The first thing our taxi driver said to us in Bangkok was, “This country has been rated to have one of the world’s worst traffic.” And in our short trip to Bangkok, it turned out to be quite accurate – but that didn’t stop the local people from also being named the land of smiles! Bangkok was the last stop of our Thailand trip, and I’m glad we saved the capital city for last as there was just so much to do. In a place that is known for it’s many temples and vibrant city life, we were lucky to find ‘home’ in the Shangri-La hotel just by the riverside.
The short but sweet stay we had with Shangri-La was definitely one to remember. It is one of the biggest hotels in Bangkok with a classic wing (for more of the ‘Shangri-La’ décor and feeling) and a Krunthep wing (for more of the traditional décor), as well as 9 restaurants and 20 meeting rooms for private gatherings. To say that the hotel grounds was overwhelmingly impressive was an understatement, we found ourselves always finding new pathways to explore! During our stay, we were in the River View room, which provided us with panoramic views of the Chao Phraya River. Some days when we felt like relaxing, Shad and I would take a seat and would people watch from our window! We saw families relaxing by the hotel pool, locals going on with their daily lives, and many boats pass along the river. By sunset, all the lights turn on and the city turns into something else.
On one of our last nights at Shangri-La, Shad and I had the opportunity to meet the marketing manager, Khanitta, and share a dinner with her at Salathip, their very famous Thai restaurant. It is normally booked out and even busier on weekends, so I would suggest you make a reservation in advanced if you plan to visit. The restaurant does an amazing job of traditional Thai food as well as modern fusion, taking the spices you would normally have in Thai cuisine and mixing it to something new. I remember we tried the entrée tasting platter and had these delicious smoked salmon paper rolls and crispy prawns stuffed in a Chinese pancake. One soup I definitely had to taste was their tom yum, which is made with locally sourced fresh ingredients and lots of spice – and by lots, I mean that I told them to just give me the ‘local’ level of chilli and had to continuously drink water (Thai people can really handle their spice…!) For those that enjoy entertainment during their dinner, Salathip also has a Thai dance performance available daily from 7:45pm onwards.
Our overall stay at Shangri-La was one for the books, but one of the best things about staying at the hotel was having walking access to two free ferry shuttles that run through the river. Within a few minutes, we could board a free shuttle that takes us to a large shopping complex opposite the hotel or the Asiatique: a popular night bazaar and mall in Bangkok. Needless to say, we used them to our advantage during our time there.