Bangkok City Guide
Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is considered to be one of the most exciting cities in Asia. This city, which was immortalized forever in the popular song like ‘One night in Bangkok’, is located in the middle of a fertile delta.
Bangkok, whose name translates as City of Angels, is extremely welcoming of tourists and most visitors on a vacation to Bangkok tend to use this pulsating city as a gateway to other famed resorts in Thailand like Phuket, Hua Hin and Koh Samui. Aside from being a choice vacation destination, Bangkok is also an important Asian hub for business and commerce and is home to the Stock Exchange of Thailand. As a result of which Bangkok also features prominently on the business travel map.
Fare Buzz offers a plethora of cheap flight and hotel deals as well vacation packages for Bangkok all throughout the year. So if you have always had a desire to visit Bangkok why don’t you take advantage of these attractive travel deals and book a vacation to Bangkok, the capital city of the ‘Land of Smiles’.
Where to stay in Bangkok
Bangkok offers a wide range of hotels that aim to cater to all travel budgets. Luxury hotels, spa hotels, boutique hotels, extended stay hotels, discount hotels and other budget accommodation like backpackers hotels, this teeming city offers them all and more.
Bangkok is served by two main airports, the Suvarnabhumi International airport and the Don Mueang airport, which is used for domestic flights. If you have early morning flight connections and cannot afford to be stuck in traffic jams in the city, you may want to base yourself at one of the hotels located near one of the city’s main airports.
By the River
The banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River host some of the city’s most opulent and well-known hotels, which naturally offer stunning river views. Moreover, these hotels offer their guests free shuttle boat transfers across the river to the BTS system. If you enjoy staying at luxury hotel properties and have a passion for one of the many luxury hotel properties that are located here, you needn’t worry for Fare Buzz can surely get you an attractive hotel rates at any of the Bangkok luxury hotels that you desire.
Sathorn, Silom and Surawong
These three areas are connected via many small lanes or sois and are the main business and commercial areas of Bangkok. The area host embassies, upscale hotels, important government buildings as well as popular shopping and tourist haunts. This busy area of Bangkok is a favored accommodation option for those visitors who like to be in the midst of all the action.
Busy, noisy Sukhumvit Road is another prominent commercial artery in Bangkok, which hosts a wide variety of hotels and many shopping and dining options. Sukhumvit Road is very well served by the Bangkok sky train service and this area is favored by visitors who appreciate the convenience that it offers.
Places to see in Bangkok
The Royal Grand Palace
This ornate Thai palace dates back to the late eighteenth century and consists of an elaborate network of smaller buildings; the most famous of which are Wat Mahatat, the Palace temple and the Wat Phra Keow, the royal chapel, which has within its folds the famous emerald Buddha. This emerald Buddha has been fashioned out as a single piece of translucent jade and is one of the most venerated statues of Buddha in the nation.
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho)
Located cheek by jowl to the Royal Grand Palace is Wat Pho, which is Bangkok’s largest and oldest temple that contains more than a thousand statues of Buddha. Wat Pho is, however, famous for its Reclining Buddha.
This resting Buddha is a spectacular sight as it measures 157 feet in length and 49 feet in height. The body of the Buddha is plated in gold while the soles of its feet are inlaid with Mother of Pearl. Wat Pho was transformed into a center of learning by King Rama III and hosts a working monastery located on its premises. Wat Pho should be considered a must-do attraction on any visit to Bangkok.
Dannoen Saduak Floating Market
This floating market is unique to Bangkok whose rivers and waterways are teeming with life as they are lined with stilted homes, which are located on these canals themselves. These homes constitute Bangkok’s famous floating villages. The floating market is filled with vendors who use paddle boats to transport and sell their wares like prepared foods and fresh produce to the residents of these villages. This market, which is located at an hour’s drive from Bangkok operates daily from 6 am until noon and is definitely a recommended attraction on any visit to Bangkok.
Jim Thompson House
This beautiful home adorned with many Thai antiques, oriental art and exquisite silk furnishings used to belong to an American silk entrepreneur, who was perhaps once the most well known westerner in South East Asia, Jim Thompson.
Jim Thompson’s fame further increased when he suddenly disappeared while he was on a holiday with friends in the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in 1967. His utterly charming Thai style home, which is located at Soi Kasemsan opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Road, is now a museum attracting hordes of visitors daily.
This weekend market is one of the most well known markets of Bangkok and is also rumored to be the biggest weekend market in the world. It is made up of more than 9000 stalls. The vendors of this market sell a wide array of goods that include small nails, foods, trendy apparel, antiques, wood carving, masks, soft furnishings, stationary as well as live animals and birds. If you love shopping while you are on vacation, then the Chatuchak Market offers you ample opportunities for souvenir shopping from your trip to Bangkok.
For some tourists, a visit to Bangkok is associated with shopping and sightseeing, while for others it is associated with the hedonistic delights of Patpong. Patpong is one of the world’s most infamous red light districts, which is located on two parallel side streets of Bangkok, between Silom and Surawongse Roads. This notorious area is a hub of activity at night when its neon lit strip bars and cabaret joints come alive to offer risqué live sex shows, lady boys and more. Patpong also hosts a night market, which offers many stalls that sell prepared foods and touristy souvenirs.
Best time to visit Bangkok
Bangkok has a hot tropical climate, which pervades all year round; daytime temperatures usually register in the mid-80sF for much of the year and the hottest season in Bangkok usually lasts from March to May. The city also experiences a rainy season, which lasts from June to October during which the city receives short burst of rain during the afternoons though sometimes these downpours last all day.
The best time to plan a visit to Bangkok is between the months of November to February for during these months the scorching temperatures that usually characterize Bangkok’s weather ease off somewhat.
Getting around in Bangkok
Bangkok is usually accessed via its Suvarnabhumi airport, which is situated 19 miles (30 km) to the east of Bangkok. The airport is well connected to the city center via public buses, taxis rental cars and air-conditioned coaches like the Airport Express, which connects the airport to several luxury hotels located in the heart of the city.
Bangkok was historically known for its horrendous traffic gridlocks but this situation has improved greatly in recent years with the creation of a mode of transport known as the Sky train(BTS) which is an elevated mass transit system .Additionally, the city is also served by its Metro(MRT) that connects locations not served by the Sky train.
Inexpensive and extensive transport connections in Bangkok are further provided by the city’s extensive public bus system and the system of water taxis that ply on the many waterways of the Chao Phraya River, which flows through the city. Other modes of public transport in Bangkok include metered taxis and tuk tuks which are three wheeled noisy contraptions that ply on the roads of this busy and chaotic city.
Where to shop in Bangkok
Bangkok is a well-known shopper’s paradise. High-end, low-end, mid-range, Bangkok has all shopping options covered at its many glistening malls, bustling markets and product-filled department stores.
If luxury designer goods are your passion, then the luxe Bangkok shopping malls like Central World, Siam Paragon, Terminal 21, Siam Discovery, Gaysorn, Erawan Shopping arcade are guaranteed to more than amply meet your needs with their smorgasbord of high-end brand offerings like Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes, Tod’s and many more. Prices of most luxury goods in Bangkok are somewhat higher than in the US. However it is worth mentioning that the Bangkok outposts of these brands often have special sales and tourists can also claim back the VAT paid (currently 7%) when they depart from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi international airport.
For more affordable shopping options, a tour of Bangkok’s vibrant markets is definitely recommended. If you are in Bangkok over a weekend, then a trip to its gargantuan Chatuchak market is a must-do. This sprawling market extends over 27 acres and hosts more than 15000 stalls that offer products sourced from every corner of Thailand. Home wares, candles, wood carvings, apparel, silk, artwork, Thai handicrafts, decorative items, antiques, the labyrinth-like Chatuchak market offers them all and if browsing local markets is your passion, then you are in for a real treat at the Chatuchak.
Other prominent Bangkok markets worth visiting include the Pratunam Market, a popular locale for apparel shopping, that Sampeng Market located in Bangkok’s Chinatown on Yarowat road and the Khao San Road Market, an erstwhile backpacker heaven that is also a well-known destination for delicious Thai street foods.
Bangkok is also a well-known locale for custom-tailoring and the city hosts numerous tailoring outfits along its main thoroughfare, Sukhumvit Soi. These custom tailors can easily whip up a suit or a dress for you in no time at prices which are definitely much lower than in the west.
Where to eat in Bangkok
Bangkok abounds with good food options. However, in recent years as Bangkok has evolved into a vibrant, cosmopolitan city, its dining options have also expanded to include more than just street-foods and native Thai cuisine. Well-regarded, relatively new eateries in Bangkok include establishments like Le Beaulieu (French), Gossip (French and Italian), Little Beast (French) and Supanniga Eating Room (Thai) along with spots like the Issaya Siamese Club (renowned chef Ian Kittichai’s Bangkok outpost), the Local (old-world Thai cuisine), Smith (Scottish cuisine) and Tida Easrn (Northern Thai cuisine).
However, if you want to sample the Thai capital’s world-renowned street food fare, you should try and pencil in visits to the bustling street-food markets located within various Bangkok neighborhoods like Victory Monument, Yarowat (Bangkok’s Chinatown) and Ratchawat.
Another recent development on Bangkok’s dining landscape is its burgeoning coffee culture; the city is littered with western-style cafes that offer a good cuppa. Popular cafés in Bangkok include the Library Café, Coffee Beans by Dao, Greyhound Café, Mr Jones Orphanage, Café Bicycle and Roast Café.
Nightlife in Bangkok
Bangkok’s legendary nightlife scene has been immortalized in various Hollywood movies like the 2011 smash-hit Hangover 2. The city’s decadent if not notorious locales like Patpong off Silom Road, Nana Plaza and Soi Cowboy are well-known for their varied raunchy attractions like peep shows, go-go bars and lady boys.
However, it’s not all dank and raunchy on Bangkok’s nightlife landscape and the city also offers a more up-market entertainment options at various sophisticated nightlife haunts. Worth a mention are hotspots like the Brown Sugar Jazz boutique, bars like the Wine Republic, Clouds, the Monkey Bar the Pure Bar and the Bed Supperclub, an immensely popular restaurant cum nightclub that has long reined supreme on Bangkok’s nightlife scene.