Thailand returns to the international small screen next week as James Williams, host of CNN’s popular travel programme “In 24 Hours” takes viewers on a 24-hour, high-end tour of Bangkok and former capital Ayutthaya.
Williams’ tour includes Wat Pho, the Siam Hotel, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, a boat trip to Ayutthaya, a food tour with Nahm’s chef Prin Polsuk, drinks at Banyan Tree’s famous Moon Bar and a stop at the city’s latest architectural icon MahaNakhon.
The journey starts at sunrise with a boat ride on the Chao Phraya river, followed by an exclusive tour of Wat Pho, guided by the monk who showed President Barack Obama around in 2012. Williams then moves to the luxurious Siam Hotel for a spot of muay thai and a chat with the owner, Thai musician and actor Krissada Sukosol Clapp.
In the afternoon, Williams heads to the historic Mandarin Oriental Hotel for high tea with famed author Lawrence Osborne to learn why this city is one of his literary dreams. He then boards one of the Anantara Riverside’s lavishly refurbished rice barges for a cruise up the Chao Phraya river to Thailand’s former capital, Ayutthaya, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
As evening approaches, Williams returns to Bangkok just in time for dusk at the famous Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Bangkok, which also happens to be the perfect place to catch a glimpse of Bangkok’s newest building and now Thailand’s tallest, MahaNakhon. He also meets with the owner, Sorapoj Techakraisri.
“Standing on the top of Thailand’s highest building, cracking open a bottle of champagne with the owner and watching the sun set over the city was the highlight of my trip,” Williams says.
“It was one of those ‘pinch-me’ moments and a real privilege. It is an incredible building, a truly extraordinary landmark.”
Finally, Williams heads to Nahm, one of the top restaurants in Bangkok, to learn what makes the Thai palate tick with chef Prin Polsuk. “We enjoyed an incredible degustation at Nahm, and then Prin took us on a tour of his favourite street food where we ate noodles for just Bt35,” Williams enthuses.
“Both experiences were equally amazing but in a different way. That’s what I love about Bangkok. It’s a fusion of incredible luxury and high-end experiences with a really exciting, dynamic, interesting culture – the melting pot of high-end and street culture.
“There’s always something going on in Bangkok. It’s one of the few cities in the world where you can wake up in the morning and you won’t know what you’ll be doing that night. You look back on the day and you say ‘wow, that was amazing!’” he concludes.
The 30-minute show airs on June 7 at 4.30pm with various repeats.