale, esp. really exquisite basketwork items.

It's a toss up whether you want to take a day to go up to Ayyuthia. With only 4 days and your first trip to Bangkok, I am not sure I would do it. However, the Shangri-La does run the boat trip, so it is done well, take a look at www.shangri-la.com, or call, fax or e-mail the hotel at Tel: 66-2- 236 7777, Fax: 66-2- 236 8579 , Email: [email protected]. The ship is called the Horizon Cruise II.

I like the dinner on the Manhora Song a lot, have done it twice. It is very small, I am not one for those big dinner barge cruises. Good food, nice atmosphere, maybe 10 table in the place, quiet and the lovely river views.

Although a bit touristy, I am a big fan of the dinner and dance show at the Sala Rim Naan run by the Oriental Hotel. The food is good, the place is very nice, the dancing is good, and you ARE after all a tourist. I always bring people new to Bangkok to the show and they always enjoy it, and I myself have been going for 20 years now since 1986 and just went again over this past Chinese New Year and still found it a pleasurable evening. Reservations are essential.
Call the restaurant (66-2-437-6211) or the Oriental Hotel (66-2-236-0400 ext 3133) or check the Hotel's website at "mandarin-oriental.com/Bangkok"
Cicerone is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 10:45 AM
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Kathie, Cicerone & rhkkmk - Thanks for the tips on taking it easy on the wats. The idea was to do the tourist bit in the mornings and relax around the pool/hotel in the afternoons. We'll now visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew & Wat Pho on one day and then Wat Arun and the Royal Barges on another day. Would it be worth trying to fit in either Wat Saket or Jim Thompson's House on another day, or is that still trying to squeeze too much in? We'll leave a trip to Ayyuthia till our next trip.

rhkkmk - We'll take it easy on our first night and day to help keep the jet lag at bay (although after Bangkok we've got 11 days in Koh Samui at the Santiburi to recharge the batteries). We like Royal Thai food so what do you think of Salathip at the Shangri-La, or can you suggest an alternative for good Royal Thai food?

Kathie - We like all types of food, although Thai and Chinese are definately favourites in that order. I'd thought about Sirocco or Vertigo just for the view, but will now most probably opt for Glorialf & rhkkmk's suggestion of just having drinks in the skybar. What's the best way to get to Mahanaga from the Shangri-La?
kevanw is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:03 AM
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You can take the skytrain, as Mahanaga is close to a station. I think we took a taxi back, if I remember correctly, but you could take the Skytrain back as well. The Skytrain is very quick and convenient.

I consider the Jim Thompson House a must-see, and you could certainly schedule in a trip there. I like to go in the mroning, then follow the tour with a light lunch at the restaurant there. Some people take the Skytrain, but I've taken taxis there in the morning and have not gotten stuck in terrible traffic.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:11 AM
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Hi Kevanw - I think you definitely should be able to fit in a trip to Jim Thompson's house and some shopping as well. I think you must be flying in from Europe, we are from the UK and always find that flying east to Asia we do not have bad jetlag. However, coming home is another story...

Have a great time
Bella_Bluebell is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 11:13 AM
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Do the Wats in the morning, relax for lunch, and then you can do the Klong tour with Wat Arun and the Royal Barges in the afternoon. When you're in the long-tail boats on the river and canals, it's much cooler. You could do the JT House the next day and combine it with shopping at MBK, Siam Discovery, etc.

I actually disagree with Bob (no surprise). I think you feel the jet lag much less by getting out early the first day and acclimate as quickly as possible. You can always return to the hotel for a swim/ massage afternoon.
Gpanda is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 01:53 PM
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Cicerone, Bella_Bluebell & Gpanda et al - as we are not due to arrive at the Shangri-La until late Sunday afternoon we won't be able to make it to Chatuchak weekend market. Can you recommend any other markets worth a visit (we are due to leave Bangkok on Thursday afternoon). We're not looking for anything in particular, just fancy a brouse and a bit of bargaining.
kevanw is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 02:24 PM
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Any place you go in Bangkok you can browse and bargain. While some people like the weekend market and the night markets, I'm not fond of them. The quality of the merchandise is often not good.
Kathie is offline  
Feb 21st, 2006, 07:37 PM
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i'm never really sure what 'royal thai food' really means....i just like thai food period...i think actually the king prefers roast beef sandwiches like he had as a kid in cambridge, ma at elsie's....so i don't have a suggestions, sorry...

we do like tongue thai the best at the moment...we find the very fancy places too much on show and shy sometimes on quality...but we do like to go to them also....we also like harmonique, which has nothing royal about it...just plain good food and it is very near your hotel as is tongue thai...

we have not eaten at salathip, although the location and situation is fabulous, with either inside our outside seating right on the river

we take taxis to most restaurants so as to arrive fresh and relaxed....you will know what i mean after you climb on stairway to the skytrain in that heat and humidity....sometimes we take a taxi back or the skytrain if we want a boat ride too...
rhkkmk is offline  
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