Spotlight :: 24Hrs in Bangkok

[trip style = urban]

{Editor’s Note :: April’s destination focus is Thailand. So far we've covered two hip beachfront hotels a few hours from Bangkok. Stay tuned for more on the Lit! Bangkok and why one of Thailand's B destinations receives an A on our travel report card!}

If New York's the Big Apple, then Bangkok's the Big Mango---sticky, sweet and reasonably priced. An age-old mix of traditional and modern stitched together by an avant garde tailor, combing the city is an intense sensory experience from every angle.

For a fleeting moment, I considered going to Thailand and not sampling Bangkok given my tight schedule and its metropolis magnitude. Mistake. Even for 24hrs, snacking on one of the world's most exotic and cosmopolitan cities is both worthwhile and energizing.

Driven by its 12 million+ industrious and gracious inhabitants, the city hums, hisses and hurries at all hours of the day. For this reason it always feels safe and has something to offer every stripe and budget. High rises with head offices crowd the skyline and street vendors crowd available sidewalk real estate selling crepes, just-cut pineapple slices or pad Thai. Eat on the street for less than $0.50 usd. You'd be surprised at what can be sold out of a cart AND how good it is---Bangkok proves almost anything.

Peel off the Big Mango's protective peel for a taste of a city ripe with flavor! Here's a trip style = urban starting point:

Do Lofty Libations I wasn't going to have a drink at Lebua State Tower {which you might remember from The Hangover Part II} fearing it was too cliché, but our friends convinced us to indulge, and I'm glad they did. Sipping a bev at the glow-bar on the 64th floor will cost you---drinks set you back about $16 usd---but it's a stunning space, one which should be perched upon for the limitless city view alone. Trip Styler Tip :: There is a dress code in effect, no sandals or shorts. And don't get too tipsy and drop your drink {or yourself}, the "security nets" hanging below the glass-enclosed rooftop wouldn't hold more than a penny.

Market Meander If you're in town from Fri - Sun, meander and barter your way through the inner and outer lanes of the superbowl stadium-sized Chatuchak market. It's sweaty, it's over-the-top and you can pick up everything from leather belts to fans to Thai silk. Refuel with coconut ice or a giant chocolate-dipped and sprinkle-covered banana. Men, don't be jealous. Wear clothes you're willing to sweat in and arrive early so you're not roasting like street meat in the midday sun. Easily accessible from the Mo Chit skytrain stop.

Cruise 'n Wat Not Make your way to the Mandarin Oriental's dock and ask the attendant to book you a long tail boat to cruise along Choa Phraya River. Total photo opp! Hire the boat for 15 mins or two hours, and cruise up and down the river's murky waters. Ask your captain to drop you off at one of the gold-leafed and colorfully adorned riverside Wats to view a Buddhist Temple in the centre of the city. Trip Styler Tip :: Many Wats like the Grand Palace and Wat Pho have a strict dress codes. I know this will be a chore, but no booty shorts or shoulder cut-outs, even though the heat will make you want to dress like you're 19 and club-going.

Stay Skip Bangkok's brood of $200+ usd/night luxury hotels in favor of the Lit! Bangkok, priced around $100/night. Located a two-min walk from the skytrain on a side street with hostels, street food and $10 usd massage joints, this modern palace provides a cool, calculated calm from Bangkok's heat and hype. Stay tuned for a full write-up about the Lit! on April 25th.

Getting There From the West Coast, Bangkok can be reached on Cathay Pacific or JAL via Hong Kong or Tokyo. Thai Airways operates a direct flight from LA. Once at Bangkok's airport, skip the 45-min, $15 USD taxi into town and take the express train for approx. $1.50 USD. Within 25 mins you're dropped right in the center of the city. From there, either take a bright pink cab or the skytrain to your hotel. Easy peasy.

[photos by @tripstyler]