Bangkok: The Second Affair
Travel+Leisure India|June 2019
Bangkok: The Second Affair

A romantic gesture made a decade ago takes Simon Clays and his better half back to an Asian metropolis he thought he might be done with. He thought wrong.

Simon Clays

THE SINGLE BIGGEST MISTAKE I’ve made in recent times is to ask my wife where she wants to celebrate our wedding anniversary.

“Bangkok,” she said. “It’s where you took me when we first met. Remember?”

I nodded and remembered that we had done everything conceivable to do in the city, over the space of five days. From above, on the river, markets, shopping malls, street food, fine dining, clubbing. You name it, we did it. Yes, even the girly bars.

So, how to crack this particular nut in two fewer nights, ten years on? Without repetition, and possibly, with some romance. Bangkok is notorious for its hectic traffic. Getting about can be arduous or just damn confusing, however efficient the BRT metro. So, I decided to split the trip in two.

We began our trip down memory lane at the Oriental Residence Bangkok on Wireless Road. It’s a relatively new property overlooking the picturesque Lumphini Park and within spitting distance of the biggest shopping malls.

It’s a shopaholic’s paradise. Or so it appears from the number of bags and boxes I’m carrying, after just two hours. Central World, Gaysorn Village, Siam Square One, MBK, Siam Discovery—we’ve covered them all without wheels of any sort.

I’ll concede my legs feel a little jaded on the walk back, but so is my credit card. Mrs Clays is starting to froth, her eyeballs overdosed on designer brands and neon. Even she is happy to retire, ensconced around the Oriental’s pool area. Cool cabanas and ice-white sunbeds are crowned by a horizon of stainless steel towers. This is Central Business District, prime postcode Bangkok. We are surrounded by next-gen Thailand, but cocooned in luxury. The afternoon slips by with drinks at the pool bar. It’s easy: graze on Thai snacks. Drink. Read. Swim. Snooze. Repeat.

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June 2019