• Golden

Bangkok

Thailand

To say that Bangkok is full of contrasts is an understatement. On the one hand, there are gleaming golden palaces, ancient temples and long-tailed boats carrying Buddhist monks in saffron robes. On the other, you’ll find ultramodern megamalls filled with stylish young Thais, trendy downtown neighbourhoods and a famously no-holds-barred nightlife scene. It’s these contradictions that make Bangkok one of Asia's most cosmopolitan and compelling capitals.

At first glance, Bangkok may seem like a chaotic sprawl of concrete buildings and traffic jams, but dig a little deeper and you’ll be rewarded by a city that is complex, soulful, and above all, fun. From outdoor markets to hipster cafés, world-renown spas and glistening sky-bars to ancient stupas and solemn festivals, Bangkok truly has something to offer everyone. And of course, no visitor can leave Bangkok without getting their fill of the city’s renowned Southern Thai cuisine. Eat to your heart’s content amidst the burgeoning restaurant scene or sample its world-famous street food, where sweet, sour, spicy and salty sensations combine to explode on the tongue in a riot of flavours. It’s a fitting metaphor for the city itself: an intoxicating blend of contrasts that will blow your mind and leave you wanting more.

 

Why Go

The most visited city in the world, Bangkok is colourful, contrasting, compelling and above all, fun.

When to Go

Bangkok can be visited year round, with its constantly hot and humid weather that generally ranges from 23°C to 36°C (74-97°F). Expect more rain during the southwest monsoon between May till November, followed by a dry, cooler period from November to February with temperatures around 25-28°C (generally the best time to visit). March to May are the hottest months, with temperatures sometimes reaching up to a scorching 38°C (100°F).

Average Temp

J

F

M

A

M

J

J

A

S

O

N

D

High °C

32

33

34

35

34

33

33

33

32

32

31

31

Low °C

21

23

25

26

26

26

26

26

25

25

24

21

High °F

90

91

93

95

93

91

91

91

90

90

88

88

Low °F

70

73

77

79

79

79

79

79

77

77

75

70

 

Book to Pack

Four Reigns by Kukrit Pramoj, a classic novel about one woman’s life in Thailand as it undergoes massive political change from 1890 to World War II, written by a former Prime Minister; or The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley, a New York Times Bestseller about love, loss and family secrets.

Did You Know?

Bangkok’s official name is a mouthful: Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit, which translates to "City of angels, great city of immortals, magnificent city of the nine gems, seat of the king, city of royal palaces, home of gods incarnate, erected by Visvakarman at Indra's behest."

  • The Golden Palace, Bangkok
  • Buddhist monks in Bangkok
  • Bangkok city skyline
  • Wat Arun Bangkok
  • Bangkok's famous floating markets
  • Giant reclining Buddha in Wat Pho
  • Golden Palace in Bangkok
  • Bangkok shopping mall and nightclub
  • Thai fruit seller and Muay Thai fighter
  • Bangkok night fireworks

Things to Do

Visit the Golden Palace and temples

Bangkok's most famous landmarks include the impressive Golden Palace, Wat Prakeaw, Wat Pho (home to a gigantic reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun, or the temple of Dawn. Conveniently clustered together besides the river, each one will dazzle you with their exquisite architecture and intricate detail.

Go shopping

Bangkok is known for its glitzy shopping malls, including Siam Paragon, Siam Center, Siam Discovery, MBK, Pantip Plaza and Central World, which are clustered along a stretch between the National Stadium, Siam and Chit Lom BTS stations. The Thais are well known for their creativity, so dive into nearby Siam Square, a youthful shopping district packed with young Thai entrepreneurs selling the latest fashion designs and kooky, innovative products. For something a little different, head to Chatuchak Weekend Market, the largest market in the world with over 15,000 stalls selling everything under the sun from handicrafts to pets, antiques, souvenirs, ceramics, and much more.

Visit a traditional floating market

Although there are several smaller markets located nearer the city, the most iconic and authentic of Bangkok's famous floating markets is Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, located about two hours south of Bangkok. Wake up early and get there during the morning rush, where you can navigate amongst boats piled high with tropical fruit and vegetables and enjoy a steaming bowl of breakfast noodles cooked right on the boat itself.

Catch a glimpse of Old Bangkok

Forget the dazzling skyscrapers: Bangkok was once covered by a series of khlongs, or canals, lined with traditional wooden stilt houses that are fast disappearing. Hop on board a long-tail boat tour through the khlongs of Thonburi and get a glimpse of the old village houses and authentic way of life. Art and history lovers should not miss the chance to visit the Jim Thompson House, a traditional teak home owned by an American expatriate (and suspected undercover C.I.A. agent) in the 1950’s, who singlehandedly revived the country’s silk weaving industry before mysteriously vanishing without a trace in the jungles of Malaysia.

Watch a Thai kick-boxing match

Take in a traditional Muay Thai, or Thai boxing, match at the iconic Ratchadamnoen Stadium, where the best of the sport battle for national glory in front of a packed audience.

Enjoy the food

Thai cuisine is popular around the world for its mix of sweet, sour, spicy and salty flavours. One of the best places to sample Bangkok's renowned street food is in the Chinatown district, or Yaowarat, where street food sellers emerge after dark to hawk plates filled with seafood, bird's nest soup, Peking duck, roast suckling pig and other mouthwatering Thai and Chinese delicacies. If that inspires you, then sign up for Thai cooking classes and learn to make world-famous Thai dishes such as Pad Thai and green curry. Or visit the local markets where you can ogle at the piles of fresh produce, tropical fruits and spices.

Party till dawn

The Thais love to party, and Bangkok’s electrifying nightlife scene ranges from global mega-clubs to underground jazz bars scattered along Khao San, Sukhumvit 11, Thonglor and Ekkamai districts. For the ultimate Bangkok party experience, head to the top floor of the iconic Lebua State Tower's sky bar (made famous by the movie Hangover 2) for cocktails with 360 views of the city.

Hit the rooftop of the iconic State Tower’s Sirocco or the Banyan Tree’s Vertigo and Moon bar and claim your first-class ticket to the most amazing sunset vista Bangkok has to offer

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/top10-short-tours.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001
Hit the rooftop of the iconic State Tower’s Sirocco or the Banyan Tree’s Vertigo and Moon bar and claim your first-class ticket to the most amazing sunset vista Bangkok has to offer.

Read more at: http://www.bangkok.com/top10-short-tours.htm?cid=ch:OTH:001

Buddhist monks in Bangkok
Pad Thai

Getting There

NOTE: Travel information such as flight, train, bus and boat schedules and fares are subject to constant change. The information below is intended as a basic guide only; please check with the relevant companies/authorities before planning your journey.

By Air

Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is the city's main airport and the busiest in South-East Asia, serving almost all domestic as well as international flights. Popular domestic airlines include Bangkok Airways, Nok Air and Thai Airways, linking the city to other parts of Thailand.

The airport is located about 30km from the city centre. Most travellers take the Airport Rail Link, a high-speed rail that is by far the cheapest and fastest way to get to town while avoiding the city’s infamous traffic jams. This consists of the non-stop Express Line (15 minutes, THB 150) as well as the slower City Line (THB 15-45), with a connection to the BTS Skytrain at Phaya Thai station. Alternatively, airport taxis are also available and cost approximately 300 THB to the city centre, a journey of around 45-60 minutes.

Don Muang Airport (DMK) is Bangkok's other airport that is used mainly for short regional flights, most notably the popular budget airlines AirAsia, Nok Air and Scoot. It is located about 30km north of the city, with a free shuttle bus departing every hour to Suvarnabhumi Airport for those with connecting flights.

By Train

Bangkok is connected to all parts of the country by rail via the State Railway of Thailand. The city is served by a number of railway stations but the most important one is Hualamphong Train Station, which is also connected to the BTS line. From here it is possible to travel by train to other parts such as Ayutthaya, Sukkhothai and Chiang Mai in the north and as far south as Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore. 

By Bus

Bangkok is served by three main bus terminals, each serving a different region. The Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit 2) is the largest and busiest, serving the Northeast Isaan region, while the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekkamai) and the Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai) have buses to popular southern destinations including Pattaya, Koh Samui, Phuket and Krabi.

Getting Around

By Metro

The BTS Skytrain and the MRT are by far the most convenient way of getting around downtown, in order to avoid the infamous city traffic. The BTS consists of two lines; the Silom line running west to south via the popular Siam shopping area, and the Sukhumvit line, which runs north to east and connects to the MRT. Fares start at THB 15 and may be purchased at the station via vending machine (accepts THB 5 and THB 10 coins). Note that BTS and MRT tickets are not interchangeable.

By Tuk Tuk

The tuk-tuk is Thailand's iconic 3-wheeled mode of transport, consisting of a covered seating area attached to a modified motorcycle. These are relatively easy to flag down but the fare will depend on your bargaining skills – always agree on a price before getting inside.

By Taxi

Taxis in Bangkok are readily available and metered; however be wary of drivers taking advantage of tourists by finding ways to run up the fare. The initial flag-down fare is THB 35 while a trip to the city centre costs less than THB 100.

The Essentials

Visa Requirements

Most nationalities can enter Thailand without a visa or by obtaining a visa upon arrival, although we advise visiting the Thailand Immigration Bureau website for current guidelines. Entry permit duration will depend on nationality and entry point; however most people are permitted to remain for either 15, 30 or 90 days.

Currency

Thailand uses the Thai Baht (THB), which tends to fluctuate wildly in value. As a general indication, US$1 is roughly equivalent to 30 THB. Visit xe.com for the latest exchange rates.

Restrictions & Laws

In spite of its freewheeling image, Thailand has very strict anti-drug laws. Possession of marijuana will result in a prison sentence and heavy fine, while amphetamines and ecstasy are regarded as Class A drugs on the same level as heroin. Like most South-East Asian countries, Thailand enforces a mandatory death sentence for Class A drug trafficking and possession of over 20g; a rule that also applies to foreigners.

Thailand's Lèse Majesté laws make it a criminal offence to make critical or defamatory comments in any form about the King or other members of the Royal family in Thailand. This is a law to be taken seriously as it is punishable by a prison sentence of up to 15 years, with foreigners having been convicted in the past.

Health & Safety

Bangkok is surprisingly safe for such a big city, and violent crimes are rare. As always however, travellers should still take precautions against pick-pocketing and snatch thefts, especially when walking in dimly-lit areas. The city is infamous for its seedy go-go bars and underground prostitution; pimping and soliticing are technically illegal although this is largely ignored. Despite recent awareness campaigns, HIV and AIDS are still widely prevalent.

Mosquitos can be a concern depending on the time of year, as they can carry dengue fever (although seldom malaria). Use mosquito repellent when outdoors especially during dawn and dusk. It is not advisable to drink tap water; bottled water is cheap and readily available.

Learn the Lingo

Thai is the official language of Thailand. The Thai language is famous for being difficult to learn, consisting of different tones (similar to Mandarin), 44 consonants and 18 vowels! Words may also vary depending on the speaker's gender.

Hello - sa-wat-dee kap (male speaker) / sa-wat-dee kha (female speaker)

Thank You - kop-khun kap (male speaker) / kop-khun kha (female speaker)

What is your name? - kun cheu ah-rai?

How much is this? - anee tao rai?

Excuse me / sorry - kor toht

Goodbye - laa gon na