Located in one of Bangkok’s busiest and most expansive metropolitan areas on Ratchadamri Road, the Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri represents an urban refuge in Bangkok, one with fine service, assorted accommodation options and above and below ground transport links within easy walking distance.
Stepping out of the opulent lobby into Bangkok brings a sensory onslaught that I have grown to love and hunger after. It’s not only the heat and humidity that hits you but the sound of the cars and motorbikes, the traders on the street, the chatter of fellow pedestrians, smell of street food and bark of the occasional attention-seeking street dog. It’s sultry and sensual and invites discovery.
From the Hotel, these are some of the interesting things I found within easy reach.
Walk, always walk. During my stay, I opted to take the 4km walk from the hotel to the Queen Sirikit National Convention centre where I was attending an event. About an hour through the early morning traffic and buzz of commuters, weaving between suited businessmen, elegantly dressed women, street vendors and headphone-wearing young.
Dodging motorbikes and cars as I crossed busy roads under bridges, before finding the tranquil Benjakiti Park and eventually arriving, a little sweaty and smelling of chicken and rice, yet elated by the sights and sounds, to the conference. It’s an appropriate introduction to the city.
I discovered by complete chance that I was staying just around the corner from the Erawan Shrine. It was good to spend some time here paying respect not only to Lord Brahma. It was crowded and cared for, and there was a wonderful sense of serenity and escape when you stepped into the demarcated area. A testament to the role of religion in modern Thai society, the Erawan Shrine is famous for bringing good fortune and attracts millions of visitors each year.
For the love of shopping, I took a walk around time Central World, which is said to be the largest lifestyle mixed-use shopping complex in Southeast Asia, with its diverse selection of big-name anchor stores, restaurants and entertainment. Register for the Central World Tourist Privilege Card at any Information Counter to receive special discounts and promotions from hundreds of participating shops and restaurants.
Two places to consider for visits are the Neverland Siberians Coffee Shop, described as heaven for dog lovers. For a treat night, book dinner at Soul Food Mahanakorn, which serves up popular regional dishes on Thong Lor, where it blends in among the other shop-house properties. There’s a bar for just drinks if you prefer, but you’ll want to eat. It is intimate and the food is delicious.
As for getting around, take the Skytrain and BTS which are both easy to navigate. Also, taxis are affordable although language can be a challenge and even when I had the name of the hotel written down, some couldn’t help me as it was in English. It’s a good idea to get an address card from the Hotel with the hotel name in Thai and English. You also have the option of Uber, something that is increasing in popularity. The number of licences for Tuk-Tuk drivers has been reduced and the annual fee increased, which means that they are a bit more expensive, but still well worth it and great fun for the shorter distances.
While out and about remember to have a Singa Beer or two. They are the cheapest thing on offer if you’d like a drink, are light and good, but importantly, local. Otherwise try a traditional Thai Drink that I have come to love, namely a double shot of coffee, sweetened with a shot of condensed milk, poured over a glass of ice topped with frothed foam. It sounds delicious, and it is. It’s how the locals cool down to counter Thailand’s, at times, muggy heat.
The best part is that with all the walking, exploring, eating, drinking and discoveries, at the end of the day you return to the comfort of your cool well-placed room, a warm welcome and the sense of home that Grande Central Point Hotel offers.
Read more about the Grande Centre Point Hotel Ratchadamri for independent living. The Grande Centre Point Ratchadamri, Bangkok. Address: 153/2, Soi Mahatlek – Luang 1, Ratchadamri Road, Lumpini, Pathumwan, Bangkok.
** Pics supplied by the hotel, I stayed there with their compliments as arranged by Amazing Thailand SA.