Bangkok is not a city that people fall in love with at the first sight. This is a place that you need to adjust to. Crazy traffic, streets packed with people 24/7, nobody speaking English…it can be tough, but you should give it a chance because once you look beyond all that craziness, you will discover a picturesque city full of contrast between history, culture, and religion on one side, and modern commerce, cuisine, nightlife, and shopping on the other.
Food & Culture
On every corner you will encounter a rich depth of history, religion, and culture. There are hundreds of unexpected shrines on the bustling city sidewalks and prolific temples with some of the most famous religious figures in the world, such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace, or the ethereal Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. Most people who travel to Thailand fall in love with this country’s culture and overall behavior of the Thai people. Thai culture is very refreshing as people are usually very friendly, relaxed, and tend to smile a lot.
Don’t be scared to try delicious Thai street food. It’s healthy, appetizing and perfectly safe. Many tourists come to Thailand and avoid eating street food, simply because they don’t trust it and are afraid they will get sick. However, if you are in Thailand you must try authentic Thai food and the street food stalls are exactly where you will find it. If you are worried you will get sick just keep in mind that Thai food uses a lot of spices that kill germs and bacteria in food. And always order rice with your meal as Thai people believe that it keeps your stomach settled.
It is very easy to navigate around the city. Taxis are cheap, but not always the quickest way to get from point A to point B because of the heavy traffic. However, if you have never taken a crazed ride through a city in a Tuk Tuk, it is a perfect way to travel around – if you do not get car sick too easily! Don’t forget to also negotiate your price!
If you decide to travel around the city using its skytrain, subway system or buses, avoid rush hours as no matter how these are full, they will always try to fit one more person in—always.
Things to Do
The best way to explore the city is to take the tourist boat down the Chao Phraya River and discover Bangkok as it once was. Visit thriving Chinatown, the famous Grand Palace. Have lunch at one of the street food stalls and then head to the lesser known tourist attraction of Golden Mount (Wat Saket) which is considered by many to be a true jewel of Bangkok. A gentle climb to the top gives excellent views of the city whilst the temple holds true to Buddhism in its architecture and artifacts.
After you visit the temple and enjoy the stunning views, head back to the city center by jumping into one of the boats and take a ride through Bangkok canals, traveling through the city like a true local and enjoying the views of small family farms and orchid nurseries. This type of transportation is faster, more convenient and efficient than the land route, and definitely very, very unique. After an exhausting day, consider relaxing and enjoying a traditional Thai massage at one of many city’s massage parlors. A perfect way to end a busy day.
Sometimes, Bangkok feels like a long, uninterrupted bazaar where one can buy whatever one can imagine. Therefore, after you visit the city’s most famous landmarks, you should visit one of many Bangkok’s markets. Some of the best late night markets are Saphan Phut, Patpong Night Market, and Asiatique. Floating markets include Taling Chan Market, Bang Ku Wiang Market, Tha Kha, and Damnoen Saduak. If you are in the city over the weekend, then Chatuchak weekend market is a must. It is considered to be one of Asia’s biggest markets with more than 6,000 stalls that occupy the space of over five football fields.
Bangkok is also known for its infamous nightlife in districts such as Soi Cowboy, Patpong, and Nana. Also visit Soi 11 for interesting restaurants, street bars, and clubs. If you prefer something more fancy, but still affordable, go to one of the best rooftop bars in the city -- called Cloud 47 -- where you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city.
Travelers and interns are able to unwind and have a holiday that is both exotic and foreign in Thailand. So what are you waiting for? Enjoy!