See and be seen
Bangkok’s bar scene is buzzing and arguably the best place to sip a cocktail is Sirocco, an open-air bar on the 63rd floor of the State Tower. Located 200m above the city, the views stretch for miles. Back down on earth The Oriental’s Bamboo Bar is a great spot for a few drinks. Alternatively, head to Q Bar , a cool Manhattan- style lounge bar where Matt Dillon and Oliver Stone have partied. Face is another hot nightspot. A colourful space filled with Asian artefacts and raised Chinese beds, a drink at the bar is the perfect prelude to dinner at Hazara, the adjoining northern-Indian restaurant.
In a country renowned for its spa culture, it would be a shame not to sample a treatment in The Oriental’s award-winning Spa. Situated across the Chao Phrya River in a traditional Thai-style house, there are 14 rooms and a comprehensive treatment menu including ayurvedic therapies and a wide range of massages. For the ultimate pampering, though, book in for a luxurious three-day Spa programme.
Due to its network of canals Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East. Make the most of the water and avoid the bustling traffic by taking a 15-minute boat-ride from The Oriental to the Grand Palace along the Chao Phrya River, central Thailand’s most important waterway. There are more than 100 buildings and wats (temples) in the complex including the Wat Phra Kaeo temple, home to the famous emerald Buddha. A visit to Wat Po, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok, is also rewarding. Dating back to the 16th century, the temple is famed for its 15m-high, 46m-long reclining Buddha, which is situated in the northern section of the compound. To learn more about the city, you should explore Bangkok’s museums and galleries. The National Museum is the largest in South-East Asia and was originally part of the Grand Palace. If you’re short on time take a tour of gallery one, which houses the Thai history and prehistoric halls, then head to gallery 17 to see the royal carriages.