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Bangkok is a city of contrasts full of traditional and modern sights in every district. The population is over 10 million people, with many nationalities from around the globe calling Bangkok home.
Thailand was previously called Siam, and the capital was Sukhothai, then Ayutthaya before Bangkok became the most important city in the country in 1782 during the reign of King Rama the first. Over decades of growth and development combined with economic and political turmoil, the city has become the bustling urban hub it is today.
It is a relatively safe city to visit as long as you exercise street-smart awareness and common sense. You can travel on a budget or in style and accommodation options range from cheap backpacker hostels to mid-range hotels to luxury resorts.
Thai is the official language, and if you can learn a few words before you arrive, it will be greatly appreciated by the locals. Many Thais speak English and many other languages with some taxi drivers and tailors in the tourist areas, for example, able to converse basically in an impressive number of languages.
Baht is the local currency, and American dollars are accepted in some places. There are plenty of banks, ATMs, and money exchanges dotted all around the city.
It’s easy to travel around the city with taxis, tuk-tuks, the sky train and subway except when there are traffic jams and sometimes it’s faster to just go by foot. Another option is traveling by boat on the Chao Phraya River, which is a fun way to see the city from a unique viewpoint.
Visit the Grand Palace, Wat Pho with a reclining gold Buddha, Erawan Shrine and Wat Arun, where you will see monks going about their daily lives in bright orange robes.
Get lost in Chatuchak Market, one of the world’s largest markets, and when you need to cool down, there are shopping malls all over the city full of local and international brands. China town is fab for shopping and Jim Thompson House is the place to buy luxury silk.
Bangkok isn’t known for its parks as all the space is taken up with high-rise buildings and shophouses, but the exception is Lumpini Park, where there’s plenty of wide-open green space with shade to chill out.
A traditional Thai massage can be needed after hours of shopping and sightseeing and is the perfect way to unwind or re-energize yourself for a night out on the town.
See traditional Muay Thai boxing at a stadium with the children fighting early in the evening and the serious fighters entering the ring later in the night. A cabaret show, dinner cruise or Thai traditional dance performance are also great entertainment options after the sun goes down. As the evening rolls on, the nightclubs and bars get busy and loud music will be pumping until the early hours of the morning.
The city of Bangkok is heaven for foodies with delicious aromas tempting the tastebuds everywhere you go. Bangkok has something to suit everyone’s taste and budget, from street food to local restaurants to fine dining on the city’s highest rooftop.
Remember, it might not be in the fanciest restaurant that you experience your best meal because street food can be wonderfully authentic and delicious.
Green curry, Pad Thai, Banana Leaf Blossom Salad, Tom Yum Goong (spicy shrimp soup) and Khao Pad Sapparod (pineapple fried rice) are just a few of the signature dishes of Thailand that you can indulge in any hour of the day in the city that never sleeps.
For fine dining, put Ministry of Crab, The Rain Tree Cafe and Elements on your dining must-do list. A romantic night will unfold at Vertigo, a trendy rooftop bar and restaurant in Banyan Tree with epic views of the city lights.
To discover a unique dining concept and to support charities for the blind, try Dine In The Dark in the Sheraton Grande Sukhumvit. As you guessed, you will dine on the finest cuisine using every sense except your sight.
If you are craving Western food, drop by the New York Steakhouse at the JW Marriott Hotel Bangkok or The SmokinPug for some BBQ ribs. Or most shopping malls will have an array of restaurants to satisfy your cravings of Western or any type of cuisine.
You will never go hungry in Bangkok and be sure to stock up on spices and sauces at a market if you want to recreate some Thai dishes when you get home.
We know you would never leave home without your camera, travel insurance, money and basic medical supplies. As well as those make you you pack the following much-have items for your trip to Bangkok.
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Find that sunblock. You are off to sunny Thailand with the first stop in Bangkok!