Introduction to Bangkok
Spicy, sweet, sour and salty; the hallmarks of Thai cuisine and appropriate descriptors for the country”s capital as well. As one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia, Bangkok is a metropolis of many contrasting flavours. An intoxicating mix of old and new, shy and brash, fast and slow, small and sky scraping. For all its sprawling concrete and traffic-clogged roads, you need only scratch at the surface to find a Bangkok worth sticking around for.
Indeed the more you dig, the more this bustling city will reward you. Take a wrong turn to find a hidden market. Wander down laneways to discover a magnificent temple. Miss the train and ride a ferry through the canals instead. Go looking for a coffee and wind up with a bowl of green curry in its place. Such is the charm of Thailand's largest city. For all its chaos and sensory overload, Bangkok will surprise you when you least expect it. Blink and you'll miss it though, so keep your eyes open. You never know what you might find; a spicy floating market, a sweet and serene temple, a sour Sidecar cocktail on a rooftop bar or a salty street stall snack. Deep fried grasshoppers anyone?
Like a choose-your-own adventure book, Bangkok has many paths to explore. Some are well-paved while others are barely touched by tourists. Most travellers to Bangkok will find themselves pumping the pavement to the city's most famous attractions; the temples, the palaces, the shopping malls. For all its numerous temples it's the Wat Arun and Wat Suthat that attract the most visitors, their spectacular architecture ideal for a snapshot of traditional Bangkok. Then there is the futuristic side, one where buildings scrap the sky and shopping malls are closer to climate-controlled, man-made worlds — much like the popular Central World or MBK Centre.
While it's impressive architectural marvels are worthy of their well-beaten path, its Bangkok's day-to-day life that will provide you with the authentic flavours of Thailand. Walk along the canal to experience the Venice of the East. Take your baht and test your barter skills at the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Tuck into a bowl of Bangkok's finest in colourful Chinatown. Whatever path you take, don't forget to flash a smile. You're in the land of them after all.
For more must-dos in Bangkok, check out our things to do page and start planning your Bangkok holiday.