Government Promise to Bury Cables

Posted on June 6, 2017 in Comment by

cables in Sukhumvit

Bill Gates caused something of a furore when he posted pictures on social media of dozens of wires hanging above the streets of Bangkok. One picture showed a man conducting his business just a few inches above a mass of drooping cables. While the Thai authorities were quick to criticize Bill Gates as ill informed, the Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, has since promised to remove over head wires from Bangkok by 2021

The issue was that Bill Gates had wrongly assumed that the low hanging wires were carrying the grid of electricity for the city, and that since they were low hanging they must get constantly damaged and people must illegally tap into them in order to get free power.

Bangkok authorities issued a statement correcting the billionaire, pointing out that the main electrical wires were higher up. In Bangkok concrete poles are rented by various companies including the municipal electricity supplier. The lower hanging wires are on posts rented by phone companies and cable TV companies. These wires are low voltage and not a danger to life (or perhaps less dangerous).

Nevertheless, the Facebook comment has prompted action by the incumbent military government. The plan was announced in 2016 for 50 billion Baht to be spend burying wires.

That was July last year and there is not much evidence of anything having changed in Bangkok. If you look up from street level you still mostly see cheap concrete housing and a web of wires. Along the main Sukhumvit drag cables cascade from below the sky train tracks. In the sois they hang across the narrow streets and fan from aerial points to provide landlines.

The situation is similar in Japan. They originally made the conscious decision not to bury wires because they felt in a major earthquake buried high voltage electrical cables might be a major hazard to life. This resulted in a situation where companies gained lucrative government contracts to maintain poles for the wires. The high value business has successfully lobbied to keep government policy as it is despite data from earthquakes showing buried wires are safer than falling wires.

Of the major metropoles in Japan only parts of historic Kyoto have been beautified by getting rid of wires from sight.

I suspect a similar dynamic is at work in Thailand. The business of renting out poles for wiring is too lucrative to relinquish without a fight. Besides the improvement is considered mostly an aesthetic improvement of a lower order of importance than upgrading transport and sewage systems.

The deadline for the project to bury 79 miles of cables underground in Bangkok is 2020/2021. They are ahead of schedule. However, 79 miles is clearly a modest goal that if reached will still leave the cityscape with a tangle of wires overhead.

Kingston Hotels Group

Posted on October 27, 2016 in Hotels by

Bangkok is blessed with so many great hotels and places of accommodation that range from cheap hostels to international standard 5 star hotels to unique boutique residences and villas. Bangkok consistently rates in the top 10 city destinations for hotels and value for money. What might not be so well known is the fact that a few hotel chains have started to appear in Bangkok. In Sukhumvit of interest in this respect is the Kingston Hotels Group.

The group has acquired and rebranded four hotels in the Sukhumvit area. They are Grand President Hotel (Soi 11), Royal President Hotel (Soi 15), Kingston Suites (Soi 15) and President Park Hotel (Soi 24). Let’s have a closer look at each hotel and then we can gain a better idea about the brand of Kingston Hotels Group.

President Park Hotel

President Park Hotel

This is a modern hotel consisting of a cluster of high rise towers nestled together. Outside is a communal swimming pool. The 238 rooms and suites are all well decorated in a modern neutral tone. The larger rooms are open plan with kitchenette, lounge area and dining area. The rooms have flat screen TV, DVD player, air-con, hot water bathroom as well as free wifi.

The hotel also has an impressive gym with plenty of machines to use. There is also a restaurant with a la carte menu as well as the standard Thai/Continental/English breakfast buffet.

The staff get plenty of positive reviews as do the rooms. This is a good quality, modern hotel worthy of its 4 star rating. Room prices start at about 1,700 Thai Baht a night.

book President Park Hotel

Royal President Hotel

Royal President Hotel

This is a large hotel. There is one big high rise tower and adjoining buildings. The serviced apartment complex contains 186 rooms, suites and roof top penthouses. The swimming pool is in a courtyard hidden from the main road. The gym is housed next to the pool with glass windows to give those working out a chance to check on their loved ones in the pool.

The suites are large and luxurious. The family suites feature dining area and kitchenette. The bathrooms feature stone decor with bath and shower. The rooms have air-con, hot water, cable TV as well as free wifi internet.

The dining room has orange chairs. Effort has been made to liven up the dining experience with a colour themed decor. The menu offers a good selection of hotel classics as well as Thai food. They offer a large buffet breakfast to guests.

Reviews of Royal President Hotel are mostly positive but mention is made of the small pool and the condition of the building that could do with a bit of TLC. As always with breakfast buffets people complain about the lack of variety and that bacon and eggs in Bangkok is not the same as back home.

Royal President has 4 stars and room prices start at 2,000 Thai Baht a night

book Royal President Hotel

Grand President Hotel

Grand President Hotel

Grand President Hotel is located on Soi 11. It has a frontage with long narrow windows and white stucco that makes the hotel look like a Catholic cloister. However behind towers the modern high rise hotel. There’s a cafe just off the lobby that serves food and drink all day. There’s a long pool on the third floor. It’s outdoor, away from the noise of the traffic outside and with a great view of the city.

There’s a well equipped gym. On a lower floor is a medium-sized restaurant. They offer good quality Western and Thai dishes. Breakfast is a hot and cold buffet with a bit of everything.

The hotel describes its accommodation as ‘executive serviced apartments’. The rooms are well appointed and feature hotel standards such as cable TV, air-con, hot water bathroom and free wifi internet. There is antique styled furniture in the suites to give the hotel a traditional feeling of luxury. The cheaper rooms have a more modern feel to them. The Deluxe Suite also features a kitchenette and washing machine. There are 473 rooms.

Reviews of Grand President Hotel are not that encouraging. There are far too many ‘terrible’ ratings by TripAdvisor for you to put down any criticism to cultural confusion. Old rooms, rude staff and poor Indian food are among the common complaints.

Room prices start at 2,000 Thai Baht a night.

book Grand President Hotel

Kingston Suites

Kingston Suites

Kingston Suites is on Soi 15, just a short walk from Nana BTS. It is the smallest hotel in the group. It is also the most aesthetically pleasing as it is situated in a European style building. The traditional European architecture is nicely counterpointed by the modern stylish interior of the hotel.

This comfortable hotel has a good range of luxury rooms. There is also a restaurant, pool and gym. Thyme Restaurant specialises in fine Mediterranean dining. There is free wifi in the rooms and in public areas. Kingston Suites is good value for its 4 star rating.

The hotel gets generally favourable reviews. The rooms are spacious and the staff friendly. People complain about the small elevators and the need for quicker maintenance to the rooms.

Room prices start at 2,100 Thai Baht a night.

book Kingston Suites

The Kingston Hotel Group Brand

The official website for the hotel group claims their leading concept is ‘comfortable living’. This seems accurately conveyed in spacious rooms and apartments across the chain. Moreover all hotels have a pool, restaurant and gym. These are all key in bringing comfort to the guest.

Brands are never keen on articulating their brand; rather they want to get consumer recognition and ensuing brand loyalty. The naming of the hotels evokes presidential and royal quality but presumably for the masses rather than for actual presidents and royalty. For example it is unlikely that royalty would want the same half-warm buffet standards for breakfast every day.

Kingston Hotel Group hotels all provide a 4 star hotel experience where all the essentials are covered for a comfortable stay in some degree of luxury. However, the extreme high end of lavishly ornate lobbies, Michelin starred restaurants, large spas and golf courses have been avoided. These are not hotels where you are likely to bump into a Hollywood star in the bar. Nor are they small and boutique.

Those happy to spend 2,000 Baht a night for comfort, privacy, security, room service and a reasonable 4 star hotel experience should remember the The Kingston Hotel Group Brand.

Map Legend

darkbluepin – President Park Hotel

redpin – Grand President Hotel

yellowpin – Kingston Suites. Very close to Royal President

lightpinkpin2 – Royal President

Top 10 Muslim friendly hotels near Bumrungrad International Hospital

Posted on October 3, 2016 in Hotels by

أفضل 10 فندق مناسب المسلمين بالقرب من مستشفى بومرونغراد الدولية

gm-suitesGM Suites

  • Star rating: 4 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital: 250 metres . Walking time: 3 min.
  • Facilities: Sauna, Room, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Room Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal menu in the restaurant.
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants.
Book GM Suites

From 1,195 THB

There four room types at the this hotel: Premier Room (33 – 36 sqm), One Bedroom Suite (65 – 78 sqm), Two Bedroom Suites (88 sqm), and Three Bedroom Suites (153 sqm). All suites have a separate lounge and private balcony. Two and three bedroom suites have fully equipped kitchens. This is the perfect hotel for large family groups travelling together.

Route Map from the GM Suites to Bumrungrad International Hospital


zenith-sukhumvit-hotelZenith Sukhumvit Hotel

  • Star rating: 4 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital300 metres. Walking time: 4 min.
  • Facilities: Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Room Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, English, Thai, Lao
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal restaurant.
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants.
Zenith Sukhumvit Hotel

From 2,523 THB

This large 160 room hotel has three room types: Superior Room (30 sqm), Executive Deluxe Room (30 sqm) and Executive Suite Room (65 sqm). The Executive Suite Rooms can be linked to twin rooms to create a family suite. All rooms come with satellite TV, safety deposit boxes, a bath as well as a shower, and direct dial telephones. The roof top swimming pool, known as the ‘Sky Pool’ is popular with families.

Route Map from the Zenith Sukhumvit Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


grace-hotel-bangkokGrace Hotel Bangkok

  • Star rating: 3.5 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital300 metres. Walking time: 4 min
  • Facilities: Fitness Center, Sauna, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Room Service
  • Languages spoken: English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal menu
    • Arabian Cabaret Night
    • Shisha Restaurant
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants.
Grace Hotel Bangkok

From 1,071 THB

One of the most popular hotels in the Sukhumvit area for Muslim visitors. Most of the clientele of people of the Muslim faith. What attracts them is the combination of value for money, its location near the Little Arabia area of Bangkok, its Halal food, ShiSha restaurant and Arabian music dance shows. There are three types of room: Standard (22 sqm), Deluxe (26 sqm) and Suite (33 sqm).

Route Map from the Grace Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


baghdad-boutique-hotelBaghdad Boutique Hotel

  • Star rating3 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital450 metres. Walking time: 6 min
  • Facilities: Room Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, Hindi, English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Mainly Muslim guests
    • Located in Soi 3/1 which is known as ‘Little Arabia’ because of the concentration of Middle Eastern Halal restaurant which makes the area very popular amongst Muslim visitors
Baghdad Boutique Hotel

From 1,195 THB

Popular small hotel with only 29 rooms in the Arab Quarter of Bangkok. There are 3 different types of hotel which represent great value for money: Deluxe Room (27 sqm), Mini Suite (27 sqm) and Suite (32 sqm). All rooms come with satellite TV, Free WiFi, Refrigerator and Tea and Coffee maker. Duluxe rooms have a double bed, whilst the Mini Suite has 2 single beds and a sofa.

Route Map from the Baghdad Boutique Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


prestige-suitesPrestige Suites

  • Star rating: 3 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital:  500 metres. Walking time: 6 min
  • Facilities: Restaurant, Room Service
  • Languages spoken: English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal certified restaurant and kitchen
    • Qiblah marked rooms with prayer mat provided
    • No alcohol in the mini bar
    • Near to many halal certified restaurants
Prestige Suites

From 1,529 THB

The Prestige Suites is a halal and family friendly hotel. This hotel is very popular with Muslim families visiting Bangkok to use the services on offer at Bumrungrad International Hospital. There are three room types available: Superior Double Room (18 sqm), Deluxe King Room (22 sqm) and King Suite (34 sqm). All rooms come with high quality bed linen, in room safety deposit boxes, free WiFi, satellite TV with English and Arabic language channels, complimentary soap and body lotion, as well as prayer mats.

Route Map from the Prestige Suites to Bumrungrad International Hospital


graceland-bangkok-residenceGraceland Bangkok Residence

  • Star rating: 5 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital500 metres. Walking time: 6 min
  • Facilities: Swimming Pool, Fitness room, Snooker and Pool tables, Sauna, Restaurant and Shisha Restaurant,
  • Languages spoken: English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal menu in a Thai-Arabic fusion restaurant.
    • Sihsha restaurant.
    • Prayer rooms.
    • Mainly Muslim clientele
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants.
Graceland Bangkok Residence

From 4,418 THB

Excellent 5 star hotel located a short walk from Bumrungrad International Hospital. Muslim visitors will enjoy Asian-Arabic fusion food and appreciate the Prayer rooms located within the hotel. There is a choice of two room types which can be booked online: Deluxe Double or Twin Room (31 sqm) and Executive Suite (62 sqm). Finally, it is worth mentioning the roof top garden with great views of Bangkok.

Route Map from the Graceland Bangkok Residence to Bumrungrad International Hospital


grand-sukhumvit-hotelGrand Sukhumvit Hotel Bangkok

  • Star rating: 5 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital1.1 km. Walking time: 13 min
  • Facilities: Fitness Center, Sauna, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Coffee Shop, Room Service, Child Care Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal restaurant in the hotel.
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants.
Grand Sukhumvit Hotel

From 2,635 THB

This is probably the best hotel in Bangkok with a Halal restaurant on site. This is a large hotel with 386 rooms spread over 36 floors which provides some great views of the City. The facilities at this large hotel are really good. There is roof top swimming pool, very large fitness center and several good quality restaurants. Guests have little reason to leave the hotel everything as everything they need is in the hotel. However, if they do venture outside they have only a short walk to the best range of Middle Eastern restaurants in Bangkok on Soi 3/1 which is known locally as ‘Little Arabia’. There are a number of very well furnished rooms at 5 star standard. The Deluxe King Bed (36 sqm) room has a king bed and 1 single bed. The Deluxe King Suite (52 sqm) features a king bed and a sofa. These rooms are excellent for families with children as they can comfortably share their parent’s room.

Route Map from the Grand Sukhumvit Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


grand-lucky-hotelGrand Lucky Hotel

  • Star rating: 3 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital1.2 km. Walking time: 14 min
  • Facilities: Room Service, Child Care Service
  • Languages spoken: English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Located near an extensive range of Middle Eastern restaurants on Soi 3/1 which is known locally as Little Arabia.
    • Reputation for having mainly Muslim guests.
Grand Lucky Hotel

From 1,223 THB

The Grand Lucky Hotel is very popular budget hotel with visitors from the Middle East. It is popular because their are some great Lebanese, Egyptian, Arabic, and Indian restaurants with a 1 minute walk of the hotel. The hotel is also close enough to walk to Bumrungrad International Hospital. The hotel has no facilities such as restaurants but the rooms are quite large and are good value for money for this area of Bangkok. A Standard Double or Twin Room is 30 sqm and a Deluxe Double or Twin Room is 34 sqm, which means the rooms are 20% larger than other similar priced hotels. The rooms are what you would expect of a 3 star hotel, with satellite TV, air-conditioning, free Wifi and in room safe.

Route Map from the Grand Lucky Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


grand-diamond-suites-hotelGrand Diamond Suites Hotel

  • Star rating: 4 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital2.3 km. Driving time: 6 min
  • Facilities: Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Room Service, Child Care Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal restaurant on the 8th floor also available as room service.
    • Popular amongst visitors from the Middle East.
Grand Diamond Suites Hotel

From 2,509 THB

The Grand Diamond Suites Hotel is large luxury hotel located in the Pratunam area of Bangkok which has some of the best shopping in Bangkok. Pratunam Fashion Mall and Plantip Plaza IT Shopping mall are both less than 200 metres walk away. In addition to several restaurants, a large swimming pool and excellent fitness center, The hotel offers 4 room types which can be booked online: 1 Bedroom Suite (45 sqm), 2 Bedroom Deluxe Suite (90 sqm), 2 Bedroom Executive Suite (120 sqm) and the 3 Bedroom Penthouse (200 sqm). Each room in the Penthouse has a king sized bed and 1 single bed making the Penthouse excellent value for money for people travelling in large family groups.

Route Map from the Grand Diamond Suites Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital


al-meroz-hotel-bangkokAl Meroz Hotel Bangkok

  • Star rating: 5 stars
  • Distance from Bumrungrad International Hospital7.7 km. Driving time: 15 min
  • Facilities: Fitness Center, Swimming Pool, Restaurant, Room Service, Child Care Service
  • Languages spoken: Arabic, English, Thai
  • Muslim Friendly Features:
    • Halal restaurants and kitchens throughout the hotel.
    • No alcohol sold and guests are not permitted to drink alcohol in their rooms.
    • Arabic design and furnishings.
Al-Meroz Hotel

From 1,784 THB

The Al Meroz Hotel is actively marketed as the Leading Halal Hotel in Bangkok and attracts many Muslim guests. No alcohol is allowed in this hotel and all food is Halal. This hotel is a few kilometres away from Bumrungrad International Hospital, however, the hotel provide a free shuttle service to the Sukhumvit Road as well as the main shopping area of Bangkok and the Airport Link. There are 4 types of room available at this hotel: Superior Room (30 sqm – 1 Double Bed), Deluxe Room (30 sqm – 1 Double Bed), Connecting Family Room (60 sqm – 2 bedrooms), and Suite (60 sqm – 2 bedrooms).

Route Map from the Al Meroz Hotel to Bumrungrad International Hospital

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