An alpine anniversary and affordable accommodations amid affluent avenues – as Thai Airways celebrates 35 years of service to Zürich, there’s far more to this Swiss city than meets the eye (and tongue)
Thirty-five years ago is when Thai Airways first began flying between Bangkok and Zürich. Like the rest of the world, Zürich has changed a lot since then. And yet, a lot also hasn’t – which is one of the lures for visitors today.
The best place to start might be the Bahnhofstrasse, which means “railway station street.” But don’t let the plain name fool you: Bahnhofstrasse has a reputation as among the world’s most expensive streets. But reputation isn’t always reality: there are plenty of bargains.
One of the best happens to be the ideal place to sleep. The Savoy Baur en Ville is almost ludicrously luxurious – think the kind of chandelier-ceilinged place James Bond would stay. Yet it’s also the kind of place even Charlie Bucket and his humble family from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory could afford.
Speaking of chocolate and sweet things, there’s a reason it’s one of the foods Switzerland is famed for. The Swiss consume more chocolate per person than anyone else – and that means there’s no shortage of chocolatiers to visit.
On Bahnhofstrasse, the place to pop into is Sprüngli. A must try is Luxemburgerli. The exact recipe has been a closely-guarded secret since the 1950s, but Luxemburgerli is essentially a macaron made of two pieces of almond meringue with buttercream filling. They’re available in seemingly every colour, but whichever you choose, wash it down with a steaming mug of creamy hot chocolate. Insider tip: the experience will feel even more magical if done on a day when it’s so cold you can see your breath– not uncommon in autumn and winter.
On the subject of winter: snow and Switzerland are kind of a package deal. In Zürich, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to ways to enjoy the white stuff. Looking to go skiing? Buy a snow’n’rail ticket, hop on a train from the Hauptbahnhof to the nearby Flumserberg resort, and carve up the powder till your heart’s content. Or maybe you’re fancying a walk in the park? If so, go to Üetliberg, Irchel or Käferberg – all three hills are great for walking.
No matter the season or weather, a sight not to miss is Rhine Falls. The most powerful waterfall in Europe, the Old World’s answer to North America’s Niagara Falls is about a 45-minute train ride away. Awe-inspiring as it is, be careful not to get to close, lest you get very wet!
It still involves water, but you’re less likely to get wet during a boat ride on the Zürichsee. A particularly romantic experience, the passion can be further kindled with a meal at Kronenhalle or Helvetia – both are some of the best places to get famous, gooey fondue.
It’s well-established that memories tend to get fonder over time. If you know nothing else about Zürich, know this: visit once, and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll be back again before it’s been 35 years. Though if it does take that long, odds are good Thai Airways will still be flying there.
THAI operates daily direct flights from Bangkok to Zürich.
MR. ATHIVAT KRISNAMPOK General Manager, Switzerland
Where to eat
This is the place to be to experience traditional Swiss cuisine such as rösti or various choices of sausages in a lively beer hall.
Hanegg sits atop a hill and overlooks Zürich Lake. It’s a pleasant 20-minute drive from Zürich city centre and the best way to enjoy some fried chicken.
Bathhouse by day and openair bar by night, this place is extraordinary in that part of Zürich River passes through It, creating the feeling of being on an island for visitors. It’s only open in the summer.
White Elephant Restaurant at the Marriott Hotel
Located in Zürich’s city centre, this is the go-to place for Thai food with a pleasant atmosphere and authentic Thai food to match.
Things to do
Zürich Old Town
The best way to explore the city’s beautiful Old Town is on foot. There are many organised walking tours available to choose from, but exploring the city and browsing around the traditional shops on your own promises to be an equally rewarding experience.
The museum sits right in the heart of town in a historical building and hosts both permanent and temporary exhibitions.
Open Air Cinema Zürich Lake
During the summertime, locals come here to enjoy the openair cinema experience with Zürich Lake as its backdrop. Don’t miss this if you’re visiting during the summer.