by Courtney Marie
Known by many travelers as the experience that can’t be repeated, Bangkok is Thailand’s capital city and by far the most populated. Being just north of the Equator, it’s very tropical and travel friendly. Although first impressions are usually of pollution, petty crimes, busy streets and pestering locals, don’t be discouraged; this city is over flowing with exotic day trips, great shopping and wonderful cuisine.
The locals call it “The city of Angels,” and much like every big town, you won’t have a problem finding cheap or extravagant places to stay but you might have trouble finding vacancy. No matter what time of year you go, expect Bangkok to be busy. To make your stay more comfortable, try to opt for an air-conditioned room because temperatures rarely drop below 20 degrees. Remember to leave your valuables in a safety deposit box (usually held at the front desk) and watch out for the “extra person” charge. If you bring home a special friend, expect to pay an additional fee when checking out.
Bangkok is an amazing place and you can spend several hours or days exploring. There are a few key spots to check out; The Wat Pho, which is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, the Grand palace, home to Thailand’s kings, (strict dress codes apply) and the floating markets, which are accessible by boat and are full of exotic fruits and vegetables. Bangkok also offers wonderful bicycle and canoe tours and has excellent pampering facilities, so try to squeeze those into your itinerary. Plus you can enjoy a number of day trips that will lead you to museums, temples, farms and local villages.
Two of the best things in Bangkok are Asian cuisine and shopping! Thai food can be found on every corner and international dishes are famous among restaurants. My best recommendation is to try street food. Walk in any direction and you’d be facing different street vendors; although not the classiest place to eat the food is unbelievable and only a few dollars! Shopping is another must as the city is full of shops and markets and it’s a great place to
find a new wardrobe or to buy Thai nic nacs for souvenir gifts. The best market is the Chatuchak Weekend Market. It has a lot of stalls, different styles and is the place to be on weekends. You can literally shop till you drop and not be disappointed when you see your bill. Thailand prices are very low compared to international standards.
There’s never a dull moment because Bangkok is crawling with entertainment. The nightlife is huge here and just like in Hangover 2, it doesn’t disappoint. Grab a cocktail and start your night out on one of the many rooftop bars. From here you can choose to check out trendy venues, jazz clubs, nightclubs or live music and don’t forget to ask your hotel if there’s any
festivals going on, as they occur regularly. You should also check out a traditional Thai culture dance where dancers portray the history of Thailand. Another great show worth seeing is Thai boxing, which is a mix of culture dance and wrestling. Since the city is known for its wild nightlife, you can find anything you’re looking for and will probably stumble onto a few things you wish you hadn’t. Definitely the place to let loose, you have to be careful as it’s also famous for naughty nightlife and you may find yourself in a compromising situation. Make sure you keep your money and belongings close to you and preferably in a zipped pocket. Also make sure you party with people and not by yourself, it’s always a good idea to have someone watching your back.
Bangkok is a wonderful place to explore and a great city to begin your vacation. Come prepare and do a little bit of research to figure out where you want to go before you get here, this will help to keep you from getting too overwhelmed. The town has recently been subject to flooding so it’s also a good idea to plan your trip carefully and follow the news for updates, they will tell you if travelling is discouraged, otherwise enjoy your escape to one of Asia’s most exciting cites.
Homepage photo: Wo Pat Temple