The Best of Bangkok

by Kyle Patrick Long

Bangkok isn’t on every beach-minded traveller’s list for a Thailand trip, but it should be. Why not spend a few days in the city before making your way to the stretches of unspoiled sand that the country has to offer? Here’s the best way to fill your urban days.

Best Bike Tour: Co Van Kessel

If there’s one thing we trust the Dutch about, it is most certainly bikes, so at the end of the day, a bicycle tour through Bangkok with Co Van Kessel just makes sense. Started by a Dutchman more than 20 years ago, you’ll meet your local guides and go for a day of relaxed yet adventurous biking, exploring nooks and crannies of Bangkok you would probably never find on your own.

Most tours combine boating and biking for a well-rounded experience. Just a short longtail boat ride away with your bike and you’re suddenly transported to a rural suburb that feels part jungle, part country farm, but entirely Bangkok. The bike guides, one in front and one in back, don’t bombard guests with information, so it’s basically a full day to just pedal and gawk at a city that feels worlds away from your expectations.


Best Spa: Mandarin Oriental

There is something special about setting the stage for a luxurious massage by fording a mighty river in a small, private boat. Guests are ferried to the hotel’s complex on the opposite side of the Chao Phraya river for what is sure to be a memorable spa experience.

No detail is overlooked at the Mandarin Oriental, something you’ll surely notice if you’re staying at the historic hotel. For a holistic balancing experience, book at least 90 minutes of an Ayurvedic treatment. The gorgeous private spa rooms highlight the Mandarin Oriental’s long history through luxurious yet rustic-looking fixtures, like the free-standing copper soaking bathtub paired with a glass rainforest shower cabin. After your talented masseuse finds and works out all your knots, prepare for a personal steam chamber where just your head pokes out the top of the armoire-like wooden device. A body scrub and light snack with lemongrass tea round off the experience and ensure you’ll be scrambling to find time to book another session before you leave.

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