The next time you head to Thailand, consider the different perspectives and experiences the country has to offer. Put your typical shopping plans at Chatuchak Weekend Market and Platinum Fashion Mall aside and soak in the vibe of Bangkok.
Discover the artistic side of the urban jungle via the Bukruk Urban Arts Festival and chill out at the city's only rooftop craft beer bar at Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok in the heart of vibrant Sukhumvit, which is full of new and trendy hipster hangouts.
End your break by unwinding at the Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin, where the upscale international hotel and resort chain continues to impress.
RADISSON BLU PLAZA BANGKOK
If the name Radisson Blu rings a bell, you may recall the immense AquaDom in Radisson Blu Hotel, Berlin, where a towering cylindrical aquarium lies right in the middle of the hotel.
Though not as spectacular as its sister hotel, Radisson Blu Plaza Bangkok is still an elegant skyscraper - and a mere five-minute walk from the Asok BTS station and the Sukhumvit subway station. Room prices start from about $130 a night.
Terminal 21, an airport-themed shopping mall, is less than a 10-minute walk away. Popular among young adults, it is decorated based on well-known parts of cities such as Tokyo, Istanbul and San Francisco, offering a fun and unusual shopping experience.
You should also visit Brewski on the 30th level of the hotel. The rooftop bar overlooks Bangkok, giving you a stunning view to appreciate as you savour your drink.
What is great about Brewski is the unbeatable prices of the drinks, which start from $2.90. The vintage-inspired bar offers craft beers in three sizes - 100ml, 250ml and 470ml.
Brewski also serves some mean Thai food to snack on such as sai krok isan (pork sausages with fresh chilli and ginger). For a more gourmet choice, dine at Italian restaurant Attico on the 28th level.
Before you even try the dishes, such as its roasted citrus-marinated fish, you will already be impressed by the decor. Red bricks and wine barrels line the hallway and natural light flows in through the floor-to-ceiling windows.
WALL ART FROM BUKRUK URBAN ARTS FESTIVAL
Although the second and most recent edition of the festival took place last year, you can still explore the wall murals completed over 10 days. The works of artists from countries including Thailand, Japan, Spain, France and Italy are featured along the riverside and alleys of Bang Rak and Klong San.
I enjoyed walking down the almost dilapidated-looking alleys to discover the artworks, which add pops of colour to the otherwise dull streets. I have been told that the locals are sometimes inspired to create art outside their homes. Remember to take your camera, as the murals can be great backdrops for shots of your outfit of the day.
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RADISSON BLU RESORT HUA HIN
Consider the Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin if you are looking for some respite from bustling Bangkok.
Although it is a three-hour drive from the city, Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin is worth the commute. (Opt for the six-hour train ride if you have more time.) The beachfront resort has an infinity pool, and the rooms have a modern design that rivals any hotel in Bangkok.
Room prices start from about $120 a night. The deluxe pool access rooms have balconies that lead right to the pool, so you can go for a dip without leaving your room.
Do wake up early to catch the sunrise at the beach outside Radisson Blu Resort Hua Hin. You may even spot fishermen getting their nets ready for the catch of the day.
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This story was originally published in The New Paper, on 15 September 2017.