Generally we prefer to “wing it” during our travels, planning as little as possible to allow for more flexibility. Doing so gives us the ability to take advantage of serendipitous encounters, such as meeting a young man in a bus station in Marrakech who facilitated our trek into the Sahara a few years ago. However, one of the key travel rules we follow is to arrange the first couple of nights lodging before arriving in a new country. The longer the flights and the later the arrival, the more important this is. Our flight to Bangkok from San Francisco was over 19 hours, and we landed at 11pm.
Needless to say, we were extremely grateful that I had arranged a stay at the luxurious Tower Club at Lebua for the first three nights of our Southeast Asian Adventure. Thanks to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, I had the opportunity to stay there a couple of months ago during their “50th anniversary mega familiarization trip“, and I knew that was where we should recover from the long flights and acclimate to the 14 hour time difference.
As soon as we walked into the lobby, were greeted by the staff, and shown to a 55th floor room with a familiar view out over the city from an open-air balcony, I felt relaxed and like I had come home. Our landing in Bangkok was as soft as the bed that we crashed upon after ordering a small snack from room service. Even after several hours of exquisite sleep and an exceptional buffet breakfast, our bodies were still tense from weeks of stressful preparation and hours of cramped economy seating. A visit to the RarinJinda Wellness Spa further relaxed our weary selves as I received a Thai massage and Liz their signature ‘Elements of Life’ treatment.
On our third and last night, we met a friend for drinks at the Sky Bar atop Lebua, offering a stunning 63rd floor view out over the city with not only its own lights spread out before us, but a dramatic lightning display on the horizon. Finally, our soft landing was made complete with the Chef’s Tasting Menu at Mezzaluna, inside the gold dome that graces the top of the hotel. It was a culinary adventure, with each course and wine pairing a delicate contrast of textures and flavors, masterfully presented.
The rest of our 3-month trip will likely be spent in much simpler accommodations and eating street food, pushing our dollars to their furthest in a region where the exchange rate is favorable. Our stay at Lebua was the perfect way to begin our adventure, easing us into a trip that will both relax and challenge us.