Asiatique The Riverfront - Bangkok's Trendy New Lifestyle Project
A brand new shopping and dining experience awaits alongside the banks of the Chao Phraya River with the unveiling of the swanky Asiatique The Riverfront development. Housed within the precincts of the old East Asiatic Company pier, the project gives Bangkok residents and tourists another reason to hop aboard a ferry to meander along the city's main arterial waterway. Dedicated boat services run from the Sathorn Pier, at Saphan Thaksin Skytain station, for the 10 minute trip.
Words, movie and photos by Paul Hutton, Bangkok Scene.
The East Asiatic Company was established in 1897, in Copenhagen, by Hans Niels Andersen, with a view to implementing passenger and freight lines between Denmark and Bangkok. The exporting of teak from Thailand to Scandinavia began shortly thereafter, and the pier was constructed to facilitate the process. This marked the Kingdom's first foray into trade with Europe, established under the reign of King Chulalongkorn.
Nowadays trade is of a more local nature, with handbags, apparel and accessories jostling alongside streetside food and drink outlets and upmarket fine dining establishments. But remnants of the past remain, with warehouse signs, tramcars, clock towers, water towers and anchors on display beside more modern sculptures that offer a homage to history.
The outlets began opening in May 2012, and the complex is now fully functional. There are 40 bars and restaurants on site, along with tourist product shops, fashion and accessory outlets, furniture and home furnishings stores, a puppet theatre and the Calypso Bangkok Theatre.
The first phase of the project occupies 12,000 acres, but the entire site, when completed, will measure 28,880 acres. The development also features the city's longest public boardwalk, at 300 metres, where concerts, festivals and the New Year Countdown are set to take place. Opening hours are from 5pm until midnight.