Bangkok is the Piccadilly Circus of South-East Asia - a 24-hour, high-energy city that's great for a quick burst of sightseeing, bar-hopping and fun shopping. The traffic is horrendous, so try to visit at the weekend and use the sleek and ridiculously cheap BTS Skytrain to get around. Pay a visit to The Jim Thompson House , then relax with a river cruise and some spa treatments.
Old Bangkok Inn . With just ten rooms, it's a romantic gem close to the main sights. Originally a royal palace, it's now a mix of traditional styles, with home comforts and attentive service. Double rooms cost from £66, including breakfast. If you want to be by the Chao Phraya river, the serene, three-room Ibrik Resort has doubles from £58 with breakfast.
Siam Paragon, a gleaming new shopping mecca with designer brands spread over five floors. But for the true Bangkok retail experience, head for the stalls of Patpong, Sukhumvit Road and the Chatuchak weekend market. Luxe Bangkok (£4.99, Luxe City Guides) includes a detailed shopping guide. Purchases over 2,000 baht (£32) qualify for a
7 per cent VAT refund (take your passport). See www.rd.go.th/vrt.
Stylish bar and restaurant The Dome at the State Tower. It's 60 floors up and has an outside terrace with terrific views. Moon Bar, on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree hotel, is equally impressive. Bed Supperclub looks like a spaceship that landed in an uninspiring back street but, inside, it's all DJs and high design. Q Bar has a New York vibe, seriously generous drinks measures and a lively crowd. For high-class dining, Basil offers traditional Thai flavours with a modern twist, while Mango Tree is a reliable favourite with both visitors and young Thais.
Westeasttravel.com has keenly priced flights, while Silk Steps has four nights b&b at Old Bangkok Inn in May 2008 from £820 per person with flights and transfers. See tourismthailand.co.uk for more information.
By David Leck - Monday 7 April 2008