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Wednesday 26 February 2014

3BM Wanders: A Weekend in Bangkok

One of the really, really great things about living in Hong Kong is how easy it is to hop off for a weekend of sun and exploring. While I miss zipping under the Channel on the Eurostar to Paris for a couple of days of Macarons and browsing boutiques in the Marais or Easyjetting it down to Barcelona for Gaudi gazing and Churros and chocolate, there's something pretty great about having Thailand and Vietnam, Cambodia and China, and the Philippines and Borneo right on your doorstep...   

So a couple of weeks ago I decided it was time to kick off this year's adventuring with a last minute weekend in Bangkok. 

Given that it's just a short two hour flight from Hong Kong, I've spent quite a lot of time in Bangkok but it's without a doubt one of my favourite cities in Asia. I've blogged before about my favourite places to stay in the Thai capital, and this time I decided to head back to the Metropolitan not least because we got a room rate that came in at under HK$1,000 a night (and we got an upgrade when we checked-in - win, win).

After touching down in Bangkok at midnight on Friday evening and the best night's sleep ever in the biggest, comfiest bed, we got up bright and early, gobbled down a big breakfast and headed out for a day of wandering.

First up, Chatuchak Weekend Market where they sell everything and anything you could ever imagine...

All that bartering over bargains is thirsty work so we stopped for a couple of Singhas at an awesome little bar in section 8 of the market, Viva 8. It may not be the most authentically Thai place in the market, but with great music and Chef Fernando cooking up huge vats of Paella it's the perfect pit stop and the ideal perch for a bit of people watching.

Suitably refuelled, it was back to shopping up a storm...

An hour or two later, we decided it was time for a couple of cocktails in the sun so we grabbed a cab and moseyed across town to Soi 11 where there are windy streets to wend down and a whole host of fun bars and restaurants to hit up. 

A passionfruit margarita or two later, we thought we'd go and check out the pool at the newish W Bangkok and it was only fair to see if the cocktails were any good while we were there...

As the sun slunk towards the horizon, we dashed home for a quick change before heading out for an evening of bar hopping. First up The Iron Fairies - push back the heavy velvet curtains at the door and you'll find yourself in a very cool cocktail bar come blacksmith's workshop. Jazz burbles away in the background and steel spiral staircases wind up to a mezzanine leather strewn with leather armchairs to sink into which you order up delicious liquor-laden cocncoctions.

Feeling pretty famished, our next stop was Soul Food for some of the best Thai food I've had in a very long time. Despite being an expat favourite this cosy spot is renowned for dishing up authentic, lipspackingly good Thai fare. Each and every dish that we ordered was a delight from the spicy Southern Thai samosas to the Yam Makrua Yao - the most delicious salad ever invented - a medley of charred smoky eggplant, bacon, mint, coriander and soft-boiled duck eggs. Be sure to wash down your feast with a few too many cocktails, we particularly loved the Mojito-esque Bangkok Bastard.

Stuffed to bursting, we headed for post-dinner tipples at rooftop bar Above Eleven where we sipped a couple of cocktails while looking out across the twinkling city.

And last but not least, we headed for nightcaps at sister bar to the Iron Fairies, Maggie Choo's. Don't be fooled by this night spot's rather strange location at the base of the Novotel Hotel. Slink past the neon sign at the entrance, down the wooden staircase where you'll find yourself in a little noodle bar where the overalled waitresses dish up steaming bowls of noodles beneath a paper parasol festooned ceiling. Pull back the heavy velvet curtains (spotting a theme here?) and find yourself transported back to the forties and apparently in a bank vault slash speakeasy... 

Girls in cheongsams sip martinis on swings, others peek out behind fringed curtains atop the bar - a clerk counter where the barmen shake up cocktails behind brass bars. Entertainment comes courtesy of live jazz played by a band gathered around the grand piano in front of which a band of uniformed midgets dances. The most coveted tables sit in shadowy alcoves behind heavy doors hung from exposed brick archways crowned by glaring busts of Queen Victoria. As it was a packed to the rafters Saturday night we had to resign ourselves to sipping our Champagne cocktails while propping up the bar and left a couple of hours later more than a little tipsy.

The morning after the night before, there was nothing for it but to snooze off the evening's excesses beside the pool while catching up on some very important reading...

...interspersed between leisurely laps of the pool...

...and a spot of Satay nibbling.

All in all, the perfect weekend break. I landed back in Hong Kong that evening happy, rested and staving off the host-holiday blues by plotting my next adventure...

The 3BM Bangkok Little Black Book






  1. Gorgeous photos! I loved Bangkok when I went, one of the most interesting places I think I've ever been x

    1. Ah thank you Scarlett! Love Bangkok so much - always see something new and amazing every time I go! Just been reading all you BKK posts - I've somehow never been to the floating markets - defo on my hitless next trip! x