In honour of Valentine’s Day, here are dozens of suggestions of where to go for your next romantic dinner, drink, date, and/or destination getaway
February is definitely a month where “love is in the air”, and lovestruck locals look for romantic rendezvous spots to spend their Valentine’s Day. In Bangkok there’s no shortage of sexy spots in which to cavort and canoodle in cozy corners by candlelight, ranging from dimly lit gin bars in Chinatown to elegant rooftop lounges overlooking the glittering lights of the city centre.
Of course, if you’re new to the city, or perhaps you’ve been here so long you feel like there are no surprises still to be found, we’ve compiled a list of romantic D-spots to make your February 14th decisions easier—namely romantics recommendations for: Dinner; Drinks; Dates; and Destinations. We polled over a dozen writers, contributors, and well-versed romance-minded residents and asked them to tell us what they think are some of the most interesting, and in some cases unusual, suggestions for wining, dining, and intertwining with your loved one.
When it comes to “dinner” there is no shortage of restaurants in this town, but which ones truly offer the right atmosphere for you? Do you go all out and treat your sweetie to a night of gastronomic bliss at Blue Elephant (233 South Sathorn Rd), or do you eschew the crowds and grab a spot in the intimate and charming garden at Loulou Forks & Knives (459/61, Soi Suan Phlu 8)?
And what about drinks? Is a nightcap high atop the 40th-floor Zoom Skybar at the Anantara Bangkok Sathorn hotel (36 Naradiwas Rd) the right choice, or would a cool, down-to-earth cocktail at The 88 (88 Surawong Rd) suit your style more? A similar concern hangs like a spectre over the entire concept of a “date” in the first place, and how to make it that much more memorable. Why not think outside the box and take your baby bowling at Blu-O Rhythm & Bowl (Siam Paragon mall), or to the Bounce trampoline gym (139 Rathchadapisek Rd)? The latter might just be the “jump”-start your relationship needs.
Finally, there’s the ultimate lover’s leap, and that’s going on a trip together. For many that could be a stay-cation right here in Bangkok, choosing some sexy downtown digs—such as the Anantara Riverside Bangkok Resort (257/1-3 Charoennakorn Rd)—as your tryst spot. Meanwhile, for those who really want to go all out and leave town entirely, a seaside escape to The Nai Harn resort, in scenic Phuket, may be just the thing to shift your relationship into high gear.
Freelance writer—specializing in travel, culture, and nightlife—avid runner, and frequent contributor to Bangkok 101.
DINNER: When you and your significant other dine at Freebird (28, Sukhumvit Soi 47), you feel like you’re enjoying a private dinner inside the home you wish you owned. It’s roomy, there’s a lovely garden in back, and the funky artwork and vibrant interior design give it a distinguishing edge. Chef Top Russel’s food is, of course, amazing as well, and the restaurant was even awarded a ‘Michelin Plate’ in the recently published Michelin Guide Bangkok.
DRINKS: My partner and I are beer drinkers, so we’ve always been partial to Mikkeller (26, Ekkamai 10 Alley, Lane 2). Beyond having the best beer selection in Thailand, the bar is located in a quiet back soi and has a well-tended front lawn, where you can plop down in bean bags and enjoy the (relatively) cool night air. For cocktails, however, we usually make the trek to Chinatown. This is may be a shade Orientalist, and it may only apply to foreigners, but nothing seems to stoke romance quite like a little ‘Chinoiserie’. Ba Hao and Teens of Thailand (both on Soi Nana), and sections of the 5-storey FooJohn building (831 Charoen Krung Rd), all glow with the spirit of an exotic East that faded long before I was born. Plus, each serves great cocktails. Closer to the CBD core, Dim Dim (27/1, Sukhumvit Soi 33) offers a similarly ‘Celestial’ sensation.
DATE: A great date idea, whether you’re newly entwined or have been together for ages, is to just go and get lost in Bangkok’s endlessly captivating Old Town, taking air-conditioned breaks in places like Museum Siam (Sanam Chai Rd), the Napasorn Floral Café (67 Chakphet Rd), or Suppaniga x Roots (392/25-26 Maha Rat Rd). For a bite to eat visit Chote Chitr or Krua Som Hom in the quaint Phraeng Phutton neighbourhood, or just discover something you’ve never seen before in the city’s endless back alleys. Then, end your day with cocktails somewhere along Phra Artit Road.
DESTINATION: If you have money to burn, the Six Senses Koh Yao Noi should be on your radar, for the incredible views of Phang Nga Bay alone. If you’re on a budget though, try Baan Rim Nam on Koh Chang—two old fisherman’s houses, converted into a lovely guesthouse by the Klong Prao estuary. It’s tranquil, unique, and won’t break the bank (starting at B1400 for a room in high season). Or, if the beach isn’t the romantic angle you crave, the riverside Hotel des Artists—in Chiang Mai’s Wat Ket community—is romantic boutique elegance at its finest.
Media expert specializing in content creation, event planning, and localized PR. Check out her website www.BeeLinc.com.
DINNER: With a choice of seating in an intimate corner indoors, or in the cozy garden, Quince restaurant (Sukhumvit Soi 45), oozes a vintage, country home vibe—complemented by a menu offering dishes prepared with locally sourced ingredients.
DRINKS: Brimming with true old-world charm, the lounge of The Cabuchon Hotel (14, Sukhumvit Soi 45), with its large comfortable leather armchairs and Indiana Jones-style artwork, is the perfect prelude to a romantic night out.
DATE: Nothing spells romance more than a stroll through a wintery, snow-filled landscape, followed by a friendly snowball fight. In Bangkok that’s possible at Snowtown, on the top floor of Gateway Ekkamai (982/22, Sukhumvit Rd).
DESTINATION: If you’ve got the monetary resources then the Soneva Kiri resort on Koh Kood is a top choice. It’s barefoot luxury at its very best!
Dr. Tom Vitayakul
Co-owner of the Rose Hotel and Ruen Urai restaurant [which is also a wonderfully romantic restaurant – Ed.]
Status: It’s complicated
DINNER: The China House restaurant at the Mandarin Oriental hotel (48 Oriental Ave) looks like a fancy set from Wong Kar-wai’s film In the Mood for Love, crossbred with a Shanghai opium den. For dinner, it is dark and dim… very sexy and seductive. I also love simple romantic restaurants along the river, or any body of water, such as Baan Klang Nam (762/7, Rama III Rd), or Khin Lom Chom Sa Phan (11/6, Samsen Soi 3)—not your usual intimate spots, but very authentic and downhome.
DRINKS: The Rabbit Hole, on Thong Lor, is small, intimate, and dark. Forget Maggie Choo’s, Iron Fairies, Sing Sing, and all those roof-top spaces—if you want some privacy, the Rabbit Hole is perfect.
DATE: A gentle stroll in the park or along the river in the late afternoon or the evening is always romantic, but after sweating in Bangkok’s heat, getting cleaned up at Yunomori Onsen (120/5, Sukhumvit Soi 26) is ideal. Interestingly, the onsen can be a great spot for same-sex dating as men and women use separate onsen facilities. Unlike gay saunas, an onsen can be an intriguing icebreaker for a 2nd or 3rd date. After the spa and massage, your blood will be flowing to all the right places. So afterwards… what you do is up to you!
DESTINATION: I love Krabi, especially Railay Beach and Ao Nang Bay. But now they are overrun by both local and overseas vacationers. That’s why the quiet and simple island of Koh Phayam, in Ranong province, gets my vote for a romantic getaway. It’s almost like the Maldives. Also, the electric generators that supply power to almost all the island properties stop running in the middle of the night—and what else can you do when the light goes out? One resort I recommend is the Blue Sky Resort.
Professional photographer, journalist, and travel writer, long-time Bangkok resident, and frequent contributor to Bangkok 101.
DINNER: Being a lover of everything old colonial, The House on Sathorn (106 North Sathon Rd) is pretty magical for me. The restaurant is in a 128-year-old colonial mansion built by Lord Sathorn, and is full of old paintings and photographs. Adding to the romantic atmosphere is the menu, created by Turkish chef Fatih Tutak, who makes dishes inspired by stories from his life. It’s a unique place, both in food and setting, perfect for a couple’s night out. I’m also a sucker for any place along the Chao Phraya, and being able to get away from the Bangkok chaos and watch the boats and languid river life go by. My favourite spot would have to be Supanniga X Roots (392/25-26 Maha Rat Rd), which not only sits perched right over the water, but also looks out at Wat Arun, and is classic romantic Bangkok at its best come sundown and just afterwards, when they illuminate the temple in golden lighting—which accompanies the authentic Thai cuisine rather nicely.
DRINKS: There are plenty of rooftop bars across Bangkok, but the fancy and more notable ones get crowded, and the service is often focused on getting you to buy another expensive drink as fast as possible. I’ve always been a fan of the hidden away River Vibe, which sits on top of the River View Guesthouse (768 Songvad Rd). Located somewhat in the bowels of Chinatown, it’s tough to find the place the first time round, but the rooftop location looks down the same sweep of river that you get from a room in the Mandarin Oriental—plus there are cushioned divans to curl up on and watch the river go by. If I do want to get sky high, nothing beats CRU Champagne Bar, up a private elevator three flights above the already elevated Red Sky Bar in the Centara Grand at CentralWorld hotel (999/99 Rama I Rd). Here you can treat your date to a bottle of GH Mumm’s #1 edition pink champagne. The bar really is the highest in town, and has a jaw dropping panorama around the city. You not only can see the Golden Mount and Grand Palace all the way across the city, but even sit at eye level with the nearby Baiyoke Tower. Needless to say, the sunsets up here are magnificent.
DATE: For an unforgettable date, I’d head for a couples’ spa treatment at the Oriental Spa in the riverside Mandarin Oriental hotel (48 Oriental Ave), where you both can get pampered silly with organic rice scrubs, milk baths, and steam treatments—leaving you both too dizzy to do anything other than head over to the Embassy Diplomat Screens upstairs in the Central Embassy shopping centre (8/1031 Ploenchit Rd), where the movie most definitely plays second fiddle to your significant other. Here you’ll get a full day bed sofa with blankets, pillows, and control panels, plus a personal butler, wine and champagne, and even a stocked mini-bar. It is so amorous you won’t have to say a word and still be guaranteed you’ll be seeing each other again, regardless of what flick was showing.
DESTINATION: Thailand is full of romantic stays, but nothing beats the glamping setup the Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai offers. Your 51 sq.m tent comes with a private hot tub out on a deck looking out at the Ruak River and the mountains of Laos. Plus there is a claw tub, complimentary bottles of booze, and colonial furnishings inside. Add to this the spa treatments out in the bamboo jungle and the sunset bar set overlooking Myanmar, and you’ll be hopelessly enraptured. Given the price tag, it’s also one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences as well, making it an even more special and romantic unforgettable splurge.
Branded entertainment producer, creative consultant and costume designer. Find her online at www.xuanxu.de.
DINNER: As I prefer to be a creator rather than a consumer, my first choice for real romantic dinner will be buying ingredients from a wet market like Talad Klongtoei (Rama IV Rd), and then cooking at home and having dinner in bed. However, if I had to choose a place for dining out it would be Sühring (10, Yen Akat Soi 3). As I am from Germany, I know that we Germans are often accused of not being romantic. But Sühring is the best proof that German cuisine can be excellent (taste), playful (way of presentation) and full of emotions and romance (how much passion the Sühring brothers put in their food is evident once you go there). It’s sophisticated, yet not totally over the top.
DRINKS: Even though it is one of the oldest rooftop spots in BKK—and no longer novel in terms of design, or its food and drink menu—I really love Nest, the 8th floor open-air spot atop the Le Fenix Hotel (33/33, Sukhumvit Soi 11). I find it romantic, maybe because the surrounding is not screaming for attention, and there is a lot of space so you can dedicate your attention to your date. I also love the beds there. It instantly gives the place a cozy atmosphere. For new dates it helps to break the ice and get closer.
DATE: Going to a library with a date—like the Bangkok City Library (39 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd) for instance—would be a “novel” idea. The atmosphere and the silence there will automatically create the tension and the mystery of romance. Prepare a romantic challenge list, like finding the most romantic poem, for instance. Or create a new love story using passages from different books. Make a selection of the most romantic drawing or paintings, or just search for symbols of love and romance. The possibilities are vast.
DESTINATION: My pick for dream destination would be the InterContinental Samui Baan Taling Ngam Resort resort on Koh Samui. I got to this resort by accident when I was following a female friend who did an internship there in 2009. At the beach there was a moment where I deeply felt despair and melancholy that I couldn’t share the beautiful view with someone I love. So I swore to come back one day with the love of my life.
Freelance lifestyle and travel writer and blogger, working in Bangkok for the United Nations’ International Labour Organization.
DINNER: My idea of romance tends to err more on the side of the overall experience rather than trinkets, pomp, and fanfare. So, if I would have to choose a spot to enjoy a special dinner, for instance, Sala Rim Naam, at the Mandarin Oriental hotel (48 Oriental Ave) would top the list. This place has it all—the view, the venue, and the food. I just love this swanky riverside eatery
which to me, just oozes romance.
DRINKS: Nothing beats staring into the eyes of your lover from the 32nd floor, overlooking Bangkok by the riverside, so the ThreeSixty Jazz Lounge at the Millennium Hilton Bangkok hotel (123 Charoen Nakhon Rd) gets my vote. And, did I mention that they make fantastic cocktails?
DATE: Nothing says “I Love You” like trusting your partner with the most holiest of holies—your face! Forget the frou frou and delicateness of a dinner date, and head straight to the gym to see if you both can “tough it out”. I was taken on a date once to the RSM Muay Thai Academy (Seenspace, Thong Lor Soi 13). I won, but I think he let me—which only made me like him more.
DESTINATION: Something about the sand, the sea, and the seafood in this area keeps me coming back. If you’re a guy and want to show your lady just how much you care, take her to the JW Marriott Khao Lak and she’ll be eating out of your hand. It worked on me…
Managing Director for online media news source www.lepetitjournal.com/bangkok, servicing Thailand’s French community.
Status: Married (one child)
DINNER: I think The Deck at Arun Residence is a cute and cozy restaurant by the river, with good food and a nice view of Wat Arun. Enjoy some private time with your lover, or even if you’re on a first date night it’s a perfect place to start to get to know each other.
DRINKS: I suggest Vertigo Too on the 60th floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel. It’s an indoor bar with a nice city view. The special lighting leaves it a little bit dark, while the cozy sofa is a perfect place for drink—especially on a Valentine’s Day date night.
DATE: As someone in a long-term relationship I would ideally surprise my husband by booking a room in a nice hotel in town, like the SO Sofitel Bangkok (2 North Sathorn Rd), and start the evening with dinner and fine wine, possibly at the hotel’s own Park Society restaurant, and then spend the night together in the hotel—without any kids—like a pair of new lovers.
DESTINATION: For me the best easy access place for a romantic rendezvous is the X2 Kui Buri Resort in Prachuap Khiri Khan (just past Pranburi). There are 23 villas, each with their own terrace and garden, but get one with one of the private pools and you will really spend some quality time together with your special one.
Traveller and journalist, specializing in culture and architecture, and frequent contributor to Bangkok 101 magazine.
DINNER: The bright pink façade of the 100-year-old mansion that is home to the Nahmsaah Bottling Trust restaurant (401 Silom Soi 7), located within walking distance of the near Chong Nonsi BTS station, is an instantaneous invitation to romance for straight folk, but (of course) also for gay couples as well. Both persuasions will enjoy the splashes of colour of the walls and the multitude of small antique objects and details in each and every room; from old menus and candlesticks, to memorabilia of olden days. Go for a lavish dinner and request a seat in the ‘Pink Room’ upstairs. Then, while sipping vintage wine, enjoy Ian Kittichai’s amazing cuisine—it was awarded a Michelin Plate in the recently released Michelin Guide Bangkok—under the giant chandelier made of ostrich feathers surrounded by candles. An unforgettable memory!
DRINKS: The former royal lounge of King Rama VII, located in the magnificent Phaya Thai Palace (315 Ratchawithi Rd), has been converted to the lovely Café Norasingha, where you and your special someone can sip on soothing coffees and enjoy a delicious slice of cake under Art Nouveau frescoes, surrounded by teakwood panels and old-style pictures. It’s probably the only café in Bangkok which could be just as easily at home in Vienna!
DATE: Feel like a star! Climb the giant stairs of the Scala Cinema, with its huge chandeliers, in the same way Thai and foreign actors and actresses did back in the 70s when this cinema was the main venue for film festivals. Wait for a romantic style movie to be playing, buy two tickets tucked away in a corner, and be guided to your seats by an usher dressed in a tuxedo when you arrive—this last bit is probably unique to Bangkok. By contrast, a romantic outdoor place to enjoy Bangkok from above at sunset can be found atop Wat Saket (the Golden Mount). Not only is it affordable (a mere 40 baht to access), but the 80 metre climb to the top will have your heart beating strong once you reach the summit. Once you and your mate reach the top bypass the tourists taking selfies and stand under the glitzy golden shrine shining softly in the coming twilight. See Bangkok’s Old Town become enveloped in shades of purple, orange, or pink, while buildings get lit up one by one.
DESTINATION: For a sexy stay-cation, Baan 2459 (98 Phat Sai Rd) is a heritage property mansion in the heart of Chinatown. It has been lovingly restored to its former grandeur—when it opened in 1916—but be aware that only four rooms are available, with rooms ‘2’ and ‘9’ being the most romantic ones. It will feel like you’re both in a countryside house, but you’re still in the middle of Bangkok. For an out-of-town treat, head to Phrae, in Northern Thailand. It’s a rather small city (18,000 people), but it used to be the centre of the teakwood industry. As such, it contains the largest collection of century-old teakwood houses and mansions. With their intricate carvings, elaborate verandahs, and beautiful balconies, they are masterpieces of Thai Northern architecture. Some of these houses have been converted into museums, and Ban Wonburi, which belongs to a Princess—who still runs the place—is a highly romantic spot, with its shades of pink and white, and its majestic gingerbread style architecture. Visitors can tour the city by bicycle, or walk in the manicured gardens of the forestry school and technical college. And although it’s not that easy to find a truly romantic resort here, the Huern Nana Boutique Hotel offers Lanna contemporary atmosphere, a spa, a restaurant, and large swimming pool.
Freelance journalist specializing in food. You can find her writings online at the website Cook First (www.cookfirst.co.uk).
DINNER: The wonderful Karmakamet Diner is tucked away behind the Emporium shopping mall (30/1 Soi Metheenivet) and you would never know it were there apart from a small sign that boasts of it being a “secret world”. Once inside it does feel gorgeously secluded, so much so that you instantly forget you are in the very heart of frenetic, chaotic Bangkok. I love sharing one of their famous candy floss cloud desserts.
DRINKS: Feel as though you’ve travelled to
Cuba, complete with live Latin jazz and delicious
rum-based cocktails, at the secluded speakeasy bar known as Havana Social (Sukhumvit Soi 11). It’s the perfect place to impress a lady!
DATE: Cycling around Bang Krachao—Bangkok’s ‘Green Lung’—and going for a light lunch or a cool drink at The Bangkok Treehouse (60 Moo1 Soi Bua Phueng Pattana) certainly makes for a memorable outdoor afternoon. You can also enjoy the beautiful outdoors with a romantic picnic lunch in Lumphini Park, followed by a paddle around the lake in a cute swan-shaped pedalo.
DESTINATION: A gorgeous place for a couple to relax and unwind is The Slate, in Phuket. Incredible food and décor, including a restaurant you need to access via a floating candle-lit boat. The hotel is right on the beach too, so perfect for a romantic sunset walk.
As co-founder of YSIS Asia, and CEO of YSIS Entertainment, this entrepreneur’s philosophy is to never settle for ordinary.
DINNER: I think Scarlett restaurant, on the 37th floor of the Pullman Bangkok Hotel G (188 Silom Rd), is a superb choice. Great food, dimly lit, warm, and cozy. And if the date’s not so good, I can always drown my sorrows in wine. I also recommend El Gaucho (Sukhumvit Soi 19). It has a vibrant vibe to it—a bit of business, a bit of sophistication—and it’s made even better if the man comes in a suit… that’s romantic to me.
DRINKS: For a place that’s romantic but still chill and casual, with a magnificent view at the same time, I like Sky on 20, the rooftop bar of the 26th floor of the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 hotel (Sukhumvit Soi 20). On street level, a great drink-on-a-date spot is Cocotte Farm Roast & Winery (Sukhumvit Soi 39). It’s usually crowded, but that makes it a great place to be seen.
DATE: When it comes to a “great date” idea, it’s all about the experience for me. And anything less city, more nature is highly appreciated. Even something as simple as feeding turtles at Wat Prayoon—the turtle temple located at the foot of Memorial Bridge in Saphan Phut (on the Thonburi side)—or visiting Paws Bangkok (712/3, Soi Puengmee 40, Sukhumvit Soi 93) to donate cat items for their ‘Thai Street Cats’ aid program, could make a memorable date experience.
DESTINATION: A wonderfully romantic beachfront getaway spot is the JW Marriott Khao Lak. The sunset here is incredible! And the rest of the experience… is what you make of it. For a cozy stay-cation, the Novotel Bangkok Sukhumvit 20 hotel (Sukhumvit Soi 20) offers a great location, and weekend oysters lunch buffets. It feels like a home away from home.
Teacher and freelancer writer—as well as Online Content Editor at Bangkok 101.com, and regular contributor to the magazine.
DINNER: When it comes to special occasions like Valentine’s Day, my husband and I bump up our budget and don our best attire. Recently, for our two-year anniversary, J’Aime by Jean-Michel Lorain, at the U Sathorn Bangkok hotel (Soi Pridi off Ngam Duphli Rd) was our dining spot of choice. Meaning “I love” in French, this Michelin-starred restaurant definitely lives up to its name, and is perfect for a special occasion with your special someone. Decorated in soft shades of pink, purple, and grey, the restaurant features a unique upside-down design with several glistening chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling windows, and even a crystal grand piano hanging from the ceiling. The dining room offers both large and intimate seating arrangements, but for couples the smaller-sized tables, with velvet high back sofas, allow for a bit of privacy and intimacy. Also in the general Sathorn area, the Vertigo restaurant and adjoining Moon Bar—on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Bangkok hotel (21/100 South Sathorn Rd)—offer an al fresco grill-and-bar dining experience and uninterrupted 360° views of Bangkok. The glittering lights of Bangkok’s skyline and a premium cocktail from either of these two venues are enough to put a sparkle in any couple’s eyes. Don’t be surprised if you witness a proposal or two!
DRINKS: Without a doubt, Smalls (Suan Phlu Soi 1) is one of Bangkok’s best bars. And while it’s constantly buzzing with bar goers, it also has much to offer couples. The converted three-storey shophouse was in fact where my husband and I had our first date. Moody lighting, retro decor, and large pieces of statement artwork are the recipe for a romantic atmosphere, ensured by the ever-charming owner David Jacobson. The petite circular tables and bench style seating arrangements (literally) bring guests closer together, while the music is played at just the right volume to ensure conversation is uninterrupted. Meanwhile, a few rounds of Head Barman Danny Yeung’s cocktails will definitely get the pheromones flowing.
DATE: Whenever possible, my husband and I love taking time out for a bit of pampering at Yunomori Onsen (120/5, Sukhumvit Soi 26). After an hour apart in the gender specific baths themselves, rejoin your partner for a few more hours of pampering (administered in a private room), with one of the onsen and spa packages available, offering Thai massage, foot massage, aroma therapy massage, herbal compress, and/or body scrubs.
DESTINATION: Although Koh Lipe does take slightly longer to reach than Thailand’s other islands, its white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters are what holiday-dreams are made of and makes the long trip worth it. The island itself does not have much to offer in terms of nightlife—making it a lot quieter than many other holiday spots in Thailand, but leaving plenty time for simply enjoying time together. If you visit, I recommend getting a place on Pattaya Beach, perhaps at the beautiful Akira Lipe Resort. This south-facing beach makes for an ideal sunbathing spot—it gets sun all-day long—so you can spend less time walking, and more time frolicking in the waves together.
Better known by her nickname ‘Beau’, she’s the Director of Marketing Communications at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok hotel.
Status: In a relationship
DINNER: The most romantic dinner out for me is the Supanniga Dinner River Cruise (Tel: 097 238 8284). What I love is that it’s not only great food, but the feeling of doing something extra special. It’s not every day that I get to board a modern deco-style boat, sip a glass of champagne, and enjoy a meal while cruising along the river in my beautiful city. It’s a total break from the Sukhumvit Road restaurant scene. Of course, I would also add Tables Grill at the Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok hotel (494 Ratchadamri Rd). Start by sipping hand-crafted cocktails in the classic sofa area, then follow that with a delicious dinner in the restaurant.
DRINKS: My sort of place for a romantic drink is Iron Fairies (394, Sukhumvit Soi 55). It’s small and cozy, so I feel I can get closer to the person I go with. The jazz music also enhances the atmosophere. Another place I like is Thep Bar (69-71 Soi Nana) in the Chinatown area. I think this is probably the only bar in town that plays Thai classical music on authentic instruments. For us, as Thais, this is so special as we only see this type of live performance in a musical theatre setting. The cocktails are a Thai specialty as well, made from the Thai rice whiskey known as ya dong—a very “local” thing, but here it’s given a cool twist and made into nice cocktails. They also have regular snacks, but what surprised me were the deep-fried bugs (usually a street food item). Order some and tease your drinking date, daring him or her to eat one.
DATE: My kind of place for a cool date is the Outer Room on Sukhumvit Soi 23. It’s actually a Japanese bar, but on the 1st floor there’s dart boards where you can play by the hour, or just pay per game. For me it’s such a fun and romantic activity to do in a bar. Because on a date, after a dinner or a drink, you may be out of conversation and so why fill the gap with some fun activities. Why not make a bet that whoever wins, or hits the bullseye, gets a kiss on the cheek.
DESTINATION: So far, the most romantic getaway place I’ve found is in Koh Tao. I know this island is mainly a draw for scuba divers but… I found it to be so beautiful, with crystal blue waters and peaceful beaches. I stayed at the Haadtien Beach Club. It’s a modern hotel, located on a private beach which is so peaceful. There’s an Italian restaurant in the resort that has great food and a beautiful view, or I can go out to a nearby beach bar to party a bit with my loved one.
Seasoned musician, journalist, and travel writer, as well as the Editor-at-Large here at Bangkok 101 magazine.
Status: No comment
DINNER: Housed in a sprawling 1970s villa, filled with period-correct furniture, Sühring (10, Yen Akat Soi 3) offers several nooks and crannies that are perfect for couples to gaze into each other’s eyes over a glass of amber wine and little plates of elevated Teutonic flavours. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that the späzle, a soft, handmade egg noodle mixed with wood garlic and Allgäuer mountain cheese, has aphrodisiac properties. Take the nine-course tasting menu over the 12-course so you can maintain your legendary moves afterwards. The wine pairing is a must. If your date is more on the rowdy side, London sushi-sashimi-sake transplant Zuma, attached to the St. Regis hotel, offers a good balance of slick and convivial with bold yet familiar Japanese culinary explorations.
DRINKS: Tucked away in a nondescript community mall on Ekkamai, Iron Balls Gin Distillery (Park Lane Ekkamai, G/F, Sukhumvit Soi 63) boasts a micro-sized, steampunk-themed bar attached to a room filled with gleaming gin stills. Trundle your date up the iron spiral staircase to a mezzanine furnished with velvet sofas and hidden from views below. Order the signature G&T, which comes with a stiff 60ml of Iron Balls Gin mixed with artisan tonic, and garnished with lime, sweet Thai basil, and pineapple. Vinyl-only DJs will warm your date’s ear canals with a sensual selection of lounge, R&B, funk, and African.
DATE: Hop a taxi to the Museum of Contemporary Art (3 Vibhavadi Rangsit), an out-of-the-way, hard-to-reach spot in northern Bangkok that boasts the world’s greatest treasure trove of modern Thai art. Wander the six floors of a building that almost appears to have been carved from a single piece of granite, with carved abstract floral motifs cascading down either side of the façade, projecting natural light onto the atrium inside. Don’t miss the four rooms devoted to the boldly sensual sculptures and paintings of the late Thawan Duchanee.
DESTINATION: Kanchanaburi might not be the most obvious choice for a romantic weekend getaway, but eschewing the usual beachside cliché will demonstrate your creative approach to coupling. Rent a car in Bangkok for the two-and-a-half-hour trip. Drive straight past the depressing River Kwai Bridge and associated WWII-era cemeteries, and head for the X2 River Kwai, an ultra-contemporary boutique resort set on the banks of the river a few kilometres south of the famed span. Reserve the one table that sits beneath a huge old tamarind tree, with the river flowing nearby, for a perfect chill-feed-and-flirt spot. As night falls, retire to a riverview villa cleverly fashioned from a shipping container and fitted with a huge verandah cantilevered over an infinity pool.
Complied by Bruce Scott