By Dave Stamboulis
Bangkok’s waterways have long been the real arteries of the city, especially one in which traffic snarls are legendary. Yet for years all the trendy and chic new eating and drinking options were popping up inland, in fashionable Thonglor and bustling Silom, or along Sukhumvit, with little attention being paid to Bangkok’s water world. That has all changed recently, with the Chao Phraya River now becoming the place to hang-out once again, and for good reason. The breezes are cool, the transport easy on the system, and the fabulous views combined with all the fantastic eats and drinks making the monicker “Venice of the East” seem all that relevant again.
The Chao Phraya now features a romantic eatery or trendy nightspot on just about every bend in Bangkok, with a plethora of snazzy eateries and cool hang-out bars just beckoning for a drink or two, whether it be for sunset gazing or after-the lights-go down lounging. One could spend ages just exploring all, but for those who want to delve in right away, here are some of the best spots from north to south:
(23 Phra Arthit Road, Phranakorn, 02-633-5000, http://www.snhcollection.com/rivasurya) has brought boutique to Khao San Road, and this elegant resort features Babble and Rum, a restaurant and mezzanine bar with French décor that has daybeds to recline on, overlooking the river while you nibble on the signature smoked salmon and avocado salad, and drink a few glasses of Jelly Riva (vodka, lime, and melon syrup on jelly) to refresh yourself.
located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya in the dazzling Anantara Riverside Resort (257/1-3 Charoennakorn Road, Thonburi, 02-476-0022, http://bangkok-riverside.anantara.com), the Longtail Bar features Lanna style architecture and tables and chairs laid out along the pier, giving tremendous views east of the Bangkok skyline. Enjoy a Bangkok Bridge (gin, kaffir lime syrup, and lychee liqueur) while watching the teak shuttle boats come and go. The adjacent Riverside Terrace has a prime spot overlooking the Chao Phraya, not to mention traditional dancers performing on a flame lit stage to accompany wonderful seafood and barbecue buffet dinners.