We love Yangon. It's our home, and we wouldn't want it any other way. But sometimes we need a little hit of the first world, and Bangkok is our closest bolt-hole.
Dear old Bangkok… the birth-place of millions of regrettable backpacking moments, every stag-do cliché in the book and a bunch of dodgy tattoos.
But beneath all of this is a sophisticated cosmopolitan city, and a regional hub for art and design, replete with Michelin star restaurants (some with white table cloths and some with nothing of the sort) and some pretty excellent shopping. Here’s where we like to Eat, Sleep and Shop when we’re in Bangkok.
ONE - WHERE TO EAT
Thais love food. Every street corner is festooned with street-food sellers serving up everything from deep-fried cockroaches to Pad Thai. For a world-class street food supper, head to 70-year-old Jay Fai’s shophouse, the only Michelin starred street food in the city (and one of two in the world) and treat yourself to one of her excellent Thai-style crab omelettes. If you’re feeling flush, make a booking for Nahm for another Michelin starred Thai feast at the other end of the dining scale. And for somewhere in between, Soul Food’s relaxed, contemporary take on traditional Thai is a raucous and reliably delicious way to spend an evening.
TWO - WHERE TO STAY
Bangkok accommodation is long on quantity and variable on quality so let us save you the hassle by sharing our top three:
Splash-out: Designed by South East Asian hotel guru Bill Bensley, the Siam is wall-to-wall urban luxury, with courtyards of established tropical flora and sumptuous rooms dotted with antiques and treasures, alongside all the trappings of a world-class hotel. Have fun getting through your sight-seeing list; you’ll never want to leave.
A little treat: The Ad-Lib. The perfect mid-range boutique. Beautifully designed, attentive and friendly staff, only 15 rooms and in the heart of Bangkok. Great breakfast and all-night bar, just in case
Low on Baht: The Atlanta, a Bangkok institution, this Deco Dame is frozen in time, a little bit Fawlty Towers and a big bit Wes Anderson. Marvel at the retro interiors, take some time out in the map-reading room, and laugh (quietly) at their extensive list of house rules.
THREE - WHAT TO DO
You’re well fed and rested, so where to go? Not exactly off the tourist trail but a great afternoon out is Jim Thompson’s house. An avid collector of South-East Asian art, he mysteriously disappeared while on holiday in the Cameroon Highlands, but his traditional Thai-style house and all its treasure, has been lovingly restored and is now a museum.
For the more intrepid, Chattuchak market is Bangkok’s largest market and sells everything from neon plastic Buddhas and military surplus gear, to beautiful tables and homeware. And in the middle of the maze-like complex is a thriving throng of art galleries. Our favourite is Pariwat Anatachina, whose metropolitan digital cityscapes capture the dynamism of the region perfectly.
Before you go, check out Rice Potato one of our favourite Bangkok-based bloggers. Dutch-born culture vulture and design-dynamo Chris Schalkx is the go-to for what’s hot and what’s not in the region, and his Instagram is fab too: @chsschlkx