Bangkok Guide: a Self-care Saturday

Looking for a virtuous and indulgent way to spend a Saturday with a couple of girlfriends in Bangkok? Or perhaps you will soon find yourself with a free Saturday in Bangkok at one end of a business trip and just want to treat yourself right for the day? I’ve got you covered:

10:00 am – You’re gonna get your south sides to Sol Yoga Bangkok 1.25 hour session with Kru (“Teacher”) Look Mee, one of the best yoga instructors around. Her cozy studio located on a residential soi off Petchaburi Road, between RCA and Bangkok Hospital, flows with the good vibrations she cultivates among her small but loyal tribe. The boutique studio is complete with Manduka mats carefully laid out in advance for students. The class is taught primarily in Thai, but if you’re comfortable with the usual asanas practiced regularly in yoga classes around the world, you will be rewarded for the little extra effort it takes to sneak a peak at what Kru Look Mee or the other students are doing when you don’t understand. Kru Look Mee tends to her students carefully, striking a skillful balance of honoring them with autonomy when they need it and also giving very personal instruction to ensure their hips, core and extremities are positioned just so, to find their best version of the pose for that student. She has a knack for knowing how to inspire with encouraging comments, humor and in some cases just a look. And if that doesn’t work she will simply point at your elbow when you are in plank pose and tell you to put your right knee there, as in way up there next to your right shoulder, higher even still, all the while staring at you with deceptively innocent deer eyes, as if you perhaps did not understand the instruction the first time. Somehow you want her to be happy with your effort, so you try harder. Her classes are gonna make you work, but that’s what you want when you get up on a Saturday morning and haul yourself onto the mat right? Go get your collective butts kicked! Drop-in fee: 450 THB, includes use of a Manduka mat, towels and shower facilities.

Alternate destination: If the thought of a yoga class taught mainly in the Thai language makes you blanch, swap the above out for the Saturday 10-11:30 am Flow yoga session at Bangkok’s tried and true Yoga Elements, now in it’s new location at Sukhumvit 13. The instructors are reliably well-trained and all classes are taught in English. Drop-in fee: 600 THB, includes a mat, towel & shower facilities.

Broccoli Revolution on Sukhumvit 49
Mushroom & Tofu with spicy Thai basil chile sauce (“hed ka prow’) at Broccoli Revolution

12:30 pm – Lunch at Broccoli Revolution. After you get showered up and out the door you want to head over to Sukhumvit 49 and treat yourselves to a veggie feast in the cool-yet-warm industrial interior of Broccoli Revolution. This is a vegan restaurant with a dizzying array of Mediterranean, Western and Southeast Asian menu options, both cooked and raw, and a long line-up of fresh juice and smoothie combos. I tried their Power Bowl the first time I ate here.  Containing quinoa, hummus, avocados, veggies &  drizzled with pesto, it is substantial. It was so filling, delicious and memorable that even with the 80 or so other items on their menu I needed convincing to try something new the next visit. If so inclined, you can even go for an almond milk cappuccino, or on the other end, a glass of organic wine or micro-beer. Cucumber-infused water sits on offer on the counter-top, free of charge (a rare thing in Bangkok). The staff is upbeat and friendly as can be. This is a fast casual kind of joint, service-wise, where you pay when ordering, then wait for your food to be delivered to your table. Despite this, someone has worked to make the place feel special with comfortable coffee table seating arrangements, multiple levels of dining space and lots of plant life. You and your girlfriends will be comfortable here getting caught up on all the life situation discussions (gossip?) you couldn’t have during yoga class while you getting your Om on. Broccoli Revolution, on the corner of Sukhumvit Soi 49. A lunch main and a juice or smoothie will be around 500 THB. No reservation needed.

Alternative Destination: Sushi lunch at Isao. This hopping California-style sushi restaurant with its signature dishes like the sushi sandwich and the Jackie-O roll is tiny, and long gone are the days when you could just drop in and get a table after a short wait. So if you can plan in advance by a day or two, book a reservation, and you and your sisters will be rewarded, because Isao never fails to deliver. Isao, at Sukhumvit Soi 31. From Sukhumvit, you need to go into the little street (“soi”) by a block or so – it’s on the left, marked by a simple white sign. Around 800 THB per person to share a sushi lunch, with green tea to drink (or choose sake & beer). I’m assuming you’re hungry after that yoga. Reservations: +66 (0)2-258-0645.

2:30 pm – After a lunch and tongue wag it’s time to get serious about self-care. You’re gonna either walk or taxi to Sukhumvit Soi 21, 5-10 blocks away depending on where you lunched, to Amaranth Spa for their 90-minute Facial Massage. From Sukhumvit 21 go down the soi 2 blocks, turn left then a short right, and it will be on your right. Amaranth Spa is a day spa specializing in Korean-style facials using natural ingredients. The best thing about it though is that the experience is so much more than a facial. While you are lying on the bed with your face marinating under an herbal mask or chilling beneath an icy cucumber slurry, the lovely facial specialists, when they are not tending to your face, manage to incorporate an entire hot rock body massage into the session. Seriously, the women here never stop moving. The effect on you though is pure relaxation. The private facial rooms can accommodate up to 3 women at a time. For a reservation call +66 (0)2-256-0100. Price of the 90-minute Amaranth Facial Massage is 1,200 THB. You can usually book same day, but a reservation is recommended.

Alternative Destination:  Su Esthetic Day Spa. This Korean day spa in Bangkok offers a bountiful selection of package and a la carte offerings, all posted on their website, in a comfortable home-turned-spa in a residential neighborhood off Sukhumvit Soi 26.  I was quite impressed with my first experience, and posted about this lovely spot here.  They are well-accustomed to non-Thai speakers.  You can easily book in advance on their website, though if booking less than 24 hours in advance, it’s better to call their English-speaking receptionist at +66 (0)82-334-4086.

4:30-ish pm – Voilà – mission accomplished. Your self-care extravaganza in Bangkok has come to an end. Either go home and collapse or move on to a rooftop happy hour, dinner and dancing. But that would be another post…

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