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Things to do in Bangkok

Cycle Bangkok’s green lung

Bangkok isn’t renowned for its clean air and cyclist-friendly streets, but just across the Chao Phraya river is Sri Nakhon Khuan Park, known as the city’s ‘green lung’. Bike around, check out the wildlife, eat at the floating market (weekends only) and generally take some time out. The company With Locals arrange tours (www.withlocals.com/locations/thailand).

Get a blind massage

Blind masseurs are themselves not unique in Bangkok, but they are often the victims of mistreatment and low wages. At Perception (tel: +66 82 222 5936; www.perceptionblindmassage.com) the focus is on those giving the massages being treated as ethically as those getting them, so you can get your relax on with a clear conscience.

Stock up at Rod Fai Market

It's easy to be skeptical about markets. So often they promise unique local trinkets and vintage delights, but are just a barrage of bad knock-off Ray Bans and brown leather bangles. Rod Fai (www.bangkok.com/magazine/rot-fai-market-ratchada.htm) is a different beast, offering up a sprawl of antiquities, fashion, food, vintage motorbikes and more.

Walk with the dead at Sirijaj Medical Museum

You'll know instinctively if you're the sort of person who's interested in seeing mummified human beings, or Siamese twin babies preserved in formaldehyde in the name of science. The Sirijaj Medical Museum (tel: +66 2419 2618-9; www.si.mahidol.ac.th), hidden away on a back street, is home to some of the freakiest medical artifacts on the planet. Enjoy. Perhaps.

Watch some Muay Thai in a mall

A shopping mall might not be the most obvious place to watch two men go head to head in the brutal martial art of Muay Thai, but every Wednesday at MBK shopping centre (www.facebook.com/mbkfn) local and international fighters do their thing. Expect a fully immersive affair, with ring girls, announcers, live drum bands and maybe even a few betting schools.

Featured Hotels

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The Oriental

One of the most famous hotels in the world, The Oriental is located by the Chao Phraya River and is the hotel of choice for royalty and celebrities past and present, such as Somerset Maugham, the Prince of Wales and Elizabeth Taylor. Although the original Author's Wing was built in 1887 and is very much colonial in style, two more modern wings tend to dominate the appearance of the hotel. However, the 393 rooms (including 35 suites) are all sumptuously decorated.

The Eugenia

A fine boutique hotel, with just 12 suites, in an elegant colonial house. The suites all have antique furniture, part of a collection belonging to the owner. There is a lounge bar and a restaurant, the D B Bradley, which serves a fusion of east and west. Facilities include an open-air swimming pool and high-speed internet access. Airport transfers can be arranged in one of their fleet of vintage cars.

The Dusit Thani

This is one of the most opulent hotels in Bangkok and is conveniently located off the Silom Road in the business and entertainment district overlooking Lumphini Park. The 500-plus rooms are all sumptuously decorated in Thai style and all have satellite TVs, VCRs and mini-bars.

Dream Hotel

This trendy boutique hotel, where the style is a fusion of East meets West, is now well-established on the Bangkok scene. The 200 rooms have plasma TVs, iPods, Wi-Fi and under-bed lighting. There are even pet-friendly rooms. There is one restaurant, Flava , and a cocktail lounge, spa, health club, swimming pool and business centre.

Conrad Bangkok

Stylish Bangkok hotel, close to Lumphini Park, with contemporary, understated Thai design throughout. Silk and wood are used in all the rooms and suites. Superb facilities including several restaurants (Italian, Chinese and Japanese), nightclub, spa, fitness centre, swimming pool, jogging track and tennis courts.

Peninsula

With commanding views of the Chao Phraya River, this hotel in Bangkok has a reputation for excellent service and hospitality. All rooms have a river view, some with balconies, terraces or outdoor Jacuzzis, and are sumptuously decorated. Rooms have marble bathrooms, executive work desk, CD/DVD player, camcorder video playback facilities and Wi-Fi. Diners are well catered for with several restaurants including Mediterranean cuisine at Jesters and Thai home-made style cooking at Thiptara. Leisure facilities include a spa, gym, tennis courts and three-tiered swimming pool.