Where to stay:
To complement your trip you’ll be needing some stylish accommodation at either end. If you are making your own plans the Hotel Sukhothai in Bangkok is said to be the most stylish in town. An interior designer’s dream, the hotel exudes luxury and comfort – from the smart porter opening doors, the bell boys with their shiny brass buttons carrying your bags, and the welcoming staff who will take you to your quarters. The hotel boasts three restaurants and has gained international recognition when one of them was named “The Best Restaurant in Bangkok” by Travel & Leisure Magazine 2000.
In a crazy city like Bangkok, the Sukhothai is an oasis of calm and plush luxury.
At the other end, in keeping with the style to which you’ve become accustomed, head for Raffles Hotel. An institution, the hotel was declared a national monument in 1987. The hotel was originally opened in 1887 and keeps much of its golden age charm. Named after Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore, the hotel exudes style and tradition, from the impeccable staff to the dazzling antiques.
Travellers planning on taking the train from April to September should enquire about the “Privilege scheme” which entitles those booking a Pullman cabin to a free night’s accommodation in both Bangkok and Singapore at The Oriental.
The efficient and friendly staff here will make sure your stay in Singapore goes according to plan. Enjoy the outdoor pool on the fourth floor, where you can sip a cocktail while taking in the panoramic view of the city’s slick skyline or visit the newly refurbished spa.
The hotel overlooks Marina Bay. Most rooms benefit from either a harbour view or a city view. Humidity allowing, it’s a short stroll to both the famous Raffles hotel and the new hotspot: The Fullerton. For shopping fiends, The Oriental is situated between several massive American style malls: Suntec City, Millenia Walk and Marina Square.
Despite being a giant hotel, The Oriental provides personal service and makes you feel special all the way. The hotel boasts seven restaurants. I recommend the ‘Wasabi Bistro’, a sushi restaurant with a twist. If you can, try a sample menu. The chef will take you on a voyage sampling a vast array of Japanese dishes fused with a Californian influence. From classic California rolls to fresh white Vichyssoise in a Martini glass and the smoothest melt-in-your-mouth tuna and yellow fin belly sashimi – a total treat.
A perfect place to finish a perfect trip. So good in fact, that you’ll be resolute on coming back…
Where to book:
The Orient Express
13/3 South Sathorn Road
Book the Sukhothai Hotel through Agoda
1 Beach Road
Book Raffles Hotel through Agoda
The Oriental Singapore
5 Raffles Avenue
Book The Oriental Singapore through Agoda
Practical details on arrival in Thailand
Most European citizens do not require visas for stays of less than 30 days.
If you are planning on extending your stay in Thailand, immunisation against Hepatitis A; typhoid; diphtheria are advised. Malaria precautions are essential in Ko Chang and along the borders with Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, all year round. (There is very little risk in cities and main tourist areas such as Phuket, Pattaya, Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the River Kwai bridge area and offshore islands except Ko Chang.)
On arrival you will need Thai baht to pay for a taxi if you are arranging your own transport. Make sure you have smaller change for the taxi. They will usually claim to have none. Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok also has cashpoints.
Rate of Exchange:
Approx 49 Baht to £1 [Sept 2013]
Taxis from the airport:
Ignore the touts who will approach you at the terminal exit. Find the taxi-meter service kiosk and ask for a taxi. The fee is a flat fee of ฿50, which will be added to the meter. Don’t let the driver have your copy – it is a reference in case of any problem with the taxi.
Let the driver take the tollway. This adds ฿30-70 to the fare but avoids much of Bangkok’s heavy traffic. The trip into town should be about ฿250-300. Don’t allow taxi drivers to take you anywhere but your chosen destination or you risk ending up in a hotel which pays them commission.
November to June is mostly sunny. March and April are the hottest months. The rainy season starts in August and lasts until November. End of February is a great time to go, with temperatures between 28°C and 34°C.