lifestyle+travel braves the sweltering summer heat to discover Bangkok's lesser known museums, near and far across the capital, and had a lot of fun in the process of acquiring some culture. 1. PIPIT BANGLAMPHU MUSEUM Thailand’s first printing school (Sangwet Witsayaram Temple Printing School) was recently restored. This sweet modern museum, with well-curated exhibitions and historical tales of the Royal Treasury Department and the Banglamphu community, is the fantastic result. There are two separate buildings. 1.1 Treasury Department Exhibition The first building holds the history of the Royal Treasury Department, which was fortuitously short. Our guide, the lovely and super-knowledgeable, “Gao-you-can-call-me-Kiwi”, does her very best to make land deeds and coins interesting to us… If that floats your boat it is very interesting indeed, with very polished exhibits. 1.2 Banglampu Community Exhibition The real magic happens (for us!) in building two. The wooden building itself, with its shiny teak floors, is colonial-chic gorgeous. Inside there are four exhibits detailing the history and characters of this multi-cultural community that date back to the early days of Rattanakosin. There are models, brilliantly executed murals, videos and interactive displays of famous venues, old shops, artisans, street food and much more, along with the remains of the eponymously named last cork tree. We love it and Kiwi is an absolute star. Phra Sumane Road Chana Songkhram Khet Phra Nakhon Bangkok 10200 T. +66 (0) 2 281 0345-51 ext. 1223, 1224 E. firstname.lastname@example.org | W. banglamphumuseum.treasury.go.th From Tue-Sun, 10am-6pm Tour every 30 minute, last one at 4pm Free admission 2. RATTANAKOSIN EXHIBITION HALL It gets off to a bit of a bad start. There is a choice of two routes – the longer, more interesting-sounding one being a two-hour guided tour. It is not conducive to our manymuseums- in-one-day mindset. It is not overly aligned with a certain independent spirit. The point being you HAVE to go with a guide for reasons that allude me… but we soldier on. Even after the Basil Fawlty pantomime moment where you pick up the headset and pay the deposit for the headset on opposite sides of the hall. The two-hour tour lasted two minutes when the ‘Thai (a lot of long-winded Thai) first, English later policy’ becomes clear (and the Thai members of our group were the most seriously-interested-in-every-detail people I have ever briefly met). At minute 1.5, much to my friend’s embarrassment, I was sneaking off into the next room, except the door was locked. Finally, we made enough fuss, (impatient farang moment) and were whisked away (much to the great relief of everyone) for our own private tour of ‘route one’. When the Rattanakosin Exhibition got good, it got really good. This is a fantastic interactive museum with models, video and creative displays. The guides are not only well informed, but smart and funny. Beautifully composed, the exhibits tell interesting stories in Thai and English about the art and culture of Bangkok and the Old Town neighbourhoods and the Grand Palace that make up Rattanakosin Island. On the fourth floor there are panoramic views of Loha Prasart and Golden Mount Temples.
Bangkok celebrates its 238rd birthday this year. As such a long-running happening city, Bangkok is surely packed with abundant attention-grabbing genres to explore that could actually keep you busy for several days. Let’s discover what Bangkok has on offer and plunge into the “Staycation” trend – where you check in to the city hotels and enjoy their premium services as a treat to yourself without making the effort of travelling outside the city. THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK ❱ STYLE The Okura Prestige Bangkok hotel is a stylish, elegant, luxurious and contemporary five-star hotel located at the heart of Thailand’s capital city. The hotel combines unrivalled levels of comfort and convenience with the warmth and charm always associated with genuine Thai hospitality. ❱ STAY All 240 rooms and suites offer impressive views across the dynamic Bangkok skyline through the triple-glazed e-coated panoramic windows. The rooms combine comfort and luxury with the very latest technological developments designed to impress business and leisure travellers. ❱ SAVOUR Delightful dining choices at Up & Above – the all-day dining venue, Michelin-starred restaurant Elements which is inspired by the famous Michelin two-star Ciel Bleu and the signature Japanese restaurant Yamazato, which has also received an award from Thailand’s best restaurant and the recognition from the Michelin Guide Bangkok. ❱ SENSES Relax in the amazing 25-metre cantilevered pool; keep fit in the state-of-the-art fitness centre; find peace and tranquility at The Okura Spa where the tranquil journey begins with a professional consultation and continues to an elegant, fully-equipped treatment room. Trained therapists use exclusive organic teas in a range of treatments designed to conjure relaxation and well-being. ❱ SCENE The Okura Prestige Bangkok is located in the award-winning Park Ventures Ecoplex building which is situated at the heart of the city’s Central Business District on Wireless Road, close to the embassies of the United Kingdom, United States and Japan. The hotel offers direct access to the city’s BTS SkyTrain network at Phloen Chit station and sits close to major shopping malls and commercial districts. The hotel enjoys easy access to and from the city’s two international airports. THE OKURA PRESTIGE BANGKOK Park Ventures Ecoplex, 57 Wireless Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330 Thailand T. +66 (0) 2687 9000 F. +66 (0) 2687 9001 W. okurabangkok.com AVANI + RIVERSIDE BANGKOK HOTEL ❱ STYLE Overlooking Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel welcomes discerning global travellers with contemporary style, intuitive service and stunning views across Asia’s most dynamic city. From the rooftop bar and pool at the top of the 26-storey hotel, down to the lobby, Avani+ Riverside Bangkok is a place to relax and unwind, and a base from which to explore nearby neighbourhoods and popular tourist sites along the ‘River of Kings’. ❱ STAY All of the hotel’s 248 stylish guest rooms and suites boast uninterrupted city and river views and all elements are geared towards the promise of a relaxing stay and a good night’s sleep. The neutral décor is a blend of comfort and modernity, natural materials and high-tech equipment, along with extra conveniences. Each of the spacious River View Junior Suites features a bathroom with a view,
With daily life becoming increasingly fast-paced, Lifestyle+Travel and Klook have curated a selection of activities that will treat families with the best thing they can get: an opportunity to slow down and spend quality time with each other. Whether foodie families are seeking to surprise their taste buds or culture vultures are looking for a chance to learn about the heritage of Thailand’s undiscovered areas, we have a variety of family-bonding experiences that are sure to last a life-time. For the Foodie Families: Amphawa Floating Market Half Day Trip from Bangkok Gallivanters can explore the areas neighbouring Thailand’s buzzing capital Bangkok on a half-day tour of one of the country’s most renowned floating markets - Amphawa Floating Market. Hosting a wide variety of stalls selling famously spicy Thai delicacies and delectable bites, the trip is made to delight foodies of all ages. Offering an array of authentic Thai products and souvenirs, families will leave hands full and bellies filled. The day ends with a calm drift along the waters of Amphawa, beneath the moonlit night skies. For the Culture Vultures: Ancient Ayutthaya Tour 80 kilometres north of Bangkok lies the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the former capital of Siam Kingdom. Ayutthaya provides a snapshot of Thailand’s past splendour and houses some of the country’s most important relics. History lovers can spot the famous Reclining Buddha statue at Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon and visit the impressive Wat Mahatat, one of the key monasteries and religious centres in the country. The tour concludes with a lunch at the Ayutthaya floating market, where families can slow down to enjoy each other’s company, with some of the freshest produce found in Thailand. For the Outdoor Enthusiasts: Jungle Kayak Tour The serene Mae Ngat Valley is a haven for fathers who are nature lovers or outdoor enthusiasts. Beginners and experts alike can take a step off the beaten track and head to the Mae Taeng Jungle reserve for a quiet afternoon of paddling amidst the untouched surroundings of the valley. Ideal for families looking for a hassle-free trip, lunch and transport to and from hotels is provided. For the Multi-generational: Elephants Day Tour in Kanchanaburi Thailand’s first privately owned nature reserve for wild elephants, the OurLand reserve, is dedicated to ensuring natural habitats with thriving flora and fauna where wild elephants can have safe access to a natural water resource. Families can spend an afternoon interacting with the gentle giants and support the cause by learning more about the Human Elephant Conflict (HEC) between farmers and elephants.
For those looking to get away for the weekend in the heart of Bangkok. The award-winning lifestyle wellness, Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 invites the health-loving travelers for an extra day to enjoy the staycation with Stay Three Pay Two – Book three nights and pay for two. The fabulous stay/pay deal includes a 3-night stay in Superior room at 3,252 Baht, Deluxe room at 3,761 Baht and Executive room at 4,286 Baht. This package also includes additional amenities to make a glorious weekend away such as daily buffet breakfast for a maximum 2 persons, complimentary 15-minutes Well Classic Partial Massage, credit voucher 500 Baht at The Twist Bar & Bistro. Free room upgrade with late check-out until 4 pm and so much more! Well Hotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 is located in the heart of the city and within 10 minutes walking distance to BTS Asoke and MRT Sukhumvit. It is comprised of 235 rooms and suites, with five room types including Superior, Superior Corner, Deluxe, Executive Room and Executive Suite. The two latter room types are equipped with an exercise bike, yoga, Pilates and resistance exercise set. Stay Three Pay Two Package is available for booking and stays from now until 31 October 2019. To be eligible for this promotion, the reservation of a 3-night stay is required. For reservations and information, visit www.wellhotelbangkok.com, email email@example.com or call +662 1275995.
A train journey can be a special part of any Thai holiday for the scenery, history and the unique peaks of the kingdom. There are many route options and they roll into most parts of the country. Travelling by train in Thailand is also a great way to see the diverse countryside on your way to tourist areas. From Bangkok, you can ride for an hour or a little more to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the seaside resort city of Hua Hin, to the “Death Railway” in Kanchanaburi, or visit Lop Buri and its unique history. Overnight trips from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the North, Nong Khai or Ubon Ratchathani in the Northeast, or all the way south to Malaysia are memorable, too. Trains have a long history in Thailand with the first entering service in 1893. It ran the 21 kilometres from Bangkok to Samut Prakan, south of the capital near the coast. By 1960, most routes had been paved over to make room for Rama IV Road, but by that time many other routes had been established and now the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) operates more than 4,500 kilometres of track going to all four corners of the kingdom. Trains range from the luxurious Eastern and Oriental Express to the first-, second- and third-class trains. Third-class “hard seat” trains are actually a great way to travel in the daytime to watch the country roll past. The cars have open windows offering a breeze with a view and lets passengers hear the sounds of the countryside. Better still are the food hawkers who walk up and down the moving carriages selling local delicacies and cold drinks. It is a memorable way to experience Thailand. Second class offers more comfortable seats in air-conditioned carriages and sleepers (also air-con) with upper and lower berths along each side for a comfortable sleep as the train gently rolls along. First class have private rooms with sleepers for couples or individuals. Passengers can control the air-con and the room includes a hand basin for washing. If you are travelling to or from Malaysia or Lao PDR., you can leave or enter the country by train. Some of Thailand’s rail highlights include: The “Death Railway” The “Death Railway” is what remains of the engineering marvel of the Burma-Siam Railway the Japanese Imperial Army built during World War II using prisoner-of-war and Asian forced labour. Conde Nast Traveller recently listed it as one of the 10 Best Train Journeys in the World. The 415-kilometre route claimed nearly 16,000 POW lives and perhaps as many as 100,000 Asian labourers from disease and overwork. Most of the old route is now closed, but the remaining two-and-a-half-hour trip from Kanchanaburi town to Namtok Sai Yok passes through beautiful tropical forests and along the wild Kwai Noi River. It is a serene and sometimes spectacular trip through a sombre past. The route includes passing over the River Kwai made famous in the 1957 Oscar-winning movie The Bridge on the River Kwai. There are two trains a day from the Thon
Built during the reign of King Rama V, Surawong Road is one of Bangkok’s most vibrant and historic business neighborhoods. Connecting to the first road ever built in Bangkok, The Charoen Krung Road, and also to the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Surawong Road is revered as the Creative District. Thanks to its heritage, classic architecture, contemporary designs and authentic local food, this road is a cultural yet contemporary tourist destination. Here are 9 highlights of this area that you should not miss. The Neilson Hays Library the monument of love Amid the bustling business district, is a quaint neoclassical building called The Neilson Hays Library. Established in 1920, the library is a monument of love, by Dr. Thomas Heywood Hays, the former Chief of the Royal Thai Navy Hospital and the first medical professor of Siriraj Hospital, in loving memory of his wife, Jennie Neilson, an avid reader, who devoted herself to library work until her last days. The elegant structure was designed by Mario Tamagno, an Italian architect, responsible for numerous landmarks around Bangkok such as the Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, Hua Lamphong Train Station, Makkawan Rangsan Bridge, and Phayathai Palace. The construction was executed with the same meticulous approach as those used with the aforementioned landmarks, prompting the public to call it “a grand palace on a small scale”. The still functional library offers more than 20,000 books for keen booklovers, and a gallery and café that have played host for special events and functions. It was awarded the status of “Historic Landmark” by the Association of Siamese Architects in 1986. Bangkok Folk Museum Bangkokians’ treasured history Bangkok Folk Museum, also known as Bangkokian Museum, is originally home to Professor Waraporn Surawadee who donated to property to become a museum that offers an insight into the lifestyles of Bangkokians amid lush, green garden. Located in the heart of bustling Bang Rak District that is now filled with commercial buildings and skyscrapers, Bangkok Folk Museum is a rare sanctuary that is open to the public for free. Visitors can also learn about the history of the house as well as Bangkok from knowledgeable staff members who will show you around and share delightful and fun stories along the way. Bangkok Folk Museum offers an insight into the lifestyles of well-off Bangkokians during World War II and its aftermath (circa 1937 – 1957). The museum consists of three zones in three quarters with display many of the possessions of original family members in good condition as well as memorabilia from early Rattanakosin Era and art pieces. Bangkok General Post Office Bangkok’s design hub In 1885 Thailand joined the Universal Postal Union and used the former British Embassy of Charoen Krung as office, which was later known as Bangkok General Post Office. In 1940, the building went through a major renovation, led by Mew Jitsame Apaiwong and Phraya Sarote Rattaniman. Under the brutalist concept that tends to use geometric shapes and showcase original surface of the materials, Bangkok General Post Office looks like a giant box paved
Formerly Siam Culture Park, Na Satta has been refurbished by a group of devouts who aim to create a place for peace, and to integrate modern ways of education into this ample knowledgeable park. “Na Satta”, which literally means “at faith”, is now inviting everyone of all ages to go on a compelling expedition of faith, just an hour’s drive from Bangkok. FAITH IN PEOPLE Throughout the history of Thailand, the evolution and changes did not just miraculously occur. There were thoughtful and determined people behind those uphill struggles to change. Apart from the inspiration earned from hearing about those honourable individuals, learning how far we’ve come with their strives could wake us up to be more conscious of what we have here in Thailand, and to be more careful not to impair it. At Na Satta Memorial Hall, not only are powerful stories told, you will witness the most refined life-sized replicas of the people behind them. Taking a long time to complete each of them, all wax figures meticulously imitate the individuals, even to the tiniest details. Inside the house, there are two floors to be explored. Once you scan the QR code in front of each figure, you can learn more about their greatness through spellbinding short movies on your device. Besides, enjoyable interactive AR (augmented reality) will appear from time to time. What a playful way to learn! On the first floor, you could learn about lives and respectable contributions of ML Pin Malakul, who played an important role in the education system; Seub Nakhasathien, one of the greatest Thai wildlife conservationists, who sacrificed everything to protect his beloved forest; former prime minister, influential Thai political leader, as well as the founder of Thammasat University, Pridi Banomyong; and nine other honoured people. Walking upwards to the second floor is the heart-warming “Srinagarindranusorn” room, displaying figures of graceful Princess Srinagarindra, or widely known as “Somdej Ya” (meaning in Thai “the grandmother”, as she is the mother of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who has been acclaimed as “the father” of all Thai people), whose altruism and benevolence are greatly respected by millions of people. Throughout the floor, you will learn more about her incalculable contributions to Thai society, as well as her talents and personal interests. Another chamber is called “Mahitalanusorn”, with stories of Somdej Phra Mahitalathibet Adulyadejvikrom, also known as Mahidol Adulyadej, the father of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. FAITH IN BUDDHISM Apart from written history, Buddhism is one of the major faiths in Thailand. Jataka stories and other Buddhist fables have been customarily taught in Thai schools for decades, but now that we are living in a more technological world, learning Buddhism and its history doesn’t need to be in a traditional form – especially here at Na Satta, where students and visitors can learn through spectacular three-dimensional storytelling. Inside an immense hall made of bricks and woods, with Buddha Images of Three Historical Periods, is another world to explore. You are welcome to sit right before a majestic Buddha’s image, and travel back to the ancient days of Sukhothai, Chiang
King Power Mahanakhon unveils Mahanakhon SkyWalk – Thailand’s highest 360-degree observation deck and rooftop bar at 314 meters high, offering spectacular panoramic views of the city from Thailand’s tallest building. The new premium attraction opened its doors to the public on 16 November 2018. Located on the 74th, 75th and 78th floor of the King Power Mahanakhon Building, highlights of the indoor and outdoor observation deck include one of the world’s largest glass tray floors, Thailand’s highest Rooftop Bar, and Thailand’s fastest video-themed elevators—which allows visitors to ascend to the 74th floor in 50 seconds. Located in the heart of Bangkok’s central business district and directly connected to Chong Nonsi BTS station, the attraction is to become a global landmark destination that transforms Thailand’s tourism scene into a truly international force. Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha, CEO of King Power Mahanakhon, said, “The launch of Mahanakhon SkyWalk, Thailand’s highest 360-degree Observation Deck and Rooftop Bar sets a new milestone in King Power’s history. As a Thai company, we are extremely proud to create a new landmark in the heart of Bangkok that enhances Thailand’s tourism image as a phenomenal world-class travel destination. The new attraction is the first of its kind in Thailand to offer a completely new experience and impressive perspective on Bangkok’s skyline.” Mahanakhon SkyWalk is being promoted to both Thai and foreign visitors in order to stimulate the nation’s economy and long-term spending while sustainably enhancing its tourism and retail industries. Mahanakhon SkyWalk consists of: • 1st Floor: Lobby, main entrance and ticket counter for Mahanakhon SkyWalk. After purchasing tickets, visitors will proceed to the elevator boarding area via a Bangkok-themed digital corridor. Experience Thailand’s fastest elevators and reach the 74th floor in 50 seconds. • 74th Floor: Indoor Observation Deck. Experience 360-degree panoramic views and learn about Bangkok’s key landmark destinations through interactive screens and an Augmented Reality experience. Send postcards to loved ones from Thailand’s highest post-box! • 75th Floor: Mezzanine, Restroom facilities, and Glass elevator boarding area • 78th Floor: Rooftop area and outdoor observation deck with the following highlights: o Glass Tray, one of the world’s largest glass tray floors at a height of 310 meters. o The Peak, Bangkok’s highest viewpoint at 314 meters up from ground level. o Thailand’s highest rooftop bar with signature drinks and cocktails. Visitors can enjoy direct BTS Skytrain access to the attraction via Chong Nonsi Station, exit 3. (Conveniently located 3 stations away from Siam BTS Station). The attraction is open daily from 10.00 – 24.00 hrs, with the last admission at 23.00hrs. To celebrate the launch, special promotions include a complimentary upgrade to the rooftop with the purchase of a Mahanakhon SkyWalk ticket at 765THB (from the normal price of 1,050 THB) from today until 31 January 2019*. *Terms and conditions apply. Ticket type Description Adult Admission Children/Senior *Children under 12 years of age *Seniors over 60 years of age Mahanakhon SkyWalk Indoor Observatory Deck (74th Floor) 850 THB 250 THB Mahanakhon SkyWalk & Rooftop Indoor and Outdoor Observatory Deck (74th and 78th Floor) 1,050 THB 450 THB