The heat, the blast of motorbikes and the peppery pace of this Asian capital sometimes overwhelm its exotic charm. Even its most acclimated denizens need to break away, to head for the provinces, to the languid life of the other Thailand.
If you have only 48 hours, the best bet is Cha-am, a winding stretch of white-sand beach on the Gulf of Thailand. A three-hour drive past paddies and limestone crags south of Bangkok delivers you to the perfect weekend tonic: first-class isolation.
Cha-am is a fishing village dwarfed by the Regent Cha-am Beach Hotel, a modern, multistoried, seaside layout with all the resort conveniences. Leave the main building to the earnest tourists; what you want is a bungalow.
Secluded at one end of the complex, the bungalows are thatched-roof duplexes situated across a patch of grass from the sand. The brick-walled rooms are tiled and clean and are equipped with telephones and air conditioning; room service is available.