From Surawongse To The Chao Phraya
While Surawong Road towards the Patpong side with its sake bars and world-famous nightlife might be buzzier, there’s also a quieter stretch near the intersection of Charoen Krung Road where the heart of old Silom resides. This historic neighbourhood has its origins during the reign of King Rama V. Now with the 303-room Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse (rooms from RM980++), the area is a veritable treasure armoire of history, culture and the arts. The property checks all the boxes when it comes to all the modern luxuries one expects from a Marriott. The bonus: it’s the hotel’s location that makes a stay here all the more intriguing.
Across the road from the hotel is the Neilson Hays Library. Designed by Mario Tamagno, the 1920 structure was part of his portfolio of storied buildings in the Thai capital including Ananda Samakhom Throne Hall, Hua Lamphong Train Station, Makkawan Rangsan Bridge, and Phayathai Palace. The library’s café, run by the British Club, is a small oasis in which to grab a coffee and a snack.
Amble five minutes down a side street opposite the hotel, and you’ll reach Sri Mariamman Temple, better known to locals as Wat Khaek Silom. Built in the Southern Indian tradition, the temple offers spiritual introductions to the deities of the Hindu pantheon. For delicious and authentic Indian vegetarian meals and desserts, check out the nearby eateries that line the lively street beyond the temple.
Slightly farther afield but still within walking distance from the hotel, is the Bangkok Folk Museum. The space depicts the lifestyles of wealthy Bangkok residents during the years preceding the Second World War through to 1957.
There’s also the Thailand Creative & Design Centre (TCDC) that features an unmistakable Brutalist geometric design. As the former British Embassy, the building became the Bangkok General Post Office during the first half of the 20th century, benefiting from a renovation overseen by Mew Jitsame Apaiwong and Phraya Sarote Rattaniman.
After an afternoon’s exploration, head back to Bangkok Marriott Hotel The Surawongse to cool off; the infinity swimming pool places one cheek to cheek with the city as if in a virtual reality simulation. If the weather holds up, the open air 32nd floor Shanghai-inspired Yao rooftop bar is definitely the spot to up your Insta-game. Order the Shanghai, The City “Upon The Sea," a libation named after the Chinese city’s techno age Oriental Pearl TV Tower, as remixed lounge tunes by Shanghainese chanteuses from the 1920s hum discreetly in the background.