Baiyoke TowerKirsty Turner
It’s not often that I get the chance to see the way the other half lives. I’m usually more comfortable hanging out on Khaosan Road and am more likely to be found chatting to backpackers and eating pad thai at 2 a.m. than chilling out in one of Bangkok’s exclusive clubs or hotels. But when a friend suggested that we check out Baiyoke Tower II’s exclusive international buffet, it was an offer too good to refuse.
Walking into the extremely posh hotel for the first time, I felt a little out of my depth. Everyone around me was dressed in expensive designer label clothing, and there was not a backpacker in sight. My friend and I get into a large, highly polished elevator and are whisked up, up up to the 77th floor, moving so fast that my ears pop.
The 77th floor offers a 360 degree panoramic view of the city, complete with information board to explain exactly what you’re looking at. As I gaze out at one of the best views of Bangkok my discomfort melts away and is replaced by awe.
Baiyoke Tower II was opened on January 1998 and at a colossal 304 meters or 997 feet is Thailand’s tallest building. The main part of Baiyoke Tower II is occupied by the Baiyoke Sky Hotel, which has 673 rooms for guests and is the tallest hotel in southeast Asia, the third tallest in the entire world! According to the tower’s information boards, there are a total of 2,060 steps from the bottom of Baiyoke Tower II to the top and it takes more than an hour to climb them from top to bottom. For once, I’m happy to take their word for it, preferring to take the lift instead. All around the 77th floor are photographs of Bangkok from the past and life-sized models of things such as tuk-tuks and an old shop front, which make great photo opportunities.
At 5:30 the dining room is open and we find a table next to the window so that we can enjoy the view as we eat.
The buffet is fantastic; I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much food in one place before. Organized into sections by type and country of origin, there are well over a hundred dishes available, everything from fresh seafood to BBQ to creamy Italian pasta. Prepared and served by gourmet chefs, everything is perfect.For the next hour my friend and I dine in style on a mixture of French soup, seafood, steak, Japanese food and much more.
At 6:30 we take another elevator up to the revolving top deck on the 84th floor to watch the sun set. Completely unobstructed by trees or buildings, I have a spectacular view of the dramatic dieing of the day. It takes about 5 minutes for the deck to rotate back to the starting point and I go around several times, locating some of my favourite Bangkok landmarks and watching with interest as the scene turns to night and the lights come on all over the city.
One of the great things about the buffet is that you can return anytime you want within the dining hours. Our table is still waiting for us an hour later and this time we fill up on the delicious deserts.When we have eaten our fill we go to the Roof Top Bar and Music Lounge on the 83rd floor, where we sit by the window and enjoy the view over Bangkok. The room is lit only by candlelight, with light jazz music playing in the background.
On the way back to the street I manage to resist the urge to return to the buffet, knowing for certain that I will return sometime soon.
The buffet lunch is open from 11a.m.-2p.m. and costs 310 baht for adults, 155 baht for children.
Dinner is from 5:30-10p.m and costs 410 baht for adults, 205 baht for children.
Top tip: if the booking is made by a Thai friend you will save 50-100 baht!
For more information visit www.baiyoketower.com or call 02656 3000
Baiyoke Tower II is located at 222 Ratchaprarop Road, Bangkok.
The nearest BTS stop is Chidlom, and from there it is a short taxi ride.
You can also catch buses 13, 14, 15, 54, 62, 63, 72, 73 and 74 to get close to the tower.
About the author:
Kirsty Turner (Kay) is a freelance writer currently living in Bangkok. She has kindly agreed to write for KhaoSanRoad.com and share her love of all things Thai and, especially, all things Khao San Road!