Bangkok




Bangkok city, Thailand's capital is truly an amazing place. A melting pot of diversity. Famous for its temples, bustling street life and intriguing culture. The fast paced, nonstop metropolis is a clash of the traditional east fused with the modern west where the sights, sounds and smells will awaken the senses. At first it can be a little overwhelming and a shock to the system due to its size, speed and sheer volume of people. But, give it a chance, explore a little and your bound to fall in love with this wonderful city. 


Getting around Bangkok is super easy with its various modes of transportation. Taxis are cheap and the most common way to get about the city, and they are absolutely everywhere. With their striking colours and lit up signs you'll never have a problem in finding one. Just remember to make sure the meter is turned on! Like taxis, motorbike taxis are easily found throughout the city and are a great way to zip in and out the Bangkok traffic especially at rush hour. Now you can't visit Thailand without taking the iconic tuk tuk. Prices can be a little more expensive than a standard taxi but they are so much fun, and great to take pictures from as you weave your way through the city. Buses are probably the cheapest way to get around but often journeys can be hot, crowded and slow and working out what bus goes where can sometimes be a little difficult. However the buses are a good way to immerse yourselves in the culture and are a lovely way of seeing locals going about their daily lives. A very enjoyable way to move through the city is to use Chao Phraya river boats, a great way to jump to various tourist destinations and see some sights on the way. The BTS skytrain system is another cheap and easy way to get around and in parts giving you fantastic elevated views as it speeds across Bangkok.




Bangkok has countless things to do and see, with something for everyone to enjoy. One of the biggest attractions in the city is it's beautiful temples, shrines and religious landmarks. The most popular of these being the Grand Palace, Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho), Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), Erawan Shrine, Wat Ratchanatdaram Woraihara, The Marble Temple (Wat Benchamabophit), Wat Suthat, Wat Bowonniwet Vihara and the Temple of the Golden Buddha (Wat Traimit). With over 800 temples and religious landmarks in Bangkok, to see them all is not easy (though if you do manage to see them all then well done, what an excellent achievement!). So if you do have limited time the mentioned sights above should be enough to satisfy your temple and shrine needs. Just remember when visiting religious sites to respect the culture, and remove shoes in the temples and wear long trousers (no shorts) and keep the shoulders covered.
          



  
Bangkok is well known for its shopping and markets. What ever want you'll find it in Bangkok. With a multitude of modern shopping malls dotted around the city the only problem you'll have is deciding which ones to visit. Terminal 21, Platinum Fashion Mall, Siam Paragon, MBK and Central World are some of the biggest, modern and most popular. However, Bangkok's real shopping charm comes from its variety of markets and night markets. Bangkok's markets are an experience in themselves, where you'll find everything you can imagine, from clothes, food, crafts, pets, and everything else in between, the markets really are an authentic Thai experience. The night markets are maybe more preferred to the day markets as the night is slightly cooler and less humid which makes the market experience more relaxing. Many of the night markets also host small pubs/bars with live music, great for a chilled drink or two after an evenings shopping. Don't be afraid to haggle and barter and little to get a real bargain. Chatuchak Weekend Market (JJ Market) is a must visit when in Bangkok, it's huge! You'll struggle to ever find a bigger market than this, with over 8,000 stalls you'll have no problems finding something to buy. Rod Fai (Train Market), Asiatique Night Market, Talad Nud Liab Duan Ramintra Night Market and On Night Market are all great places to visit. We can't leave the subjects of markets without mentioning Bangkok's famous floating markets. These are fabulous for looking around and taking some photos but unfortunately authentic floating markets are few and far between. Head out of Bangkok a little bit to find the better floating markets.



To escape the fast and furious life of Bangkok check out some of the lovely peaceful parks within the city. Lumpini is probably Bangkok's most popular park, a nice getaway in the centre of the city. Take a trip on the lake or just relax, take a walk and check out the various statues and sculptures. In the evening get your running shoes on and join the joggers or one of the many open air aerobic sessions. Chatuchak is worth a mention as being Bangkok's largest green area, home to nature trails, butterfly gardens, driving range, museums, rowboats, botanical gardens and various sporting fields. Suan Luang Rama IX in the east of the city is a such a tranquil place with lush greenery, Zen gardens and a beautiful water lilly pond, it's the perfect place for peace and quiet. Last but not least is Benjakiti, not far from Sukhumvit Road, it's occupied by a large lake with Bangkok's skyscraper's over looking it, a great place to watch the evening roll in and to snap some nature meets urban photos.


Thailand is famous throughout the world for its food and Bangkok has it in abundance. Food in Bangkok is not just for eating, it's a way of life. Day and night you'll see food everywhere. Whatever your budget you'll be able to sample some of the world's best here. Surely one of the only places in the world where street food is as good as any high end restaurant. Wherever you are in the city you won't have to look far for something to eat. You can find restaurants and cafes serving up food from every part of the world, and all of the famous food chain restaurants are all over the city. But it's the famous Thai street food and little food kitchens that are the stars of the show. From BBQ meats and seafood, soups and curries, rice and noodle dishes and much much more, the options are endless. Seeing your food being cooked up in front of you in a matter of minutes whilst being able to interact with the cooks is something special, then being able to sit with the locals and enjoy your meal is a great way to immerse yourself in the culture and an experience to remember. For those who worry they wont like Thai food, don't worry, Thai food has just so many types of dishes you'll easily find something that suits your taste. Just remember most Thais like their food spicy, really spicy, so just be careful of the spice level when ordering!





As well as the thriving food scene Bangkok also boasts a vibrant, exciting and famous nightlife. As the sunsets and night time rolls in the city's nightspots come to life. Good bars, pubs and clubs can be found throughout the city.

The khoasan area is popular with backpackers and is full of bars and clubs offering cheap beer, cocktails and alcohol filled buckets. It's a good night out especially down the famous Khoasan Road, where it's great to meet travellers from around the world. Be sure to check out 'The Roof Bar' on central Khaosan Road, great live music and the best bar to look over the Khoasan Road and watch it come alive at night time. Another great place is 'Happy Bar', a hidden gem found in an alleyway between Khoasan Road and Soi Rambuttri, fantastic atmosphere, great hosts and the best cocktails in the Khoasan area. Be warned khoasan Road can get a little crazy but it's well worth checking out and you'll be sure to have a good time and most probably a hangover in the morning. All within walking distance of Khoasan Road are many cool and funky bars and clubs, so if craziness isn't your thing take a short walk away from khoasan Road in any direction and you'll find somewhere a bit more chilled and relaxed.


Somewhere that's popular with locals, expats and tourists alike is the Thonglor area. It's developed into quite the trendy and cool neighbourhood. Filled with upscale bars, late night cafes and clubs,  it's one of the to be places in city. Prices here are maybe a little higher compared to other parts of the city, but as in most things in life you get what you pay for. The bars, cafes and clubs here are generally all quite new, well kept with good facilities and good service. A night out Thonglor will not disappoint. With so many places to choose, you could easily spend quite a few weeks trying to see them all. Wherever you do decide to visit in Thonglor you won't be disappointed with this swanky up and coming area.

Sukhumvit Road runs through the centre of the city with good bars found up and down this road and down the joining streets. One of the most lively areas of Sukhumvit Road is lower Sukhumvit. Here you will find all sorts of bars, pubs and clubs that cater for all tastes. Leading off Sukhumvit Road you will find the famous red light area of Soi Cowboy and Soi 4. Soi Cowboy is a street home to many go go bars (strip clubs), hostess bars, ladyboy bars and beer bars. As is soi 4 which is home to Nana Plaza the 'world's largest adult playground', along with various other bars and pubs. Patpong is the third of Bangkok's red light district located in Bangkok's 'wall street' financial area. These areas attract countless amounts of visitors both male and female from around the world wanting to see Bangkok's famous seedy side.


Up near the top of your Bangkok to do list has to be to visit one of the many sky bars. These can be found all over the city. They are the perfect way to unwind at the end of the day and to watch the sunset over the city. The prices for food and drink here are generally quite expensive, but it's the views that you are paying for and trust me it's worth it. Some of the most popular sky bars are Red Sky, CRU Champagne bar, Vertigo - Banyon Tree, Sky Bar Lebua (featured in The Hangover 3 movie), Octave Rooftop (my personal favourite), Park Society and Above Eleven. Many won't open if it rains and be sure to contact them directly before visiting to ask if they have a dress code.


RCA Royal City Avenue is a very lively upmarket night spot and the centre of Bangkok's nightclub scene. It's popular with locals, expats and tourists. Here you will find an authentic Thai crowd with a lot of the young rich Thais coming to party here. If huge nightclubs are your thing then this is the area you want be, Route 66, LED and Onyx are just few to name. RCA is also home to many cocktail bars, jazz clubs and gentleman's clubs.

As mentioned before, many of Bangkok's night markets have small bars often with live Thai music. These are great places to mix with the locals for a more relaxed and chilled out night. Talad Nud Liab Duan Ramintra Night Market is a great example of this, a little way out from the centre of Bangkok but a great authentic Thai evening with a local crowd.

Asiatique located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river is a lovely for a evening out, here you will find a night market, boutique shops, quality restaurants and food stalls, sports bar, cabaret shows and a giant ferris amongst other things. A good place to come as a couple for a nice relaxing evening.



Wherever it is you stay in Bangkok you will never be far from a good nightlife scene. So whether you choose a backpacker bar, a trendy cocktail bar, the famous redlight areas or a lively nightclub you'll be sure to have a great evening as Bangkok's nightlife is up there with the world's best.


When it comes to where to stay in Bangkok your choices are huge. From the finest luxury hotels to budget dorms Bangkok has it all. Accommodation is found in every area of city, and with the city's good transport links wherever you stay you'll easily be able to navigate the city, especially as Bangkok's sights are spread across quite a large area. The Khoasan/Old city area is where you'll find a lot of the backpacker hostels, guesthouses and budget hotels, that's not to say mid and high range hotels are not available. Staying around this area is great for visiting places like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Phra Kaew. The river is easily accessible to take you to other parts of the city which is very handy. The area has a nice and relaxed feel to it, and more of an authentic place to stay as opposed to the bigger, busier built up city areas.


Staying along the Sukhumvit Road area offers everything apart from maybe a real Thai experience. Here you will find hotels from the top price range all the way down to basic guesthouses. Sukhumvit is filled with shops, restaurants, bars and clubs. Unfortunately there is not a great deal of tourist sites around this area, however, the BTS skytrain is easily accessible, to get to other parts of the city. This is very convenient as Sukhumvit Road can be extremely busy in rush hour and night time. 


Silom, Bangkok's financial district offers a range of hotels and accommodation, many in the medium to high price range. During the day time Silom is a busy business hub and the city's main financial district. At night it comes alive with with the famous Patpong red light district and night market. This area is great for night life and restaurants and has fantastic transport links. Due to this area being a business hub it arguably lacks some character and culture.


The Siam area also offers many medium to high range hotels. It's Bangkok's shopping hub with many huge malls and family entertainment. The area has a great mix of people, with a lively vibe and safe feel it's great for family's and offers great transport links for getting around the city. A very modern area with vast dining options, though nightlife is a little quiet compared to some of the other areas.

Neighbouring Siam is Pratunam, a downtown location extremely busy and vibrant with an authentic cultural feel, Its home to many budget to mid range accommodation. Famous for its markets and budget shopping, good places to eat and home to the Baiyoke Tower, Bangkok's highest viewpoint.


Along the riverside you'll find many high end hotels and resorts, aimed at wealthy travellers, couples and families. Great place to stay for sightseeing, with a romantic and relaxed feel. A little far from down town, and with a quiet night life. Here is the perfect place to stay if looking for a relaxing and quiet stay in Bangkok. 


Whilst Bangkok is world famous for its religious landmarks, diverse culture and food it has many other things on offer. Muay Thai (Thai boxing) is a big part of Thai life and and has grown into a worldwide sport. With countries from all over becoming fascinated in the art and with many people all over the world now participating, some coming to Thailand to train and test their skills in the ring. It's Thailand where you'll still see some of the best action, and when in Bangkok it's highly recommended to catch a fight. There are many venues where to watch. The rajadamnern Stadium arguably now hosts the best fights in the country. New Lumpini Stadium also hosts great fights and used to be the number one place in all Thailand to see Muay Thai. Another great place is Channel 7 Stadium, where fighters are less known than at Rajadamnern and Lumpini, but here is a great experience with mostly locals and with free entry!


Another area of Bangkok that attracts tourists and locals alike is Chinatown. With its ready to burst sidewalks of food and market stalls, restaurants and shops it really is quite an experience. The sights, smells and sounds will have your head turning in all directions as you walk down the famous Yaowarat Road. A fantastic place to grab a bite to eat and snap some awesome photos.


Bangkok has many great photo hot spots with landmarks such as Victory Monument, Democracy Monument and King Rama VI Monument all quite a impressive. Get your taxi or tuk tuk driver to stop off at them on way round the city. Whilst great views of Bangkok are seen from the many sky bars, it's the Baiyoke Tower that offers the most stunning view. With its revolving observation deck on the 84th floor the views here are unrivalled, and with its bars and restaurants it's a fantastic place to watch sunset on a clear day.



Nicknamed the 'City Of Angels', Bangkok really is an amazing and unforgettable experience. It can at first seem difficult and uninviting. But given a little time, an open mind and some exploration you'll find it to be a fantastically diverse, hospitable, fun and wonderful city that has so much to offer. If given the chance Bangkok will welcome you with open arms, give you some fantastic memories and will become a place very close to your heart.