Bangkok is ideal for a short break or a long weekend of sightseeing, shopping and relaxation, the Thai capital offers a fascinating mix of ultra modernity and well-preserved traditions.
In Bangkok, skyscrapers and Buddhist temples cohabit to create a unique cityscape. When travellers aren't busy getting pampered in one of the stylish spas or Thai massage parlours the city is home to, they can hone their haggling skills in one of the many markets Bangkok is famous for. Culture vultures will be seduced by the rich history of Thailand's largest city while party animals will revel in Bangkok's pulsating nightlife.More >>
Thai Airways International, Eva Airways, British Airways and Qantas fly direct to Bangkok.
The most traditional means of transport is to take a tuk tuk, a three-wheeled taxi. The skytrain, metro system, long tailed boats, and river taxis are reliable and efficient alternatives. Car hire is available but not really recommended as driving in Bangkok can prove quite challenging.
Visit the Orchid market to admire the many species of the national flower; attend a Thai boxing match at the Lumphini Stadium; take a canal tour stopping at Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, and the Royal Barge Museum on the north bank of Khlong Bangkok Noi; join a meditation class; go up the tallest tower in the country, the 309 metre high Baioke II.
A long weekend or a five-day break are necessary to check out as many shopping options as possible in Bangkok. Shoppers will fall for the many markets and malls including River City Shopping Complex, The Emporium Siam Paragon, Central World and MBK. More specialised markets include Thewet market for tropical flowers, Pahurat market for silk and fine fabrics and Yaowarat market for gold and jewellery. Memorable experiences await visitors of the JJ Market (Jatujak Weekend Market) where 15,000 stalls are set up every week; the nightime market Suam Luam or the floating market of Damnoen Saduak 80km west of Bangkok.
European travellers shouldn't worry when buying street food in Bangkok as stalls on the street have an excellent reputation and offer one of the most authentic culinary experiences. To try out fine Chinese food, Chaowarat (Chinatown in Thai) is the place to go. All the main luxury hotels have upmarket dining options. Gourmets will also enjoy the award-winning Baan Khanitha, the Blue Elephant and its cooking school and Le Banyan which offers the chance to take a French break from Thai cuisine.
To enjoy breathtaking views and evening drinks, the Sirocco and the Sky Bar & Distil, both in the State Tower, Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree and the Long Table Restaurant & Bar are all in favour amond local well-heeled and discerning travellers.
Architectural gems in Bangkok include the Grand Palace built by Rama I, the Jim Thompson House, a collection of renovated tek houses home to a superb Asian art collection; the Wat Phra Keo in the Royal Palace and its Emerald Buddha, the most worshipped statue in the country and the Wat Po which hosts the 46m long, 14m high gold plated Reclining Buddha and the college for traditional Thai massage. Another must-see is the gigantic Siam Ocean World aquarium famous for its sharks.
Bangkok is ideal for a short break or long weekend and single travellers and couples alike will enjoy its vibrant nightlife, exotic architecture, and endless shopping and relaxation opportunities.
Thailand is a tropical country so it is hot throughout the year with temperatures rarely dropping below 25° C. From April to October humidity can be very high and downpours frequent.
The best time to go is during the dry season, between November and March.
Bangkok has many fabulous luxury chains, boutique hotels and trendy B&Bs to choose from, including the intimate 12-suite The Eugenia, the Rembrandt close to the shopping centres, trendy and design Siam@Siam, and the palaces Mandarin Oriental, The Peninsula and Shangri-La.