February 5-8 I went to Bangkok (Thailand) for some important and last minute business meetings.

When a potential customer that you have been trying to work with for over a year, calls you and says “we want to meet you, in Bangkok, tomorrow” what do you do? Call your travel agent and start packing, of course!

I stayed at the Akyra Thonglor, as Japanese Small Luxury Hotels member. Quite discrete and small, but perfect in every sense: delicious breakfast at Som Tam Chardonnay restaurant, large suite, nice swimming pool and whirlpool, and excellent service. Of course, the “excellent service” part applies to the whole country: Thais really know how to treat others. No wonder Thailand is called The Land of a Thousand Smiles!

Last time I was in Thailand was in Koh Samui, last year. So I had a long list of things I wanted to do, like:

  • Sipping some coconut water at a rooftop bar, like Sky Bar Lebua at the 63rd floor of the State Tower, featured in The Hangover Part 2, or Vertigo & Moon Bar, on the 61st floor of the Banyan Tree Hotel
  • Attend a Muay Thai match at Ratchadamnoen Stadium (I practiced Muay Thai briefly years ago, and I know martial arts must be learned and appreciated in their motherland)
  • Kinokuniya, a Japanese bookstore that is Bangkok’s biggest and best, on the 3rd floor of Paragon
  • Pantip, the five-floor shopping center packed with electronics of all kinds
  • Terminal 21, a really cool shopping center with each floor designed as a city, with more than 600 shops!
  • And of course, the myriad of markets and temples

Then reality sinks in when you have an overload of work. From meeting to meeting, and then off to the hotel to have conference calls, prepare documents, and research information needed for the next meeting.

But I will not complain, as I did enjoy the swimming pool, the whirlpool on the 11th floor at night with Bangkok’s skyline as a backdrop, a couple of walks, and specially food. No matter where I went (via Sky Train, much better that Tuk Tuks or super cheap taxis in maddening traffic), food was always a treat. Things I enjoyed:

  • Fried flowers at Soul Food Mahanakorn, a Michelin Guide food joint for Thai tapas
  • A full Thai large lunch at HipHut Cafe with my customers (I have no idea what ANY of the plates I ate were, except the warm taro pudding in coconut milk soup, but I liked them all)
  • Authentic Japanese food at Kitarouzushi, where I accidentally ate Whale Tongue (I thought it was something else, otherwise I would not have ordered a protected species), alongside other things I had never tried before like Fukuoka clams or scallops in steamed egg yolk custard
  • The most incredible mangos and mango red bean filled sticky rice steamed in banana leaf from Mae Varee, a mango store across the street from my hotel
  • Taiwanese xiaolongbao at Din Tai Fung, my favourite chain restaurant, which happened to be at the shopping mall annexed to the hotel

I can’t wait to be back… in a couple of weeks!