Bangkok, Thailand: Sweet & Spicy

October 08, 2016
FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016


FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND

Bangkok is to Malaysians what Paris is to Brits: that neighbouring city whose proximity (both Bangkok and Paris are only an hour’s time difference plus a hop, skip, 'n' Eurostar away from Kuala Lumpur and London) makes it oh-so-accessible. Yet both their cultural, gastronomical, and linguistic differences are so vast that the novelty never totally fades, no matter how many foie gras cronuts avec foam du mollusc** nor crispy fried grasshoppers pass your world-weary lips. It’s no secret that I’m a bit of a veteran to the Bangkok scene (hence my inbox blowing up with questions such as: “What’s that insane sky bar you went to?” Seriously guys, just read the blog) and that I’m on a never-ending quest to prove to non-bloggers that travel IS work, so it made sense for the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau to dispatch me to The Land Of Smiles that I may in my own inimitable way demonstrate how Bangkok is the city to mix business with pleasure. They say variety is the spice of life, I say: throw in a deep-tissue massage + one Siam Mary + 4 or 5 plates of pad thai (charge it to my room, garçon) and you’ve got yourself a business trip you wish was more than just touch & go...
*or business doing pleasure, if you live life on the ‘GramThose flatlays don’t compose themselves...
**is that a thing? Can we make it a thing?

#SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016

Produced for and in collaboration with Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau and their partners 
Thai Airways, Swissottel Nai Lert Park, Impact Muang Thong Thani, Siam Paragon, Asiatique, Flow House, and Haarn Heritage Spa

Photo credits: 3-11, 28, & 30; press images, 29 by Hotel Muse Bangkok





Jasiminne and orchids - draped in phuang malai, a floral garland offered for good luck and hospitality.

SPICE UP YOUR BUSINESS AGENDA

Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau partners with a plethora of local vendors in cities such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Pattaya to plan, facilitate, and deliver smooth-as-Thai-silk work trips with offers from their partners - hotels, restaurants, tours, activities etc. - to take advantage of when in Thailand on business. From the moment we landed on terra firma, myself and the other bloggers from Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, and China threw ourselves into the famously frenetic bustle of Bangkok. Within hours of disembarking from my Thai Airways flight 
plus a power nap-and-a-half-later in my tranquil digs at Swissotel Nai Lert Park, reps from TCEB whisked us off to the Holiday Inn for a welcome reception and an authentic, well-presented Thai dinner at Cham Tai restaurant. There, the influencers were given the low-down on the privileges TCEB arranged for us bloggers to enjoy including my much-needed and highly anticipated visit to HARNN Heritage Spa

The next morning, I hit the ground running - or rather, shuttled around on the 'Blogger Bus' - across the crown jewel of event venues - the expansive IMPACT Muang Thong Thani, pausing only to take in the Bangkok Furniture Fair 2016 and lunch at Terrazza Restaurant. An integration of IMPACT Arena and IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Center, IMPACT is one of Asia’s largest and most modern exhibition and convention centres offering a diversity of facilities and services for every event imaginable.  

Above: a bird's eye view of the vast IMPACT Muang Thong Thani. Below: one of many futuristic corridors connecting this network of venues. 

Royal Jubilee Ballroom – Thailand’s largest column free ballroom... 
...equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual systems, and great shiny stalactites.
The angular architecture of Swissotel Nai Lert Park is softened by its organic surroundings.
Breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a view at the hotel's trademark restaurant - ISO.
I stayed in a Classic Room, which was conveniently in range of a Pokemon Stop.
The en-suite is decorated in the contemporary South East Asian style I grew up with.
Start as you mean to go on, that is, dedicate yourself to your destination and fly with their national carrier. Take inspiration from Thai Airways female flight attendants' commitment to the cause - their iconic traditional Thai dress uniform is never seen outside of the aircraft or the premium lounges in Bangkok, as international routes require them to wear corporate purple suits then Wonder Woman-twirl into their livery before the boarding and disembarking passengers notice. Now that's Smooth As Silk.

THAI AIRWAYS
www.thaiairways.com

Swissotel Nai Lert Park is all about the park life from the get-go. As you arrive, the lobby's sliding doors glide open and the delicious fragrance of lemongrass wafts through to lead you through to your room - all of which have a private balcony overlooking the eight-acre tropical gardens and a free form pool. The verdant surroundings coupled with decidedly Brutalist low-rise architecture by the renowned Calvin Tsao is enough to make you forget that you're in the heart of Bangkok.

SWISSOTEL NAI LERT PARK
2 Wireless Road, Bangkok 10330

...speaking of surroundings that throw you for a loop, picture the Winter Palace meets Disney Princess castle meets Star Trek. Now add an indoor floorspace of over 140,000 SQM + 490 events + over 15 million visitors each year and you have a venue that earnt its name: the IMPACT Muang Thong Thani. Having hosted concerts, weddings, exhibitions, and even a Miss Universe pageant, throw your bash/soiree/event there and none of your peers, colleagues, nor bosses can accuse you of not trying. 

IMPACT MUANG THONG THANI
Popular 3 Road, Bangkok 11120

FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016
Erawan Shrine
FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016
Dusit Palace on Bangkok's Royal Plaza, home to Anantha Samakhon Throne Hall (below)

Get your grub on at Chatuchak Market...
...literally.


Despite being Brahman instead of Buddhist, Erawan Shrine attracts more visitors - both Thai and tourist - than many others. Erawan Shrine's enduring popularity is attributed to the urban legend that all wishes made here are granted by Than Tao Mahaprom, whose four faces each represent his virtues: kindness, mercy, sympathy and impartiality. This gilded landmark and local icon literally makes a song & dance about its many charms - with frequent performances by resident Thai dance troupes hired by worshippers to make their prayers heard.

Lumphini, Pathum Wan,
Bangkok 10330



 Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall has been described as the centrepiece of “Bangkok’s own Champs Elysees”, which is fitting as it's designed as a place to host (and impress) foreign dignitaries. It certainly stands out among the other traditional Thai palaces that grace the Royal Plaza - the neoclassical structure is one of the most beautiful Italian Renaissance examples outside Italy, which makes for a curious juxtaposition of West meets East what with the Arts of the Kingdom exhibition by Queen Sirikit’s Support foundation

Royal Plaza, Dusit,
Bangkok 10330


Chatuchak Market is as confusing to navigate as its charmingly '90s website, what with its 25,000 booths spread out across 27 acres making it one of the world's largest weekend markets. If you ever wanted to buy a pet tortoise (or ten), Thai silk, Buddhist amulets, tribal regalia, antique weapons, or just snack on crispy fried scorpion all in one place, Chatuchak is the one. Brave the crowds and the chaos for a shopping experience you won't soon forget, and for souvenirs more exciting than the bog standard 'All I got was this lousy tee'. 

587/10 Kamphaeng Phet 2 Rd, 
Bangkok 10900


FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016
FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016

Just like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, this is a build structure to please a Queen.

Siam Paragon proudly proclaims themselves The Pride Of Bangkok, while my credit card statement dubs my favourite Thai shopping destination The Folly of Desire. For the luxury lover, shopping at Siam Paragon is like being ensconced in a gilded bubble of comforting familiarity - the labels and the upscale clientele all speak the same international language (อยู่ที่ไหน Dolce & Gabbana?). I head next door to nearby Siam Centre and Siam Discovery for edgier creations by up-and-coming designers, but Siam Paragon is where my favourite brands are. Siam Paragon isn't entirely elitist - the vast, diverse food court is a favourite for tourists and locals who want a slice of the pie sans Platinum M membership.




After a quick, surprising, but nonetheless welcome Chinese lunch at Xinn Tien Di in Gaysorn Plaza - the roast duck skin was especially melt in your mouth - I was whisked away to my favourite part of my Bangkok work trip...

FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016

FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016
Soothing shades of lavender and grey dominate (gently, of course).


Aptly located in the Zen Tower of CentralWorld, HARNN Heritage Spa is literally where one goes to rise above it all - whether with a foot reflexology session facing floor-to-ceiling windows with an incredible view of Bangkok, or expertly administered massages that unlock both knotted roots and your own personal Shangri-La. HARNN places a strong focus on the Asian holistic approach to wellbeing, evidence of which I brought back with me in the form of their skincare collection: an elegantly crafted blend of botanical knowledge, traditional herbal medicine, and scientific research. If only I could bring that view and those interiors home with me, too...


FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016
FINDING THAT WORK-PLAY BALANCE IN BANGKOK, THAILAND  #SPICEUPYOURBUSINESSAGENDA2016




...also...

In the spirit of diversity, here are three recommendations from locals that you may enjoy. Adrenaline junkies who want to make a splash in Bangkok can get their surf on at Flow HouseThose who prefer being a spectator, score culture points at an acclaimed Muay Thai Live show. Personally, shopping is my cardio - I'd much rather get my heart rate up at the 1,500 boutiques at Asiatique The Riverfront.
"Bangkok, though, is a rejuvenating tonic; the people seem to have found the magic elixir. Life, a visitor feels, has not been wasted on the Thais."
- Bernard Kalb, The New York Times, 1961 


If you've ever considered Thailand as a destination for a business trip, 
why not let the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau help you Spice Up Your Business Agenda?

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