A business trip is often synonymous with tight schedules and back-to-back meetings. Frequent business travellers would identify with the amount of energy full-day meetings take. By the end of the day, there is usually nothing more they would like than to unwind with leisure activities in the evening – and getting a chance to explore the city whilst doing so is an additional benefit.
If Bangkok, Thailand, is on the table for your next business trip, we’ve got some tips for you. The main thing is to keep an open mind, and not let the crowds or humid weather dissuade you from stepping out to take in the sights and sounds of the Land of Smiles.
If your itinerary only allows for a few precious hours of leisure time, the first thing to do as you plan your trip is to book accommodation at a convenient location within the city centre which allows you to maximise your business trip to Bangkok with rewarding and relaxing experiences during your downtime. Here are 7 ways to mix business and leisure in Bangkok without breaking a sweat:
1. Know Your Nearest Shopping Spots
Bangkok is indisputably Singaporeans’ favourite shopping paradise. Bangkok has perfected its shopping scene to thrill and delight even the most discerning of shoppers. But Bangkok shopping diversity can be very confusing for the uninitiated and it’s possible to leave the city feeling a bit disillusioned about the whole experience. For ladies on business travel, it is critical that you have in mind what you want to shop for and where you want to get it. To zoom off to your nearest shopping spots after your business dinner, read our Best Shopping Guide To Top Bangkok Malls & Night Markets.
2. Go for a relaxing Thai Massage
There is nothing like a good thai massage after a long day of business meetings in the Thai Capital. Massage is big business in Thailand but please be careful not to venture into one of the dodgy shops that offer sexual services.
3. Eat your heart out
Complete your trip by sampling local fare at one of the many street food bazaars and eat something you would never find at home. Street food is affordable and can be enjoyed on the go, so you can savour several different items in no time at all. Else you can also venture into one of the malls to check out the local restaurant scene. If you are into cafe hopping, you may like to check out our Ultimate Bangkok Cafes Guide to shortlist some of your potential breakfast spots.
4. Find a rooftop watering hole to cool off from the heat
What better way is there to take in the city than a 360-degree view of Bangkok’s skyline at a rooftop watering hole after hours? For a stylish setting next to a rooftop pool, head to Maya Restaurant and Bar on the 29th floor of Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit to cool off from the heat and enjoy happy hour after work with an extensive selection of wine and cocktails.
Or admire the sparkle of lights from the bustling streets below while sipping on a refreshing drink at the newly opened CHAR at Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road, the latest dining destination with a rooftop bar on the 26th floor featuring a retractable roof, live music and signature concoctions by award-winning Italian mixologist, Francesco Moretti.
5. Take a breather at one of the many parks and green spaces
Strategically scattered in between towering skyscrapers and mega malls are pockets of landscaped greenery providing fresh air and open spaces. Get an energising start to the day with a jog at Benjasiri Park, or wind down with an evening stroll at Lumpini Park, Bangkok’s largest park spanning over half a million square metres, as you admire the flora and fauna.
“For a well-deserved breather after a day of events and meetings, we usually recommend our guests take a short walk to the nearby Lumpini Park, an inner- city sanctuary that promises fresh air, cool shade and a calming connection to nature,” said Steven Greenwood, General Manager, Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park.
6. Get cultured
There are a wealth of temples, palaces and art centres within the Sukhumvit district alone. If you enjoy immersing yourself in the local culture and only have a couple of hours to spare, pay a visit to the Erawan Shrine or the Bangkok Art and Culture Centre for a taste of Thai culture and heritage.
Consider taking a free riverboat ride which runs daily from Saphan Taksin BTS station, conveniently located just a stop away from Holiday Inn Silom. The boat will drop you off at Asiatique The Riverfront, Bangkok’s largest open air mall, for a night of shopping by the Chao Phraya River.
“To discover the many facets of the local culture, go for a walk or take the sky train to explore the many cultural attractions in the vicinity. For an exciting and uniquely local experience, we recommend catching a traditional Muay Thai fight at the Rajadamnern Stadium just a 20-minute drive away,” said John Kim, General Manager, Holiday Inn Silom.
7. Travel in the sky
To avoid wasting precious free time stuck in one of Bangkok’s infamous traffic jams, a cheap, fast and convenient way to get around is by the efficient sky train. As long as your hotel is within walking distance to a BTS Skytrain station, you can easily commute almost anywhere in the city. Sky trains run frequently through modern and well-marked stations such as Chit Lom, which is right at the doorstep of InterContinental Bangkok and Holiday Inn Bangkok.
“We recommend for our guests to explore the area around Chit Lom for retail therapy at Central Chidlom or Central World. They can also take the sky train to Siam Paragon at the Siam BTS station, or Terminal 21 at the Asok BTS station within minutes,” said Thanarat Menbangphung, Chief Concierge, InterContinental Bangkok, voted Thailand’s Leading Business Hotel by World Travel Awards.
Business travellers can choose from nine IHG hotels in Bangkok that are centrally and conveniently located including InterContinental Bangkok, Crowne Plaza Bangkok Lumpini Park, Holiday Inn Bangkok, Holiday Inn Bangkok Sukhumvit, Holiday Inn Bangkok Silom, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Siam, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sukhumvit 11, Holiday Inn Express Bangkok Sathorn and Hotel Indigo Bangkok Wireless Road.