Thailand in Brief – A Quick Guide to Bangkok
A Quick Guide to Bangkok
The Capital of Thailand is one of the most popular travel destinations in SE Asia. Bangkok is a modern city with packed full of excitement. Modern skyscrapers tower over old traditional houses. Luxurious hotels are built next to family-run guesthouses. Colourful tuk-tuks fly through the sea of new cars. The city has everything: a rich history, a diverse cultural scene, excellent restaurants and bars, unforgettable sights and – most importantly – friendly citizens. Wherever you go you will be welcomed with a huge smile.
What to do and see in Bangkok
Get pampered at the oldest massage school in Thailand
Though Wat Pho complex is one of the most popular sights in Bangkok, it’s not as crowded as The Grand Palace. Behind the temple walls you will find a piece of old Siam empire. The main temple houses a stunning 46 m long statue of the Reclining Buddha. The complex grounds are covered in colourful stupas and smaller golden statues of Buddha. For centuries Wat Pho has been serving as a traditional medicine school. After enjoying the walk through the complex you can relax at the massage school of Wat Pho. Temple masseuses are considered to be the best in Asia. After years of training they can feel their clients’ bodies and know very well when to apply extra pressure and when to give a gentle massage to relax traveller’s muscles.
Take a boat trip through canals
Hop into a long-tail boat and let the boatman take you through a maze of canals on the other side of Chao Praya River. You will see traditional houses on stilts, Chinese and Thai temples and fish farms. Look for giant lizards sleeping on hot stones under the sun. A canal tour is a perfect opportunity to see the difference between the bustling activity of Sukhumvit and the everyday life of small communities. When the boat returns to Chao Praya you will be treated to the breathtaking sight of the golden Grand Palace reflecting in the water.
Go to the cinema
Going to the movies in Bangkok is one of the most interesting and authentic local experiences. There are movie theatres in all major shopping malls throughout the city. Don’t worry about the language barrier – all films are in English. Another bonus – tickets are not expensive (about 3-6 USD). You can catch up on all the latest releases you are missing while travelling. The most interesting part of the cinema visit comes after the previews. Just before the movie is about to start, each theatre plays the King’s Song and shows a 1 minute movie about His Majesty King Rama IX (current ruler of Thailand). Everyone in the cinema hall stands up to pay their respects. There are lots of King’s portraits all over Bangkok, but only in the cinema you will be able to see how much he’s loved by his subjects.
Enjoy sunset in a rooftop bar
After a long day of sightseeing treat yourself to a delicious cocktail and a stunning view of Bangkok in one of the riverside rooftop bars. One of the best places to visit is the Sky Bar in Lebua Tower (you might know it from the Hangover movie), but you have many choices all over Bangkok. Everything is organised for your enjoyment: experienced barmen can mix any drinks, many of the bars have live music, and attentive waiters won’t forget about you. Don’t forget that most of the bars have smart-casual dress code – a great opportunity to dress up in something different than your usual travel clothes.
See the whole country in one day
If you have already visited all Bangkok sights and still have time and desire to see more, try Mueang Boran – the biggest outdoor museum in the world. This park, constructed in the shape of Thailand, located in the southern part of the city. Mueang Boran was created to preserve architectural structures from all over Thailand. There you will find old temples, a floating village, copies of the country’s most famous historical buildings, small botanical garden and also – designers’ creations, based on Thai legends and folklore. The park is so big, that you will have to use a bicycle or a golf-car to get around.
Where can I stay?
As any big capital city, Bangkok has hotels for any wallet. From guesthouses and small hotels in Khao San area (backpackers’ heaven) to such luxurious hotel chains as Marriott and Hilton by the Riverside.
How’s the food?
Bangkok is a heaven for food lovers. Every street has at least one stall selling grilled meat or noodle soup. Restaurants in the city centre offer a huge variety of cuisines: from Royal Thai to Greek. Thai food is full of flavour. It’s made with lots of herbs, root vegetables and of course chilli. If you want to have a proper local food experience, head out to Chinatown in the evening. Street restaurants on Soi Texas serve all types of fresh seafood, traditional Thai dishes and freshly made coconut ice cream.
Be adventurous: try Durian – the smelliest fruit in the world; get lost in the bustle of the local markets; take a tuk-tuk ride through the city; on the weekend go to one of the giant shopping malls to see Thai families having a day off together. Allow Bangkok to charm, amuse and amaze you.
Is Bangkok for you?
Bangkok has something for everyone. Backpackers and party animals will find themselves at home on Khao San and Silom streets. Lovers will find its excellent hotels and restaurants make it perfect for a romantic getaway. It has endless fun activities for families with children. Experienced travellers and photographers will find new adventures in the maze of old town. And foodies can eat their way through the street food stalls, local markets and Michelin starred restaurants.
The best time to go to Bangkok
Any time of the year is good to visit Bangkok. Dry season (from October until mid-May) with pleasant 22 degrees Celsius is excellent for exploring the city on foot. During Monsoon season (end of May – early October) it rains only a couple of hours a day, and average temperature is 29 degrees Celsius. The hottest time of the year falls on Songkran – Thai New Year – in the middle of April. During this time temperature might go as high as 40 degrees Celsius. But don’t be put off by the heat. Locals celebrate New Year by throwing cool water at each other. You’ll have a chance to take part in fun celebrations and cool down in the middle of the hot day.
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