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Bangkok Tourism And Travel Guide
20° C / 68° F
November to February
5 to 10 Days
Suvarnabhumi Airport (30 kms)
Hua Lamphong Railway Station
Bangkok or Krung Thep Maha Nakhon is the pride of Thailand. If you should visit Thailand you will see how full of activity the city is and how beautifully the old and the new have blended into a unique canvas of experiences. You will be in between towering skyscrapers that are embroidered by lovely, rich rivers, roads, open markets and streets dotted with ornate temples.
There is a reason why Bangkok is often referred to as one of the best cities in the world and it has to do with the wide range of things you can do in the city. There are plenty of cultural sites that one can visit which includes museums, temples, royal palaces and other historic sites spread throughout the city. Every now and then they also celebrate spirited festivals with a reputation of turning streets into funfairs.
However, Bangkok is best known for its nightlife. The city never sleeps and is populated with night clubs that range from luxurious rooftop lounges to average bars. If there is anything as popular as the nightlife in Bangkok it is the food. With a vast number of cuisines and plenty of places serving them, tourism in Bangkok can be scrumptious and at the same time be adventurous. It is very easy to get lost in the kaleidoscope of experiences that Bangkok provides. Study this travel guide and you are all set for Bangkok!
How To Reach
Travelling to Bangkok and the transportation within city is a very well organized affair. You can travel by Air, Road or Rail depending on where you are traveling from. Once you are in the city you will find a number of ways to travel around with the sky trains being the most popular option as it cuts through the traffic while giving you a fantastic aerial view of the city. Another excellent way to experience the city is to rent a bicycle, which is a very popular option among travellers for being easy to maneuvre.
By Air: Bangkok receives flights leaving every major city in the world on a daily basis and it is an important transit hub in Asia. The newly established Bangkok International Airport commonly known as Suvarnabhumi Airport has replaced the older Don Mueang International Airport and has taken over most of the international traffic. Airport Rail Links are often used to commute in and out of the airport. The train takes only half an hour to complete its trip so it is a popular choice especially among tourists.
By Road: There are roads connecting Bangkok to its neighbouring countries like Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. People do plan road trips from Laos and Cambodia, but any place further would require a good chunk of time. There are bus services from the rest of Thailand like Hua Hin, Phuket, Chiang Mai and the Cambodian cities like Siem Reap.
By Rail: Hua Lamphong Railway Station in the city is the main station assigned for International and long distance local trains. All trains that set out to different parts of Thailand begin from here. The Station is located right in the middle of the city and is equipped with ticket counters, lounges, cafeterias, ATM’s and a much needed information desk as the station is fairly large.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Once in Bangkok you will definitely notice how hot it is, regardless of the time of the year. Being only a few degrees north of the equator the temperature remains stubbornly warm with the only seasonal change being the onset of rain.
Summer (March to May): These are the hottest months of the year with the temperature easily touching 40 degree centigrade on an average day. It’s the season that is mostly avoided for the same reason, as travelling in the city becomes a rather taxing task. Despite this you will find some of the most entertaining festivals during the summer, such as the Songkran, the Thai New Year which is celebrated by showers of water and much enthusiasm.
Monsoon (June to October): The monsoon rains are a welcome change after the intense summer, but as it approaches September the downpour is so heavy that it worsens the traffic severely. However, the weather makes the trip far cheaper as the hotels reduce their prices to keep tourism up.
Winter (November to February): The winter months are the most popular here. The weather is dry and temperatures stay below 38 degrees but mostly above 22 degrees. The pleasant climate often attracts large crowds and hence finding accommodation and other services can become tricky if they are not booked in advance.
Things To Do
Sight Seeing: Bangkok is home to numerous sites of cultural and historic importance but most of the important ones are all situated on the island of Rattanakosin. The Buddhist temples like Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun are the most famous temples in the whole of Thailand. Wat Phra Kaew is sheltered within the Grand Palace, which in itself is a huge complex and deserves a whole day. Another palace worth visiting is the Dusit Palace built entirely out of wood. The architecture displays traditional Thai work and one of its achievements besides inspiring awe is its ability to keep the heat away.
Experience the city at different paces: Being such a vast city, Bangkok has a major part of it hidden away from the main roads. This part of the city is more endearing and is only open to pedestrians. Luckily though, cyclists are also included in this group. Cycling is so popular that the city administration provides rent free cycles to tour the city, there are a number of other organizers who arrange bicycle tours as well. An equally exciting way to explore the city and to socialize is to join a running club. There are quite a few in Bangkok that organise tours throughout the week. Taking a tour of the city through its rivers is another experience altogether. Taking Canal tours is the best way to see how the old and new live side by side in such grace and splendour.
Experience Bangkok through its Festivals: Bangkok is already full of life and activity, but this is taken to another level during the festive seasons. Most of the important Thai festivals are celebrated in here, the most notable of which are the Songkran Festival, the Thai New Year and Loi Krathong, the festival of Lights. You can look forward to water fights, parades, Thai style decorations, traditional dances and many more interesting rituals.
Rejuvenate your spirit: While you are in Bangkok, you should try going to a spa or massage parlour. There are several parlours throughout the city with a varied price range. The really expensive ones offer premium services and a wide range of them, including traditional Thai massages, reflexology, aroma-therapy, hot stone massages and what not. Bangkok is also famous for its medical spas and their wellness centres, these places are also worth the visit.
Join the exciting night-life: Millions of tourists pour in every year perhaps just to experience the splendour of the nightlife in Bangkok. Once the sun sets and the atmosphere is relieved of the heat, Bangkok becomes a completely different place. From rooftop bars overlooking the brilliantly lit up city to hip night clubs where the best DJ’s perform, nights in Bangkok have a little something for everyone. If you are not the drink and dance kind of person, there are cultural events and shows set up during the evening that you can take part in. The Siam Niramit Cultural show with its 150 performers enacting their history is one such show to see and of course, it doesn’t get more Thai than watching a performance of Muay Thai, an art form incorporating kick-boxing that is specific to the region.
Adventure Sports at Bangkok: Bangkok offers a number of exceptional sport experiences like bobble football, a sport where you are playing football, except you will be enclosed in a rubber bubble. If you were hoping for a more thrilling activity, then you should definitely try wake-boarding, which is becoming a trending sport these days. A visit to Siam Ocean World can be a fun experience, but did you know you can also go diving in the aquariums with sharks! This is definitely one of those activities that will spice up your trip.
Food and Places to Eat
With tens of thousands of restaurants all over the city finding a good place to eat is no big deal. Sukhumvit has a large number of restaurants in the fine dining range. Siam Square also has its fair share of diverse restaurants including Italian food joints. One of the most popular food centres and a favourite among back-packers is the Khao San Road. A very luxurious way of enjoying food would be aboard the Cruise boats on the Chao Phraya River. These dinner cruises include a number of cultural performances and an exotic buffet.
Thai street food is among the most sought after food in the world, they have many traditional dishes and desserts including Tong Yip, a sweet egg based tart, and Khanom Chan, a kind of jello. Pad Thai is a spicy fried rice noodle mixed with a number of sauces, chicken or shrimp, and is found on every street in Bangkok. Tom Yam Kung is a spicy and sour soup that is prepared using prawns and lemon-grass and is very popular as well.
Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise and has as many shopping centres as it has eateries. Some of Bangkok’s trendiest malls are MBK, Central World and Siam Paragon. These malls have everything you would expect from fashion stores to book stores, arcades to food courts and all this while escaping the heat outside.
Then there are the more traditional markets like the Amphawa and the Kwan-Reim floating markets where boats full of goods float on the rivers. The sight is a real delight to see and offers an insight to what the city’s past must have looked like. The Chatuchak weekend market has a staggering collection of everything you could want and more. There are about 8000 stores selling clothing, furniture, accessories, antiques, pets and what not.