After you land, you’ll be met by a car and driver to transfer you to your home for the next two nights, the Mandarin Oriental Bangkok
. The hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya River is one of Asia’s most fabled properties—when the original building opened in 1876, it was the first hotel in Bangkok. Among the many famous names to have visited are Graham Greene, Somerset Maugham, and Tsar Nicholas. The hotel has, however, kept pace with changing tastes: Rooms combine the latest in in-room technology and spacious bathrooms with décor that highlights Thai teak and silks.
After you’re settled, head out to start exploring the famous City of Angels. Your first stop is Yaowarat Road, in Bangkok’s Chinatown, which is lined with casual restaurants. You may want to stop at a few and try a variety of dishes: ba mee
noodles, grilled squid, and ginger soup for dessert.
Traffic is often bad in Bangkok, so wave down a tuk-tuk, which can maneuver around the worst of it and visit the flower market, located just to the south of Wat Pho. The market serves up a dazzling floral display, with local flowers like orchids, lilies, and chrysanthemums, as well as imported delphiniums, snapdragons, and more. Then stop at nearby Wat Pho—the Temple of the Reclining Buddha—to see one of Bangkok’s most impressive sights, the 151-foot-long namesake Buddha gilded in gold.
After returning to the Mandarin Oriental for a rest, you’ll dine this evening at the Arun Residence
, where the Deck restaurant overlooks the Chao Phraya River and (on the opposite bank) Wat Arun, with its Khmer-style tower illuminated at night.