Aug 16, 2018
Mention ‘Bangkok’ as your next getaway destination and you might be swamped with endless food and shopping recommendations. But surely that’s not all there is to Thailand’s well-trodden capital?
In this second instalment of our Off Duty series, we’re going local with Concierge Supervisor Surat Binsa and Client Relation Executive Naruemon Joomthong, our staff at Modena by Fraser Bangkok and Fraser Suites Sukhumvit, Bangkok.
Join in as they share their favourite haunts and tips while showing us a lesser-known side to Bangkok you will not want to miss on your next trip there.
Surat’s sunshine personality shines through the moment you step through the doors of Modena by Fraser Bangkok. Often being the first point of contact for guests, his cheerfulness and warm hospitality makes him a great fit for his role.
Having been a part of the Fraser family since 2016, he is well versed with the sights and attractions around Modena by Fraser Bangkok, especially in the Khlong Toei neighbourhood, where you will find the famous Khlong Toei Market and more. But it doesn’t just stop there. “I’m always finding new places to see or visit so I can share my newfound experiences with guests and colleagues,” he says.
Surat is a firm believer of “service through friendship”, and it shows in the everyday conversations he has with guests, which are always meaningful and enjoyable.
His lively character sees him from work to his personal life. On his days off, you will find him at the malls, fresh markets or the nearby beaches with his family.
Visit Bang Nam Pheung Floating Market, one of Thailand’s less commercialised weekend markets. Take a ferry across the river for interesting sights such as the Thai Fighting Fish Gallery, Sri Nakhorn Khuen Khan Park, Mon Village, Suan Pa Lampoo (Tree Forest) and many local temples.
Alternatively, if you have time to spare, visit Ladmayom Floating Market. A 40-minute drive away, you can find all kinds of tropical fruits such as chompoo (Thai rose apple) and sapodillas (chikoo) here.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for something different, have a go at Khlong Toei Market, the largest fresh market in Bangkok. Not only will you find fresh produce here, there is a plethora of street food stalls, printing shops, express photo shops and local barbers. There are also local food options in the vicinity such as Phad Thai Mea Um or Heng Chun Seng. If you’re visiting the latter, make sure to try their Moo Satay and Mawfai Ruam (Thai fire pot with mixed beef).
Chatuchak Market (or Jatujak, also JJ Market to the locals). There are plenty of wholesale goods, interesting graphic tees and handmade Thai crafts and toys to be found, with each category of product in its designated zone within the market.
Benjakiti Park. This is one of the less-crowded parks in Sukhumvit with stunning fountains and a mesmerising view of the flower-lined lake – perfect for evening strolls, cycles or jogs.
Two other great options are Benjasiri Park or Lumpini Park. Benjasiri Park is a convenient respite from the city, located just next to the Emporium Bangkok, while the latter is a multi-functional park with a variety of facilities for outdoor leisure activities.
Editor’s Note: Benjakiti Park is a 10-minute stroll from Modena by Fraser Bangkok, while the latter two are under a 10-minute drive away.
Usman Muslim Thai Restaurant. Located on Sukhumvit soi 22, this halal-certified eatery is good for guests who love authentic Asian flavours. The oxtail soup is a must-try if you love flavourful broths with a slow, spicy kick. And if you don’t have the time to dine out, you can opt for delivery instead.
For a taste of local Thai Seafood, you can consider a visit to the popular Sornthong Pochana, a restaurant that serves Thai Seafood and Chinese food, just a 15-minute walk from Modena by Fraser Bangkok.
Visit the Bangkok Science Museum and Planetarium. The various multimedia presentations and exhibitions on topics such as science, robotics and energy make for an informative and interactive learning experience.
While Naruemon spends most of her day assisting with check-ins and out, the most enjoyable part of her job is providing information about the hotel and suggesting local attractions that are worth visiting to guests.
When asked about her personal favourite haunt, Khao Yai, a well-known national park on the outskirts of the city, came out tops. Just a 3-hour idyllic drive from Bangkok, Khao Yai holds a fond place in her heart as “there are so many things to see and the views at the park are amazing.”
On days off, you can find her having a hearty meal with friends or on the courts for a quick badminton match.
Nothing beats a meal at Riva Arun Restaurant. Not only will it be a feast for your appetite, but also your eyes as you gaze upon the captivating view of Wat Arun, the Temple of the Rising Sun, and sights of the Grand Palace while you dine on the rooftop.
Editor’s Note: If you’re looking for an option in the heart of Bangkok instead, Above Eleven at the top of Fraser Suites Sukhumvit offers breath-taking views of the city. Enjoy Peruvian-Japanese inspired cocktails and bites with live music as you watch the sun set over Sukhumvit’s bustling Soi 11.
Rot Fai Market (Train Market) is the place to be. Located on Srinakarin soi 51, just behind Seacon Square Shopping Mall, it’s quite hard to miss the iconic sea of colourful canvas roofs. From vintage collectables and memorabilia to antique furniture and the latest fashion, this is where I get my daily wear from as everything is affordable. Head down and visit the market from Thursday to Sunday each week in the evenings.
Editor’s Note: If you have limited time, visit the other newly opened Rot Fai Market in Ratchada, just off Thailand Cultural Centre MRT Station. More compact and conveniently located in the heart of the city, it is just an 8-minute MRT ride from Modena by Fraser Bangkok. The market opens 6pm – 12am, Thurdays through Sundays.
Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the temple of Emerald Buddha. Keep a lookout for Pra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha) on the grounds of the Grand Palace. Meticulously carved from a single block of jade, it is an architectural feat of pure beauty.
Khao Yai National Park, which is located in the west of Nakhon Ratchasima Province. A 3-hour drive away from Bangkok, the cool and lush landscapes of this magical nature park makes this a great city escape. Every time I get the opportunity to witness the majestic and beautiful mountain views, it helps me appreciate life more.
Editor’s Note: You can choose to take a hike on one of the trails or make a visit to any of the majestic waterfalls including Nam Tok Haew Suwat, which scored a starring role in Danny Boyle’s film The Beach; and Nam Tok Haew Narok, the largest in the park with a 150m drop.
Look out for our next series as we share more recommendations by our staff around the world for a uniquely local travel experience. If you missed out on our previous instalment, be sure to have a look at our staff’s suggestions for a local experience in Singapore.