I’m always happy to be in Bangkok. It’s a city for anyone. If you want to party, you can. If you want to eat, you can – day or night. Shoppers can go nuts for cheap and cheerful or super luxe and here in this chaotic, bustling city (believe it or not) if you want to relax, you can do that too!
I come here almost every year so I skip the tourist stuff. The beautiful palaces and golden spires of temples, I’ve seen and done. So when I’m in Bangkok, I just take it easy and eat. Eat, eat and eat. I may fit in the spa and some shopping in between but listen, Thai cuisine has so many of my favourite dishes that I have to schedule each bite or I’ll miss something.
This time it had been well over a year since I’d visited and last time I was so ill and pregnant, I hardly ate a thing! I’d like to say I was going to make up for lost meals but when travelling with a one year old and an eight year old, you kinda have to be a little bit patient and take things slower.
This trip, we stayed at the Marriott Executive Apartments, Sukhumvit Park and now I think I’d choose this location again. Sure it’s not the opulent Kempinski (which I highly recommend for its kids club, gorgeous setting and proximity to Paragon shopping center), but it’s nice and just right for a family of four because of the huge space with separate bedroom and living area. There was also a full kitchen with a washer and dryer, room service, gym, spa, pool and kids room with a few toys for various ages. Marriott service standards are also still maintained and their buffet breakfast is fantastic.
Another plus to staying here is that it’s only a short tuk tuk ride to Emporium and Emquartier (both swanky shopping centers on opposite sides of the street but joined by a walkway). Marriott provides a free service to and from Emporium and this was great because not only was it fun, but it made life a bit easier. Once you get to Emporium, the BTS train is right there and you can hop on to get to Paragon or Siam Square or almost any other of the great spots in Bangkok.
Really, for my purposes, Emquartier had everything. There was this awesome helix of at least 4 floors of food outlets that you can walk through in a spiral to pick whatever cuisine you fancy. And there are also the food halls, one in Emporium and one in Emquartier located at the front of the Marketplace grocery stores. The food halls have a huge variety of all sorts of street food and snacks that you can eat without breaking a sweat out on the hot, dusty streets. I usually grab a few goodies and take them back to the room to eat when I want. At Marketplace, I stock up on fruit like green mango and pomelo, all pre cut and ready to eat. Easy. (For water and stuff, I’d go to 7 Eleven because it’s cheaper and they have more travel size things like dish and laundry soap. Also because I like looking at all the fun things in there. There are two 7 Elevens within walking distance from the Marriott)
So, back to the Emquartier food helix, we ate at Nara Thai Cuisine. They have several branches now and I heard they even have a branch in Singapore – one that I must try out and see if the flavours are the same. For me what I loved most was the hor mok. A kind of souffle made from fish and red curry. Their tod mun (Thai fish cakes) and som tum (green papaya salad) were also yummy and the crisp fried chicken is great! But dessert was definitely the star. Yummy coconut ice cream the way I like it (not too milky) served with generous cups of condiments like sticky rice, jellies, lodchong (green) noodles and tubtim krob (water chestnut covered in gelatinous pink stuff) for you to mix and match to your hearts desire.
I rolled out of Nara Thai so full that my only choice was to put my one year old down for a nap and leaving The Vegetarian behind to stand watch, I went out for a foot massage at the Asian Herbal Association which is only a two minute walk away from the Marriott. I’d highly recommend the Asian Herbal Association. An hour later I walked out relaxed and happy. They have a lovely environment and the therapists are well trained and gracious. The next day I went back for an oil massage, taking my 8 year old who had a foot massage (she even now sighs and says, “when are we going back to Bangkok for a foot massage”).
Our next lunch was to be at The Never Ending Summer that I’d found on Instagram and loved the logo and pics that I had to go. It’s a bit far from our hotel but well worth the trip. Much talked about for the hip and happening set or the wannabes who are just curious like ourselves, we booked in advance but even then, when we arrived, we were told they were full, having some VIP guests dining there. They did send us over to The Summer House Project, their “Western” restaurant which was equally as nice if not nicer because it was right by the river. And we could order from their Thai menu so I was happy enough. Loved the open kitchens in both restaurants and the airy atmosphere of the converted warehouse which was full of hanging ferns. Service was fantastic and the food authentic. Especially loved the fried chicken wings and crispy egg omelette. The starter of traditional miankum (as seen in the first image) was a highlight. For this, you wrap all the little bits and pieces – ginger, shrimps, peanuts – into the betel leaf with a sticky, sweet sauce and pop the whole thing into your mouth. The curries and tom yum soup were equally as tasty and authentic.
Other couple other meals worth noting (sorry, too busy eating to remember to take a photo!):
We go every time we’re in Bangkok – The Chilli Cafe at Paragon where we gorge ourselves on Thai salads like Larb and Yum, roast chicken, grilled beef and sticky rice. Dessert is good too. I always opt for the taro balls in warm, sweet, coconut milk.
Then there’s Chincha Charlee at both Emporium and Paragon which has a range of all these great local dishes, I usually have at least two meals here and order two or more dishes at a time! I like their fermented noodles with curry, roti and their Thai salads too.
Oh for coffee, again at Emquartier, Dark was fantastic.
For more information:
The Never Ending Summer (also The Summer House Project)