Contributed by feature reporter Jens Hoffmann covering Asia-Pacifique.
Bangkok is gettin more and more modern but far from antiseptic, filled with luxuries, pampering and great thai cuisine and still affordable. Yet amid the chaos, visitors find charm and, above all, character. Somehow extremes coexist: skyscrapers and moldy tenements; high-end, cloth-napkin dining and tasty street food stalls; five-star hotels and fleabag guesthouses overflowing with backpackers; libidinous hedonism and Buddhist meditation. To travel across Bangkok is to see several worlds at once. The city of traffic now has interesting public transportation system (MRT, Taxi, Bus, Tuk Tuk, velo).
The options ranging from boats to an expanding subway system. But if there is one reason visitors return again and again to Bangkok, it are the thai people.
The anonymity and daily grind of urban life is slowly wearing away at the legendary Thai smile. Yet Bangkok remains one of the friendliest cities on the planet, still infused with the Thai traditions of smoothness, hospitality and graciousness.
I love this city, usually we feature luxury hotels. Today we checked in @ a ecoluxury location.
The Treehotel is the final exit from traffic-choked Bangkok or just a cosy luxury hotel at the “end of the world”. This place is our style, a ecoluxury hotel set among the treetops on an unspoilt peninsula not far from BKK. Bangkok Tree House hotel pushes the boundaries of eco-friendliness and still offers a stylish welcome. You can cancel your VIP strech-limo welcome, the hotel has not really a frontdesk and no propper road access.
A bit of green awareness or perhaps a different century.
Phra Pradaeng is a pear-shaped patch of land cut off by a meander in the Chao Phraya.
The staff picked us up at the ferry. Walking past orchards of papaya and coconut, within five minutes we come to a set of small bamboo, steel and glass units.
These are the rooms, linked by a raised wooden walkway to the restaurant and pool. One open room has no walls or ceiling and guests sleep under the stars.
We are surprised about the floor of the doorless loo is clear glass – giving a view of the lush vegetation below and the place offers a fantastic wodden balcony.
After a little rest on the huge bed, we saw that, provided you are not scared of heights, this is a perfect place to be. The bed’s on a blond wood platform, the sundeck has a lounger for two and views of treetops and shipping. Fittings are of pleasing chunky wood, towels feel robust rather than fluffy. The hotel owners thought about the potential of this antidote to the car-clogged city, put notes through doors across the peninsula asking if any land was likely to be for sale. Phra Pradaeng is green belt land, with no factories or major development. So we rested in the bamboo eyrie, and got a perfect green thai hospitality.
This hotel has all the green credentials: floors, walls and ceilings of reclaimed wood and local bamboo, insulated with old juice cartons; lighting powered by solar and wind energy; solar cookers in the organic meat-free kitchen; rainwater harvesting; and local sourcing of products not grown on site.
Better you will find here all the green credentials “western” people talkking about.
A resto tip in Bangkok:
Sra Bua a fine-dining restaurant that serves cutting edge Thai cuisine unlike any you will have ever seen before. Well-known Thai favourites have been turned inside out, and every dish is a treat for the eyes – as well as the taste buds. Located on the ground floor of the Siam Kempinski Hotel, Sra Bua restaurant has high ceilings and Thai antique embellishments. The restaurant’s name means lotus pond and a central feature of the restaurant is an ornate water feature decorated with lily pods and lotus flowers. The most coveted table in the house sits under the beautifully carved teak roof in the left hand corner of the dining room, but there are also some cosy booths if you want a little more privacy.
My favourite spiritual city.
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