Vibrant and fast-paced life but snail-paced traffic, modernized but traditionally rooted, culturally diverse yet there is some similarity in that diversity, nightclubs and temples, skyscrapers and street markets – call it the Sin City or the City of Angels, but Bangkok will surely strike you like a bolt from the blue and at the same time warm, friendly and hospitable.
This capital city of Thailand is also the most populated one. It’s overcrowded but it holds such a great attraction that nobody minds the congestion. Millions of tourists arrive in Bangkok every year just to get a taste of the different flavors of life it offers. The city serves true fun, excitement and entertainment and is ranked number three after London and Paris in terms of famous tourist destinations.
Bangkok is hot and humid throughout the year. The average temperature ranges from 20°C in December to around 35°C in April. The city experiences the hot season from March to May, a heavy rainy season from June to
October and the cool season from November to February.
What to see
- The Magnificent Temples
The city has over 400 temples and you will find them on every street. The most famous of all of these are – The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. The Grand Palace is a complex of some beautiful buildings and has been the official residence of the Kings of Siam. Many royal ceremonies and functions take place here. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew is located inside the palace walls and is considered to be the most sacred temple. The Temple of the Reclining Budha (Wat Pho) is the largest and one of the oldest temples. It houses the country’s largest Budha statue (151 ft. long) covered with gold leaf, a masterpiece of sheer brilliance. Another famous temple is the Wat Arun or Temple of the Dawn. When the first rays of the sun fall upon the surface of the temple, it shimmers with a kaleidoscope of colors for its central prang (tall tower-like spire) is decorated with small pieces of colorful glass and porcelain. The Golden Mount (Wat Saket) and Temple of The Golden Budha (Wat Traimit) are other marvelous temples worth seeing.
- Experience 3D cinema
Why would someone spend time in a theater while on vacation? Well, because as compared to the west, the movie tickets are a lot cheaper here. So, you can easily buy a VIP ticket at a nominal price and enjoy 3D movies. It’s a great way to sit back and relax for a while, when the heat and crowd of Bangkok seem to tire you out. Paragon Cineplex is the best option to catch a flick.
- Visit the Jim Thompson House
Famous as the “Legendary American of Thailand”, James H.W. Thompson was the founder of the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. He disappeared in 1967, when he went on a vacation to Cameron Highlands in Malaysia but never returned after he went out for a walk. Since then, his Thai-styled house has been of immense interest to the locals and tourists. It is a complex of 6 beautiful teak houses joined together, a museum and a shop. You’ll find a lot of antiques, unique wall hangings and other incredible art.
- Be enthralled at Siam Niramit
This is one cultural performance that must not be missed! Over a 100 performers acquaint you with the history of Thailand on an enormous stage. This spectacular show has won multiple awards and accolades. At a time, 2000 people can watch the show. There are three restaurants, souvenir shops, elephant rides, Thai massage facility and a traditional Thai village, which the visitors can explore.
The National Museum, Lumphini Park, Rama IX Park, Lumpinee Boxing Stadium (venue for muay thai) are just a few of the other places one can visit. Bangkok has numerous galleries and cultural sites located throughout the city, so there are plenty of things to see.
Bangkok is a great place for shopping. Siam Square is the most popular shopping stop filled with hundreds of fashion stores, boutiques, massage parlors, bookshops, salons, etc. The Khao San Road is a backpacker’s paradise. Here you’ll find everything from market stalls to convenience stores to budget hotels. You can buy things over here at very low prices. If you want to get hold of some precious vintage items then Rod Fai Market is the place for you. It is an open-air market that offers a large variety of products be it home appliances, electronics, old bikes, Japanese anime toys and other valuable antique objects. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is another bazaar that will not disappoint you and the variety is endless – handicraft, clothing, accessories, furniture, food products, books, antiques, ceramics, gardening tools, pets and pet accessories, etc. To take a look at these 8,000 stalls, a weekend is definitely not enough. Asiatique the Riverfront is a popular combo of a night bazaar and a mall. It’s not as crammed as other markets and you can browse through easily with a map. The Floating Markets are a must-visit where you will an abundance of tropical fruits and vegetables, freshly cooked local dishes in floating kitchens and much more.
Where to stay
Well, there is no lack of options if you plan to spend a night in Bangkok. There are thousands of hotels, motels, guest houses, hostels where you can easily find a room. However, some top-class hotels do require advance booking.
You simply cannot find fault with this hotel as far as the amenities or service is concerned. It’s one of the best hotels of Bangkok and offers unmatched facilities. There is a gym, area for squash and tennis, two swimming pools and a world-class spa. Though expensive but it is ideal for those who like to splurge.
Peninsula Bangkok Hotel
Thrice this hotel has been voted as the World’s Best by the Travel and Leisure Magazine Reader’s Survey. Indeed, this is the place for the elite. It is located by the river and is close to the sky rail. There are 370 beautifully furnished rooms that provide panoramic views of the city and the river. And unlike many hotels, you get free Wi-Fi access in your room.
Located in the center of Bangkok, this hotel offers rooms at reasonable prices. The rooms are big and airy, and have been decorated with an Asian touch. The welcoming staff ensures that all your needs are taken care of. There is a fitness center, sauna, Jacuzzi, steam room, and spa and massage services are also available.
Napa Place Boutique Hotel
This one is a 3 star hotel and is comparatively much cheaper. It is situated in Sukhumvit and the location isn’t that good. But it’s a charming bed and breakfast that promises to be as comfortable as your own home. The hotel provides slippers to its guests in order to help them relax, which is a lovely gesture. There aren’t many facilities; however, it is a nice warm place to stay for a while.
Bangkok is known for its notorious nightlife and in fact, this is one of the reasons why some people like to come back to this place over and again. Rooftop bars, after-dark markets, nightclubs, go go bars and what not! The best way to experience the beauty of Bangkok at night is by taking a dinner cruise tour with Loy Nava Cruise. Not only will you be able to enjoy the scenic views of the illuminated city, but also get a chance to view the Grand Place, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaew.
Another not-be-missed place is the Vertigo Rooftop Bar at the Banyan Tree. Vertigo and Moon Bar is on the 61st floor and will make you feel as if you’re in spaceship due its elongated shape. There are other rooftop bars too, but this one is among the best. The 360 bar at Millennium Hilton is another rooftop bar that offers spectacular panoramic views of the city.
Bangkok is undoubtedly a melting pot of cultures; a beautiful blend of different sights and sounds. It offers you a complete adventure, an unforgettable vacation and a whole lot of memories to be cherished forever.