Agency partner Dan McKenna enjoys traveling to far off places when he has time to break away from the office. One of his favorite destinations is Thailand. Here are some of his thoughts for anyone planning an upcoming Fall or Winter trip to “the land of smiles”.
For a fantastic tasting menu, Dan’s favorite is Nahm. Nahm features “strong, fresh flavours of traditional Thai cuisine”. The restaurant occupies the ground floor of the Como Metropolitan Hotel in Bangkok, overlooking the outdoor pool.
A good location to check out if you’re staying in the Silom area is Blue Elephant. This restaurant is also a cooking school.
If you want traditional Thai food while enjoying the local scenery, book a dinner cruise at Baan Khanitha. You will ride in a converted antique rice barge while enjoying freshly cooked authentic Thai cuisine.
Dan has yet to try Issaya Siamese Club but has heard it is great.
Enjoy breathtaking views from the world’s highest open-air bar on the 64th floor of the State Tower, Sky Bar.
For those combatting a fear of heights, enjoy striking views of the river at the Long Bar at Shangri-La Hotel.
The Saxophone Pub near BTS Sky Train Station and Victory Monument provides an interesting scene and good jazz music. Peruse the art gallery and enjoy some food and drinks while listening to live bands.
Dan just read about a Trader Vic’s at the Anantara Riverside Resort and comments “that sounds pretty cool – probably very safe too!”
There is also a Western-type bar on Sukhumvit right across the street from the Westin that’s fun.
The three top areas of the city are the River Area which has a Sheridan, Oriental, Shangri-La, and Marriott. Dan recommends the other side if you want to be away from all the hussle and bustle.
Sukhumvit area has the Westin, JW Marriott, the Landmark, and others. Dan has stayed in all of these hotels and would say they are all fine.
Silom area has a decent Holiday Inn and the LeBeau Hotel in the State Tower. Silom is a less hectic area compared to Sukhumvit.
Most of the tailors that Dan has gone to are in Sukhumvit on the right side of the road as you walk from the Marriott to the Westin. Rajawongse is an honest one. Dan has also used Siam Emporium, a few blocks closer to the Westin than Raja’s. With prices so reasonable here in the States these days, Dan would not make this a priority but it can be a fun experience if you have the time.
The night markets and street shopping can also be fun after dinner. Do yourself a favor and don’t ask for a price unless it’s something you want to buy – and then, bargain. Thais don’t respect you unless you bargain.
The Grand Palace is a must; Dan usually takes the sky train to the river and then hires a private boat for a few dollars. When you are outside the palace, a bunch of Thais will tell you it’s closed and try to take you somewhere else – all lies! When you go by the Grand Palace, also go to the Lying Buddha Temple – this is where the Thai massage school is located. As far as other places go, Dan has tripped around Dusit Park and the Zoo and that was OK, as was Jim Thompson’s Teak House but after a bit of time out during the day, Dan is usually ready for a pool.
Dan has stayed in the Phi Phi Islands twice. You can either fly to Krabi and take a ferry or to Phuket and take a ferry. Although Phuket is more popular and much bigger, its nicer going from Krabi. If you are staying in Phuket, do a boat trip to Coral Island if you aren’t going to Phi Phi. Karon Beach on Phuket is real nice. There is also a nice Marriott on the north end of the island near the airport which is good if you are looking to really relax. The Cabana Hotel on Phi Phi has a good pool and is fine to stay at too.
Koh Samui is a nice island destination as well. You’d fly from BKK. One of the popular daytrips is to Ko Tao but it is a long boat ride back if the water is choppy.
Diving is probably best off Phi Phi.
Dan has not been to Chaing Mai but everyone seems to like it. Dan did venture once up to Luang Prabang in Laos and did a few days hike up in those hills. He imagines this experience would be similar to the northern part of Thailand.
Always when traveling to another country, consider purchasing travel medical insurance to get you back to the United States in the event that you become ill or suffer an accident. Call Mitchell & Mitchell at 888-512-8878 for more information.