Luxury Travel Tips:
The Best Rooftop Cocktail Bars Around SE Asia
I am most decidedly a cocktails girl. I’ve never acquired a taste for either beer or wine. If only beer or wine are available, I always prefer to go without. But cocktails, now that’s an entirely different story! I’ll gladly sip a sweet colorful cocktail just about anywhere, anytime.
Besides cocktails, I also on occasion enjoy upscale trendy venues, great atmosphere and chilled tunes. Quite happily, such chic places go hand in hand with cocktails. So whenever I pass through a major city in SE Asia, I’m in the habit of dashing off to a cocktail bar or two, particularly to rooftop cocktail bars. I have my favorites in most cities, as well as some cocktail venues on a few islands and beaches around the region.
Here are my votes for the coolest cocktail bars in SE Asia:
Singapore – Ku De Ta
Ku De Ta on the astounding 57th floor roof of Marina Bay Sands Hotel is undoubtedly the cocktail bar in Singapore, presenting the most jaw-dropping sky-high views of the city.
The nearby financial district skyscrapers seem almost within arms reach. Down below, Marina Bay is lined by splendid architecture, including the quirky Esplanade Concert Hall, historic Fullerton Hotel, iconic Merlion statue and an assortment of other colonial and modern buildings. It’s a truly impressive sight that you won’t quickly forget.
Partaking of cocktails at Ku De Ta also provides an additional reward. It’s offers the only ‘free’ public access to Marina Bay Sands roof! Only guests of the hotel are allowed in the famous rooftop infinity pool. Otherwise, non-guests can visit the observation deck for $20 Sing.
For that price, why not head to Ku De Ta one evening instead? Get a tasty cocktail thrown in with the views.
Cocktails all over Singapore are very expensive. Ku De Ta prices, surprisingly, are on par with prices at other bars around the city. Expect to pay about $20-25 Sing. Per cocktail. Surely, that price must rank up with the most expensive in the world?
But, hey, you’re paying for the astounding views, the atmosphere of one of SE Asia’s most chic and trendy bars, and the privilege of standing on the roof of Marina Bay Sands.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Sky Bar
I have a hard time choosing my very favorite of KL’s superb rooftop cocktail bars. In my post Best Rooftop Cocktail Bars in KL, I detail my top three.
But if I were pressed, I’d have to go with Sky Bar at Trader’s Hotel as my all-time favorite. While all three rooftop bars offer astounding views, cool atmosphere and chic music, Sky Bar offers a few extra features that place it just a notch higher in my estimation.
First of all, a long sleek swimming pool runs the length of the bar. Tables and sunken sitting areas run around the pool, most of them right up against floor to ceiling windows looking out on the Petronas Twin Towers, just across a leafy green park. Not many bars sport a swimming pool as centerpiece!
Secondly, Wednesdays from 6-9 pm at Sky Bar, ladies can drink cocktails on the house! For one of KL’s – and SE Asia’s – most famous rooftop bars, that’s quite an amazing offer.
Bangkok, Thailand – Sky Bar
Interestingly enough, my favorite rooftop bar in Bangkok is also called Sky Bar. It’s the very first open-air rooftop cocktail bar I ever visited. That was all due to my brother, professional photographer, who came to visit me in Thailand one year and insisted on heading to the tops of lux skyscrapers to photograph the city.
At that point, I rarely visited such upscale places. I was content to cycle the city, frequent local markets, and re-visit my favorite Thai temples. So getting dressed up and heading up to the top of the city’s skyscrapers was a real eye-opener for me. I’ll eve be grateful to my brother for ‘dragging’ me along.
Completely aside from that, Sky Bar in Bangkok is a truly astounding experience. Billed as the world’s highest open-air bar, at the 63rd floor of the State Tower Building. Entirely open to the sky, the edges of the rooftop bar are lined only by a chest-high clear glass wall. Anybody could easily leap off, if they were so inclined.
I’m still utterly astounded that they serve drinks to people in such a venue. I can’t stop imagining how drunk patrons must get way up there in the sky. There’s just a thin, clear low wall separating tottering drinkers from spilling over the edge. Such a wonderful place would never be allowed in the USA.
I love Sky Bar and Thailand’s less stringent rules, for allowing such glorious freedom.
Naturally, cocktails at Sky Bar are pricey. Expect to pay at least $10 US per cocktail. But, hey, just like Ku De Ta in Singapore and Sky Bar in Kl, you’re paying for the astounding views, amazing experience and chic atmosphere.
Bali – Potato Head
Bali does not even have skyscrapers, so forget about rooftops or rooftop cocktail bars! Never the less, Bali is a fantastic place for drinking cocktails. On ‘Island of the Gods’ the best cocktail bars are located beach side.
Sipping cocktails at sunset, overlooking Bali’s long sweeping beaches, while grooving to chilled world lounge music and hobnobbing with expats and well-to-do locals is a fun evening habit.
In Bali, such places come in and out of favor from year to year. Several years ago the place to be was Ku De Ta. But in the past two years, the oddly named Potato Head Bar has become the trendiest place to sip drinks at sunset. Featuring a large wooden deck and swimming pool, Potato Head is a relaxing place to get smashed or lightly buzzed on Bali’s tropical evenings.
HAve you been to any of these great bars? If so, which is your favorite?
Do you have any other rooftop cocktail bars to recommend in SE Asia?
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If you’re looking for more amazing bars, Worlds Best Bars would like to invite you to visit their website, where you can find great bars from around the world.
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