Bangkok, Thailand Travel Guide by Wanderlist Travel
Officially the longest city name, but today I keep it easy today and simply refer to Bangkok when I write about Thailand's capital. Whatever you look for in a city, Bangkok has it all. Great night life, great temples, art districts, parks, etc... Don't be fooled by the locals who call it the “City of Angels”, as the city has something for everybody, not just for angels.
DID YOU KNOW
- Bangkok is right at the Chao Praya river delta so has lots of water hence its other nickname “Venice of the east”. All the water occasionally causes floods but as great benefits as well such as a dinner cruise, explore the backstreets by boat on the canal or... believe it or not, spot whales!
- Bangkok has a 500 year old history but nowadays it's also the most modern city of Thailand. It's not just the city where “East meets West” but also where modern skyscrapers and ancient palaces & temples meet each other. Their newest skyscraper is called Mahanakhon and looks like an unfinished Tetris game.
- Bangkok has 2 airports: Suvarnabhumi (BKK) and Don Mueang (DMK). Double check before you leave to head to the right airport. They are over 1 hour drive from each other.
- With over 8 million people Bangkok is by far the biggest city in Thailand and one of the biggest in South East Asia.
- To get around the most convenient, and due to traffic jams often the fastest, way is the Skytrain (BTS) or metro (MTR). It even heads to BKK airport.
- On the river you'll find an express boat. It's like a public bus on the water with stops on both sides of the river. Each line has a different flag color. At the piers you buy the tickets and find the routes.
- Best to avoid Tuk-tuks. In Bangkok this is almost a synonym for scam. Don't get tricked! Better take a taxi (with meter), Uber or Grab ride to your hotel or other destination in town
- If somebody on the street tells you a story about temples, gems, suits etc... that sounds “too good to be true”.. it's probably too good to be true. So be aware and don't waste any of your money on these scam-artists.
WHAT TO DO
- It's hard to mention everything but I'll give it a try. As a tourist don't miss out on the highlights such as The Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun.
- Head to any of the other famous temples around town such as: Wat Saket, Wat Suthat or Wat Mangkon Kamalawat. Or the more bizarre Wat Pariwat which has a golden statue of David Beckham! I you guessed already, and you were right; “wat” is the Thai word for “temple”!
- Bangkok is rich of museums such as the National Museum, Royal Air Force Museum and The Museum of Contemporary art. But you can have an interesting time as well at the Seashell museum, Human Body Museum or the Forensic Museum.
- Visit the great heart of Bangkok just across the Chao Phraya river. It's a big swamp with paddy fields, coconut palms and fresh air. The best way is to explore by bicycle.
- Take a rest at one of the big parks in Bangok. Lumphini Park. Or head there early morning for a tai-chi session with the locals.
WHERE TO EAT
- When you think of Thailand, you think of food! So it's no surprise Bangkok is also a big food capital where you can easily gain some weight if you try all the best dishes in town!
- China Town is a place you must visit. Both on the main road and the small alley hundreds of food stands serve amazing dishes. Prepared right in front of you so guaranteed fresh. It's also a famous area to try Shark Fin soup or Suckling pig.
- Phat Thai is the most famous dish in Bangkok and can be eaten everywhere. But the best one can be found at Thip Samai Phat Thai.
- Great food can be found at the many night markets (see next section) and for a big range of (Western) restaurants head to Rambuttri Road
WHERE TO SHOP
- In Thailand the coolest way to shop is to head to a local market. Although some of them may be a bit touristic nowadays, they are always worth a trip. An overview:
- Chatuchak market is the biggest market in town and runs every weekend
- Klong Toey is the biggest daily fresh market of Bangkok and is filled with fruits, vegetables, fish, chickens etc.
- Across town are several floating markets. To get a most local experience I suggest you head out of town to visit Amphawa.
- Maeklong Railway Market is the internet's favorite as a train passes through the market and makes vendors move their stuff before the train approaches and make the tracks disappear again as soon as it left. Video's of this market went viral on Youtube often.
- Asiatique is a big open air mall which is great to visit in the evenings as the temperatures are getting lower.
- To escape the heat there are also some massive shopping malls in the city center such as MBK, Central World & Siam Paragon.
WHERE TO DRINK
- Khao San Road is the epicenter of the backpackers madness in Asia. You will find all kinds of bars, massage places, restaurants, street vendors etc... There is live music everywhere and as the evening gets late people dance on the street and tables. Absolute madness but after drinking a few buckets everybody can enjoy it.
- For even more craziness head to Patpong which is not just a bar street and night market but also Bangkok's unofficial Red light district.
- With so many skyscrapers in town there are several places to have a drink while enjoying the view. For example at Lebua State Tower (as seen on The Hangover 2 movie), the Vertigo bar on the Banyan Tree or the Red Sky Rooftop at Centara Grand hotel. Please note the dress code to enter these bars; no shorts or flip flops but dress to impress.
Ok, back to the beginning of this blog: I hear you think about that long city name again, well here it is:
“Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”
Please don't ask me any question about it, let's just say it means “City of Angels”