Airline Review: Thai Airways

From CNX to BKK to DXB, this was one of the least complicated international routes I’ve taken from one foreign outpost to another. There was no b.s. at the gates or on boarding/deplaning. Truly courteous staff. No long lines to suffer through at the counter or gate. Excellent in-seat entertainment options and comfortable, clean seats. Even the food was decent, far above most airline standards. No frills sitting in economy, but there was no major crowding/fighting for arm and leg space with nearby passengers.

Verdict: Excellent (9/10)

Upper Tier Hotels: Millennium Hilton (Bangkok, Thailand)

Towering over the river, you have an amazing view of the city from nearly every room. And particularly at the Executive Lounge at the top and the adjacent bar. Rooms are clean, the lobby is well-restored and the staff is top-notch (very attentive in helping send a parcel on my behalf). It’s a bit far from things as it’s on the west bank of the river. But there’s a fast ferry they run right from the hotel across to a prime part of the city, near the popular Silom district and another BTS station. Very reasonable prices, probably due to the hotel getting passed by newer, fresher and “hipper” hotels. But it’s as good as it gets with the Hilton main brand and a nice place for respite from the endless parade of hawkers and touts who try to sell you on things every second of every day around hotels in the middle of the city.

Verdict: Can’t Miss (9/10)

Upper Tier Hotels: Aloft Sukhumvit (Bangkok, Thailand)

There is no better location than this one on Soi 13 in Sukhumvit for access to bars (both naughty and classy) and the shopping scene around Siam. It’s a bit obnoxious getting in and out - cars are completely gridlocked on the Soi and you’ll have to walk a few minutes out if you need a car ride or Grab (Thailand’s version of Uber). But there’s also a great BTS Skytrain station at the intersection with Sukhumvit, so you can jump around the city pretty well from there.

Rooms are cool and trendy as you expect from Aloft, with a good breakfast if you can ignore the few ants spotted around the drinks station. Won’t deduct too many points since it’s Bangkok and there are always some creepy crawlies to be spotted. Only real issue is that it’s ground zero for the old white men who are in town for nothing but plowing Thai women. And/or Thai ladyboys - to each their own on that account. They leave you alone and you don’t have to talk to them, but they are all over the place - more so than most places in the city - and it can be jarring.

All in all. It’s a super-well priced brand hotel in a great location with safety, comfort and all you can expect from the fast-growing Aloft brand.

Verdict: Solid choice (8.5/10)

Luxury Hotels: Le Meridien (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Clearly one of the best hotels in the city (and tallest), the Le Meridien does not disappoint with very nice rooms and an excellent Club Level Executive Lounge - the food and alcohol selection were quite good. It’s also located very close to the Night Bazaar, the nightlife scene and Tapae Gate (eastside entrance to the Old City). Personally, I like the Nimman’s trendy hotels a bit more, which are also far less pricey. But for old mainstays earning and burning on Marriott, this is a great value for a great hotel. Service is excellent as expected too.

Verdict: Good but there’s better value & cooler local style elsewhere (8 / 10)

Top 25 Bars in the World: Skybar (Bangkok, Thailand) 

Featured in the final climax of The Hangover Part II, Skybar is an open-air rooftop bar in the heart of the Silom District.

The view is beautiful and it’s a classy spot to start or end a trip with a drink, but beware that the prices are insanely expensive.  Forget your high-priced cocktail in London, New York or Los Angeles.  There are few bars with a higher markup than this one, with the cheapest glass of wine costing you nearly $20 USD.  It’s especially surreal in a place like Bangkok, where every beer is one buck or less, and you can get a great meal on the street for less.  But it’s geared towards the farang who wants a great view and it does deliver.

Get one drink, soak up the view and take some pictures with the friends.  Just don’t bring a date and expect to have any money left at the end of the night.