Skyline View of Bangkok

A week ago, a couple we know was in town from Chicago. They had a twenty-four hour layover on a cruise making its way from Singapore to Hong Kong. We met them for drinks at the rooftop bar on the Marriott Sukhumvit Hotel.

The hotel opened less than a year ago and is only a few blocks from our house. I had never been there but was amazed at how spectacular the views are – the roof affords a full 360-degree view of the city.


This first view is looking to the east and southeast along Sukhumvit Road. You can see the BTS Skytrain running along the road and Ekkamai station is just blocked by the red condo building, located between the Gateway Mall (also red) and the temple complex. That makes for an interesting contrast, no?

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This photo picks up from where the previous one leaves off, looking from the southeast to the west. You can see that we are actually not very far from the Chao Phraya River and the port area Рif you look really closely, you can see their cruise ship docked. You will notice that the main part of the city is to the west, where the concentration of high rises is much denser.

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This picture continues from the far end of the bar in the previous picture. It looks from the west to the north and covers the entire Thong Lor neighborhood where I live. The BTS Skytrain station is on the left and you can see the line running into town along Sukhumvit Road. This neighborhood is more residential with lots of condominium towers, restaurants, and shops.

One thing that really amazes me about Bangkok, compared with many cities, is that there are high rise buildings all over the place with no real defined “centers” for the city. On one level, I think it makes the skyline a bit bland as there is no focal point. But at the same time, maybe being so spread out saves us from all having to commute to just one area. Who knows?


A Pair of Bridges at Night

Thought I would conclude the week with a pair of beautiful nighttime shots showing two different bridges here in Bangkok.


This is the pedestrian bridge at the intersection of Narathiwat and Sathorn roads. The tall building is the Sathorn Square Office Tower, which opened just recently. The shorter building on the left is the soon-to-open W Hotel Bangkok.


This is the Rama VIII Bridge across the Chao Phraya River. This single pylon, cable-stayed bridge is two and a half kilometers long and will be celebrating its tenth anniversary next month. It is a beautiful bridge.


View from Centara Grand Hotel

While my sister and brother-in-law were in town, we had sunset drinks at Red Sky, the rooftop bar and restaurant at Centara Grand hotel at CentralWorld. In the past few years, the number of rooftop dining and drinking facilities has exploded from just a pair – the Banyan Tree hotel and Scirocco – to dozens.

What I particularly like about Red Sky is that it is located amidst many tall buildings. Unlike several of the more popular rooftop locations where you feel set apart from the skyline, at Red Sky you are right in the midst of it. Here are some photos:


Looking north, you see the Baiyoke 2 tower, the tallest building between Hong Kong and Kuala Lumpur; the Amari Watergate hotel, the new Novotel Bangkok Platinum hotel, and the golden domes at Platinum Shopping Center, all of which are located in the Pratunam (“water gate”) district.


Looking southwest, you can see the Siam Paragon shopping center in the lower right, Siam Square in the center, and the Silom/Sathorn busines district in the distance. The golden chedi of Wat Saket (“Golden Mount”) is on the far right side of the horizon.


Looking southeast, you see the rest of CentralWorld, the Ratchaprasong intersection (the one closed for 40 days by red shirt protesters two years ago), the Intercontinental and Hyatt Erawan hotels, the Gaysorn shopping center, and, in the distance, the high-rise districts of Ratchadamri in the center and Witthayu (Wireless) Road to the left.


Sunsets on Ploenchit

Yesterday evening I finished a meeting over by Ploenchit BTS station just after sunset. The sky was a beautiful color – particularly pink in the east – and I stopped to take some pictures that turned out rather nice. I thought I’d share them with you.


The first thing I noticed was the pink sky in the east, a reflection of the setting sun in the towering clouds on that side of the metropolitan area. This view is looking along Ploenchit Road, which turns into Sukhuvmit Road as soon as it crosses beneath that expressway. The Skytrain line runs down the middle of the street and the next station is Nana. Traffic is still pretty light after the new year holiday last weekend.


Turning around and looking northwest, you can see Wave Place on the left and a new condo, both of which face Witthayu (Wireless) Road. The pink sky in the east is reflected in the windows of Wave Place. Immediately to the right of the condo, just poking out the right side of it, is the Baiyoke 2 Tower, the tallest building in Thailand. The LED lights at the top are showing a Thai flag: red, white, blue, white, and red stripes in that order. In the foreground is one of the remaining old properties that lie along Ploenchit Road, holdouts against the development that is taking over this area.


A few minutes later I climb up to the Skytrain station platform and take another picture looking east. The pink sky is gone and it is actually dark purple at this point. But because I used an exposure of about 1/13 of a second, the sky’s color appears lighter.


Looking due west, you can see a train departing Ploenchit station for Nana. Behind it is Mahatun Plaza, one of the older office buildings in this area, and the brand-new Park Ventures tower, about which I wrote yesterday. The side-view of the building is meant to evoke the wai – the polite Thai gesture of greeting where the palms of the hands are placed together, fingers points skyward.


View from Zense

A few weeks back we had another Xangan visitor, this one David from London.  He and I did a day trip down to the evening floating market in Amphawa, which was written about in this entry.  After he went to Phuket for several days of relaxation he returned to Krungthep and Tawn and I met him for drinks and dinner.

We had eaten at Zense before with another David (this one from Singapore) and his partner Chor Pharn, so decided this time to stick with drinks only before moving on to the Italian restaurant at the Amari Watergate Hotel for dinner.

Zense is located on the 17th floor of the Central World Plaza mall, above the Zen department store.  It is one of several new restaurants that are either on rooftops or offer elevated, outdoor dining areas.


The view looking west (above) is quite nice.  You can se the police headquarters (low buildings on the left), the Novotel hotel in Siam Square (tan building with blue sign left of the train tracks), the Skytrain Sukhumvit line, the Siam Paragon mall, and next to it – squeezed between Paragon and Central World Plaza – Wat Phatumvanaram.  This temple is worth a visit as it makes for a very tranquil oasis in the midst of Krungthep’s shopping district.  Looking out from the temple grounds to the surrounding structures gives one a sense of the contradictions that are a part of life here.


Looking south, you look beyond the police headquarters and police hospital (tall building in the immediate left foreground) towards the Royal Bangkok Sports Club – one of only two horse racing tracks in the city – and beyond that, the Sathorn and Silom business district.  The tall buildings under construction on the left are at Ratchadamri Station, a very popular area for short-term expats teeming with many new high-rise service apartments and hotels.


Turning around and looking overhead, the top of the Central World Plaza building has this interesting fiberglass structure that looks like a waterslide and changes color every few seconds in a slow process that is mesmerizing to watch.  Peeking out from behind this structure is the full moon.


Our dinner at the Amari Watergate was pleasant and the food was good, but the lighting was not conducive to taking pictures.  The only shot I managed that was worth sharing was this one, of my “tiramisu in a teacup” that was my dessert.