From a candlelit dinner at an elephant camp to experimental Indian cuisine inspired by emoticons, Thailand is full of unforgettable culinary adventures. We shortlisted our top picks from all over the country.
Vertigo and Moon Bar
The jewel in the crown of Forbes Travel Guide Recommended Banyan Tree Bangkok is one of the world’s best rooftop dining experiences. Formerly a helipad, the 61st-floor Vertigo restaurant and Moon Bar showcase Bangkok’s sparkling skyline from stunning angles.
Don your finest smart-casual ensemble to enjoy an alfresco sundowner or two at Moon Bar before heading over to Vertigo’s separate terrace for dinner. The menu is all about grilled surf ’n’ turf, so expect lots of fresh seafood, thick steaks and specialty cocktails.
Just be sure to make reservations or arrive early — there’s usually a crowd vying for these views.
Elephant camp dinner
An exclusive experience at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle, about an hour north of Chiang Rai, the Elephant Camp Dinner is one of the most memorable ways to spend an evening.
Start with a signature salty and spicy lemongrass martini at the Burma Bar while watching the sunset over the Golden Triangle, where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand converge.
Come nightfall, a guide will escort you down a stone staircase to the elephant camp, where a private candlelit dinner awaits. Planned in advance, the tailor-made menu depends on your cravings — opt for an upscale Thai meal to sample the region’s unique northern fare or experience the camp’s Western-style dishes.
Adding to the ambience are live Thai musicians, free-flowing wine, personalized bamboo candleholders, a traditional Thai lantern ceremony and a sky full of stars.
Billing itself as “progressive Indian,” Gaggan has topped best-in-Thailand lists for several years running. Tucked away in a colonial house, the restaurant’s gregarious hosts and inviting atmosphere will immediately make you feel at home.
A far cry from traditional Indian curry and soups, chef Gaggan Anand’s 25-course menu is inspired by emoticons. There’s the “A (Spice) B (Citrus) = C (Cola)” to start, followed by a “Yogurt Explosion” and a “Bombay Bhel” — each denoted by an expressive symbol.
Bite-sized dishes, such as an eggplant cookie or a chili bonbon, offer unexpected texture and flavor combinations.
The restaurant also recently added an interactive new section dubbed The Lab, which has an intimate 12-seat counter with front-row access to the open kitchen.
Dining on the Rocks
Perched on the eastern edge of Koh Samui, far from the buzzing tourist hubs, Six Senses Samui is an oasis of tranquility. The rustic, luxe retreat boasts several viewing platforms, perfect for sunset drinks and dinner at the heralded Dining on the Rocks Restaurant. Scattered across about 10 tiered platforms, each intimate table feels as if it sits at the edge of the ocean.
Aside from the 270-degree vistas, the restaurant also uses fresh herbs and greens from the hotel’s own gardens to create its acclaimed international dishes. Originally from Italy, chef Giancarlo Caffaro provides various creative set menus — such as “Serenity” and “Interpretation” — to guide your culinary journey.
Phuket is a haven for beach lovers and food fanatics. The latter will especially appreciate the authentic Thai experience at Blue Elephant, a restaurant and cooking school inside Phra Pitak Chinpracha Mansion. Built in the Sino-Portuguese architectural style more than 100 years ago, the historic address provides a unique and relaxing atmosphere.
Helmed by chef Nooror Somany Steppe, who also operates another branch in Bangkok, the restaurant’s menu features Thai classics alongside contemporary creations like steamed purple dumplings, steamed seasonal fish with lime and chili dressing, home-style massaman lamb curry and deep-sea tiger prawns.
You’ll find The Grotto in a picture-perfect spot inside an ancient limestone cave with a front-row seat to the dramatic Andaman Sea sunset. Located on the edge of beautiful Phra Nang Beach in Southern Thailand, The Grotto is easily the most luxurious dining experience in the area.
Part of Rayavadee Resort, this rustic location, famous for its natural beauty, takes up prime real estate surrounded on three sides by sandy beaches and lush jungle greenery.
Almost as striking as the landscape is an impressive list of cocktails and champagne along with a menu of light snacks and more elaborate entrées.
Be sure to make a reservation in advance to snag a beach-front table.