A small, tranquil, dream in the middle of big, bustling, Bangkok; The Loy La Long is located right on the river and is one of my favorite boutique hotels.
Staying on the river is lovely, the breeze off the water is cool and refreshing, and it’s also convenient for catching the “water bus”.
There are only a handful of rooms at Loy La Long so it’s a good idea to book early. I stayed in the black room but there are also five other rooms, the blue, the green, the white, the orange, and the red room/s.
The hotel arranged for my airport pickup. I was arriving late, after the last airport rail link into the city, which (at the time of my travels and of writing this) runs from 6 in the morning to midnight. Even if the train had still been running, as a solo female traveler arriving so late at night, I would have had my hotel arrange my pickup anyway. Not to mention, after an exhausting 20+ hour flight it’s more than worth it to have someone waiting holding a sign with your name. Someone you don’t have to haggle with. A driver who already knows exactly where you’re going and (depending of course on the quality and attention to detail of the hotel you’re staying at) A driver who has been vetted and is used often by the hotel.
Upon arrival at Loy La Long I was greeted by the kind and wonderful Vivek, who served me the most thirst quenching refreshment of lemongrass iced tea, which tasted incredible. As I sat and sipped the glass of chilled heaven I’m pretty sure I saw someone steam cleaning my luggage, I’m not really sure, lol, I figure it was probably some sort of precaution against the transference of bedbugs or the like, either way it made my luggage look spiffy clean after its hazardous journey through the airport baggage carousel earlier. After my luggage and I were greeted we were shown to our room where I promptly fell fast asleep.
Waking up my first morning with a view of the river right outside my wide windows was enchanting.
Later that morning I embarked on a day-long tour of Bangkok’s Thonburi district’s Khlongs, a network of canals to the west of the river.… see my post — Exploring Bangkok’s Canals.
That night I had dinner at the hotel, which had a great little menu for guests. I had Thai curry and watched the sunset over the Chao Phraya River.
One of the great things about staying on the Chao Phraya River while in Bangkok is how easy it is to catch the main water “bus”, the Chao Phraya Express, at any of its numerous pier stops. (visit chaophrayaexpressboat.com for the most up to date line information.) So, on my second day, I explored all the great sights that just happen to be located right along the river.
Top Sights Along the Chao Phraya River
Starting with…. The Loy La Long Hotel – Ratchawong Pier
The Grand Palace — Tha Chang pier (for the Viseschaisri entrance)
The Grand Palace was the residence of the Kings of Siam (later Thailand) from 1782 until 1925, when they began residing elsewhere; right around the same time that the ‘absolute’ monarchy became a ‘constitutional’ monarchy. The Palace is still used however for official events and is, of course, a major top sight in Bangkok (also a very crowded one.) The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is also located on the rather extensive grounds of the Palace.
Wat pho — Tha Tian pier
Just south of the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, probably best known for its very long, reclining, gold, Buddha.
It is one of the oldest wats (which is a Buddhist monastery or temple) in Bangkok.
Wat Arun — Wat Arun pier
Wat Arun, “Temple of Dawn” is located on the other side of the river. A stunning temple during the day, it’s also a beautiful site when viewed from across the river, all lit up at night.
Wat Arun is covered with mosaics made from Chinese porcelain. The story goes that back in the day, Chinese trading ships heading to the Siamese capital used tons of porcelain as ballast, which was then offloaded or dumped into the river on arrival in port, in order to take on the goods they’d come there for. All this porcelain was used to decorate several temples with mosaics, including Wat Arun.
Flower Market, Pak Khlong Talat — Yodpiman pier
Flowers and flowers and flowers – all incredibly inexpensive. I couldn’t resist buying orchids and roses. While I couldn’t take them home, of course, I decorated my hotel room with them and as I was traveling elsewhere in Thailand after Bangkok I brought them with me to my next hotel. At the flower market one can also walk around watching vendors create fantastic flower arrangements with almost unbelievable speed.
BTS Skytrain connection — Sathon pier
Get off at Sathon pier, to catch the BTS Skytrain at Saphan Taksin station. Sathon pier is also referred to as the Central pier. Free shuttle boats to the Asiatique and IconSiam malls leave from this pier and you can hire long tail boats from here as well.
*Remember to drink lots of water if it’s hot out. There may be lines with little to no shade and crowds of people. I’ve seen people suffer heat stroke at the Grand Palace.
*There is a dress code for some of these places. Shoulders and legs covered.
If the Loy La Long is already fully booked, there are other boutique hotels along the River and I’d still recommend staying on the river as the best option in Bangkok. Here are just a few (smaller boutiques) that look good to me, I haven’t personally stayed at these places but they looked nice from the river and they have reviews that range from good to great.
– The Sala Arun,
– Inn a day, and
– Riva Surya.
Also, located along the smaller canals, which are even more peaceful but a little less convenient to get to is:
– Bang Luang House.
The Loy La Long also happens to be within walking distance of Yaowarat Road, the main street through Bangkok’s Chinatown; which is exactly where I headed for dinner my third night. Sooo many options awaited me, the street was lined with vendors and lots of restaurants.
Now, The Loy La Long is a destination in its own right. So on my third day I decided to spend a whole day, just enjoying the hotel and I don’t regret it. I lounged, wrote in my journal, and took copious photos. I chatted with other guests from around the world and the whole time had incredible fresh fruit drinks and lots more iced lemongrass tea.
In addition to everything else, the Loy La Long is conveniently close to Hua Lamphong train station, maybe five minutes away. So, after a leisurely last day I said goodbye, grabbed a tuk tuk and headed to the station…….
…..To catch the overnight train bound for Chiang Mai.
(The new Bang Sue station set to open this year 2021, will supposedly, be the new hub for long distance rail services from Bangkok, whether that will actually pan out and what it means for Hua Lamphong, and whether the night train will eventually depart from Bang Sue, remains to be seen.)