We have simply been served our dessert on the riverside terrace overlooking the Chao Phraya when a cluster of fireworks crackles and fizzes above us, their glittering fronds mirrored within the water beside us. It is not for our profit – at the very least I do not suppose – however that is nearly the extent of hospitality you come to count on by the tip of a keep on the Peninsula Bangkok.
Celebrating its 20th anniversary final yr, the five-star resort stands proud on the west financial institution of the Chao Phraya within the lesser-travelled however rapidly-developing Thon Buri district of Thailand’s capital metropolis. For a few years, this was seen because the improper facet of the river however the Peninsula’s opening in 1998 paved the way in which for a wave of improvement together with two luxurious buying centres, ICONSIAM and ICONLUXE, which opened final yr.
Immediately, it is ideally positioned as an city luxurious resort on the coronary heart of this now-flourishing neighbourhood – and an oasis of tranquility within the sprawling, stifling metropolis.
Inside, an amber glass chandelier drips like honey from the ceiling of the palatial foyer, and teak panelling and honey-hued marble create a heat, elegant atmosphere all through the resort, from the general public areas to the rooms and suites. Ours comes with a panoramic view of the skyscrapers that span to the horizon, and the gleaming ribbon of the river unspooling beneath them, bobbing with twinkling longtail boats.
Thai hospitality is world-renowned and the employees on the Peninsula exemplify why, anticipating your each whim earlier than it is even occurred to you. Mendacity beside the turquoise pool within the sweltering humidity, I am nearly to rise up for a drink when a barman seems out of nowhere with a frozen strawberry mocktail.
Later, we return to our suite to search out our pillowcases have been embroidered with our names; a day later they have been laundered and packaged up for us to take residence as a memento.
On checking in, we have been offered with garlands of jasmine to maintain by our beds too, their candy fragrance bookending every day of our keep.
With three eating places, a spa and health centre inside its grounds and a programme of experiences starting from cookery lessons to Muay Thai kickboxing to attempt, it would be tempting by no means to go away the resort however the brilliant lights of this beguiling and bewildering megacity are beckoning to be explored.
A visit to Bangkok would not be full and not using a journey to one in all its well-known evening markets and the Rot Fai Prepare Market in Ratchada, a 25-minute taxi journey away by way of the traffic-choked streets, is without doubt one of the largest and busiest, with avenue meals distributors promoting all the things from seafood to shaved ice desserts and a labyrinth of stalls hawking all the things from purses to hanging vegetation. Perched above the patchwork of vibrant canvas pitches, we discover a rooftop bar the place we cool off with cocktails and catch a welcome breeze blowing by way of the stifling warmth.
The subsequent morning we nurse our hangovers with a nourishing breakfast on the resort’s River Cafe, on a shaded verandah subsequent to a pristine garden overlooking the water. We pile our plates excessive from a buffet laden with all the things from recent dragonfruit and papaya to French toast bread and butter pudding and stir-fried noodles, rice and dumplings, and wash it down with a few freshly-whizzed orange and galangal juices from the juice bar outdoors.
The terrace overlooks the resort’s personal jetty, the place a free boat service ferries company forwards and backwards throughout the river. After braving Bangkok’s infamous visitors final evening, a leisurely journey alongside the water is certainly the extra interesting solution to journey. From the other facet we catch a public boat upriver to see among the metropolis’s most well-known sights, getting off to admire the intricate, vibrant spires of Wat Arun Ratchawararam (Temple of Daybreak) earlier than crossing to the other financial institution to go to Wat Pho (the Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
So-called due to its breathtaking 46-metre, gold-leaf lined statue squeezed into the Viharn Phranorn temple constructing, representing the Buddha passing into Nirvana, it is the oldest and largest temple advanced in Bangkok and some of the spectacular in all of Thailand, with row upon row of gilded statues and gleaming gold shrines.
Wilting within the afternoon warmth after protecting as much as conform to the strict temple costume codes, we head off searching for a drink and a few air con. A stroll across the backstreets and up a seemingly unending sequence of staircases leads us to Lengthy Tian, a haven of south east Asian craft beer with a balcony overlooking the river, the place we graze on fiercely spicy pork meatballs speckled with inexperienced chilli and spring onion, deep-fried rooster knuckle and pork stomach bites dunked in a bitter tamarind dip.
Afterwards we head to the rooftop bar of the Sala Rattanakosin and clink champagne glasses whereas watching the solar set over the lofty spires of the Temple of Daybreak throughout the river, earlier than returning to the Peninsula for dinner at its Thiptara Thai restaurant.
At our desk on the banyan-shaded terrace by the water, a chef assembles little parcels of pomelo, dried shrimp, recent and fried shallots, lotus, coconut, tamarind, palm sugar and fish sauce, earlier than taking us on a culinary journey by way of a few of Thailand’s hottest dishes together with a aromatic tom yum soup bobbing with prawns and mushrooms, and deep-fried snow fish with a spicy candy and bitter sauce.
Because the fireworks dance above us it looks like a becoming finale to a break on this dazzling and generally dizzying metropolis. After two days we have barely scratched its floor, however the Peninsula has provided us a tantalising taster.
We have been invited to remain as company of the Peninsula Bangkok
Costs begin from £221 for a deluxe room
Go to peninsula.com/bangkok for extra data