Bangkok's Chao phraya river district

Navigating the River

An excellent resource for finding out the latest on the ever-changing waterfront is


Mandarin Oriental: The grande dame of Bangkok hotels is celebrating its 140th anniversary with a major renovation. Even if you can't afford to stay there, a meal on the veranda, high tea in the Author's Lounge or a cocktail in the Bamboo Bar are rites of passage (; from $340).

The Siam: The most theatrical recent addition to the waterfront is an over-the-top resort owned by the family of Thai rock star and actor Krissada Sukosol Clapp and filled with antiques from their collection, many of which are like enigmatic objets d'art — rusted musical instruments from the Jazz Age, stuffed crocodiles dancing on their hind legs (; from $393).

Sala Rattanakosin: Among newer boutique hotels by the river, this is a standout for its proximity to wats, or temple complexes, and outdoor restaurant views of the Wat Arun, temple of dawn (; from $84).


To savor the lesser known corners of the riverfront, track down the Teens of Thailand cocktail lounge (76 Soi Nana;, the Tep Bar and Samsara Cafe and Meal (which can be best located via a map link on its Facebook page).