It’s a long way to go, but if you’re in the area…
Bangkok is bigger than you can dare to imagine. Buildings tower above you and engulf any sense of direction you had. Lights twinkle, headlights glare, and flashing colours dance along the walls at night. Renowned for being a party capital and playing host to the lads in The Hangover 2; it’s only natural to want to have a go yourself.
Thousands of backpackers arrive from every inch of the Earth to start their travels here, but with most only spending one or two nights, hidden gems and cocktail caverns can be hard to find.
As fate would have it, however, I managed to wangle a cool, or rather hot and humid, two weeks in Bangkok in April. Just in time for Songkran (Thai New Year); I got to experience a three day water fight, amazing street food and a bundle of delicious cocktails which are quite a steal given the exchange rate. So, if you’re passing through, I’ve compiled the best and most beautiful places to sink drinks or go wild and party in the city.
Octave Rooftop Lounge and Bar – The Marriott Hotel, Sukhumvit
The ultimate rooftop bar in Bangkok, start the night in style with this stunning 360 degree view of the city. A lift takes you up to a sumptuous terrace, glowing under twinkling orange lights and buzzing with chatter and music. Tempting as it may be to whip out your phone and start posting selfies to Twitter, climb the small stairway up to the very top from here, and wait for your breath to be taken away. A totally panoramic, unspoilt view of this metropolis awaits; spin around on the spot or dare to peer over the edge as glass panels are all that separate you and the sky.
I must admit I can’t remember what I drank here, as the view was simply jaw dropping. It was of course, given the standard and exceptional quality of the venue, a great cocktail. My friend sipped a fruity number from a ceramic coconut, whilst mine was sharp and sweet. The main selling point of this venue is the view, you must absolutely visit Octave to get the most spectacular view of Bangkok. A cocktail here will set you back between £6-8, so it would be rude not to stop for at least one.
The Alchemist – Sukhumvit
I know what you’re thinking if you’re from Manchester, Oh My God there’s an Alchemist bar in Bangkok?!! Erm, well no, actually, it’s not the same chain we are familiar with in Manchester, but I reckon it’s equally as delicious and you can be sure it’s a fraction of the price.
This delightful little gem of a cocktail bar is tucked in the middle of a little curved road bustling with booze and bars. Pull up a stool at the understated wooden bar and take in the charm of the exposed brickwork and casual atmosphere. The staff are quick and very friendly, easing you into your spot for the night. A wide mix of music is played depending on what kind of night it is, but as a rule it’s what you’d normally expect from a bar on holiday.
By far my favourite cocktail here, and possibly my favourite ever was the Love Potion. Sweet, fruity and obviously pink, I fell for it instantly. Another confession I have to make is that, again, I didn’t make a note of the ingredients that made it so amazing, but hey, that can’t have people going around copying it can they?
For the best in budget cocktails that rival the mixology standards of the west, I’d definitely pay The Alchemist a visit! The little road it’s comfortably nestled into is abundant with cool drinking spots and very popular with the locals, so you know it’s good stuff. Give them a follow on Twitter, check out their photos and see if you can get that Love Potion recipe out of them! @thealchemistbkk
The Nest – Sukhumvit
This has got to be my guilty pleasure in Bangkok; catching the lift to the rooftop bar, passing a little pond of colourful fish, walking across the sand and sinking into a massive beach bed with a cocktail. This venue has the longest list of cocktails I came across in Bangkok so you’ll never run out of choices. Chilled out or sometimes live music is played in the background as you peruse the menu for your favourite flavour. I was about to choose a white chocolate tipple but changed to a tangy citrus one at the last minute because it was garnished with a chilli.
This is a place you can enjoy high end luxuries and treatment for what you would class as a cheap night out back home. Waiter service at the beds and staff prepared to go the extra mile in the name of outstanding service, The Nest has everything you could want for a casual yet classy night of the finer things in life.
Khao San Road – Banglamphu
Okay, so we’ve done the best view, best cocktail and best place to kick back in Bangkok, but what people really remember about Bangkok is Khao San Road. Revered as the centre of the backpacking universe, this is where every weary traveller goes for the ultimate party. Teaming with bars flooding out onto the street, food stalls, kids selling tat – it’s all you could want from the main drinking strip anywhere. Our favourite place to go was the ‘No ID Bar’, it does have a real name like Golf Bar but we spotted the “we don’t check ID” signs way before we found that out. Grab a bucket of strong, fruity cocktails for a few quid and get ready for the best time you’ll ever have.