It’s a mesmerizing mix of old with new, the East with the West—a more than hot, thrilling, and sprawling metropolis that’s as known for its vast array of sightseeing, shopping, and eating possibilities, as it is for its ornate shrines, vibrant street life, sacred temples, and languid canals.
This “Venice of the East” never fails to make a huge impression on travelers of all sorts, providing a cacophony of sights, sounds, and nonstop action that’s sure to satisfy anyone looking to get lost in a city that’s filled with utter grit and character—not to mention some of the cheapest eats in the world. From street side vendors to chic upscale eateries, spend your time exploring a chaotic urban jungle of towering skyscrapers, motorcycle taxis, and diverse pedestrians. You’ll likely even come across a few Buddhist monks or two clad in gold yellow robes! Amuse yourself in this unforgettable Thai haven by enjoying a wide range of activities that’ll have you in good spirits for sure.
Although Bangkok is not known for its jaw-dropping amount of tourist attractions, it does have a never ending supply of worthwhile things to do. Do some temple and palace-gazing at Wat Po, The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, as well as lesser-known temples, such as Wat Benjamabophit, the golden stupa of Wat Sakhet, and Wat Suthat. Then, revel in a venom extraction and python feeding show at the Queen Saowapha Snake Farm, or go to the nearby Jim Thompson House to learn all about the famed Thai silk industry. You’ll definitely also want to check out the Suan Pakkard Palace or the astounding Vimanmek Palace, which contains the world's largest golden teak building, as well as Lumphini Park, the city’s answer to New York’s Central Park, or the array of awesome area spas that’ll provide just the right kind of quiet getaway you need to refresh.
There are, of course, also those Canals to explore—they don't call it "Venice of the East" for nothing. Take a boat tour to see bizarre riverside dwellings before haggling over items at the local markets, where you’ll find some of the best high-end designer goods at much lower prices. Forget Hong Kong or Singapore! The city is also home to some of the greatest bars in the region, so do some sky-high sipping at a local “bar with a view" within extreme open-air spaces atop lofty towers. All those martinis will definitely pair well with the abundant street food you’ll be munching on too. Really, let your taste buds delight in a rainbow of flavors-- as Thai food is unrivaled for spice, taste, and variation. Chow on fresh roast duck or wonton noodles on a street corner for lunch and then dine on world-class chef creations in a luxurious hotel for dinner.
Urban exploration is the name of the game when it comes to this Thai capital city. Firstly, Bangkok's Chinatown always merits at least a day on every travel itinerary, especially if you want to see some live daily Chinese opera performances or visit the sprawling labyrinthine Flower and Thieves markets that’ll have you perusing through uber cool goods. You might also want to take a stroll off Banglamphu’s beaten track to one of the serene temples to have a chat with a local monk, or to get lost in Sukhumvit come nightfall, where the buzzy local nightlife scene reveals an even more sophisticated and dynamically lit-up city. Adventure seekers will also be glad to know that administratively, the city is split up into fifty districts, which are further split into over one hundred fifty sub districts, providing even the most navigation-weary of travelers a chance to get around the super-conceptually-divided area very easily.
For those wanting to head even further out, provinces around Bangkok worth checking out include Nakhon Pathom to the west, Pathum Thani to the north, Nonthaburi to the northwest, Chachoengsao to the east, Samut Sakhon to the southwest, and Samut Prakan to the southeast.
Since this Southeast Asian city attracts millions of visitors each year, it happens to feature the widest variety and quality of places to stay in the entire region-- if not the entire world. There are a vast range of accommodations to be found, from some of worlds most acclaimed hotels to jam-packed neighborhoods of budget backpacker hostels and guesthouses.
Many luxury hotels brilliantly sit along the Chao Phraya riverside, where rooms and restaurants overlook both tranquil waters and the bustling central city, including the shores of Silom and Thonburi, which are home to The Mandarin Oriental and The Peninsula respectively. Both are palatial-like vacation stays that truly typify the golden age of travel, attending to the needs of guests at all the highest levels. The districts of Siam Square, Sukhumvit, and historic Rattakosin also house plenty of five star hotels, family-friendly mid-range accommodations, and a several budget guesthouses, while Khao San Road is a mecca for backpackers on the hunt for bargain deals. What’s more is that Bangkok’s hotel staff is well known for their courteous services, so no matter where you choose to stay, you’re bound to feel right at home.
Like most busy cities, traffic is unavoidable if in a car or any other vehicle—still, public transportation in the area has rapidly improved throughout the years, with the BTS (the above-ground Skytrain) and MRT (underground metro) running daily from 6 a.m. to midnight. Brightly colored taxis and tuk-tuks are also available for hire, while first class sleeper cars via train service can make any train trip to Bangkok all the more enjoyable as well. Travel in comfort and with convenience aboard the Eastern & Oriental Express, a throwback colonial-style luxury train that services Butterworth and Bangkok on a once weekly schedule.
It’s nice to know that visitors can even travel by bus to Bangkok from Thailand’s neighboring countries with varying levels of ease. Jetters can make ample use of the new Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK), which hosts over forty million visitors and transit passengers each year. Since Bangkok serves as a major international hub for air travel, there are dozens of domestic and international air carriers to be found that bring passengers to Bangkok from major cities in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia.
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