A Guide to a Great Girls' Weekend in Bangkok
Bangkok is an amazing city to be a woman. It’s fast-paced, fun, and fabulous. You can get pampered like a princess for a fraction of what it would cost you back home. And the nightlife is vibrant and thrilling, with a little something for everyone. Get a few girlfriends, and feel just like the girls from Sex and the City in this, the Manhattan of Southeast Asia.
Get up and head straight to the shops – this is the best time to score the best deals and scour the trends before the crowds of people arrive. Here are a few can't-miss spots to score the perfect girls' night dress.
A girl's shopping paradise: Platinum Fashion Mall – Platinum is like heaven on Earth for girls who love to shop. There are six stories crammed with all kinds of boutique shops full of all different kinds of styles of clothing, bags, shoes, and accessories. As this is a wholesale mall, go with a girlfriend who has the same style as you, and buy two or three items from the same shop for a great discount. Find your perfect night-out dress for less than 500 THB.
Trendy but budget-friendly Bangkok hot-spot – Siam Square is where all of Bangkok's college-aged fashionistas head with their limited budgets to find cute, chic outfits for their nights on the town. Join them! The style here can be very Thai, but even if you're not into that, there are great deals on accessories like genuine leather wallets and funky belts. Expect to spend about 1 – 2,000 THB for an outfit.
There is nothing to make you feel more girly than getting pampered for a few hours, and in Bangkok, it can sometimes seem like there are as many beauty salons as women! So, here are our suggestions for the best of the best places to get pampered.
Mani-Pedi: Nails Plus - this nail salon on Sukhumvit Soi 19, at the entrance to Robinson’s department store, does some of the best manicures and pedicures in town. If you get both the manicure and pedicure done, it costs 600 THB (or about $20 USD). Bonus: you can get your manicurist to use OPI nail polish for no extra charge. Takes about 1 hour.
Eyelashes: Take Care - What girl would say no to a full set of eyelashes that go on for days (and weeks!)? Take Care beauty salons are sprinkled all over downtown Bangkok. It’s a Japanese chain that do all kinds of beauty treatments, but their best is their eyelash extensions. Japanese silk eyelash extensions are applied by a trained professional while you lie down on a comfortable table for about one hour. Each lash costs 10 THB, and full set for both eyes normally comes to 800 THB, or $26 USD. Your eyelashes will last up to a month. If you’d like, get a blow-out while you’re there. This involves a hair wash and style, and costs only 200 THB ($6.50 USD). Takes about 1 hour. Allow for an extra half hour for a blow-out.
Massage: Raintree - We chose Raintree as the best place for women to get a Thai or oil massage because this place combines modern and chic with traditional Thai, and there is extra attention paid to atmosphere and service. You’ll get a foot scrub in a very comfortable chair, followed by a wonderful massage in the upstairs room by a trained masseuse. Afterwards, lovely traditional Thai tea is served. A one-hour Thai massage costs 350 THB, or $12 USD. Takes about 1 hour.
When dining in Bangkok, street food is fantastic, but after you’ve spent much of your day in the beauty salon, don’t you want to go somewhere a little more...ehm...upscale than a plastic chair on the side of the road? Here are a few suggestions for classy dining at great value.
The best Thai food in town (and great pizza too!): Madame Saranair - You can’t go wrong with Madame Saranair. Always packed, this Thai restaurant is attached to an Italian pizzeria (Big Mama’s), and patrons may order from either restaurant’s menu. Though the pizza is great, I highly recommend the Thai food - you simply cannot miss their tom yum goong (the best in Thailand, most people agree), or their banana blossom salad. The prices are quite reasonable, and they have great deals on carafes of house wine. To fill your belly and drink plenty of wine, expect to pay about 1,000 THB per head.
Western food and great wine: Wine Connection - with a few branches in various parts of Bangkok, is always an excellent choice for a pre-cursor to a girls’ night out. With bottles of decent wine starting at 500 THB (amazing deal for Thailand), and meal selections like salmon ravioli and gratinated New Zealand mussels, we recommend allocating a few hours for this place. Expect to pay around 1,000 THB per head. Their new location near Phrom Pong BTS station is quite chic.
After dinner, it's too early to head straight out to a nightclub, so try out these trendy lounges on Bangkok's vibrant Sukhumvit Soi 11 (the place to be on a night out) to sample delicious drinks and meet interesting people.
Packed venue but inventive cocktails: Oskar Bistro – Though Oskar's is relatively small and it can be difficult to get a table, it's always full of interesting people and when you finally do get a table, it'll be worth the wait. Their mixologists can shake up any sort of cocktail, often with creative twists like chili pepper in the Golden Thai cocktail (150 THB). If you're still hungry, their food is decent as well.
Rooftop romp: Nest Rooftop Lounge, Above Eleven - There are two great lounges on Soi 11 that provide great views of the city. Nest Rooftop lounge, on top of Le Fenix hotel, is a favourite expat hangout in Bangkok. Their cocktails are pricey (just under 300 THB), but with uber-comfy lounge chairs and an ecclectic mix of people, you're paying not just for the delicious drinks (don't miss their famous mojitos) but also the atmosphere and company. Above Eleven is located basically across the street from Nest, but much, much higher up. The highest rooftop lounge on Soi 11, the newly-opened Above Eleven (on top of the Fraser Suites hotel), is a classy place to see and be seen. Find yourself sipping with Bangkok's socialites, looking out at one of Bangkok's best city skyline views. If you're really feeling adventurous, we recommend a drink or two at each lounge!
You've got a bit of a buzz on now, and your dancing feet are starting to get the better of you. Time to amp up your night and head to a nightclub. You've got a few to choose from, depending on your taste. I've handpicked my favourites, which are my favourites because they tend to be less sleazy, more fun, and more girl-friendly than the others in town.
R&B music: If you like hot dance tunes, head to Narz, which is nearly always packed to the brim on the weekend, and sometimes even during the week. Sure, there are a few prostitutes here, but it's nowhere near as bad as many other places in town. This is a good spot to meet local expats and dance until 4 or 5am (closing times vary). Downstairs is a more underground house vibe.
House and trance: For a taste of something different, head to Silom, where you'll find Tapas (don't get confused with Tapas restaurant – this one is a nightclub). The tunes inside vary from house to trance and everything in between, and the crowd is always fun. The second floor is usually packed, so head up to the dance floor on the third floor for a little more room. Grab a delicious kamikaze pitcher for 400 THB (about $13 USD) and split it with your girlfriends. This is a great place to meet cool guys.
The clubs are closing down but your blow-out and mani-pedi are still in tact and you're not ready to go home. There's only one place to head:
The epitome of a hole-in-the-wall bar: Wong's - It's easy to miss Wong's. Located on Sathorn soi 1, there is no sign, and if you don't know it's there, you'll probably miss it. Ask about it at the 7/11 on the corner if you're not with people in the know. Inside, it's always rammed, full of Bangkok's partiers who, like you, weren't ready to call it a night. The gay guys who frequent the bar are fun to talk to and give great fashion advice, while the straight ones often provide nice eye candy (and conversation). The music tends to be 90s karaoke, and at this time of the night, you'll probably end up rocking out on the bar top to it. Help yourself to beers in the fridge but don't forget to pay (about 60 THB or $2 USD for a bottle).
The Day After
Sleep in, but not too late. You can't miss your hangover brunch.
The classiest-ever hangover cure: L'Atelier – On the second floor of the Grand Millenium (Sukhumvit Soi 21), you'll find one of the best Sunday brunches in town. Their all-you-can-eat sensation, including fresh crab, coffee-flavoured smoked salmon, melt-in-your-mouth cheese, lamb chops, scalloped potatoes, and desserts that will make you wish you hadn’t eaten so much before them. Wash it all down at the recovery bar, which is attended to by a lovely Thai woman dressed in a sweet (not skanky) nurse’s uniform, and will happily hand you glass after glass of liquid medicine (ie. sparkling wine or beer or whatever you like, really). The best part? Atelier has a special promotion where if you come in a group of four, only two people have to pay. So what’s normally 1,400 THB each becomes 700 THB each - an absolute steal for what you get.
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