We ended our trip in Bangkok, since it meant one less connection on our final trip home, and that we would be in a major city for New Year's Eve. We stayed in the Krungthep Wing of the Shangri-La Bangkok, and arranged for them to pick us up at the airport. We were met by a hotel representative and immediately brought to a BMW 7-series for the efficient, 40 minute or so drive into Bangkok and to the hotel. While the hotel car was not cheap, it was very nice and offered extremely fast wi-fi, which was very nice (especially after having spotty internet in Cambodia).
Upon arrival, we were immediately greeted by name and whisked up to our room. Despite the fact that neither of us have any sort of status with Shangri-La, somehow we were upgraded to a ridiculous named suite, the Ayutthaya Suite. It was a one-bedroom suite with a full living room, dining room, kitchen (complete with separate service entrance), an enormous marble bathroom and panoramic views up and down the Chao Praya river. The suite was a bit dated, with very 90s-Asian-chic decor (check out the painting above the bed), but was still very large and nice. Although there is no wifi in the rooms of the Krungthep Wing, upon request we were quickly brought a wireless router for our room, so we had wifi throughout our entire stay anyway.
The Krungthep Wing of the Shangri-La is basically like a totally separate hotel, with its own lobby, elevators and pool (though it is attached to the Shangri-La Wing by a very long hallway). It is basically an all-club hotel, with free breakfast, tea and evening cocktails in the Krungthep lounge in the lobby. Breakfast was great, with a small buffet as well as the option to order eggs and other items. (One day we ate breakfast in the Shangri-La Wing, which is also included in the Krungthep Wing rooms, and is a giant, crowded buffet - we far preferred Krungthep breakfast). Afternoon tea was a treat, with petits fours and tea, and evening cocktails were great as well with delicious canapes.
The hotel also includes a butler service, which is usually just a useless gimmick, but here was quite useful - butlers would bring your evening cocktails and canapes to your room if you didn't feel like going down (we never tried this, but saw butlers arranging beautiful plates of canapes in the evening), and one day, when my stomach was feeling the effects of being in Bangkok, I requested ginger ale, and was promptly delivered more than enough cans of ginger ale to last our entire stay.
Overall, our entire stay at the Krungthep Wing was great, and we would definitely return, even though there are so many interesting and affordable luxury hotel options in Bangkok. And if you are staying at the Shangri La, I highly recommend the Krungthep Wing.
For our full day of touring Bangkok, we did the classic trio of the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. We took the tourist boat from the pier next to the Shangri-La to the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace was very crowded, with an extremely long line to borrow clothing if you are not appropriately dressed (note: this means men too; unlike in some other areas of Thailand, absolutely no shorts are allowed, even longer men's shorts, so be sure to wear pants and short sleeved shirts).
The Grand Palace was very large, with many impressive buildings, including the temple housing the Emerald Buddha. When we were there, it was extremely crowded, but we still managed to see just about everything in under an hour (not included the time spent purchasing tickets, etc.).
After finishing at the Grand Palace, we took the short walk to Wat Pho to see the reclining Buddha. This was very cool and impressive, but the temple really does only house the (enormous) reclining Buddha, so it was pretty fast.
After Wat Pho, we took a quick boat ride across the Chao Praya to Wat Arun. The boat was only two or three baht, which is very inexpensive (about 10 cents USD). Wat Arun is extremely pretty at night when it is lit up, but I would definitely recommend visiting during the day as well - the temple is covered in elaborate detail, and it is fun to climb up into the tiers and see the detail, including inlaid porcelain.
Our last night happened to be New Year's Eve. Rather than heading to an enormous, overpriced, overrated hotel celebration, we opted to have dinner at Eat Me, which I had read good things about online. Their New Year's Eve dinner was reasonably priced, and included a spectacular three course meal, unlimited drinks (including delicious cocktails; I must have had at least four of a certain passionfruit cocktail they offered) and live music. We ate in the earlier seating, and after they actually encouraged us to continue drinking downstairs in their bar, which was quite generous given that the drinks were free (and so delicious!). The atmosphere was very festive, with many Australian and American expats and tourists, and they continually passed around a basket of small celebratory toys. It was by far the best and most fun New Year's Eve dinner we have ever had.
On our last day, we did a bit of exploring. We went to Siam Paragon, an enormous luxury mall that also features a great food hall and grocery store (while the luxury shops are generic and offer the exact same things as their counterparts elsewhere in the world, we had a lot of fun exploring the grocery store). In the afternoon, we decided to indulge and check out the spa at the Shangri-La, which was a bit expensive for Bangkok but very reasonably by US standards (especially US luxury hotel spa standards). We decided to do a traditional Thai massage, which was incredible, and the spa facilities were some of the nicest and most spacious we have seen in a city, with double-height ceilings and treatment rooms with private bathrooms and showers.
Bangkok was great, and we were very sad to leave the Shangri-La and Thailand. Throughout the entire trip we had an amazing time, and definitely think it is worth the 36+ hours of flying that it can take to get there.