One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster – so the famous song goes. Love it or loathe it you can’t deny Bangkok is one of Asia’s truly great cities. It’s a tourist mecca that attracts millions annually. And as such it caters well to visitors with a multitude of activities and attractions supported by a good tourism infrastructure. It’s also the economic engine of the country, 20 times bigger than the any other city and the modern heart of a traditional country.
Home to eight million people, Bangkok (or ‘City of Angels’ in Thai), is a chaotic blend of cultural and historic sights, humble shophouses, sophisticated shopping malls, terrible traffic jams and quiet backwater canals. As a tourist you’ll certainly need a guide. It’s noted for its naughty nightlife but is equally cultured and refined, boasting some top-notch restaurants and hotels that are affordable to all visitors.
From soaring pagodas to quiet teak mansions, Bangkok has plenty for the 21st century tourist. Modern and ancient, the city has an impressive sightseeing brochure…more
Shop yourself silly, soak up the Red Light districts’ eye-openers, indulge in traditional Thai culture or people-watch on bizarre Khao San Road – backpacker central of Southeast Asia…more
Everyone can afford luxury in Bangkok, where famous Thai hospitality and legendary cheap Thailand meet, there’s something for all budgets from 5 star resorts to budget hostels…more
Dine at silver service restaurants for the price of a taxi ride, or join the locals at roadside noodle bars for a true taste of delicious Southeast Asian cuisine without the frills…more
Nightlife & Bars
The best bit about Bangkok, be it happy hour in a sports bar, a ladyboy caberet show or a bar full of ‘friendly ladies’ – noone can deny that Bangkok is tremendous fun by night…more
By tuk tuk, sky train, metro, longtail canal boat, belching bus or river ferry, there are many ways to get around Bangkok and we’ve got the inside guide right here so you wont get stuck…more
Brief guide to Bangkok highlights
Top of all tourist itineraries is the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) which are unrivalled in their beauty, while nearby relics such as Wat Po, with its enormous reclining Buddha, and Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) are fantastic photo opportunites. Then there is the exemplary National Museum, Temple Mount and Giant Swing all within walking distance. In many ways Bangkok is well designed for the tourist.
The Dusit area is a short tuk tuk ride away with its grand avenues, low-rise government mansions and leafy gardens, and here you’ll find the lovely Vimnamek Teak Mansion,Throne Hall, Chitralada Palace and the Zoo. This tourist area is far more pleasant and free of traffic so it’s advisable to concentrate on this and the Rattanokosin area of the Grand Palace. Sandwiched between the two is the other-worldly Khao San Road, a cornucopia of international humanity with its bustling bohemian backpacker atmosphere. There isn’t a travel service, copied CD, or drinking hole you won’t find here!
The Bangkok at the centre of your tourist guide is found nearer Siam Square where you will find the greatest concentration of shopping malls, and though you may not have come on holiday to shop you’ll certainly end up snapping up some bargains. Take time out to visit Jim Thompson’s House down a small soi nearby to experience a typical elegant upper-class Thai house, fully furnished as a interesting museum.
The Sukumvit area is ‘expat central’ and location of many of the hotels and fine restaurants as well as some of the ‘girlie bar’ venues that make the city infamous, such as Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy. Another similar area is Silom, which has some good nightlife and includes the notoriously naughty area of Patpong, which also contains all the ‘knock off’ vendors (fake Rolexes anyone?). By day it’s within walking distance of Bangkok’s largest green space, Lumphini Park.
Then there is a host of museums across the city and cultural day trips. Escape the frenetic pace of the centre and cross the fat meandering Chao Phraya River to explore the many canals of Thon Buri and experience a Bangkok of days gone by. Farther afield is the famous Floating Market, while those wishing to see the best of Thailand’s fine arts all in a day will be rewarded with a one-hour trip south to the Ancient City. This themed tourist park has recreated all the best sites in one location. There’s also a lots of amusement parks for kids.
By night you can experience a racy city and indulge in the nightlife, be it an alfresco restaurant on the rooftop of a skyscraper or a pampering from a bar full of ladies which might turn out to be men! Shopping is a busy activity, from roadside souvenir vendors on Sukhumvit road to the uber-chic Paragon Mall. Then there is the host of great value hotels and the whole lot is presented with a famous Thai smile.
Almost all visitors to Thailand invariably pass through Bangkok and many wish they had budgeted more time to really see the city properly. Recent improvements in mass transport systems has made the city much more bearable to get around, and almost all services are surprisingly cheap. It also boasts a thorough network of trains, planes and buses to the many far flung provinces of Thailand. There are also many online booking services which offer cheap flights to Bangkok, making getting to the Thai capital a breeze.