Quite unlike any other place in the world, Bangkok is host to an eclectic mix of the old and new, the traditional and the contemporary and the tranquil and the manic. One night in Bangkok will certainly take you for a ride, and yet, visitors can come to the city and be amazed by the calm and composure of the surroundings and the friendliness of the Thai people.
Originally a small farming and trading community, Bangkok has grown to become the epicentre of modern Thailand. There are an infinite number of things to do in the city and one can only marvel at the sheer scale of it.
Where to Stay
The Chatrium Hotel Riverside Bangkok is the pinnacle of contemporary hospitality in the city, with each room featuring floor to ceiling windows that give stunning views of the cityscape. Budget seekers would do well to head for the D and D Inn. Situated on the traveller’s haven Khaosan Road, this very affordable hotel offers stylish rooms and features a rooftop pool and bar, where guests can soak up the sites of the city.
For real luxury living, the Lebua Hotel is the place to go. The Tower Club Lounge, where guests can sip exclusive cocktails while watching the sun go down on the city skyline may be of particular interest to fans of “The Hangover” films, who would recognise this venue from a scene in the second movie.
Another great budget option is the New Road Guest House. Travellers can use the free wifi or dine in the tasty restaurant, and swap stories with other travellers they are bound to meet in this hostel. A middle range option is the 3 star P and R Residence in Bangkok’s riverside neighbourhood. All rooms are air conditioned – a welcome feature in a city which can be humid and stuffy.
What to Do
Bangkok more than caters for shopping fans. MBK shopping centre is a purchaser’s paradise, offering a range of fashionable items and memorable souvenirs. There is even a cinema at the top of the centre. In a similar vein, Bangkok’s markets are second to none. The Taling Chan floating market is a real eye opener, and visitors can see traditional Thai goods being traded along the river.
The Royal Palace is a great way of gaining an insight into the country’s history. The beautiful array of buildings in this national site are fascinating to visit. Guests must wear full length tops and trousers or skirts.
The Golden Buddha is a definite city highlight, and visitors are awed by the spiritual ambience surrounding the statue. The Bamboo Bar is a great way to start off a night out on the town. Famous for its jazz, this bar has a funky ambience and a great range of cocktails.
Where to Eat
The Food Court at MBK offers an array of Thai dishes. Every kind of food from all different regions of the country and even beyond Thai borders is available to eat in this atmospheric food court. A great introduction to Thai cuisine is in Taling Pling, to which locals, more often than tourists flock for traditional Thai dishes.
A great way to get a real taste of Thailand is from the street food vendors adorning the sides of many of Bangkok’s alleyways. The area around Khaosan road is host to many of these stalls, where diners can get a Pad Thai for less than £1. Tom Yung Kum on the Khaosan Road has escaped the touristy reputation bestowed on so many of its neighbouring restaurants, and offers up decent Thai food for very affordable prices.
When to Visit
Bangkok enjoys hot weather year round, though to avoid the rainy season it is best to go any time from December to May.
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