BANGKOK’S BEST MOMENTS

Written by root. Posted in FEATURES

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Published on May 08, 2018 with No Comments

Five iconic experiences that should not be missed.

Words MUSA HASHIM

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Markets
Who doesn’t love market shopping? They’re cheap, they’re fun and they are never boring. And where markets are concerned, Bangkok knows how to do them right. The city is filled with markets of all kinds that cover all hours. From places to shop for antiques, furniture, flowers and food, there are markets that start as early as three in the morning to those that stay on till just past midnight. Jam packed with both locals and tourists, the markets are perhaps the best – and fun – way to really get a glimpse of the local culture. While they are many new markets that have sprung up in recent years, the mother of all markets remain Chatuchak, the weekend-only market that coined the term “shopcation” for visitors who come to Bangkok only to shop here.

Chatuchak is still considered the biggest and baddest of all the markets in Bangkok simply because you really can find everything here. From wash basins to hunting knives and risqué innerwear, the 8,000 market stalls will not disappoint you. No doubt the 35-acre market – an organised chaos at best – may overwhelm the first-timer, yet it remains incredibly popular with tourists and locals alike because it simply is a local institution. Don’t forget to grab some local grub and never leave without trying a coconut shake.

Muay Thai
Also known as the “art of eight limbs”, the Thai martial art of “muay” is a popular sport in the country. The origins date back several hundred years, and the eight limbs referred to are the use of both fists, elbows, shins and knees in the body combat. More than just a traditional sport, Muay Thai also trains the athlete to gain overall fitness and emotional wellbeing.

Many professional Muay Thai fighters begin training when young. Even so, you can still channel your inner warrior at various gyms and fitness camps that offer beginner classes in Muay Thai. At Master Toddy’s Muay Thai Academy, where programmes are certified by Thailand’s Ministry of Education, students are walked through the practical aspects of the sport before being taken to the ring to discover the techniques that include pad work, bag work and sparring. Master Toddy himself is somewhat of a celebrity, having trained over 40 world champions. For an alternative experience, The Siam, an urban luxury hotel in the Old Bangkok quarters, seem to be a fitting start to your journey of discovering this ancient art. The Siam offers private lessons in their state-of-the-art Muay Thai gym. After a bout in the ring, you can ease your sore muscles at their spa and then dine on a chef-exclusive fighter’s diet menu to ensure a wholesome journey into your Muay Thai experience.

Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park
For a look into the hotel of the future, step into Bangkok Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park and be prepared to be wowed. The largest of Marriott’s property in Asia Pacific, it has a whopping 1,360 rooms, but you will never feel overwhelmed by it. Service remains intimate and attentive, and there are many smart elements in the hotel that make this marquis property stand out. Check-in is done at sleek reception consoles, rooms and public spaces are filled with murals and intricate designs that pay homage to the Siamese culture, private dining spaces are aplenty where theatrics take centrestage – such as an in-house soba chef and a Chinese tea master.

The lobby is full of luxe details, yet always with a Thai design aspect that makes it both charming and elegant. Rooms are equipped with free wifi, a flexible work surface, and floor-to-ceiling windows for views of the city. Its location, a walking distance to two of the best malls in Bangkok – EmQuartier and Emporium – is also a plus. Queen’s Park, just behind the hotel, makes it easy to go for a jog in the mornings and catch some local action.

Spa
Has anyone ever been to Bangkok and not get a rub down? Whether it’s a stimulating foot reflexology, a traditional Thai or a whole body treatment with a herbal hot compress, any kind of a massage will leave you feeling calm and relaxed and ready to face another day in the city. Walk down any soi (lane) and there will be no shortage of a reputable and clean massage place to check out.

The popular chainhouse, Let’s Relax, with outlets across the city is known for its traditional massage and reliable service. Let’s Relax also offers facials that are affordably priced. Another favourite, Healthland, with many branches within easy reach of the Skytrain and subway, includes a therapeutic massage treatment that concentrates on specific troubled areas performed by a qualified therapist. Its herbal compress massage uses a poultice made from tamarind leaves, bergamot peels, camphor and black herbal seeds that really relaxes sore muscles. Meanwhile, although RarinJinda Wellness Spa has only two branches in the city, it is worth to seek them out to try their signature Elements of Life treatment where a massage is performed on a warm sand bed and includes a Tibetan sound therapy that is totally out of this world!

Central Embassy
There are malls in every corner and neighbourhood of the city because everyone escapes into these air-conditioned comfort zones from the heat. Sometimes, it’s not about what you can buy at these malls, but what you can experience. Central Embassy is considered Bangkok’s newest icon, with its seamless glass and mixed use of rare materials in its architecture. The minimalistic interiors and futuristic design is a breath of fresh air, giving shoppers a sense of space and freedom to move about. Over 200 international reknowned brands are housed here, including the Gucci and Moschino flagship stores. But there are also high street brands such as Onitsuka Tiger and Lacoste for those less inclined to shop luxury. Central Embassy is also home to Siwilai, a modern day market place that stocks on multi brands. Look out for exclusive product collaborations between Siwilai and brands like Kitsune and Orlebar Brown. Fashion aside, the store also offers books, magazines and other curios. Check out its own namesake cafe next door that makes some of the best egg dishes for brunch.

Round up your day at Central Embassy with a movie at one of the most expensive cinemas to be designed in the world. A THB120 million-screen built to create a high-end, cinema-going experience comes with intimate screening rooms and cocooned seating, blankets and pillows, and a butler-service call button. Now that’s movie with a difference.

 

Royal Brunei Airlines flies Bangkok 6x weekly. Discover things to do in Bangkok in www.muhibah.com.bn

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