The sun sets in forty minutes, and with Bangkok rush hour already underway, the places I want to photograph – Wat Arun and Sky Bar – are just not possible. A little internet digging shows that the Sofitel SO Hotel has a rooftop bar overlooking Lumpini Park, and its very near a train station. So Softitel SO it is.
Down into Asoke Station, I get to play my favorite game: “How the heck do I ride the train?” It’s really amazing how many different ways there are to pay for a fare around the world. This one involves purchasing a black plastic token, because everyone knows what to do with a black plastic token right?
I figure it out, ride a few stops, and into the Sofitel SO with 20 minutes to spare. Doesn’t matter, all the park view seats are taken. Barge my way in for some shots, then sit back to sip my 350 baht mojito and listen to the sophisticated techno beat. Not my usual sort of place. Hanging with the semi-trendy. It’s not so bad. I guess I could be semi-trendy if I had to be.
Sunset comes and goes. People crowd the rail to point whatever camera they have at the glowing red ball on the horizon, and they, like me, are instantly disappointed. It just doesn’t look that great. I don’t know, maybe they love their photos, but I’m looking at mine and thinking, “This is weak sauce.” I sit back down. They linger. Five minutes, ten minutes, some for fifteen, but then they give up. And thank goodness for that. Because now things get interesting.
As the sun sets deeper, the sky turns a darker shade of blue, the skyline lights up, and the neon arches in the bar that were invisible during daylight begin to glow. It turns out that the coveted seats on the rail aren’t ‘all that’ after all. Sure, you can look down on the park, see the skyline unobstructed, but there is no sense of place, it’s like being a detached eyeball in the sky.
Nope, I’m not getting up to take another picture, it looks pretty good from right here, a big neon framed window overlooking the City of Angels. This is where I am. This is the place. Click.