A bustling city that combines frantic chaos with intense calm, Bangkok is Thailand’s largest city and cultural heart.
A wild city moving at a frantic pace, nothing can prepare you for the sensory overload Bangkok is so celebrated for – a chaotic swirl of impromptu markets, unpredictable traffic and intensely friendly locals, all mixed with the aromatic scent of fresh spices drifting from the seemingly never ending array of street food carts that litter the city.
With a population nearing 10m people, Bangkok has grown to cover some 570 square miles – eventually encompassing the two former Thai capitals of Thonburi and Rattanakosin. Whilst both of these areas offer a unique insight into the city’s past, Rattanakosin is recognised as the Bangkok’s historic centre and is home to many of the city’s premier attractions such as the National Museum of Thailand and the Temple of the Emerald Buddah which is located in the grounds of lavishly decorated Grand Palace. Visitors may also view the nearby reclining Buddah at the Wat Pho temple, but guests are reminded that modest dress is appropriate when visiting such places.
Getting around Bangkok is simple thanks to the excellent Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail networks which run between all the major shopping and entertainment districts of the city. The riverboat expresses along the Chao Phraya River are also a good way to get a different view of the city. Of course, you may prefer to experience the city’s signature tuk tuks, but prepare yourself for a bumpy and occasionally terrifying ride!
To experience the true mania of Bankok, the Banglamphu District of the city is an absolute must for any visitor to the city. The location of the notorious Khao San Road, the entire district is an unstoppable onslaught of sights, sounds and pungent smells.
With so much going on, you might prefer to simply sit back in a pavement café and watch it all unfold before your eyes. Alternatively you might find yourself dragged into some good natured haggling with the local traders as they try to sell you every counterfeit item under the sun. Beware though, everything is counterfeit on the Khao San – whatever the seller tells you.
Bangkok is not all chaos though – far from it. Visitors are welcome to join one of the free outdoor yoga or tai chi classes which are held daily in Lumphini Park, and most hotels offers luxurious spa treatments to sooth away the stress of the city. Whoever you are, whatever travel experience you’re looking for – Bangkok is ready to welcome you with open arms.