Type: City Break
Best Date to Visit: Nov-Feb
Things to Do: Visit Temples, Visit Markets, Dine, Nightlife, Shopping
Points of Interest: The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Siam Paragon, Khao san Rd, Emerald Buddhas, Wat Arun, ect
The Good: A lot to see and do, cheap, full of culture
The Bad: Lots of scammers,
Bangkok or Krungthep (as known to locals) is the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It holds around 8 million inhabitants which is about 10% of the country’s total population. Although it is the government, financial and investment centre of the country there are calls to move its title as the capital elsewhere due to various problems such as its congestion and floods.
The capital is one of the most famed in South East Asia, a hotspot for tourists which featured in movies such as The Beach, Hangover Part 2, Street Fighter and many more. According to MasterCard the city ranked top destination by foreign visitors in its global destination cities index in 2018.
I visited Bangkok on a short 3 day period heading home from Myanmar back to London. Due to my short stay, I didn’t get to visit everything the city had to offer, however the places I did see were remarkable.
Areas of Interest
Firstly I stayed in a place called Ratchaprarop Rd which is unofficially known as the little India of the city. This area had various different night markets and small malls. It was a little noisy at night and there were a lot of people, however I didn’t experience a great deal of discomfort from my hotel room at Indra Regent Hotel.
Khao San road is one of the most popular place to go and stay for travellers and backpackers in Asia. A haven for hostels, bars and night markets, this road is central for affordable leisure and entertainment.
The Grand Palace is the official residence of the Kings. Tourists are allowed to visit the complex with a ticket which is bought online and collected 24 hours before the visit. The complex is one of the main places to visit as a lot of the significant things to see such as the Emerald Buddhas, The Demon Guardians, The Statue of Cheewok Khomaraphat, Phra Mondop and many more are situated here.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Phra Kaew (in thai) is in another complex right beside the Grand Palace and depending on what ticket you purchase, you may only need one to enter both. As the name states the temple is where the Emerald Buddha Statues are situated and these are one of the main attraction to see in Bangkok. Along with the Grand Palace this complex will be a very enjoyable for a full day visit. There is just plenty to see and all the details of artwork and architecture are fascinating.
Another complex to visit is the Wat Pho or Wat Po which is situated south of the Grand Palace. This complex is most notable for the Giant Reclining Buddha however like the Grand Palace there are loads of other attractions to see within its vicinity. I bought my ticket on the day of entry so I do not believe entry is as strict as that of the Grand Palace.
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping
Malls are very popular in Bangkok and the city is full of them. These places are popular for tourists who want to relax, shop, dine and getaway from the heat of the outdoors. Just some of the malls are Terminal 21 which has an airport interior feel, centralworld probably the most popular for all, the luxury Siam Paragon which has one of the largest aquariums in South East Asia and so much more.
A Free Art Gallery
I also visited the arts and culture centre which is a free gallery showcasing Thailand’s modern arts. The exhibits change frequently and is popular for the more artistic personalities.
Excursions I Recommend
I went to the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market and the Maeklong Rail Market which are very popular day excursions. I enjoyed and fully recommend the Maeklong Rail Market an active market on top of train tracks which is especially exciting when a train actually passes (I believe only twice a day). The market sells actual food products which cater to locals and not just tourists so you can feel the culture and normality of life. However I was disappointed with the Damnoen Samnuak Floating Market as this was made especially for tourism, everything sold were souvenirs and not actual products catering to locals, furthermore I may be wrong but I believe 100% of people there were tourists. So I did not feel true culture there. But nonetheless altogether it was a good day out especially the active rail market.
In conclusion Bangkok is a tourist haven, from its markets to its temples, its malls, nightlife, shrines and many other places in the capital. Although the city alone has plenty to offer, there are many very popular day excursions just outside its perimiter. I didn’t get to see all the city has to offer due to my short stay but even though, I have to say my visit was successful and enjoyable.
I believe 5 days to a week is a good duration to stay in the city, there is plenty to see and do. It is cheap so an even longer stay wouldn’t hurt your budget. The only negative aspect of the city I experience were locals trying to trick tourists into extorting more money, expensive tuk-tuk rides are a thing to lookout for, I advise to use the Grab taxi a set price booked with your phone. Nonetheless altogether Bangkok is a beautiful place with some of the most friendliest people in the world.
Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bangkok#Calls_to_move_the_capital Photo: 3 photos have been taken from Pixabay