Thailand’s largest city is its capital, Bangkok. With over eleven million people, Bangkok overflows with an abundance of metropolitan life. Though the busy city life may seem less than inviting, a closer look reveals Bangkok as an inviting location with many locations to visit.
Bangkok lies close to the equator, which gives the city its humid and tropical atmosphere. The warm weather attracts visitors worldwide, drawn to its mild climate as the world’s hottest city according to the World Meteorological Organization . Be sure to try to take in the beautiful tropical plant life and fruit. Crime here is low, making it safe for visitors and business travelers. The bustling city pulses with monks, visitors, pedestrian and automotive traffic.
Getting to Bangkok
Travel to Bangkok via one of two airports, Suvarnabhumi Airport or Dong Muang. Most airlines utilize Suvarnabhumi Airport with the exceptions of Nok air and Orient Thai, which fly to Dong Muang. You will have to ride into the city from the airports, some 19 miles away. Traffic is heavy, so be sure to allow a few hours to get from one airport to another when traveling.
The Airport Rail Link is a quick way to get from the airport to Bangkok, all while avoiding the bulk of the congestive traffic. Board this high-speed train at the passenger terminal, on the basement level of the airport and travel to your destination at speeds reaching 100 mi/hr. Catch a train between 6 am and midnight, daily. Two different fare classes are offered: Express Line (non stop service) and City line, that makes stops at all stations. Express service departs every 15 to 18 minutes and costs 90 baht for a one-way trip. City line service departs every 15 minutes, with the trip costing 45 baht.
Ride one of the public taxis that are easily accessible from the airports. Posted signs for “public taxis” direct you to their location around the airport. They speak English. Have your change ready in the event your driver takes a tollway. Expect to pay between 250 and 400 baht for a taxi trip. Although there are limousine taxis, you will be wise to avoid them. They often overcharge, sometimes up to double the fares charged by public taxis.
Public buses run in Bangkok. You will have to take the free shuttle from the airport to the bus terminal a short distance away. You can also take one of the private company minibuses, to get to your destination. Buses cost between 30 and 50 baht, with some trips between airports and to central Bangkok taking about 40 minutes.
Things to Do in Bangkok
There is plenty to see and do in Bangkok. Try any of the following:
- Temples- Find hundreds of temples throughout the area. Must see temples include Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun. Some of these are regarded as highly sacred sites in Thailand.
- Parks- Check out Lumphini Park, the largest one in Bangkok. Breathe in the fresh air and get away from the hustle of the big city. Stop by Santichaiprakarn Park, a smaller spot perfect for backpackers.
- Animal Habitats- Siam Ocean World has the largest aquarium in southeastern Asia. Saovabha Institute Snake Farm in Silom informs visitors about snakes.
- Bicycling- Visits one of several places offering organized bicycle tours. This includes Grasshopper Adventures(57 Ratchadamnoen Klang Rd +66 2 280-0832 ) Thailand Green Ride, ☎ +66 2 888-9637 and Recreational Bangkok Biking, Baan Sri Kung, 350/127 Rama III Soi 71, ☎ +66 2 285-3955)
- Shopping- Must see stops include Siam Square that has clusters of quaint designer shops, Siam Paragon with designer handbacks, Chatuchak Weekend Market to score great deals on the weekends.
Restaurants in Bangkok
Restaurants number over 50,000 in Bangkok. Grab a bite to eat from any number of vendors offering their cooked wares. Cost is relatively low and will usually only set you back about 300 baht. Grab something from the many street vendors for about 30 baht. International cuisine choices include Italian, Vietnamese, Mexican and French. For Italian try Soi Ton Son close to Siam Square. Vegetarian friendly fare is found in areas catering to tourists, especially Khao San Road. Popular dishes worth sampling while in Bangkok include tom yam kung, a spicy soup with shrimp, lemongrass and galangal and kanon roti, a sweet crepe filled with sugar and cream. For the adventurous diner, munch on fried insects like crickets, scorpions and meal worms at one of the street vendor carts on Khao San Road. Find many restaurants serving Chinese food on Yaowarat.
Accommodation in Bangkok
Visitors to Bangkok can stay at a variety of places. Backpackers can find hostels catering to them along Khao San Road. Higher priced and more upscale housing is along Silom, namely The Oriental and The Peninsula. Siam Square, Sukhumvit and Silom have expensive and budget accommodations.