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Destination Bangkok in Thailand

Welcome to Krung Thep. This name, meaning “City of Angels,” is what Thais call their capital city, known to foreigners as Bangkok. Bangkok is a thriving city, huge compared to other towns in Thailand, with 14 million people in the Bangkok Metropolitan area. Despite its rapid growth in population and in investment, this central Thailand metropolis has retained an appeal that ranks it among the world’s top tourist destinations. Whether you are visiting Bangkok for several weeks as an end point destination or for just a few days as a gate way city to Thailand’s less urban areas, you will find attractions for every taste, age and budget.

Exotic Culture

Many of Bangkok’s most interesting sites and events reflect the exotic culture and long history of Thailand, formerly known as Siam. Thailand’s culture is strongly influenced by the majority religion, Buddhism. Buddhist holidays, mostly revolving around events in the life of Buddha are celebrated with gusto and their dates are calculated according to various non-Western calendars, so if you would like to witness these festivals, inform yourself before you finalize your travel plans.

“Wats,” or Buddhist temples, can be very elaborate and beautiful, comprising some of the most important sights in Bangkok. When visiting any temples in all of Thailand, visitors are advised to be respectful of tradition by wearing modest dress – for both females and males – and removing their shoes before entering. Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn), Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple) and Wat Pho, the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, are some of the most visited temples, as is Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the Golden Buddha), which is situated in the same complex as the immensely popular Grand Palace. This palace, once the official residence of Thailand’s hereditary monarchy, and now used for ceremonial events, is a collection of lovely traditional style buildings, pavilions and gardens. It is open to the public daily.

Other interesting specimens of Thai architecture include the Khamthieng House, moved from Chiang Mai to Bangkok to preserve an example of an authentic teak house in the Lanna Thai style of construction, and the Jim Thompson House, a beautiful, traditional style home with a mystery. Jim Thompson, an American and great fan of Thailand, became very involved in developing the Thai silk trade in the mid 20th century, until he disappeared without a trace in 1967. The National Museum, near the Grand Palace complex, is housed in an 18th century palace itself and contains a fascinating assemblage of Thai art and artifacts, from pre historic times to the present.

Modern Bangkok

To experience the Thailand of today – and find some gifts to take home – visit one or two of Bangkok’s modern shopping malls. These multi story structures are home to shops of all kinds, mostly sophisticated and upscale, selling fashion, accessories, books, furniture, appliances, and all manner of luxury consumer goods. Best of all they provide an air conditioned respite from Bangkok’s famous heat and humidity. Another way to beat the heat while shopping – without paying luxury prices – is to check out the night markets, fun and funky open air bazaars that operate in the evening hours, often till 10 PM or so. Or try an early morning guided boat tour of the old style floating markets, a great place to buy delicious tropical fruit and veggies as well as prepared food freshly cooked in a floating kitchen.

Bangkok offers a nightlife that is commonly described as the best in the world. While in the past, it has also been labeled with a reputation for sleaziness, the capital’s night time scene is upgrading itself. The diverse entertainment available ranges from elegant dance performances, great live music and cool jazz, to hot nightclubs and laid back pubs, to yes, a thriving red light district. You don’t have to travel to Munich to sip your favorite brew in a beer garden – they are everywhere in Bangkok from November to January. Another unusual Bangkok offering is mobile drinks trucks – VW vans that act as impromptu bars, as casual as an ice cream truck.

The restaurant outlook is equally diverse. You will find just about every type of world cuisine 24 hours a day, in food courts, luxury hotels, outdoor markets, dinner cruises and more. Traditional Thai cuisine is a feast for the senses – it combines sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavors in a piquant blend. Street food is everywhere and you can feel free to indulge, as the majority is hygienically prepared and safe.

When you’re looking for accommodation, you will have a lot of options, once again. Veteran travelers to Bangkok consistently recommend selecting accommodation near a sky train station; this will make it easy to get around to the sightseeing, shopping and nightlife. Aside from that, consider your needs (for example, quiet, suitability for children … or conversely, lots of action and new friends) and your budget. Choose from top luxury hotels, smaller boutique hotels, no frills budget hotels and hostels. You can also plan day tours or longer trips to islands with amazing beaches for some scuba diving and snorkeling.

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Partners:

Gringos Retsaurant Koh Samui, Thailand
ThailandGuide24 - travel website

Partners:

Thailand Golf Tours
List your Thailand travel business