Steamy and thick, Bangkok is ripe with the smells of incense, cement, curry, and motorbike exhaust. A true Asian metropolis, Thailand’s capital is zigzagged with canals churned up by river taxis and marked by the cool hush of the air-conditioned Skytrain and Metro. A new airport, complete with a train link to the inner city, eases your arrival to the Southeast Asian hub.
Though Bangkok has made a firm step into the modern world with its efficient public transport system and shiny new airport, it’s easy to let yourself get lost in the urban jungle of green trees, temples, and sizzling food stalls.
Bangkok is a major stopover point for folks venturing elsewhere in Asia, and as such it’s not difficult to find cheap flights to the country. All forms of accommodation abound, from hostels to five-star hotels, so you can cater your trip to your personal budget. Furthermore, Bangkok is an amazing city for shopping, with every sort of market and mall selling every sort of electronic or knock-off designer wallet.
Bangkok has been Thailand’s capital since 1782, when rule was transferred from Ayutthaya. Not surprisingly, then, historical palaces and temples dot the cityscape and offer quiet refuge from the ongoing deluge of noise and smells. Following is a list of Bangkok’s main places of interest (both the naughty and the nice), but see our Attractions in Bangkok page for more information on Bangkok’s sites.
- The Grand Palace
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- National Museum
- Wat Pho and the Reclining Buddha
- Khao San Road
Numerous day trips are also available from Bangkok, so if you’ve only a short stopover, consider destinations such as the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market or the Bridge on the River Kwai.
[Photo credit: Swami Stream, Flickr]