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Welcome to Bangkok

Cultured and contemporary, Bangkok's rich tapestry sees the exotic and familiar sit side-by-side.

Thailand’s capital, Bangkok, is very much a marmite city – you either love it or you hate it. Divided by the Chao Phraya River it is nestled in one of the world's most fertile rice-producing deltas.

Bangkok is criss-crossed by a series of canals carrying passengers and cargo and its roads clotted with endless traffic jams. The new Skytrain speeds above the city, providing visitors with a relaxed way to observe the hustle and bustle below.

It is polluted, overcrowded and noisy but most definitely one of Asia’s most exciting and vibrant cities. On the banks of the Chao Phraya visitors will find the Grand Palace as well as Wat Phra Kaew, the palace temple housing the Emerald Buddha, built entirely from translucent green jade.

The city offers its brave visitors many wondrous sights including the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and the famous Floating Market. At night music and dazzling neon advertise a mix of trendy bars and nightclubs, as well as the notorious 'girlie joints' that have secured the Patpong district its reputation for hedonism.

Whatever your feelings towards it, Bangkok is a city that is larger than life. For some, it’s frenetic pace, heat, traffic, and overcrowding prove too much to bear whereas others find it intoxicating. There is nowhere else on earth where you’ll find ramshackle buildings next to exotic temples and delightful gardens which are overlooked by modern hotels and offices.

But amongst the hustle and bustle the traditional Thai life emerges when you spot a saffron-robed monk collecting alms or whole communities living in stilt houses by the river.  

Top Sight in Bangkok

  • rome1
    The Grand Palace

Weather

Bangkok’s climate is hot and tropical. Daytime temperatures reach mid 30°C throughout the year. November to February is the driest time of year and the most popular with tourists. The hottest months are March, April, and May and the rainy season runs from May to October.  

 

The average monthly temperatures are:

 

°C

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Day

32

33

34

35

34

33

33

33

32

32

32

31

Night

21

23

25

26

26

26

25

25

25

25

23

21

 

Shopping

Shopping

Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise. You can shop ‘til you drop and it will also be fairly cheap (depending on where you go). Markets line almost every street selling anything and everything – and if you want a bargain, haggle.

 

Khao San The road is brimming with stalls selling a multitude of counterfeit goods while Wong Nakhon Kasem (‘Thieves Market’) is great for antique porcelain, copperware and furniture. There are several night markets such as the one in Patpong – this is great fun but be warned, it is in the red light district so don’t be surprised to see touts and half-naked women standing outside bars.

 

Chatuchak The market is the world’s biggest weekend market with over 9000 stalls selling a bewildering array of goods. If all this shopping is making you peckish, there are also numerous street food stalls but beware as some of the local delicacies may not be to your taste, such as deep-fried locusts.

 

As you would expect with such a diverse city, alongside the markets are also modern, glamorous shopping malls. One of the largest is Central World Plaza, others include MBK Shopping Centre, River City Shopping Complex and in Ploenchit and Rama I roads you will find very glitzy malls crammed with designer names, restaurants and cinemas.

 

One of the most popular areas for shopping is Siam Square – definitely aimed at the up-market, more affluent foreign visitor.

 

A Bangkok specialty is the inexpensive tailored clothing that is made to order within a few days. The best selection of tailors can be found in Sukhumvit and Khao San Roads.

 

Popular purchases are silk, silver, and gold, gems, pearls, painted umbrellas, and fans, ceramics, wickerwork, wood carvings, and leather goods.

Food & Drink

  • Baan Khanitha & Gallery

  • Thipsamai Restaurant

  • Chote Chitre Restaurant

  • Cabbages & Condoms Restaurant

  • Silver Palace Restaurant

  • Somboon Restaurant

  • AOI Japanese Restaurant

  • Shin Daikoku Japanese Restaurant

  • Planet Bollywood Restaurant

food-dirck

entertainment

Bangkok has just about every type of evening entertainment you can think of; from bars and clubs, cultural dancing, and theatre to the salaciousness of the Patpong (the red-light district).

 

The biggest live music venue in the city is the IMPACT Arena. If you enjoy cultural performances and theatre, your best bet is to visit the National Theatre, Siam Niramit, Charoen Krung Royal Theatre, or the Bangkok Playhouse.

 

There are many bars and clubs in Bangkok, many are quite westernized. Below are a few names you could look out for:

 


  • The Bull’s Head, Sukhumvit Soi
  • The Barbican, Silom
  • Irish X Change, Silom
  • The Dubliner, Sukhumvit Road
  • Tawan Daeng German Brewery, Rama III Road
  • Mingles, New Petchburi Road
  • Lumphini Night Bazaar (for outdoor beer gardens), Rama IV & Witthayu Roads
  • Narcissus, Sukhumvit Soi
  • Bedsupper Club, Sukhumvit Road
  • Concept CM2, Siam Square Soi
  • Lucifer, Patpong Soi
  • Bamboo Bar, Oriental Avenue
  • Saxophone Pub & Restaurant, Phyathai Road

 

For something completely different why not try and catch about of kickboxing (muay thai) at either the Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen stadiums.


festivals month

  • April

    Songkran (Thai New Year)
  • May

    The Royal Ploughing Ceremony
  • August

    Queen Sirikit’s Birthday
  • October

    Thai Beer Festival
  • November

    Thai Beer Festival
  • December

    Thai Beer Festival

excursions

Bangkok is ideally placed to explore more of what this fascinating country has to offer. Your hotel will be able to tell you about possible excursions, but below are just a few suggestions to get you started.


  • Ayuthaya
  • Pattaya (Thailand’s most popular beach resort)
  • Nakon Pathon & authentic floating flea market
  • Kanchanaburi (location of the famous bridge over the River Kwai)
  • Damnoen Saduak & floating market
  • Rose Garden
  • Tiger Temple
  • Money Temple, Lopburi

 

Health & Safety

Do not drink the tap water in Bangkok as it can cause stomach upsets. Only use bottled water (even for teeth cleaning) which is inexpensive and widely available. Don’t have ice in your drinks and avoid eating fruit and vegetables that are unwashed or sold unpeeled. Also, unpasteurised milk should be boiled before drinking and avoid any dairy product that contains unpasteurised milk.

 

Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. The medical facilities in Bangkok are good but you are strongly advised to take out comprehensive medical insurance before travelling. You should also check with your GP before travelling for up to date immunisation information.

 

The city is very crowded so you should take care of your valuables and beware of pickpockets. Also never accept food or drink from strangers as it may be drugged.

 

Drug offences are taken very seriously in Thailand. Possession or smuggling drugs carry heavy custodial sentences or even the death penalty. Therefore always pack your own bag and never agree to carry someone else’s bags for them.