Cantonese restaurant

Wetlands, canals and luxury: Bangkok’s best new attractions

A giant metropolis with twice the population of New Zealand, Bangkok was the most visited city in the world in 2019 and since then it has become even more attractive thanks to many new attractions.

From a huge new wetland park to a Venice-inspired canal district, Bangkok’s version of New York’s “high line”, several cool five-star hotels and a luxury bus restaurant that takes diners on a tour of amazing sights while they feast, this city is better than ever.

Chaopraya Sky Park

In a decade living in Bangkok, I lamented the scarcity of parks and walkways over the wide Chaopraya River, which bisects the city. Both of these problems have been solved by a new 300m long footbridge and cycle path which spans the river and is covered in greenery.

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Chaopraya Sky Park offers breathtaking views of Bangkok.

Ronan O’Connell

Chaopraya Sky Park offers breathtaking views of Bangkok.

Inspired by New York’s famous High Line, Bangkok’s Chaopraya Sky Park is an abandoned railway bridge that was transformed into Bangkok’s first elevated park. While strolling through this aerial park, tourists can take in panoramic views of both Bangkok’s modern downtown and its temple-studded Old Town.

On its northern side is the photogenic flower market of Pak Khlong Talat and bustling Little India, Phahurat. To the south is the historic Portuguese suburb of Kudichin, with its lovely bakeries and lovely church.

A rolling restaurant

The Bustaurant is a nomadic restaurant.

Bangkok Bus Restaurant

The Bustaurant is a nomadic restaurant.

Eating delicious Thai food while soaking up Bangkok’s exotic sights on the way is a wonderfully indulgent way to enjoy this city. Of course, you can eat in your hotel and then burn off those calories strolling through Thai markets, temples, and parks. Or you could be lazy and happy aboard the Bangkok Bustaurant, a full-size coach converted into a luxury mobile restaurant.

This bus, which has huge windows and a skylight along its entire length, departs from the Holiday Inn Silom hotel before crisscrossing the historic districts of Bangkok. You will be able to admire palaces, shrines and pagodas, while eating and drinking at the table set up in front of you. For NZ$60 per person, passengers can choose between a Western-style afternoon tea or a nine-course Thai fusion meal loaded with spicy delights.

Benjakitti Forest Park

Walk along the park's 1.6 km elevated walkway.

Ronan O’Connell

Walk along the park’s 1.6 km elevated walkway.

A large wetland park inhabited by flocks of majestic birds, Benjakitti Forest Park is now the largest green space in central Bangkok at 72 hectares. This is the only place I found in downtown Bangkok where I felt like I wasn’t actually in a city.

On the ground floor, visitors can take wooden paths that cross the rich vegetation of this swampy park and observe closely the fauna that have called it home since its opening last year. Or they can gaze at this natural splendor from the park’s 1.6 km long elevated walkway.

Built next to Benjaketti Park, which in turn flanks the bustling tourist districts of Asoke and Nana, this new urban oasis is a key part of the Thai government’s ‘Bangkok Greening’ project to dramatically increase the city’s green spaces. .

Ong Ang Canal Walking Street

Vibrant murals line the pedestrian street.

Ronan O’Connell

Vibrant murals line the pedestrian street.

Connected to Bangkok Greening is a new strategy to clean up and beautify Bangkok’s dozens of kilometers of canals, which had become a messy and smelly blight on the city. Late last year, the first section of Chong Nonsi Canal Park was opened, decorated with paths, seats and small bridges, and which is particularly attractive at night when it becomes bright and colorful.

While this park sits in Bangkok’s modern business district, in its historic heart of Rattanakosin is the cool Ong Ang Canal Pedestrian Street. There, close to major tourist attractions such as the Grand Palace and Chinatown, is a 250m stretch of canal that has been impressively renovated. Colorful murals and decorative flower pots line this pedestrian street, which hosts a bustling market from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., Friday through Sunday.

Perfectly suited for tourists, this market offers souvenirs, endless food options, and Thai-designed clothing and artwork.

New five-star hotels

The Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok offers breathtaking views of the river and the city.

Four Seasons Bangkok

The Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok offers breathtaking views of the river and the city.

Before the pandemic, Bangkok already had a huge range of luxury accommodation options, with nearly 40 five-star hotels. This collection has only grown since 2020.

Just north of Bangkok’s most popular green space, Lumphini Park, the new Kimpton Maa-Lai, is opulent. It features four top-notch restaurants, the lavish Armaranth Spa, a state-of-the-art gym, and a massive infinity pool overlooking the hotel’s beautiful gardens. Starting at NZ$300, its entry-level Essential Rooms are spacious at 48 square meters and feature premium furnishings and bedding to go along with stunning views of the Bangkok skyline.

On the banks of the Chaopraya, the new Four Seasons Hotel Bangkok has six bars and restaurants, including a Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, a French brasserie and an Italian restaurant. It also offers three swimming pools and a huge 2500 m² wellness center, including nine spa treatment rooms, a beauty salon and hammams.

Entry-level Four Seasons Deluxe Rooms (50 sqm) start from NZ$650 and feature floor-to-ceiling windows, ornate marble bathrooms, and stunning river or city views.