The Asiatique in Bangkok’s Riverfront is one of the newest places to be in the Land of Smiles. It’s a dining, shopping, and entertainment venue in one. It opens at 5:00pm until midnight, providing a new vibe to Bangkok’s night life. But did you know that Asiatique was once a pier belonging to the East Asiatic Company?
The Asiatique The Riverfront is now a famous landmark in Bangkok.
Situated in the riverbanks of Chao Phraya River, the Asiatique has refurbished the trading houses of Nai Hang into 1,500 shops and 45 restaurants. It is ingenious that they turned the warehouses into rows of stalls. The PR representatives of Asiatique met us at the Promenade to give us a tour of the whole compound. They then sat down with us at Brew Beers and Cider to answer our queries.
Warehouses turned into shopping havens.
During weekdays, Asiatique is host to 30,000 or so visitors per night. An additional of approximately 20,000 guests are accommodated during weekends. Parking is not a problem because there is plenty of space for 2,000 cars. But for those who prefer to commute, it is accessible by skytrain, shuttle boat, bus, and taxi.
You can walk around Asiatique’s four districts.
Given its size and variety of attractions, Asiatique can host large groups of travelers, especially those who are in Bangkok for meetings, incentives, conventions, and exhibitions (MICE). They can make special arrangements with organizers and planners. Special events can also be held here. In fact, some of the events it hosted were the Loi Krathong Festival, Christmas celebration, Sangsom Move a Bar, Songkran Festival, and corporate launches that saw to as many as 100,000 visitors in one night.
A heritage house is being renovated to become a future historical landmark.
Most of all, Asiatique is home to historical pieces within its vicinity that are preserved. These historical landmarks are located in its four districts, namely, Charoenkrung, Town Square, Factory, and Waterfront.
This used to be a pier that paved the way for Thailand to trade with Europeans.
From the drop off point, one will instantly see the gigantic ferris wheel. It is the biggest in Thailand and with a height of 60 meters, it is also the tallest in the kingdom. Passengers who ride in one of its 42 air-conditioned gondolas get a great view of the Bangkok skyline, especially the view of the Chao Phraya River.
The Asiatique Sky.
Asiatique Sky is made in the Netherlands and is designed similar to the one on Champs Elysees near Place de la Concorde in Paris.
Inside one of its gondolas.
Joe Louis The Art of Thai Cuisine and Puppet Theatre
Joe Louis restaurant.
After our tour of the warehouses, we proceeded to Joe Louis The Art of Thai Cuisine to meet with representatives of TCEB and NCC. A puppet controlled by three men greeted us and gave us leis as a form of welcome. As we started with our authentic Thai dinner, we were treated to a Thai Puppet show which features interesting tales performed by puppets with life-like movements. We were told that this is one of the few remaining Thai Puppet Theatres. In fact, this show has won the World Puppet Contest of 2006.
The famous puppet show.
Dinner at Joe Louis was exemplary. From its mixed platter appetizers, to the tom yum soup, to the king prawns, to the steamed sea bass, to the mango & sticky rice dessert, we really had our fill of mouthwatering food. There were too many that were served on our tables that I lost count of what I’ve eaten.
Tom yum soup.
Muay Thai Live at the Stage
The highlight of our visit was the spectacular stage show, Muay Thai Live. Set at The Stage, a brand new, world-class theatre purposely built for the show at Asiatique the Riverfront, the live staged culture and kickboxing show brings to life an epic that spans 300 years of Thai Boxing’s history.
The decoration at the entrance lobby.
The stunts, fight scenes, music, lights system, and sound effects made the show come alive and appear so real. Created and directed by celebrated Thai director Ekachai Uekrongtham, who also directed the award-winning film “Beautiful Boxer” and the hit musical “Chang & Eng”, Muay Thai Live: The Legend Lives conjures Muay Thai’s greatest heroes, from the past up to the present day, in a series of artfully-woven tales.
Some of the cast members.
The 18-strong cast is composed of real-life Muay Thai champions, black belt martial artists, professional stuntmen, extreme sports athletes, and traditional Thai dancers. The entire scene is indeed jaw dropping as we took our places at the front row of the premium seats.
My mini Muay Thai glove.
Since no photographs and video recording are allowed during the show, we got our chance to have our snapshots taken with the cast when the performance was finished. And we got home with our miniature Muay Thai gloves in tow.
Photos can be viewed at http://facebook.com/firsttimetravel. For more info, visit http://www.thaiasiatique.com/.