A March 2003 trip
to Bangkok by thebigfella
Quote: We had a short 48 hour stopover in Bangkok and stayed at Le Royal Meridien Hotel, where we were treated like royalty--even the kids!
Before visiting the Grand Palace complex be sure you are suitably attired as there is a strict dress code. Men should wear trousers or at least very long shorts. Women should not wear anything too revealing and if possible a long skirt. The Thai are a very shy people and have difficulty confronting you about your clothes, but this does not mean that they are not easily offended.
For a taste of how the locals get around, try the canal or Klong taxis! Be warned: leave the high heels at home and don't go on a full stomach!! A popular pastime with many tourists is "hotel-hopping" - a fun way to see how the other half live. We had morning tea at the Sheraton and lunch at the Oriental!
Try to remember a few Thai customs - when outside, dress and act modestly (passionate kissing in the street is not on); the soles of your feet are considered very dirty and should not be directed at anybody; the head is the most sacred part of the body and it is considered an insult to stare at the top of someone's head.
If you wish to be respectful, you should bow so you can speak to the person face-to-face. If you are male you should greet someone with "Sawadee krup" and if you are a female you should say "Sawadee ka." This simple greeting will not only show that you respect the person you are addressing, but also have respect for their culture.
If you're looking for adventure, jump aboard a "Tuk-tuk" - a motor scooter with a small cabin attached to the back. It will get you from A to B in the quickest time, though you may feel a bit ill from exhaust fumes and the driver's total disregard for the Road Rules. One thing in their favour is they are cheap - try to find out a fair price to your destination before you start haggling.
Hotel | "The Amari Atrium"
You are greeted politely by the ever-helpful concierge and directed through the front doors and into a very airy and understated lobby -- unusual for a Thai hotel. The airiness is due to a five-story atrium directly above your head -- each level overflowing with flowers. As you sign the register and informed of your room number you cannot help yourself looking up. I think the reception staff are quite used to talking to people's necks! The atrium is not the only attraction here -- as this hotel is further out of town than many, the view from your room is better as there is less air pollution.
The rooms are very well appointed and if you have a corner room as we did, your view is a massive 90 degree plus!
The Atrium also knows how to keep you well fed, as it has the largest buffet breakfast we had ever seen -- there was even a cook on hand to ensure your eggs were cooked to the way you like them!
As the Atrium is a little way out of town; the quickest and cheapest way back into the city is via the canal (klong), which runs behind the hotel. For just a few Baht, the ferry will pick you up and deliver you to anywhere in the city. Be aware though that is not like any ferry you have ever been on before - the ferry is a bit like an oversized longtail boat with a tarpaulin over the roof. Three men stand on the outside of the tarp one to drive and the other two to spot passengers waiting on the landing areas. Warning: the ferry does not stop if there are just a few passengers; it merely slows down so you are able to jump aboard! Non-slip footwear is strongly recommended. The reason for the tarp over becomes very apparent once the boat gains speed and the splash from the bow and from other boats starts to increase. The canals are dirty and very smelly and the tarps ensure a clean and pleasant journey. I thoroughly recommend the Amari Atrium whenever you stay in Bangkok.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 20, 2003
Amari Atrium Hotel
1880 NEW PETCHBURI ROAD
Bangkok, Thailand 10320
Hotel | "Le Royal Meridien"
Entry to the Royal Meridien is via a central courtyard which is shared with it's sister Hotel - Le Meridien President. At the steps, you are greeted by one of the many well-spoken and polite porters who immediately relieve you of your luggage, and in our case, our children!
The Thai people have a childlike sense of fun and are perfect companions for children. From the moment we entered the hotel we were treated with utmost respect at all times and our children were given presidential treatment, with the porters and waiting staff lining up to fuss them!! This was a great help particularly while we were waiting to check-in. Never have we had such a warm welcome at a hotel, in any country.
As we had our children, we booked into a double room with an adjoining twin room. As our children are two-year-old boys, it was necessary to childproof the room and so a team of hotel staff were quickly on the scene to set about stripping the room of all fixtures and fittings. This is a requirement when our children stay in hotels as they attended the Keith Moon School of Hotel Bedroom Behaviour.
During our stay I suffered an accident and without any fuss my wife and two children were immediately upgraded to a larger suite and appointed their own nanny and chauffeur, while I convalesced in hospital!
One word -- superb. The "royal" part of the name is spot on as you really do feel as though you are royalty. Everything you could want is backed up by prompt and friendly service. Why would you stay anywhere else?
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 6, 2003
Plaza Athenee Bangkok, A Royal Meridien Hotel
61 Wireless Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10330
Hotel | "Asia Bangkok"
The room was a good size with all the usual hotel accoutrements and the view was as good as it gets in an overpopulated city.
The 2 swimming pools were large and inviting particularly with the heat of the afternoon sun beating down on my underexposed brow. The main restaurant was interesting with a "Round South East Asia" theme offering food from Indonesia, China, Malaysia, and of course Thailand. With all this elegance and pampering at one's finger tips how was I ever going to leave the hotel? The answer was simple -- I was in the middle of one of the most populous cities in the world and I wanted to see it all! The Asia is faultless and now even more attractive as a base, as the Skyrail is right outside the front door. What more could you want?
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 21, 2003
Asia Hotel Bangkok
296 Phayathai Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10400
+66 (2) 215-0808
Restaurant | "Cabbages & Condoms"
The setting is not the only thing which is breathtaking here -- the meals are always cooked to perfection and the service is prompt and cheerful on even the busiest night! Why not try the Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken Wrapped in Pandanas Leaves served with an ice cold Singha Beer - to finish perhaps a Thai Whiskey and Cola.
The choice is yours, though I am sure whatever you choose an evening at C and C will be one of those lasting memories you will always treasure.
For a bit of fun after your meal, check out the PCDA gift shop located at the front of the restaurant. Here you will see condoms used in ways you never thought possible. A great place to purchase that little something for the friend who has everything.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 14, 2003
Cabbages and Condoms
6 Soi 12, Sukhumvit Road
Bangkok, Thailand 10110
+66 02 229 4611
Attraction | "Floating Markets"
They are called "floating" markets as many of the stallholders ply their wares from wooden canoes or sampans. In addition to this, many of the buying public are transported in a procession of sampans up and down the canals. The markets are very hectic, with hordes of tourists making the pilgrimage every day. This said, the markets still give you a good idea of what trading was like in Bangkok.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 20, 2003
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Bang Phae-Damnoen Saduak Road
Damnoen Saduak, Thailand 70120
+66 2 694 1222 (Tour
Situated right in the centre of Bangkok, near Sukhamvit, Bumrungrad Hospital is the ultimate in healthcare luxury. A variety of treatment wards exist with one to suit every insurance bracket. Wards start with four beds and move up to two bedrooms before moving on to single rooms. Single rooms start at basic, which include private bathroom, refrigerator and mini-bar to Deluxe which also has full self-catering kitchen facilities and dining room. The next room category is VIP Suite, which has a guest's bedroom and bathroom and finally there is the Royal Suite which is ridiculously opulent for a hospital - I had it on good authority that popstars mainly used this room!
I unfortunately had broken my back whilst in Bangkok but fortunately my insurer put me into a Deluxe room. I've stayed in some of the best hotels in the world and my stay in this room was on a par! It was a shame that I had my injury as it was the only down side. For two weeks I was literally waited on hand and foot - fed, bathed, massaged, dressed, and entertained by the friendliest nurses I've ever met.
Bumrungrad showed me just how a hospital can be run with attentive service, good food, excellent facilities and a keen eye for the patient and their requirements. The hospital has realized that people like junk food and eating it makes them feel normal and so in the hospital is a MacDonalds and a Starbucks Coffee house. Great! And if you're incapacitated you can get a Big Mac, through room service delivered direct to your bed. This is customer service - this isn't lip service – this is the real thing. There is also an in-house food supermarket jam packed with all your needs - even beer!!
Needless to say, this hospital has won virtually every prize in the business and has accreditations that would make most multi-national corporations envious.
So if you are unlucky enough to sustain an injury whilst in bangkok, be sure you mention Bumrungrad to your insurer and prepare yourself to be pampered.
Kidderminster, United Kingdom