A Secret Bangkok Beach Getaway

The infinity pool overlooking the ocean at the Evason Hua Hin

The infinity pool overlooking the ocean at the Evason Hua Hin

We’re lounging poolside at the Bangkok Shangri-La Hotel, sipping Pinot Grigio while dealing with this champagne problem: Where should we embark on a last-minute side trip and city escape? We had three days before our return flights home. Our wish list: beach, sun, yoga, great food, pool, and spa—all with hassle-free transport to and from the Bangkok airport.

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Bangkok (Not So) Dangerous

Taken from Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), with a view of the Grand Palace in the distance across the river

Taken from Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn), with a view of the Grand Palace in the distance across the river

Bangkok is a town that comes with some baggage. Its reputation as a bastion of wild (and often seedy) nightlife has been fed by movies like "The Hangover II" and "Bangkok Dangerous." Likewise, its recent political protests have added to the misconception that Bangkok is a place best avoided, or at the very least passed through quickly on the way to somewhere else.

But give Bangkok some time and attention and you’ll find something for everybody. If nightlife and naughtiness is your thing, yes, Bangkok is world class. But the city also has fine hotels, top-notch shopping, numerous cultural and historical sights, and, for my money, some of the best food in the world. All hosted by friendly locals who give Thailand its nickname: "The Land of Smiles."

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Fighting the Good Fight, Thai-Style

Entrance to the ceremony grounds of the Wai Kru Ceremony in Ayutthaya, with a statue of Muay Thai legend Nai Khanom Tom

Entrance to the ceremony grounds of the Wai Kru Ceremony in Ayutthaya, with a statue of Muay Thai legend Nai Khanom Tom

There are many reasons I find myself getting lured back to Thailand. While tropical weather, exotic beaches, luscious mountains, incredible food, and world-famous hospitality are surely enough to keep anyone coming back to “The Land of Smiles,” the opportunity to get kicked in the face is not high on my must-do vacation list. Yet, that is precisely why I’m here.

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Twenty-Four Hours in Bangkok, Thailand

Sunset lounging on the Amari Executive Floor

Sunset lounging on the Amari Executive Floor

When venturing to Thailand, or indeed any part of Asia, it’s possible you’ll experience at least one night in Bangkok, and given the Thai people’s enthusiasm and welcome toward tourists, it’s a great gateway to ease in your Asian adventure. Strikingly different from the West, whilst accommodating enough, the Thai capital city offers variety to suit any traveler’s palate, whether you want to begin with a bang, explore the culture, or wind down before jetting home.

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