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Friday, February 22, 2019

Anantara, a Serene Oasis in Bangkok

Bangkok is a sprawling, congested city and when you arrive at the Royal Palace, Wat Arun, and the other major sights, even they are overcrowded with tourists. That's why you need to take it slow, not place too many items on your itinerary, and stay at a great hotel where you will enjoy spending time. We split up our stay in Bangkok with two nights at the Anantara Siam and two nights at their sister property, Anantara Riverside. Both featured a lavish spread at the breakfast buffet, including American, Chinese, and Indian favorites. Anantara Siam also features an excellent Thai Restaurant, Spice Market, where we dined our first night. Afterwards, walk into the indoor courtyard and check out the koi pond. The highlight at Anantara Siam was their signature 90-minute Siam 2482 deep-tissue massage. Using two bamboo sticks, eight herbal compresses, and gold leaf, I walked out of there as loose as a jellyfish and happy as a clam. 

 
Anantara Riverside has more of a resort feel, overlooking a large pool where you simply push a button on your menu and a server appears to take your order. The hotel was crowded with families who would spend the entire day splashing around in the 90-degree heat. The Riverside Dinner Cruise from the resort's pier is a must, a 2-hour gentle cruise along the Chao Phraya seeing the Royal Palace and Wat Arun lit up at night. On our last day, to celebrate Lisa's birthday, we took a 5-hour cooking course with one of the hotel's chefs. At 8 am, we took a tuk tuk with Chef over to a local market and picked up all the necessary ingredients for the three courses we would soon make, including large prawns, chicken, lemongrass, galangal, chicory root, mushrooms, and many spicy peppers. Soon we were back at the hotel's outdoor cooking center on the 2nd floor, creating Golden Caps, crusted rice crackers filled with a chicken and shrimp filling; a spicy and delicious Thai soup that we hope to recreate at home one day; and a tender barramundi topped with spicy chili, curry powder, and lime. We finished with fresh mango that Chef sliced like bird's wings, served with sweet sticky rice that was topped with sweet coconut milk. A memorable birthday lunch! 
 

Posted by Steve Jermanok on 02/22/19 at 06:00 AM
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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk.

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