Get a buzz as you fly through the streets in a pimped up tuk-tuk, marvel at opulent palaces and spectacular wats, savour it’s delicious cuisine and party the night away, Thailand’s capital is where traditional Thai culture meets 21st-century hi-tech lifestyles.
You’d be missing out not to explore Bangkok at least a little. If you’re not a fan of big busy cities, then you may not want to spend too much time here.
Magnificent historical sites such as the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun never fail to impress visitors with the profusion of gold leaf, beautiful murals, colourful mosaics and jaw-dropping Siamese architecture. You might think that with all the new shopping centres appearing across the cityscape in recent times that Bangkok's famous traditional markets are on the decline. Not a bit of it. Local markets are still to be found throughout the city: wet markets, flower markets, amulet markets, electronics markets and of course… food markets! Thais are renowned for their superlative cuisine and Bangkok is a treasure trove of great places to eat, with an amazing variety and abundance of street food that is quite unparalleled. Wherever you go in Bangkok, you are never far from good cheap food. Bangkok’s nightlife is still going strong, with the backpacker party mecca of Khao San Road, it’s infamous red light districts, plus more hip and upmarket areas. Iconic images of Thai farmers in small wooden boats selling their produce or cooking up fresh food at floating markets still exist. Their popularity with Bangkok locals as well as with foreign tourists means that these days, ‘authentic rustic’ floating markets are a little harder to find. Check our ‘Best 3 Floating Markets around Bangkok’ article for top tips.
When To Go
The cool season runs from Nov to Feb, often with clear skies and daytime temperatures around 31°C, with nighttime dropping to low 20s. The hottest months are from Mar to Jun, peaking in Apr/May with daytime temperatures around 35°C. Rainy season is Jul to Oct, expect more overcast skies with torrential bursts of rain. Accomodation prices are often lower in this season. Here’s a few of the top festival highlights of 2018 in Bangkok: Chinese New Year (16th Feb) - Street celebrations in Chinatown (Yaowarat). Songkran - Thai New Year (13-15th Apr) - Loads of festivities including a big water fight. Royal Barge Procession (Nov) Loy Krathong (Nov) - One of the most beautiful festivals, masses of floating candle lights in leaf rafts decorated with flowers on the Rivers, canals and lakes throughout the city.
There’s plenty to see and do in Bangkok so at least a couple of days to see the main sights. Although you could quite easily stay much longer.
Snapshot of the Areas
Khao San Road - The infamous backpacker party mecca. Old Town - Contains some of Bangkok's prominent historical sites. Thonburi - Quaint old residential side. Siam Square - The city's shopping district. Silom - The financial district and home to Patpong. Sukhumvit - The coolest bars and restaurants in town. Chinatown - Also home to Little India. Dusit - Home to a palace complex and the city zoo. Phahonyothin - The huge Chatuchak Market resides on the outskirt
Home to 6.4 million Thais, Bangkok has undergone some serious modernisation in recent years. It now boasts an incredible array of futuristic shopping malls; air-conditioned sky trains and metro lines; with impressive rooftop skyscraper restaurants and bars. It is a vibrant, exciting city that never sleeps. Canals (klongs) still criss-cross many parts of the city, and many neighbourhoods still use them as an essential part of their daily lives - living alongside the waterways in ancient wooden houses, so far removed from the shiny new Bangkok. The suburb of Thonburi on the west side of the Chao Phraya River is an excellent example of this.
Wat Phra Kaew & Grand Palace@Ko Rattanakosin
Home of Thailands most revered Buddha image, The Emerald Buddha