My first trip to South East Asia was a three-night stay in the buzzing city of Bangkok, before heading to the royal beach town of Hua Hin, and then nine nights travelling through the east coast islands of Koh Tao, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.
While on this inaugural adventure, I stayed at The Amari Watergate Hotel, (pictured above) in downtown Bangkok, and the Amari Resort & Spa Hotel, in Hua Hin, then at various resorts on the islands. NB. Resorts in Thailand are generally in between a hostel and a hotel – but most have a luscious swimming pool and adequate accommodation.
I travelled solo for my time spent on the islands, and was with a group in Hua Hin and Bangkok. Here, I’ll tell you all about my time in Bangkok while staying at the wonderful Amari Watergate hotel…
The view from the Executive lounge at the Amari Watergate
Hotel: Amari Watergate
Location: Downtown Bangkok
Address: 847 Petchburi Road, Bangkok
Phone: +66 (0) 2653 9000
Nearest airport: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi
Nearest train: Makkasan Airport Link, Rajthevi BTS Station
Rates: Visit the Amari website for the latest offers
Website: Amari Watergate, Bangkok
Pool? Yes, freeform, on the 8th floor rooftop
Wi-Fi? Yes, throughout hotel
Perfect for: Couples, large groups and families
FashCatherine credentials: A pool to watch the sunset from, an incredible menu at Thai on 4 restaurant, the executive lounge – from which there is a beautiful view of the city, and where executive level members can enjoy breakfast.
Let’s fly away
Like most travel fanatics, Thailand had always been on my ‘must visit’ list. So once I had the opportunity, I decided to start in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, with a few days in nearby beach resort, Hua Hin. The 11-hour flight with Thai Airways was comfortable, and you can even order a vegetarian meal ahead of time – if you so wish. My group arrived in Bangkok airport late afternoon, which was ideal as it meant we slept a lot of the way and could have dinner when we arrived, before an early night.
A Bangkok bolthole
The Amari Watergate hotel, which offers comfortable and family-friendly accommodation, is located in the middle of the Pratunam district: the heartland of Bangkok’s super malls and bargain shopping central. You’ll find everything from electronics to knock-off designer fashion.
It can be a tad hectic for the first-time traveller, so don’t miss a trip to the 8th floor swimming pool. I also treated myself to a massage at the hotel’s Breeze Spa – the spa brand in all of the Amari hotels. The signature mood massages (from which I chose to feel ‘serene’) cost around £36 each, breeze-spa.com.
Personalised treatments, at the Amari’s Breeze Spa
After my massage, I joined my group at the pool for a pre-dinner drink as we watched the sun set over the palm trees – a haven within one of the world’s craziest cities! Of all the hotels I have stayed in while in Bangkok, the Amari Watergate has my favourite location. Everything was so close by or within easy reach.
Don’t miss a trip to the Thai on Four restaurant at the Watergate hotel, a traditional Siam restaurant where the kitchen is overseen by a chef who used to cook for the King.
Dishes served at Thai on Four restaurant
Bright lights, big city…
Bangkok is where east meets west, and this melting pot attracts around 16.42 million visitors per year. So, as well as plentiful markets and neon lights, culture is abundant. For a start, there are over 400 temples, so make sure you think ahead which ones you want to visit. Catching tuk-tuks is an easy, fun and cheap way of touring them all – just agree on a price before you hop in, which shouldn’t be more than 200 baht (£4) per trip. We stopped off at the incredible Grand Palace, built in 1782 and the most visited temple with around 8 million visitors per year, Wat Po, to see the Reclining Buddha – the largest in Thailand, and Wat Arun, which is picturesquely located on the Chao Praya river.
*** Don’t miss my round up of 16 of the best things to do and see in Bangkok ***
NB. It is important to remember that you will need to cover up while visiting the temples – take trainers, long trousers and long sleeved tops: although, you will almost definitely pick up some elephant print trousers as souvenirs for around 100 baht (£2) each. You can book organised tours, or hire guides to show you around the temples, if you want to learn more.
Chatuchak Market: This weekend market, the largest in Thailand, sells everything from clothing to handicrafts. A 35-acre area filled with more than 8000 stalls arranged in sections and numbered alleyways, or ‘sois’.
Khlongs of Thonburi tour: There is a wealth of tours available to book onto throughout Thailand, and most will arrange to pick you up and drop you off at your hotel for an inclusive price. Consider a Khlong (canal) tour of Bangkok’s Thonburi area (once the capital city itself), to see floating vendors and for a peek into the traditional Thai way of life.
Read more Thailand articles and reviews on FashCatherine…
- 10 reasons to visit Thailand – written by a single female traveller
- Top ten things to take with you to Thailand
- 16 of the best things to see and do in Bangkok, Thailand
- Visiting Bangkok with a family? Try Amari Residences, Bangkok [REVIEW]
- A different perspective on Phuket, at The Amari Phuket Ocean Wing [REVIEW]
- A luxury hotel in Bangkok? It has to be The Peninsula Hotel [REVIEW]
- Pure opulence at The Peninsula Spa, Bangkok [REVIEW]
- Picture perfect Thailand at The Amari Vogue, on Tubkaek Beach, Krabi [REVIEW]
- Should I visit Maya Bay and Phi Phi Don, Thailand?
- A cool hotel to stay at in Hua Hin? It has to be the Amari Hua Hin [REVIEW]
- Don’t miss my article, ‘What to wear in hot countries‘, written by a female traveller
Fancy a bit of Bali?
- 10 of the best things to do and see in Bali, Indonesia
- An all-inclusive holiday in Bali? Stay at Club Med, Nusa Dua [REVIEW]
Fancy a UK break, with a difference?…
- All aboard the Sunborn Yacht Hotel – an elegant hotel moored in the ExCel docks [REVIEW]
- The Gleneagles Hotel, Scotland:Five star luxury in Perthshire countryside [REVIEW]
The stay reviewed in the article above, in April 2015, was supported by Amari