Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is thousands of people all wearing the same color shirt on the same day for respect to their King, it is backpackers, it is Khao San Road, it is massage parlors, it is crowds, it is traffic, it is orange robed monks, it is hot, it is humid, it gleams with golden temples, it is sex tourism, it is medical tourism, it is cheap guest houses, it is some of the best hotels in the world, it is an ever present ebb and flow of life – all day and all night long, it is service with a smile – there is really no other city like it in the world.

Travelers to Bangkok usually describe there time in this city with the following two words: HOT, HUMID. That’s it. You leave for another tropical country which is hot and humid, but you find out its not really that bad until you return to Bangkok and have something to actually compare hot & humid weather to. If you are in Bangkok during December or January, you may catch a few weeks where the nights can actually cool down to 15 C or even the around 13C. This doesn’t happen every year, but we have been in Bangkok when its actually “downright pleasant” during the day and even a bit chilly at night.

There is absolutely no other city like it in the world; it is so full of life…everywhere. You cannot help but be caught up in the hustle and bustle, the crowds, congestion and food – all day and all night. This is not to be ignored but is to be experientially jumped into full throttle.

At first glance nothing appears to be static here – 3 wheeled automobiles called Tuk-Tuks weave in and out of traffic, the sidewalks are filled with throngs of moving people and there always seems to be another Bangkok hotel, skyscraper, apartment, or shopping mall under construction. However, there are some sights that seem to remain the same year after year – serene places like the estate of Jim Thompson, the famous Wats of Po and Arun, not so calm places such as Khao San Road and of course the Grand Palace.

wat po reclining buddha bangkok“Wat Hunting Without Map” is a favorite activity of mine when I am in Bangkok. I visit new streets that I haven’t been to before, see new shops, and find new attractions. Every time I go “Wat Hunting Without Map” I become hopelessly and utterly lost! This is fun – I never worry too much – I always carry the handy card map of my hotel in my money belt and I have the name and street memorized in case I do lose the map card.

When I randomly disappear into crowds somewhere on the streets of this huge city it may appear that I am in the middle of nowhere. Usually I am the only visible foreigner in the crowd, no one is speaking English and everything looks, smells and feels “exotic” compared to “Western” countries. This is exciting and uniquely refreshing.

Bangkok is a sprawling metropolis of over 8 million people. From the center of city you can look 360 degrees in any direction and all you will see is buildings for as far as you can see.

In general, the Thai people are among some of the nicest and friendliest people that I have met in all of my travels. They have a “way of being” with themselves and with other people that is gentle – not appearing to be angry or mad at the world. Come to Thailand, come to Bangkok – you will have an incredible time that you will never forget!

Read on for all there is to see and do in Bangkok…also visit our Tsunami Memorial December 26, 2004 page

We are also just as home in the other City of Angels, Los Angeles. More here

Share

Comments

  1. First time I’ve been to Bangkok I’ve hated it, but now after spending there weeks and weeks I’m totally addicted. Always something new and always amazing. Nice article…

  2. People say you need to spend 4 days in Bangkok. The first day you HATE it, the second day you kinda GET USED to it, the third say you start FALLING IN LOVE with it and the fourth onwards you absolutely LOVE it :). Great post mate.

  3. Many people hate BKK and I did at the beginning, but now I miss it so much!

  4. Well said regarding Bangkok! Also depends on the time of year – if its super hot and humid and you have no experience with that weather before – Bangkok can be a rude awakening…. its an amazing city – there is none other quite like it in the world.

  5. Was in Thailand two years ago and absolutely loved it. The true gems of Thailand are in the small, off the path cities. While I enjoyed my time in Bangkok, Chiang Mai and what not, I had the best experiences of my trip in little towns like Nong Khai.

  6. Bangkok was great. I wasn’t expecting much after seeing many great sights in SE Asia. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see great new sights and meet cool people.

  7. Hi Katie – how long is your trip? How long are you in Thailand for? I’m currently in China where “the great firewall” has blocked your site – but many sites are blocked here :( I’ll be back in Thailand in mid January. Can’t wait!

  8. Bangkok highly surpassed my expectations. If you go to Thailand, be sure to check out Chiang Mai and maybe one of the islands.

  9. Its been a warm one this week in Thailand – hanging out in Eastern Thailand in a small village – will get back to Bangkok again in a week or so – always look forward to my visits to town!

  10. Bangkok…a better extension of my city, Manila. I feel so at home that it seems like I am not in a different place only a better place :)

  11. Ryoa – thanks for dropping by. Yes that is a good point. Whenever I’m in town, it is also like “coming home” – its so refreshing to know a city well and feel comfortable traveling in and around town. There are not too many cities like that in the world I can say that about.

  12. Love Bangkok however May is unbearable hot. Have also travelled here November and August was perfect. Every visit I find something new – from first day loved the place. The Shanti Lodge is a favourite place to stay (near the national library) – close to Kho San but far enough away as well :) I wish the street dogs had a better life that’s the only downside. The Soi’s are easy to work out once you’re there for a few days.

  13. Tameera – yes December and January are the months to be in the Kingdom – especially near Bangkok where the temperatures are often more reasonable. With that said, it can still be extremely hot like its been this week. The Shanti Lodge sounds very familiar – I’ll check it out. Thanks for the recommendation.

  14. Love BKK – one of the my fav city. My first time I drove in – had driven overland from Turkey and the traffic was wild!

    Spent nearly a year there running tours to all over SE Asia. Thankfully never stayed anywhere near the Kho San Road – went there once and hated it; full of backpackers getting stoned, staying there for months and claiming the have ‘done’ Thailand…!

    Sukhumvit road was where it was at – locals were awesome, top street food, great place to be. There’s many hidden gems in the city if you lose the western crowds. Great market and shopping and quick to Ko Samet – and other gem easily overlooked!

  15. Andy – that sounds like an epic drive – turkey to thailand, nice! Yea Kha San road has its moments – Sukhumvit is certainly a busy busy place – right, with food all hours of day and night. I like staying along the Chao Praya River – doesn’t get more exotic than that. Also along parts of Silom are nice to. Spent a week vacationing in K. Samet once – nice island. The islands near the Cambodia border are also nice – some of them – not too touristy.

  16. How is the food in Thailand? Nice Buddha statue there.

  17. Calogero – thanks for stopping by. The food is some of my favorite – Thai food can be spicy of course but the flavors pack a lot into many of their dishes. Excellent soups, curries and seafood. Even in food courts – you can find delicious food – contrasting with what you often find in “western” food courts – which can be often “fast” food and chain restaurants. Here are just a few of my favorite dishes: http://www.davestravelcorner.com/guides/bangkok/food-restaurants/

    The photo of the Buddha above is in Wat Po next to the Chayao Praya River in the heart of Bangkok – it is the largest reclining Buddha in the world. A must visit when you are in town :)

  18. You have an amazing talent of describing things. Reminded me of my honey moon trip to Thailand, years ago. Brought back precious memories and taste of Thai food. Though, I didn’t like the place much at that time. But after reading this, feel like visiting again. Salutes, to your spirit of adventure.

  19. Thanks Fariha! Once you taste the authentic food – its hard to go back to Thai food that has been cooked for non Thai tastes. Bangkok is a constant state of change – not sure how long ago you were there, but you probably wouldn’t recognize the city now.

  20. Lizette Maulion says:

    I think BKK is one of the busiest place I have ever been to however people remain calm, patient and silent despite the heavy traffic jam. Temples, shops and food are everywhere. If you research about the place ahead of time, you can save more money since BKK has a very low cost of living. One thing I enjoy is the food court. You can find this in some of the big malls such as Central Plaza, MBK, Terminal 21 and even Central World. You have to pay first and they will give you a card containing the credit that you can use 100 baht will give you a complete meal.

  21. Lizette – that is a good point about the food courts. They certainly aren’t all American fast food dominated – and you can get some delicious Thai food at a very reasonable price. I will also mention the cheapest place to eat at Suvarnapumi Airport is the food court on Level 1 :)

  22. Good article – Bangkok IS a great city. Just don’t fall for the gem scam.
    http://bbqboy.net/falling-for-the-bangkok-gem-scam/

  23. Frank – thanks for the warning and the link! Yea it happens to the best of us – I have some additional comments on my Bangkok Jewelry page here: http://www.davestravelcorner.com/guides/bangkok/bangkok-jewelry/

  24. It is indeed a great city and one of the best place to acquire tailor made suits & shirts. This alone could make this city a destination point as the tailoring here is the most prolific in the world. This said, there is very little information on tailors in Bangkok and which ones are best. To the untrained eye the quality is the same with all of them. You have to watch out which store to use, and which not to. Universal Tailors on silom road definitely the one to go (www.universaltailor.com) and ignore James tailor that uses Tuk tuk to scam people into getting clothes at a hiked prices to get some commission.

  25. Yea my brother buys all his suits in Bangkok – he uses his tailor as an excuse to visit Thailand!

  26. Bangkok is an amazing city and I love it, but I’m also glad to leave it to go north to Chiang Mai or south to Koh Samui where the air is cleaner, the people are friendlier and the climate is more tolerable. Don’t just focus on Bangkok. If you would like something to publish about other top Thailand destinations, please let me know.

  27. Tony – that’s right. I’ve been all over Thailand but spend most of my time in Bangkok. Looking forward to returning again in less than 10 days for more exploration of this great city as well as a trip to the southern part of the country :)

    If you are interested in submitting a piece about Thailand, you can review our submission guidelines here: http://www.davestravelcorner.com/about/journal-submission-guidelines/
    Thanks!

  28. Great article, I absolutely love Bangkok and agree completely with what you say! I love just wandering around strange new areas and getting completely lost, I never had a name for it though! Haha!

  29. Yes and Bangkok is one of the best cities for this – during my first time there, my friend and I must have walked at least 25km during a full day – our goal was not to take any sort of transportation and try to find our way back to our hotel after being hopelessly lost. I think we ended up in a Tuk Tuk for a short distance after it was getting super late and we kept showing our hotel’s card to random people on the streets!

  30. great article.agree with everyone bangkok is really nice place..here are few places must go while in bangkok
    japanese food – in the mood for love
    thai food spring and summer
    sighseeing grand palace asiatique
    hotels lebua state tower
    tailors savilerowfashion
    nightlife levels club also can visit khaosan road
    floating market mbk and platinum malls
    healthland massage

  31. Yea, I need to hit some new restaurants in town, especially some seafood – thanks for the various recommendations!

  32. Planning to head back to Thailand in January. You’ve given me some inspiration to maybe give Bangkok another look.

  33. Excellent – January is a good month to visit as its usually not as hot as many other times of the year. It always helps to meet someone locally, esp in Bangkok which can be a rather chaotic and overwhelming city. I always say do Bangkok in small doses. I am hoping to get back a few times this year :)

Speak Your Mind

*


Want an avatar to show with your comments? Get a free Gravatar