Why Bangkok is a brilliant stop-over.

From the cheapest transport to the most luxe dining experiences, Bangkok is stepping onto the stage as a truly global city.

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The riverside restaurant at Bangkok’s Mandarin Oriental Hotel is simply stunning.

1) The Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

This majestic piece of opulence sitting on the edge of the Chao Phraya River offers accommodation, service and a five star experience that is world class from dawn to dusk. A pile of celebrities have stayed here from Audrey Hepburn to Michael Jackson, and it’s no wonder. Don’t miss the cocktails in the bamboo lounge, the heavenly day spa and the gym. Everything is first class.

2) The leading chefs and restaurants of the world are moving in.

Rumour has it the Michelin Guides Book may have Thailand (and possibly even Singapore) in their sites. Some of the leading names in food and in the Michelin world are already here including Michelin superstar (who some call chef of the century) L’atelier de Joel Robuchon, Chef Jean-Michel Lorain at J’aime, who was the youngest to ever be awarded 3 Michelin stars, and Savelberg Thailand from Dutch Chef Henk Savelberg. And there’s plenty more.

Bangkok’s street food has long been referenced as the best anywhere in the world, but now the other end of the international food scene is taking centre stage.

3) A tuk-tuk ride.

These crazy vehicles are not for the faint hearted, but provide a far easier and quicker way to get around (as they can weave in and out of the grid-locked traffic). They can pack in as many as 5 people and the local drivers know every piece of Bangkok, and can find anything you need and provide hours of fun. You can’t help but laugh in a tuk tuk.

4) Roof Top Bars.

There is nothing better than a drink with a view, and Bangkok is a stunning city by night. There are several bar options to choose from which are open air and provide a breathtaking start to an evening out. Sirocco from the Hangover 2 movie is a favourite, as is Vertigo Moon Bar at The Banyan Tree. Just don’t go up there if you err, get vertigo.

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Sirocco Roof Top Bar Bangkok

5) Health Retreats.

The health and wellness resorts and facilities both in Bangkok and Thailand are leading the world. Whether it is a low calorie, high impact trip or a calm, meditative chill out you are after, they are all here. The Banyan Tree Bangkok is a good place to start, as is Como Shambhala and many more.

6) Chatuchak Markets

These markets are spread over 27 acres, and sell just about everything from handicrafts to clothes, souvenirs, local trinkets and more.  Packed with tourists, they offer more entertainment and bargains than anywhere else in the world. Copy goods, wooden gems, jewellery, shoes, bags and more are all here. They’re hot, but they’re fun.

7) Massage

The first hotel spa opened just 23 years ago at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, but whether you want a five star treatment or road-side relief, it is all here, and it is all good. Don’t leave Thailand without one, better still, have a daily massage as part of your trip.

Renae Leith-Manos

Renae Leith-Manos is a Sydney journalist who hangs out in Bondi. She has had a colourful media career, and spends her time writing, consulting to new businesses, running, doing yoga, swimming & cycling. She's likes healthy eating, but thinks chocolate cake is just as important as kale chips. She spends weekends hanging out with her gorgeous twins doing something fun in Sydney's East.

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