What better way to say goodbye to Bangkok, than return to the river for two more days of buffets, views, and cooling dunks in the pool?
After Thip passed her final orals (with flying colors, I might add) I decided to reward myself by returning to the river for a last fling before leaving Bangkok for the next leg of my trip — Bali and sailing through the Spice Islands.
For a little variety, I decided to stay at an old favorite on the river, The Sheraton Royal Orchid (again, I paid, so my biases are sentimental not financial).
The main draws were, first, the price (about $109/night including all taxes and fees – a special offer booked directly on their website).
The second was the location – adjacent to a Chao Praya River boat stop, on one side, and the ferry to Klongsan Plaza across the river on the other. It’s also a 50 meter walk to River City, a large, indoor shopping center with high-end stores for well-heeled tourists. I decided to skip the river excursion in favor of the pools and River City is just too rich for my blood, but Klongsan Plaza was definitely on my itinerary.
The main attraction for me were the pools – yes, plural. Two pools, one big rectangular pool overlooking the river, and another tucked away into a garden adjacent to (and on grounds owned by) the Portugese embassy. The garden pool also featured a swim up bar with submerged stools so you can sit in refreshing liquid at one end while quaffing a refreshing liquid at the other. I made good use of both pools.
Klongsan Plaza was also a highlight. Just a five-minute ferry ride across the river, the Plaza is the polar opposite of the opulent River City. It is an outdoor market with stalls offering street food and inexpensive goods to mostly local people.
Around the corner from the market is the new, ultrahip restaurant The Never Ending Summer on the site of an old jam factory. A great looking space with exposed roof rafters, beams and brick walls and some of the best Thai food I have ever eaten. The clientele was almost all young, sophisticated and Thai.
It was a fitting place to celebrate Thip’s success and the conclusion to my 5+ weeks of living like a local (sort of) in Bangkok. I return to the university this afternoon for my last night before heading off to Indonesia. I’m not sure whether I’ll have Internet access while I’m there, so this may be my last post for a while.
It’s been an amazing five weeks, but I’m ready for a change.