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Blissful Retreats along the River of Kings

With David Messiha

Bangkok is a vibrant metropolis; the city exudes with vibrancy from every corner, street, alley and shopping district. Bangkok’s nightlife however is not only limited to its cafes, bars and bustling markets.

There are many opportunities for the well-traversed traveller to enjoy some of the sites of this amazing city, particularly along the banks of the Chao Phraya, named  river of kings by non-other than King Rama I himself. The contrast of life, in and around the Chao Phraya makes it truly spectacular and fascinating to experience.

 

Where to dine on the Chao Phraya

Life on the Chao Phraya can get particularly exciting; there are hundreds of restaurants, bars and hotel brand name chains offering breath-taking views of the river. Whether you are on a budget or have much to spare or splurge the choice is yours to make.

Riverside dinning is at its best at Normandie Grill  at the Oriental Hotel, known as the finest French restaurant in Southeast Asia; given the impeccable menu choices and its vintage wine cellar options.  One of its outstanding features is that all diners get an exquisite view of the Chao Phraya from the hotels elevated rooftop. The Oriental hotel hosted a list of celebrity writers like Joseph Conrad, Somerset Maugham, and Graham Greene.

You can also break free from the traditional hotel dining experience and set your gear into the world of authentic fine Thai dinning. Supatara River House, which was originally the home of Supatra Singholaga a successful Thai businesswoman and a leading women’s rights advocate who established the Chao Phraya River ferry company is a piece of history.  The house was converted into a restaurant in 1998. It has three dining areas overlooking the river with an open-air terrace. Every Saturday night the restaurant entertains crowds with traditional Thai classical dancing.

For those seeking a romantic getaway and an exciting tour of the city at night the Grand Pearl Cruise boat tour typically passes by all the major sites across the city such as the Temple of Dawn, the Emerald Buddha, and other well-known landmarks. Upon entry you will be welcomed by a cocktail, before settling down to your dining table ready to enjoy the international buffet.

 

Bars by the Chao Phraya

If you are particularly in the mood for a cocktail or two, the Three Sixty Jazz Lounge located at the unique Millennium Hilton has much to offer. Tables and couches, are set against a glass panel overlooking the river, providing an exceptional view.  To enhance your experience even more, a live band plays jazz while you sip your favourite cocktail or martini.

The Oriental’s Bamboo bar unique jungle-like setting distinguishes it from other bars. The luxurious interior is evocative of an African jungle. The bar serves a variety of cocktails and drinks and has reputation as one of the most popular jazz spots in the city.

 

Where to shop on the Chao Phraya

Explore the mega shopping development on the banks of the Chao Phraya waterfront, known as Asiatique. This shopping and dining enclave boasts more than 1,500 boutiques and a variety of restaurants that please the discerning palate with a variety of dishes including Thai, Japanese, Italian and Chinese specialties.  Adding to the pleasure of the experience  are impressive firework displays, and Thai theatrical puppet shows, all with stunning views of the river of kings.

From top-notch five star hotel dining to small non-descript riverside eateries everything is available along the banks of the Chao Phraya; the choice is only yours to make!