Top-name rock acts, cultural dances
and museum exhibitions are the highlights of this city's cultural roster. Posters are
plastered all around town on fences and walls when a big pop act comes to town.
National Theater features plays, music and dance, as well as half-a-dozen
performances yearly by the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra. Special exhibition shows of Thai
classical dancing and music are held on the last Friday and Saturday of each month Please
contact the theatre for details.Rachinee Road, Phra Nakom, phone 221-0171.
Thailand Cultural Center occasionally hosts traditional and nontraditional Thai
and Western dance, music and variety shows and, occasionally, the Bangkok Symphony
Orchestra. Far up on the east side of Ratchadapisek Road, north of Din Daeng intersection,
just past the Bangkok Metropolitan Transit Authority. Phone 247-0013 or 247-0028.
National Stadium hosts sporting events and such superstar performers as Michael
Jackson. In the city center, Rama I Road, phone 251-4109.
The traditional dance-drama you're
most likely to see is khon, which
is performed at the standard
"dinner-and-dance" package tours taking place in perhaps a dozen restaurants
each night. The silent dancers wear masks and heavy, ornate costumes. Movements are
extremely stylized and intended to convey precise events and action. A chorus chants the
story to the accompaniment of classical musicians. The story is always an episode from the
Indian epic, the Ramayana (in Thai, Ramakien).
Although the audiences will be primarily tourists, the performances are assuredly
authentic. The dancers have trained for many years.
Performances of khon are presented several times a month at the National Theater and
occasionally at the Thai Cultural Center. They're well worth seeing, even when (as at the
National Theater) the dancers are still students.
A form of dancing derived from the
khon is lakhon, which features dancers with masks and has no chorus. Besides dramatizing
episodes from the Ramayana, lakhon may also dramatize episodes from the life of Buddha or
from Thai folk tales. Lakhon is what you see performed at the Erawan Shrine and Lak Muang
(the City Pillar).
Here are some restaurants offering a
Thai dinner followed by a khon performance.
Hotels and travel agencies selling dinner-and-dance tickets will funnel you into one of
these shows, and will also include transportation:
Baan Thai, 7 Sukhumvit Rd., Soi 32,
Maneeya's Lotus Room, Ploenchit Road, phone 252-6312.
Chao Pharaya Restaurant, Arun Amarin Road, phone 424-2389.
Ruen Thep, Silom Village Trade Center, Silom Road, phone 233-9447.
Sala Thai, Indra Regent Hotel, phone 251-1111.
Sala Rim Naam, Oriental Hotel, phone 437-6221.
When the Bangkok Symphony Orchestra
performs, the National Theater is filled to capacity. A ticket for one of their
performances will run you between 250 baht and 2,500 baht. Phone 221-0171.
Still known as "Sin City,"
Bangkok is a gritty source, unfortunately, for commercial and exploitative sex. Patpong I
and II are two infamous streets running parallel to each other between Silom Road and
Surawongse Road. In the Patpong area and in the establishments on Soi Cowboy and at the
Nana Plaza (at Soi 4 and Washington Square), there's plenty to see for the curious, but
extreme caution is advised if you frequent the bars. AIDS is rampant (more than 800,000
Thais are infected); consorting with strangers is not only hazardous to your health but
also an invitation to theft of your wallet.
You'll find trendy Thais eating,
drinking and resonating to music off upper Silom Road (around Silom Soi 2 and Soi 4) --
the hub of a very trendy area. Just north of Lumpini Park, Soi Sarasin and Soi Lang Suan
echo with the sounds of blues and jazz and soft rock every night of the week, drawing
30-something professionals. Soi Thonglor (Sukhumvit Soi 55) is similar, but with a higher
standard of cuisine. Royal City Avenue (RCA) is a phenomenal concentration of theme bars,
discos, clubs, outdoor cafes, art galleries, pop music, hip-hop and techno -- not to
mention an authentic Sardinian restaurant. Far-flung Rachadapisek Road appears to be
turning into a Las Vegaslike strip. The Bamboo Bar, in the Oriental Hotel, is one of the
finest jazz venues outside of Chicago or New Orleans. If you want to catch music and jokes
that appeal to most Thais (i.e., ordinary, country-bred types), persuade a Thai friend to
bring you to some of the live middle-of-the-road lam and luuk thung clubs, such as those
along New Petchburi Road: The mood and lyrics recall U.S.-style country music.
Cabaret is a campy, Las Vegas-style revue featuring dance, song and burlesque
performed by a "slew of lovely ladies" (actually, they're men). This might not
be everyone's cup of tea, but the show has a touch of class. Reservations suggested.
Nightly 8:30 pm and 9:45 pm. 300 baht, including one drink. Full bar. All credit cards.
Asia Hotel, 296 Phyathai Road, phone 261-6355.
on the lobby level of the Grand Hyatt Erawan, offers lively rock bands in an elegant
setting. Not a great place for conversation, but you can communicate on the dance floor.
Booze flows; so does your cash. Italian cuisine in the restaurant. 10 pm-2 am nightly.
Credit cards, no cover. 494 Ratchadamri Rd., phone 254-1234.
Bar entertainment invariably consists of an accomplished female jazz singer
from the U.S. and an accompanying pianist. Very civilized atmosphere. Music starts at 10
pm. Pricey drinks. Dress up; this is one of Bangkok's most luxurious clubs. Credit cards,
no cover, one-drink minimum. The Oriental Hotel, Oriental Lane, phone 236-0400.
Cafe hosts the best Top 40, soul, rock and reggae cover bands in Bangkok. It's
popular with Thais and foreigners alike. Credit cards, no cover. Food, booze and beer.
Nightly music 8:30 pm-1 am. Siam Square, 965 Rama I Rd., phone 251-0792.
looks like a hunting lodge, with stuffed skins and stag heads. But the musicians play
an infectious brand of socially critical folk rock -- "songs for life" (pleng
pleua cheewit). Nightly 6 pm-2 am. No credit cards. 116/64 Rangnam, off Phyathai Road
(south of the Victory Monument), phone 245-7230.
Pub and Restaurant is an old favorite of expats and Thais alike. The purely
jazz format has been relaxed to allow some blues and rock to sneak in. Casual atmosphere.
Credit cards. 3/3 Victory Monument (southeast side of circle), Phyathai Road, phone
Tavern is a lounge bar with very comfortable seating, good food and polished
jazz, plus a bit of pop music. Visiting musicians are invited to join jam sessions on
Sunday afternoons. Open daily 11 am-2 pm and 5 pm-1 am. Credit Cards. 306/1 Sukhumvit, Soi
55 (Soi Thonglor), phone 391-9791. (This neighborhood hosts many good small restaurants,
music bars and two art galleries.)
CM2, a play on the name Siam Square, is a multithemed spot with different
"entertainment zones." Nightly 7 pm-2 am. Credit cards. Novotel Siam, Siam
Square, Soi 6, phone 255-6888, ext. 2549.
attracts the trendier gay set. It's packed on weekends. The 200-baht cover includes
two drinks. 8/6-8 Silom, Soi 2, phone 266-4029.
Amphitheater Complex. Described as looking like Moonbase Alpha, this club
boasts the most up-to-date lighting, laser and sound technology in the world. Rock music,
always packed. Nightly 9 pm-2 am. Rachadapisek Road, phone 245-5545.
is new, very trendy, high-tech and not cheap. Part dance club, part theater. Even Aqua
has performed on the premises. Late in the evening, deejays take over with house and
techno. Frequented by TV stars and the children of "influential people." Nightly
9 pm-3 am. 500 baht cover charge, includes two drinks. Visa. 91/9 Ratchadapisek Rd., phone
Club is an institution -- going on 25 years now -- but with one of the best
sound systems and deejays that make sure everyone keeps dancing. Gay and straight crowd.
Drag show at midnight. Nightly 7 pm-3 am. Credit cards. 90-96 Silom, Soi 4, phone
another rare survivor, a perennial favorite of models, TV stars and children of the idle
rich. Quality live Thai bands in one part, club with chart and house music in another.
Sushi restaurant and video arcade as well. Nightly 6 pm-2 am. 500 baht cover fee, includes
two drinks. Credit cards. Sukhumvit, Soi 26, next to Four Wings Hotel, phone 261-3991.
Taverns and Pubs
Arms is a British-style pub, perhaps the only one in Patpong where women will
be halfway comfortable. Serves food, spirits and beer. Dixieland on Sunday afternoons.
Daily 11 am-1 am. Credit cards. 2 Soi Patpong, phone 233-6828.
In the popular Sarasin area, Old West Saloon puts on the face of the frontier, with Thais
interpreting country-western music. Clientele is white-collar Thai and foreign residents.
Serves food, spirits and beer. Nightly 6 pm-1 am, music starts at 8 pm. Credit cards.
231/17 Soi Sarisan, phone 252-9510.
Why? is a very Thai bar with a Thai clientele, despite the easy-listening and
pop jazz background music. It's convenient if you've been scouting Chatuchak Park's
weekend market. This road is just south, and it's full of other quirky bars and friendly
drinkers. Close also to Central Plaza Hotel. Nightly 5 pm-2 am. No credit cards. 421
Kamphaengphet Rd., phone 272-4783.
Cantina, striving for a Tex-Mex ambience, is an odd place to go on a Thai
vacation, but you'll feel comfortable bringing your children. Live Tex-Mex, Cajun and
bluegrass with dobros, kazoos and other funny instruments. Touristy. Daily 11 am-1 am.
Credit cards. 130/8 Silom Rd., Soi 8, phone 237-1415.
Though early mornings are pleasant,
Bangkok's steamy climate is a deterrent to those who enjoy watching and participating in
sports. Some of the major hotels offer air-conditioned sports and fitness facilities, but
the sport that's increasing in popularity is one that is necessarily played out of doors:
golf. More than 20 courses are within close reach of the city.
(which allows kicking) is the country's most famous sport. Matches are held every
night. At Lumpini Stadium, east of Lumpini Park on Rama IV Road, matches are on Tuesday,
Friday and Saturday.
Aside from those countless
ramshackle food stalls selling spicy treats around the clock, Bangkok is full of
restaurants offering the best cuisine from every region on the map. You're apt to find
restaurants offering Indonesian rijstaffel, Indian malai kofta, Hungarian goulash, Mexican
flan and even Wiener schnitzel served in a biergarten.
Diversity aside, however, you'll
miss the boat to this culinary port if you don't taste the local specialties. Most people
agree that eating Thai food is one of the more sensual dining experiences. Be sure to try
the sweet gaeng kiew wan (green curry) or tom yam kung (a sour and spicy soup with
prawns), local favorites. Those with mild palates beware of anything described by the term
preek (it means it'll be fiery hot). Generally, any Thai food is going to seem hot by
Western standards, so be sure to tell the chef you want it mai pet if you prefer a gentler
Expect to pay within these general
guidelines, based on the cost of a dinner for one and not including drinks, tax or
tip: = less than 250 baht; = 250baht-500 baht; = 500baht-1,250 baht;
and = more than 1,250 baht.
Best in town
Naam - Probably the best Thai restaurant in the whole country. Owned by the
Oriental Hotel, this exquisitely furnished traditional Thai pavilion sits across the river
from it. Diners arrive by private boat. The dinner show starts at 8:30 pm and features
traditional dance and theater. Daily 1-2 pm and 7-11 pm. Reservations suggested. . Major
credit cards. 48 Oriental Ave., phone 236-0400.
Khanitha - A quaint, old house with gardens in a quiet location. Royal
(refined) Thai cuisine and regional dishes, including green curry with coconut tips. Daily
11:30 am-2 pm and 6:30-11 pm. Reservations recommended for dinner Saturday and Sunday. .
Major credit cards. On the east side of Bangkok, Sukhumvit Road, Soi 23, phone 258-4181.
Hot and trendy
Harmonique - This is like
dining in someone's antique-strewn home. Very popular for excellent Thai cuisine, eaten
indoors or in the courtyard. Sample some of the "dishes from the past" and the
homemade ice cream. Reservations advised. Open daily 10 am-10 pm. Reservations advised.
. 22 Charoen Krung Rd., Soi 39 (near the GPO), phone 237-8175.
Known for its Italian food. However, better known because it's the hip destination of
the more agile members of the hi-so (from English "high society") who come here
to be seen on the dance floor. U.S. bands can be relied upon for danceable,
middle-of-the-road rock. Dress conservatively. Nightly 6 pm-2 am. . Credit cards. Grand
Hyatt Erawan Hotel, 494 Ratchadamri Rd., phone 254-1234.
Baan Thai - A great place for
the first-time visitor. Beautiful gardens outside a Thai-style house including a pond with
monster catfish and carp. Inside, tables are sunk into the floor, the floor becomes your
seat, and your feet drop into a comfortable space underneath. A Thai menu is served piping
hot, and there's a floor show of Thai music and dancing on two stages. Beautiful
traditional costumes illuminate these traditional, dramatic pieces. Daily 7:30-10 pm. Show
starts at 9 pm. Reserve to secure the best seats. Most major credit cards. Set back in Soi
32 next to the Rex Hotel on Sukhumvit, phone 258-5403.
and Condoms - Great Thai food and a friendly atmosphere, despite the gimmicky
decor and clientele that's exclusively tourists. It's run by the Population and Community
Development Association, whose chief is known internationally for his innovative
contraceptive and AIDS campaigns. The restaurant is decorated with condoms from all over
the world. Dine inside or outdoors in a lovely garden. All profits go to population
control and AIDS research. Reservations recommended in the evening. Daily 11 am-10 pm..
Visa. Soi 12, off Sukhumvit, phone 252-7349.
- Here's a chance to try Chiang Mai and Lanna cuisine, if you're not heading up north
from the city. Heavy on the pork sausage. Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 am-10:30 pm. No credit
cards. Sukhumvit Soi 22, immediately off Sukhumvit Road. Phone 259-5623.
Na Phra Lan
- The perfect place to reward yourself after a morning doing the Royal Palace and
environs. It's an art cafe. The art on the walls and the artsy clientele come from nearby
Silpakorn University. Basic, nicely presented Thai food. Monday-Saturday 10 am-10
pm. No credit cards. 18 Na Phra Lan Rd., phone 221-2312.
Market - In the Regent Hotel, informal, with a setting that looks like an old
market scene. Renowned chefs serve up traditional Thai and regional fare. Daily 11:30
am-2:30 pm and 6:30-11 pm. Most major credit cards. 155 Ratchadamri Rd., phone 251-6127.
- Terrific Thai vegetarian fare with an Indian influence. There are a few meat and
seafood entrees as well. Two locals: The smaller, cozier one is at 93/3 Soi Lan Suan, off
Ploenchit Road, phone 252-5574. It's a stroll to a half-dozen live music bars. Much larger
and more secluded is the branch at 71 Sukhumvit Soi 26, phone 258-4900. If you've got
children, choose this one: Since every item is cooked to order, the wait can be long, but
the kids can play out in the garden. At both restaurants, you can sit on floor cushions,
as in the old days (but it's not required). Both of these fall into the range.
Credit cards: MasterCard and Visa.
- Good Italian food in an unpretentious setting. Fresh seafood and produce, good wine
selection and reasonable prices. A bit out of the way on the eastern edge of town, but
worth the trip. Daily 11 am-2 pm and 6-11 pm. Most major credit cards. 53 Sukhumvit,
Soi 39, phone 258-5606.
- Bangkok's premier French restaurant offers both traditional and nouvelle cuisine in
a lovely, colonial-style house with gardens. The wine list is astounding (and so are the
prices). Dress up. Monday-Friday 11:30 am-2 pm and 6:30-11 pm, Saturday and Sunday 6:30-11
pm. Reservations suggested. Most major credit cards. 59 Sukhumvit, Soi 8, phone 253-5556.
French Restaurant - Near the center of town and the Imperial Hotel, Stanley's
offers fine European dining. Eat on the terrace or inside in the air-conditioning. Lots of
local movers and schmoozers at Sunday brunch. Tuesday-Sunday 11:30 am-2:30 pm and 6-10:30
pm. Most major credit cards. 20/20-21 Soi Ruamrudee, Ploenchit Road, phone 250-1613.
- In the Sukhothai Hotel, in the southern part of the city, this is one of the finest
Italian restaurants in Thailand. Supremely elegant, with wonderful service and homemade
pastas. Extensive wine list. Dress up. Daily noon-2 pm and 6:30-11 pm. Most major credit
cards. 13/3 Sathorn Tai Rd., phone 287-0222.
Restaurant - At the Dusit Thani Hotel, the Mayflower serves highly praised
Cantonese specialties in a fine colonial-style room decorated with Chinese antiques. Roast
suckling pig is a house specialty. Vegetarian dishes are excellent. Dress code. Daily
11:30 am-2 pm and 6-10 pm. Reservations suggested. Most major credit cards. 946 Rama
IV Rd., phone 236-0450.
- New, but very ambitious. It's associated with the Vietnamese restaurant of the same
name in Paris. Small but very rich menu that includes frog, goose and duck. Extensive,
pricey wine list. Elegant decor. Daily 11 am-2:30 pm, 6-11 pm. Credit cards.
Ruamrudee Village, 20/6-7 Soi Ruamrudee (off Ploenchit Road), phone 650-8986.
- Excellent Northern Indian dishes in a rustic setting with views of the Chao Phraya
River. Tandoori specialties and live Indian music nightly except Mondays, 7-8:30 pm. You
could live for a week in India for the price of a dinner here, but your meal is well worth
every penny. Daily noon-2:30 pm and 7-11 pm. Reservations requested for dinner. Most
major credit cards. Royal Orchid Sheraton, 2 Captain Bush Lane, phone 266-0022 or
Daikoku- Every hotel has its obligatory Japanese restaurant; this is one of
the best outside the hotel set. Shin Daikoku's renowned chef serves sashimi, sushi and
teppanyaki-style dishes. Lots of private rooms. Daily 11 am-2:30 pm and 6-10:30 pm. $$$.
Most major credit cards. On the eastern edge of the city, past the Ambassador Hotel, at
32/8 Sukhumvit, Soi 19, phone 259-9980.
Ayutthaya Princess - One of the dining highlights in Bangkok. Built to resemble
a royal barge, this floating restaurant provides dinner cruises with traditional Thai
culture shows. The food is great, and despite the large size of the boat (seats 170
persons), the service reflects the high standards of the boat's owner, the Shangri-La
Hotel. Daily cruises depart at 7 pm, return at 9:30 pm. Dressy. Most major credit
cards. 89 Wat Suan Phlu, Charoen Krung Road, phone 236-7777.
Oyster Bar & Restaurant - The only oyster bar and restaurant in town.
Typical British cooking with the freshest ingredients. Besides oysters, expect steak and
kidney pie, Stilton soup, spotted dick and fish and chips. Excellent collection of
spirits. Open 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Most major credit cards. 20/10-11 Soi Rumrudee, Ploenchit
Road, phone 252-1820.
Street- Fun and boisterous, this restaurant serves Creole and Cajun dishes,
Mexican food and home-style fare. Specialties include gumbo, jambalaya, tacos, chili and
barbecued ribs and chicken. You can wear your grubby jeans, since it's in a frankly grubby
karaoke-massage area. Daily 7 am-1 am. Most major credit cards. Washington Square,
Sukhumvit, Soi 22, phone 259-0328.
Cafe at the
Park - Thai and other cuisines served in a glass-enclosed corner of the Century
Park Hotel. You feel like you're eating in an air-conditioned park. Try the lunch or
dinner buffet. On Friday and Saturday nights, a large, fresh seafood selection is added.
Open 24 hours. Most major credit cards. Rajaprarop Road, phone 246-7800.
Market- You enter this restaurant through an active fish market and select
your entree from dozens of large fish tanks. Next, you enter a small market area where a
clerk helps you select salads and vegetables. Now, choose a bottle from the wine rack.
Give instructions on how everything should be cooked to the cashier. Then sit at your
table under the stars and wait for your meal to arrive. If you can't bear to look your
dinner in the eye while it's still swimming, go straight to a table and order from a
standard menu. 89 Soi Sukhumvit 24 (Kasem), Klongtoey, phone 661-1252 or 661-1253, fax
Seafood Restaurant - Specializing in Thai food and seafood, this is another
restaurant where you select your dinner as it swims in front of you. Thai dance and
cultural shows are performed as you eat. Select an indoor table or one in their lovely
outdoor garden.133 Pan Rd. near Silom, phone 234-6687.
You can always get something to eat
late at night at the Ambassador Hotel (Soi 11). The sidewalk restaurants that spring up
every night but Wednesdays often run until 4 or 5 am. (Thai customers will insist you join
their party.) Probably every luxury hotel and nearly every economy hotel runs a 24-hour
For a bit more class, try the
Greenhouse Restaurant (open 24 hours) at the Landmark Hotel, 138 Sukhumvit, phone
254-0404, ext. 4105. The Narai Hotel boasts an excellent restaurant that's also open 24
hours. 222 Silom Rd., phone 237-0100.
Old Dutch Cafe - A real breakfast
treat for late risers and one of the best values in Bangkok. A gut-stuffing breakfast for
85 baht consists of three eggs, bacon, cheese, ham, turkey, sausage, french fries, rolls,
orange juice and all the Dutch coffee you can drink. At night, try their famous cheese
fondue with wine. Cozy and rustic, even though the remainder of this soi is dedicated to
sex tourists. Open 10 am till late. 9/3-4 Sukhumvit, Soi 23 (just outside Soi Cowboy),
In the past few years, cybercafes
proliferated in Bangkok, but since 1997 they've also been folding at a rapid clip. You can
find a somewhat accurate listing of internet cafes in Thailand at http://www.thailine.com.
Listed below are a few that look is if they may hang on.
If you just want to retrieve or send
e-mail, try the price-competitive venues on Kaosan Road, haunt of the budget tourist.
Rates start at about 3 baht per minute, or 150 baht per hour. (Elsewhere, expect to pay
double.) If you need advice, there's only one option, however: Cyberia.
- Fairly busy hangout. Fresh coffee, beer, wine. Free e-mail accounts. Open daily
10:30 am-11 pm. 654/8 Sukhumvit Rd. (corner of Soi 24), phone 259-3556 or 259-3557, e-mail
- Tiny, but smart and elegant. Modem plug-ins for laptops. Terrific range of coffees
and teas. Surawong Road near Soi Thaniya, e-mail email@example.com.
For a map of all the golf courses, including telephone numbers, contact Al Eberhardt, Letter-Ads, 25/2 Sukhumvit 31, phone 258-4654, fax 259-4854. Map can be delivered to your hotel.
The Royal Dusit Golf Course is the most convenient course to the city. Championship 18-hole course, par 66. Daily 6 am-6 pm. Fees: Monday-Friday 320 baht, Saturday and Sunday 530 baht. Phitsanuloke Road, phone 281-4320.
The Krungthep Kritha Golf Course, 15 mi/24 km east of the city center, offers an 18-hole or nine-hole course. Daily 5 am-5 pm. Fees: Monday-Friday 300 baht, Saturday and Sunday 500 baht. 516 Krungthep Kritha Rd., Hua Mark, phone 374-6063 or 374-0491.
Unico Golf Course, 15 mi/24 km east of the city, near Krungthep Kritha Golf Course, is a championship 18-hole course, par-72. Daily 5:30 am-4 pm. Fees: Monday-Friday 535 baht, Saturday and Sunday 1070 baht. 47 Mu 7 Krungthep Kritha, Prawet, Phra Khanong, phone 377-9038.
Hotel, in the city center, has an extensive recreation center with tennis
courts, squash courts, gym (featuring weight machines, free weights, treadmills and
stationary cycles), large swimming pool and restaurant. Daily 7 am-10 pm. 300 baht for
nonguests. 2 Witthayu Rd., phone 253-0123.
is the best of the private clubs, with a giant gym, free weights, cycles,
treadmills and aerobics classes. No pool. Near the Grand Hyatt in the center of town.
Daily 8 am-8 pm. 350 baht. 97-121 Bangkok Bazaar Center, Ratchadamri Road, phone 251-7647.
on the south side of the city, has a pool, a badminton court and an outdoor gym with free
weights. Daily 7 am-9 pm. 75 baht per day. 27 S. Sathorn Rd., phone 287-2727.
Saun is a predominantly gay health club with swimming pool, steam room, sauna,
gym (free weights, treadmills, cycles and weight machines) and a restaurant. Daily 3
pm-midnight. 200 baht. 117 Soi Charoensuk, Sukhumvit Soi 55, phone 391-4393.
Massage is a Thai tradition for both men and women, taken for granted as one of life's simple joys. Traditional massage is an ancient and honorable profession that's a bit more bone bending than Westerners often expect. Once you have enjoyed (survived) a traditional Thai massage, you'll be completely relaxed. Thai massage should cost approximately 150 baht per hour and can be found in
many traditional massage parlors. One is Buathip Thai Massage, 4/13 Soi 5, Sukhumvit Road, phone 255-1045.
The well-regarded Bodie Care, near the north end of Surawong Road, offers a two-hour massage. Daily 10 am-midnight. 38/8 Surawong Rd., phone 233-4144. Close by, across from Thaniya Plaza, is Eve House, which serves only women. 150 baht per hour. Daily 7 am-9 pm. 18/1 Suawong Rd., phone 266-3846.
Massage is taught as well as given at the Wat Po, Bangkok's oldest temple. A 30-hour course in the traditional southern style is taught for 4,500 baht (in addition to the daily entrance fee). A half-hour massage costs 100 baht. Thye Wang and Sanam Chai Road, phone 221-2974.
Many hotels also have legitimate massage services; ask at yours.
Swimming Pool, on the eastern edge of the city, offers a lap pool, as well as
tennis and badminton courts. Daily 8 am-midnight. 250-baht membership fee, 40 baht per
visit. 140 Sukhumvit, Soi 56, off Sukhumvit Road, phone 331-2037.
Sirikit Park (also known as Benjasiri Park) boasts a large, relatively
new, outdoor public pool near the rear of the park. Enter on Sukhumvit Road, between Soi
22 and Soi 24. Get here midday when school is in session and you can swim laps. Daily 10
am-8 pm. Membership costs 40 baht per year, plus 15 baht per visit. Children not yet age
16 enter free. No phone.
Rowboats and paddleboats can be
rented at both Lumpini Park and Chatuchak Park for 40 baht an hour.
Park, Chatuchak Park and Sanam Luang are popular with joggers in the early morning and early evenings.
Harriers is the ever-popular running club. Bangkok H3 is known affectionately
as the drinking club with a running problem. Contact Randall Burke on his mobile phone,
01-406-8896, or try Todd Wilkie (phone 865-7137) or Frank Allum (phone 01-925-4344). This
predominantly expatriate group organizes fun runs several times a week. Ask also about
monthly mountainbike rides outside of Bangkok.
For current information on sports
events in Bangkok, check the sports sections of The Bangkok Post and The Nation, or call
the Sports Promotion Organization of Thailand, phone 377-6423.
The following clubs sponsor horse
races every other Sunday: The Royal Bangkok Sports Club, 1 Henri Dunant Rd., phone
251-0181; and The Royal Turf Club of Thailand, 183 Phitsanuloke Rd., phone 280-0020. Races
begin at 12:30 pm and admission is 50 baht-100 baht.
Lumpini Stadium, near Lumpini Park,
hosts Thai kickboxing matches every Tuesday, Friday and Saturday at 6 pm. 100 baht. Rama
IV Road, phone 252-8765.
The National Stadium, in the city
center, offers a range of spectator sports, including soccer matches. Rama I Road, phone
Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium is
another site for Thai kickboxing. 1 Ratchadamnoen Rd., phone 281-4205. Bouts on Monday,
Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday.
The most useful source, even at 100
baht per issue, is the monthly magazine Bangkok Metro, available at your hotel (and
perhaps free for guests), as well as at the bookstores named above. In the listings at the
back are objective, capsule reviews of restaurants, bars, clubs and music venues. You'll
also be able to find out what's showing at art galleries and who's on at live music
For information on sights,
entertainment, restaurants, tours, hotels and timely events in and around the city,
consult the entertainment and sports sections in The Bangkok Post and The Nation.