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Bangkok at night

BANGKOK AT NIGHT

TOP-NOTCH SPOTS IN THE THAI CITY—FROM A HOTEL’S RICE BARGE TO A BAR SERVING ART-INSPIRED COCKTAILS

To some, the mention of Bangkok at night leads to thoughts of touristy dinner shows and adult entertainment. But in recent years, forward-thinking owners and operators have modernized nightlife in Thailand’s largest city across various categories.

Take your nighttime fun in the sprawling metropolis to a higher level with a visit to the Tower Club at lebua, home to the vertigo-inducing Sky Bar. From an open-air perch 63 stories above Bangkok, the bar provides a show-stopping place to enjoy craft cocktails inspired by the solar system.

For a sexy speakeasy experience, head to the Thonglor neighborhood, where Rabbit Hole lurks behind an unassuming wooden door. The veteran bartenders mix classic drinks featuring daring twists and creative infusions.

Vesper—one of the Silom district’s coolest places for a nighttime rendezvous—provides a stage for Supawit “Palm” Muttarattana’s modern art-inspired cocktails. A mix of stylishly dressed locals flock to the green-marble bar while enjoying drinks such as the Flower Carrier (gin, rum, chardonnay, lemon, osmanthus, and bitters), inspired by the 1935 Diego Rivera painting of the same name.

The Siam’s Deco Bar & Bistro is located in one of the city’s hottest hotels
The Siam’s Deco Bar & Bistro is located in one of the city’s hottest hotels.

For performances, one of the finest opera companies in Southeast Asia, Bangkok’s Opera Siam, is nearing its 20th season. There you’ll see established classics, contemporary new works, and world premieres from Asian composers. Keep an eye out for selections from the Thai composer S.P. Somtow’s Dasjati series, a 10-part ongoing sequence that, when finished, will be among the largest unified works in all of classical music.

Leading the charge among Bangkok’s high-end offerings are the city’s top hotels. Set on three acres of verdant frontage along the Chao Phraya River, The Siam is a 39-unit urban luxury resort, conveniently located in the Royal Dusit District. Guests and nonguests alike can enjoy the resort’s notable food and beverage options, including Chon, a Thai restaurant with a cooking school; the sophisticated Deco Bar & Bistro; and private sunset dinner cruises aboard The Siam’s golden-teak rice barge.

The grande dame of the city’s society scene, the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, dates to 1876. Perched on the banks of the bustling Chao Phraya River, the flagship property has been a must-visit for generations. Nowadays, the resort has modernized its evening offerings, luring scores of nonguests with nine restaurants and bars, ranging from French gastronomy at Le Normandie to world-class cocktails and live music at The Bamboo Bar, which has hosted the likes of Ray Charles, Duke Ellington, Dionne Warwick, Louis Armstrong, and Mick Jagger. For a truly only-in-Thailand experience, make reservations for Sala Rim Naam, an immersive experience that combines traditional gourmet Thai cuisine with live entertainment by performers in vivid traditional outfits.

The nighttime is a fine time for pampering, and Bangkok is one of the world’s premier spa destinations. Most of the leading spas, while culturally rooted in ancient Thai techniques and traditions, also offer a wide variety of innovative therapies and cutting-edge technology. Several of the city’s top day spas stay open well into the evening, allowing weary travelers the opportunity to enjoy a well-deserved foot massage before, or even after, dinner.

The Oriental Spa at the Mandarin Oriental, open nightly until 10 p.m., offers incredible packages, such as the Spirit of Isaan, a two-and-a-half-hour ritual that incorporates natural Thai elements such as a rhythmic bamboo massage and a body wrap consisting of black sticky rice, coarse coffee beans, and jasmine-rice soap. The Siam’s Opium Spa, also open nightly until 10 p.m., is another primo destination for pampering. Workout warriors can opt for a private Muay Thai boxing session followed by a relaxing massage treatment.

Not to be outdone, the award-winning Peninsula Spa, housed in a stunning Thai colonial-style building by the Chao Phraya River, satisfies the need for pampering until 11 p.m. nightly.

For a truly local-style evening activity, look no further than where the wealthy come to play: Bangkok’s high-end shopping malls. Locals stream into these modern-day temples of consumerism at all hours; some come for marathon shopping sessions, others just to cool off in the air conditioning. All of the in-demand labels and brands—both domestic and foreign—are present, and scores of food and drink options ensure that no one leaves hungry or thirsty.

Among the notable options—all open nightly until 10 p.m.—are the Siam Paragon, home to impressive glass-and-steel atriums and the flagship stores of Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Versace; Central Embassy Mall, the city’s first-ever “ultraluxury lifestyle mall,” built on the grounds of the former British Embassy; and the luxe EmQuartier, which features an open-air garden, six stories of dining terraces, and a five-story waterfall.

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