Lebua Sky Bar, Bangkok Thailand, August 2019
- Location: State Tower, Bangkok
- Cost: $20+ per cocktail
The ArrivalConsidering it's August with the humidity and temperatures synonymous to Bangkok's proximity to the equator, it was quite a humid transport from my hotel in the financial district to the State Tower. I took the BTS from Sukhumvit to the Saphan Taksin station by the river.
Given that it's proclaimed the 'Highest Open Air Bar in the World', I had strong expectations. The lounge's prominent role in The Hangover 2 movie contributed to the anticipation.
Walking from the station to the State Tower in a full suit was a bit bold, with the heat and risk of a tropical shower that evening. I figured with my experience in other popular lounges, it would be necessary for an easy entrance. I was wrong, a lounge shirt and slacks would suffice!
I walked through a rather run down area of Bangkok (there are many of those) but a safe one. I arrived at the entrance and then through the lobby to the elevators dedicated to the lounge. 63 floors up, I arrived at the inner bar. It's quite nice, that is not why I was there, so outside I went. The combination of the breeze and the elevation on the sixty-third floor moderated the temperature, almost making me forget I was in an equatorial country. My first glimpse of the view was breathtaking and I actually just stopped and looked around for quite a while like a complete noob. It is amazing.
The Sky BarIt is a modern-art masterpiece of elegance, architecture, and placement, actually jutting over the edge of the building. The bar is easily approachable and full of people from all over the world, except... locals. The price is obviously a concern to many, as Thailand does not have a robust middle class. The drinks were acceptable. They don't have high end vodka, and that really detracts from the taste of my favorite cocktails. The price is up there, but you are paying for the view with a drink, not vice versa.
The ViewThis is why you really came even if you didn't know it before you arrived. The views are majestic, expansive, and carry on until the horizon cuts off the light. The bustling city of 8 million seems to go on forever as the lights confound your ability to compensate for the curvature of the earth. From this vantage point, Bangkok appears incredibly modern and sophisticated, and while parts of it certainly are, that is not an universal truth. You could stay there for hours with a beverage in hand, drinking in the skyline much more than your cocktail.
SummaryThe view, the view, the view. More than anything else, this makes it worth the trip. You can also eat dinner here, but I was barely aware of the dining area as I was absorbing the location. Slacks or even designer jeans and a decent club shirt is enough to fit in. If you speak Russian, English, German, Italian, you will find people there to converse with. It is a tourist spot, but a very elegant one. Skybar is an exceptional experience even with the disappointment on the drinks.
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