Wireless Road, located in the heart of Bangkok’s City Center, is a microcosm of everything that makes it so special: an blend of old world traditions, modern flair, cultural highlights, creative dining experiences and shopping.
Historically, the neighbourhood is where foreign countries established their embassies and consulates, starting in 1820 with the Portuguese. (Take a peek at the 1914 traditional teak Thai-designed American ambassador’s residence, directly across from Hotel Indigo.)
Embassy Row infused Wireless Road with a cosmopolitan flair that’s evident today in the globally influenced-restaurants that regularly make international “Best-of” lists. Point in any direction on the street and you can get a taste of the best Bangkok has to offer. Recently voted best restaurant in Asia, get a unique taste of India at Gaggan (think foam and spheres, not curries and daal). This spot is an foodie magnet, so make sure you make a reservation far in advance. Thang Long serves stylish Vietnamese dishes in a lush green garden setting. And trendy gastropub Hyde and Seek dishes up a crave-worthy Western-style burger and craft cocktails.
For more local fare, the refined Baan Glom Gig offers upscale Thai (made without searing heat), while Sa-Nguan Sri, a favorite for four decades, is known for its take on traditional green curry. Don’t miss Bamee Gua for traditional egg noodles, and Polo Chicken for some of the best fried chicken in the city.
There’s a strong flavor of the culture here, as well. At first glance, the crowd on the corner of Ratchadamri and Ploenchit Roads may seem like they’re lining up for a popular lunchtime food cart. That is until you spot the golden statue at the center of the scrum and realize this small gleaming spot in the center of high commerce is actually a religious site, Erawan Shrine. Nearby on Ruamrudi Lane is Holy Redeemer Church, an elaborately decorated Thai-influenced Catholic church that may come as a surprise in the predominately Buddhist city, but is just as spectacular to visit as a traditional temple.
For more opportunity for quiet reflection, locals head a few blocks south to Lumphini Park, a verdant expanse of trees and grass — the green lung of Bangkok. A morning stroll reveals early risers practicing Tai Chi, yoga and meditation — join in or simply stroll and take in the views of the lake at its center. Just outside the park, you can sample traditional Thai street food from vendors. Popular bites include satay (sticks of lemongrass-infused grilled pork ), kanom buang (mini crepes filled with fluffy sweet meringue and salty dried shrimp) and sticky rice with mango.
Wireless Road also reflects the progression of Bangkok’s economy: It became the birthplace of radio in Thailand when King Rama VI established the first radio tower in the country here; this led to the creation of the first popular radio station, which in turn launched clubs, record stores, lounges and live music venues.
The sense of entrepreneurial innovation is still apparent today in the bustling businesses around the neighborhood and the dazzling skyscrapers that house them.
Hotel Indigo Wireless Road offers an ideal perch to take in the vibrant centre, especially from the 25th floor CHAR Restaurant or the rooftop infinity pool with commanding skyline views. From here you can see modern architecture up high while sipping a sophisticated cocktail at the top of the city.
Back on the ground, retail pursuits await. Combine New York City’s Madison Avenue, Rome’s Via Veneto and Paris’ Champs Elysees together, and you’ll get some sense of the goodies in store at the juncture of Silom and Siam squares. Shopping here is considered the national sport of Bangkok, and the world’s most renowned brands — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Ferragamo, Gucci — play their luminescent wares in sleek malls.
For a more locally influenced shopping adventure, explore the world of Thai silk at the Jim Thompson House. During the mid-20th century, Thompson helped revive the ancient custom of silk hand weaving, and the luxurious complex gives insight into the silk industry.
Just across the klong (canal) is Baan Krua Nua, where the original Thai silk craftsmen who worked for Jim Thompson lived. Although the bustling alleyways can be challenging to negotiate without insider knowledge, the staff at Hotel Indigo can point you to the last remaining craftsmen who wove for Thompson; their private homes and studios are a chance to buy hand woven and dyed silk directly from the source.
It’s a small taste of traditional Bangkok right in the heart of the Wireless Road neighbourhood, another reason that Hotel Indigo is the ideal location for an insider view of all things the city has to offer.