When the new Skytrain BTS extension finally opened up last year there were hundreds of thousands of people who now had easy access to the central business district and all of the amenities that are part of the day to day life in downtown Bangkok. I couldn’t think of any reason to make use of the new extension since that one agonizingly painful trip to IKEA last year but I am happy to report that all of that has changed after our journey ‘up-country’ began only 8 stations away from home.
After a quick 15 minute jaunt along the BTS from Asoke to Bangna we flagged down a taxi – which happened to be a karaoke taxi blasting Carabao for our pleasure – for the 5 minute trip (1.5 km) down to the river. Once at the river we paid 20 baht each ( 66 cents) to take a hair-raising ‘rocket boat’ across instead of the 4 baht (13 cents) ferry as the private boat takes you right to the hotel’s pier and the ferry drops you off 300 meters away from the hotel. Pro Tip: the rocket-boat driver may not know ‘Bangkok Tree House’ but he will likely know ‘Ta Mai Pai’ (bamboo pier) or ‘baan Joe’ (Joe’s house).
A cold towel and a refreshing glass of house made pea-flower juice awaited us in the temporary reception (construction is almost complete on the permanent reception) and a small netbook received our personal details as well intuitively asking our breakfast preference. While our room was being cooled down with the A/C from the summer heat, C.B. and I went for a walk around the grounds and observed over and over what it really means to be a ‘green’ hotel .
After the walk we were handed an old-school glass bottle filled with nicely chilled water and shown to our Tree Top Nest. The ground floor is home to the toilet, spacious sink, and an amazing outdoor bathing area with your choice of a rain shower or traditional shower head. At first I thought the space would be more combination living room/bathroom when in reality it is much more like a massive bathroom. From the glass floor in the toilet to the outdoor rain shower, this bathroom proved repeatedly to be a nice shock to the senses.
Once up the ladder-stairs (which we definitely got used to on day 2) you are now in the separate bedroom/workspace/chill zone. A big screen computer, 4 soft pillows, a comfy bed and an air-conditioner = true bliss in the 35+ degree temperatures of the early afternoon. Out on the deck and up to the rooftop you will find a great outdoor bed perfect for catching some rays or staring at the stars and enjoying the nighttime breeze coming off the river.
Prior to dinner we picked out 2 bikes and made our way along the newly constructed pathway connecting BTH to the floating market where we had a late lunch and a couple of iced coffees before taking the long way round back to the hotel. Every local person we saw greeted us with a big smiling hello and a few asked if we were lost and needed directions – two things you wouldn’t normally find on the other side of the river. Back safely at the nest with time to relax before dinner we fired up the computer and thoroughly enjoyed watching Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution.
With a nice twilight glow for a 6:30 dinner, the table perched off the front side of the hotel couldn’t have been more beautiful. The restaurant called ‘Reflect’ prides itself on offering locally grown organic fare with diners able to choose either a vegan, vegetarian or pescatarian (or a combination) 3 course menu for an incredible THB 490++ / $16++. Before our appetizers arrived we were brought out a very unique amuse bouche that consisted of an old school Thai snack of ‘Ma Haw’ on top of small sections of fresh pineapple. Very refreshing and a promising start to the meal.
C.B. kicked her dinner off with the Thai papaya salad which came beautifully presented with squid, scampi and salted eggs. A very generous sized portion and the Thai taste really rang true. I chose the spicy summer watermelon salad with mint, black olives and shallots which proved to be an incredible combination. I assembled my first bite with a slice of olive, a piece of mint and a cube of watermelon and hesitantly put it in my mouth not knowing what to expect. At first I had a sour vinegary taste followed by a hit of brine from the olive and in that split second I thought that this would be a very salty salad until the fresh mint and the juicy sweetness of the watermelon came crashing through. It is the kind of dish that you think about having again long after you have eaten it.
For C.B.’s main course she had the melded blue swimmer crab yam tower which was accompanied by a small side of sweet organic potatoes that actually tasted like potatoes. The rather large cylinder of yam roots, crab, basil, cashew nuts and mayonnaise was an interesting combination and would definitely be a good fit for a hungry seafood fan. As a ‘larb’ lover I chose the Bangkok Tree House Larb which consisted of fried spicy ground mushrooms, tofu and toasted rice and served with a shot glass of spicy homemade sauce and this vegan dish did not disappoint a carnivore like myself. When ordering, it was a bit difficult to decide between the BTH larb or the sauteed dory so I asked the staff if I could order the fish a la carte and they kindly agreed. The fish was covered in a homemade green curry sauce and the chef who made the curry from scratch did not skimp on the spice or the flavor. The organic brown rice added a really nice dense texture in combination with the fresh fish.
For dessert we both went with the mango and sticky rice and we were in for a treat because the ‘nam dok mai see thong’ mangoes served are generally only found in this area.
After dinner we went up to the rooftop of our nest and laid on the day-bed staring up into the sky and pondering our good fortune to be staying here and for the blessings we have in our life. The cool breezes, rustling of the palm trees and the sounds of the boats going up and down the river almost lulled us to sleep right then and there. We groggily made our way down to our bedroom and I drifted off into one of the deepest sleeps I have had in a long time.
I was really hoping that breakfast wouldn’t be the ‘weak link’ of this establishment and it was another nice surprise to receive a beautifully arranged plate of local fruit, a nice pot of homemade tea using local flowers and herbs and a fresh cooked to order breakfast. The real highlight was the locally made organic brown bread that had that homemade chewy, crunchy fresh taste. We told the staff how much we enjoyed the bread and they went above and beyond and brought out another basket on the house.
Bangkok Tree House is a one of a kind boutique hotel that is a fantastic place for tourists to ready themselves before heading down to the islands or to relax and rejuvenate before making the long flight back home. Another great fit proving very popular amongst those who are based in Bangkok is to head here for a convenient and one of a kind weekend getaway. Two of my favorite things about this hotel are the location and the food and I can’t see a better place to take your friends, guests or your significant other for an adventurous morning cycling trip followed by lunch or an afternoon of cycling followed by a candlelit dinner before stepping into the ‘worm-hole’ and being transported to the concrete jungle on the other side. We had no idea that the BTS (and a quick boat trip) would take you ‘up-country’ and we already have plans to take our next out of town guests here and show them a side of Thailand you normally wouldn’t find unless your were hundreds of kilometers away.