Week­end in Bangkok

LIND­SAY YAP checks in to a 26-storey con­tem­po­rary ho­tel right be­side the Chao Phraya.

Expat Living (Singapore) - - Contents - For more in­for­ma­tion or book­ings, visit mi­norho­tels.com/avani/river­side-bangkok.

On past trips to the bustling Thai cap­i­tal, I’ve stayed in the pop­u­lar shop­ping dis­trict of Sukhumvit. This time, on a trip spon­sored by the Tourism Au­thor­ity of Thai­land in Sin­ga­pore, I had the op­por­tu­nity to ven­ture be­yond my usual haunt and ex­plore a dif­fer­ent view of the city.

AVANI River­side Bangkok opened in late 2016 on the Thon­buri side of the Chao Phraya, just be­hind its older sis­ter prop­erty, the Anan­tara River­side Bangkok Re­sort. All rooms in the ho­tel of­fer un­blocked views of the river, where you can watch boats ply­ing back and forth all day. My com­fort­able and mod­ern River View Room had loads of space and nat­u­ral light, and each room comes with com­pli­men­tary use of a smart­phone that comes in handy when nav­i­gat­ing the city.


For din­ner or tip­ples with a view, head to At­ti­tude, AVANI’S stylish rooftop bar and restau­rant on the 26th floor. Or, if you’re look­ing for more op­tions, take a stroll across to the Anan­tara to en­joy tep­pa­nyaki and sushi at Beni­hana, hearty Ital­ian fare at Brio, Asian cui­sine at Trader Vic’s or the in­ter­na­tional buf­fet spread at the River­side Ter­race.

I par­tic­u­larly en­joyed the break­fast spread, served at all-day din­ing spot Sky­line on the lobby level. The ca­sual din­ing space has floorto-ceil­ing win­dows look­ing out to the river and the city be­yond. There was a good va­ri­ety of items on of­fer, from bread, pas­tries and ce­real to dim sum, por­ridge and made- to- or­der omelettes, plus a sta­tion serv­ing up de­li­cious bowls of pip­ing hot noo­dle soup.


First things first: You’ll want to take a dip in the lovely rooftop in­fin­ity pool, also over­look­ing the river. Snag a comfy lounge chair and en­joy a re­fresh­ing drink from the bar. Those who want to keep up with their daily work­outs can drop by the gym – it’s well-equipped with a va­ri­ety of ex­er­cise machines and weights. AVANI River­side guests are also able to book a Muay Thai class at Anan­tara, and I had the chance to en­joy an hour-long ses­sion. It was a re­ally good work­out, and be­ing in a small box­ing ring made the ex­pe­ri­ence all the more au­then­tic and fun.

If you’re not the sporty type, don’t fret – you can al­ways head to the spa! Take your pick of mas­sages, body scrubs, fa­cials and nail treat­ments, which are di­vided into four cat­e­gories: Pu­rify, Calm, Boost and Bal­ance. Af­ter fill­ing out a quick pre-treat­ment ques­tion­naire about my pref­er­ences and cur­rent life­style, I was as­signed to the Calm cat­e­gory that fo­cuses on re­duc­ing mus­cle ten­sion and sooth­ing nerves. I en­joyed the Gen­tle Rhythms mas­sage, a re­lax­ing full-body oil mas­sage that also tar­gets the head and face.


Of course, you’re go­ing to want to head out and ex­plore ev­ery­thing Bangkok of­fers. To do this, hop on the com­pli­men­tary Anan­tara shut­tle boat at the pier, which takes you to the near­est train sta­tion, Saphan Taksin BTS, around 10 min­utes away. This gives you ac­cess to the other parts of the city.

The shut­tle can also take you by night to Asi­a­tique, a pop­u­lar river­side mar­ket, or you can max­imise your river­side ex­pe­ri­ence with a din­ner aboard Manohra Cruises. Of­fered by Anan­tara River­side Bangkok Re­sort, this twohour cruise in­cludes a Thai meal (with a kids’ menu so the lit­tle ones don’t miss out) while tak­ing in views of fa­mous land­marks along the Chao Phraya such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pray­oon. It’s ad­mit­tedly quite touristy, but I re­ally en­joyed the ex­pe­ri­ence! The lovely breeze and de­li­cious food made for a great end to the day.

As for the city it­self, if you’re not sure where to go or what to do, Anan­tara River­side Bangkok of­fers two tours, both led by lo­cal guide Di­a­mond. Dur­ing the Klong Guru Tour, you ex­plore the Chao Phraya river and its canals (“klong” in Thai) on a tra­di­tional long­tail boat, cruis­ing past river­side homes and stalls, and vis­it­ing tem­ples such as Wat Ratcha Orasaram. The Street­wise Guru Tour is an­other great op­tion; it takes you to lo­cal mar­kets in­clud­ing the Yod­pi­man Flower Mar­ket, Pak Kh­long Talat and Ban­grak Mar­ket. The high­light for me on this tour was the street food – I loved the crispy fried chicken and in­cred­i­bly flavour­ful sausages; also keep an eye out for Thai crispy pan­cakes (they look like tacos) – made of crepe and filled with meringue and shred­ded co­conut, they’re ab­so­lutely de­li­cious! For lunch – yes, even af­ter all those snacks! – we trav­elled to Tha Din Daeng Road for fish­ball noo­dles and pop­u­lar dee moo (pork) sa­tay.

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