In past years, my New Year’s Eves were spent in a variety of ways. The past few were dining with friends and watching fireworks on the beach in Costa Rica. This year, I decided to do something quite different and went for a “bang-up time in Bangkok.”
The journey involved a lengthy flight to Bangkok, but the superior service of Singapore Airlines made the journey pleasant. After landing and a quick trip through customs, a shuttle whisked us off to the Renaissance Hotel in the city center. Immediately upon arrival, I felt the calming ambiance of the hotel lobby and staff as they greeted us with a warm smile, a traditional humble bow and an exotic, tantalizing beverage during check-in.
Having arrived early in the morning, we were advised an hour was needed to ready our room. A suggestion was offered to visit the spa, which welcomed us with a soothing cup of tea in a well-appointed atmosphere. In less than an hour the room key was delivered with a smile and notice that luggage was already delivered to the room.
Around 10:30 p.m., it was time to discover Bangkok on New Year’s Eve. The street outside the hotel was rocking with music, lights and thousands of people. They weren’t drunken revelers; many were families of every imaginable race and culture. All kinds of vendors lined the street, including those making flowers to offer at the nearby Erawan Shrine. To get into the spirit of things, I decide to purchase a set of flashing devil horns for $1.50 and a plate of authentic pad Thai and await the arrival of midnight.
Soon the crowd moved a couple of blocks toward Central World Plaza – the largest shopping and entertainment complex in Bangkok and reportedly the third largest in the world. The flashing lights and throngs of people were reminiscent of Times Square. And so was the excitement as fireworks went off exactly at midnight to welcome in the new year.
I quickly hurried back to my 15th-floor hotel room, remembering I had a view of Central World Plaza. That turned out to be a good move, because I could see numerous fireworks displays around the area. After the fireworks ceased, I took a few moments to reflect on 2012 and give thanks for the opportunity to usher in 2013 in such an amazing place.
New Year’s Day was spent exploring part of Central World; enjoying a Thai lunch in one of its numerous restaurants, followed by a two-hour treatment at its Zen World Spa (at 60 percent below U.S. prices); a night cruise on the Chao Phraya River, complete with spectacular views of such sites as the Grand Palace and on-board Thai dancer and Kenny G-like instrumentalist.
I can’t wait to see what the next few days bring.
While my sojourn may not be exciting for everyone, Bangkok has much to offer every traveler. Whether you’re young or old, a history buff, party animal, spa addict, foodie or shop-a-holic, you’ll run out of time before you run out of things to do. To find out more about this destination, consult your professional travel consultant or search Bangkok on the Internet.
Rose Alston is a certified travel counselor and master cruise counselor. She operates a business in Fairfield and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.