Most visitors to Thailand's tropical islands spend a few days in Bangkok to see the sights and fill their suitcases with bargains, but foodies should also save a little time to savour the city's fabulous flavours.
Stopovers in Bangkok are always best enjoyed as you leave the Kingdom. Unless you want to party hard and celebrate your escape in a booze fuelled frenzy, your main goal should be to reach your chosen beach villa as quickly as possible so you can kick off your shoes, dive into the pool and wash away the stress and strain that likely inspired you to head to the Land of Smiles in the first place.
On departure, your head is in a much more relaxed space. Even after a short beach break you will have a little sand between your toes, the sea air in your hair, and if you've made the most of the massage ladies, will be in the perfect frame of mind to traverse Asia's bustling City of Angels without losing your holiday zen.
Even armed with holiday calm, however, most people's Bangkok side trips quickly become a blur of jam ridden taxi rides, brightly lit shopping malls and street market cacophony, perhaps occasionally interspersed with a meditative breather in the grounds of a gold flecked temple.
But the metropolitan maze doesn't have to be quit so hectic, especially if you plan your urban expeditions around some fine food amid relaxed, green surroundings. The Thai capital boasts an incredible choice of top class cuisine, with even the most exquisite and appetizing menus offering excellent "Bang for your Baht".
An added bonus in some of the better establishments is that you can also dine amid tranquil surroundings, with the pulsating city replaced by verdant gardens full of water features and colour splashed tropical flora.
Here are five Bangkok epicurean sanctuaries where tradition and green meets fabulous cuisine.
restaurant has established itself as one of the city's top restaurants, offering Thai, Indian and Japanese cuisine, all in one tranquil and attractive spot. Located on a leafy side street (Sukhumvit soi 38), the charming and expansive wooden building design is based on a classical Thai extended family house: enclosed, welcoming and elegant, decorated with antiques and artefacts from the traders and trading cultures that once visited this region. http://www.facebars.com/en/bangkok/restaurant/
Bonjour Restaurant & Bar
is a popular French bistro and garden retreat in the heart of bustling Sukhumvit Road in Thonglor. The beautifully manicured garden is home to white peacocks and rabbits, while the natural 500 square meter pond hosts four majestic French swans. A former Royal Residence known as the "Palace of Pencils", the building is 80 years old and has been renovated to maintain the beauty and classic styling of its vintage era. http://www.bonjourbangkok.com
is set in a whitewashed colonial-style wooden house on fashionable Langsuan Road in downtown Bangkok. Chef Gaggan presents progressive Indian cuisine with traditional touches in a 70-year old building that's been beautifully refurbished and designed in a colonial theme with cane furniture and low stools. http://www.eatatgaggan.com/
Issaya Siamese Club
can be found on Soi Sri Aksorn near Sathorn Road. The restaurant was co-founded by Thailand
’s first international “celebrity chef”, Ian Kittichai, whose weekly TV cooking show, "Golden Hand Chef", can currently be seen in over 70 countries around the world. The menu features innovative Thai creations served in a nicely restored, two-storey 1920s Thai home and surrounded by pleasant lawned grounds that also incorporate Chef Kittichai's own kitchen garden. http://www.issaya.com/issaya-index.php
Eat Me Restaurant
in Soi Pipat 2 near Silom Road serves delicious modern international and regional cuisine in chic tropical surroundings. Described the the New York Times as a "coolly elegant restaurant", meals can be enjoyed in the spacious dining room or outside on the garden terrace, and the restaurant also hosts regular art exhibitions to add a cultural flair to the affair. http://www.eatmerestaurant.com/
by LVH Marketing