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Bangkok is a city that seems to sit on the edge of reality and the unknown. Known as the City of Angels and the Venice of the East, Bangkok is a hot, polluted, chaotic city that is teeming with energy. There's so much to do with everything from shopping to sightseeing, and a nearly endless variety of cuisines to choose from. Bangkok never stops, and you may feel yourself drained from the nonstop pace. Luckily, Bangkok also hosts a number of world class spas, skyline-view bars, luxurious hotels, and excellent restaurants to help melt your stress away.

Top Reasons To Visit Bangkok

Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, and with good reason. And despite what you may have heard about the city, in Hollywood movies or otherwise, the city is teeming with life and adventure. Here are the top reasons you should visit Bangkok:

The Canals

There's a reason why people call it the "Venice of the East." You can gaze at a ton of attractions right from the comfort of your own little sloop.

Street Food

Bangkok has the most eclectic fusion of food from all over the world. Don't be put off by the "weird" stuff, Bangkok is an exotic place, try some new foods and live a little!

Shopping Bargains

Hong Kong and Singapore can't hold a candle to the high-end designer products that you can find in Bangkok, and at a lower price.

Sky-High Sipping

Sky dining is becoming increasingly popular in Bangkok. You can have a few cocktails while overlooking the bustling city below. The views and the drinks are tasty, and the view is priceless.

Temple-Gazing

The temples in the surrounding areas appeal both to the casual traveler as well as the full-on history buff. From the iconic temples like Wat Po to the less known wats, a trip to the temple's is a one-of-a-kind opportunity.

When to Go to Bangkok

The time between late October to late February is the best time to visit the city. This is when Bangkok is at 85°F, its coolest and driest season. If you travel there in April or later then the humidity and heat may make your trip unbearably sticky.

Ways to Get Around

Skytrain (BTS)

The Sky Train is an efficient and convenient way to travel around the inner city, at a cost low enough to relax and enjoy the ride.

Taxis

Taxis are cheap and fares start at 35 Baht - about 1 USD.

Chao Phrya River Express Boat

This is an even easier way to get around Bangkok. All you have to do is hop on an express boat that run along the river in both directions and you are on your way to a Bangkok adventure.

Motorcycle Taxi

The motorcycle driver is supposed to loan you a helmet and you are required to wear it. If the drive doesn't and/or you don't, you are making an already highly dangerous ride into a potentially fatal trip. This is not a recommended way to travel.

Subway (MRT)

There are stations at Silom and at Asoke where you have the choice to change from the subway to the Skytrain and the other way around.

Tuk Tuk

This is a motorized three wheeler which is seen all over the city. Your Bangkok trip would not be complete if you did not ride, just once, in a Tuk Tuk.

Airport Rail Link (ARL)

The Airport Rail Link (ARL) is a sub-urban train service that takes you directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the city center (directly to Phaya Thai BTS Skytrain station) and vice versa.

Public Buses

There is a huge network of public transportation in the city, but there is not much English language route information available.

Communications

It is also worth noting that communication is key when traveling abroad. An International SIM Card is the best choice for travelers looking to visit Bangkok because of the convenience and mobility (you might want to make a phone call while on a boat tour). The SIM Card works in most unlocked GSM phones. The SIM cards are easy to install too, you just switch your regular SIM card with an International SIM card before you travel and you are good to go.

Must-see Attractions

Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn

This is one of the most recognized temples in all of Southeast Asia. Built in the early 19th century in the Khmer style, the stupa boasts a floral design an ornate porcelain. The temple is as historically significant as it is beautiful, as it marked the beginning of the Rattanakosin Period and the founding of the new capitol after Ayutthaya fell.

Chao Phraya River & Waterways

This is a great option for the sightseer in you. The Chao Phraya River is one of the most scenic areas in Bangkok, with the scene featuring a different look during the day and night. There are glimpses of luxury hotels, as well as some of the oldest villages in Bangkok.

Grand Palace & Wat Prakeaw

The Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew demand respect from all visitor who have walked on their sacred grounds. Built in 1782, for 150 years this palace has been the home of Thai Kings and the Royal court. The Grand Palace endures, and continues to have people visit and bask in the awe of its beauty.

Chatuchak Weekend Market

Once the trading hub for wholesalers, the Weekend Market is now a must-see destination for tourists. The size of the market alone is enough to raise an eyebrow: there are over 8,000 market booths. On a any given weekend, the market will see over 200,000 visitors to test the goods available.

Khao San Road in Bangkok

If Bangkok is the boundary where Eastern culture greets Western culture, then Khao San Road is the meeting place of this union. There are sleek clubs, niche market stalls, converted VW cocktail bars, and food that you will find to be much more suitable to the average western palate.

Wat Pho

This temple is home to the famous reclining Buddha, which is reason alone to visit. But visitors can also enjoy a traditional Thai massage, and a collection of murals, sculptures, and other artwork unique only to this temple. There are works that explore a variety of subjects, from astronomy to archeology. The vast temple complex also hosts a garden, glazed porcelain, a souvenir shop, and the College of Traditional Medicine.

Jim Thompson’s House

Jim Thompson dedicated three decades to the revitalization of Thai silk, which was at the time considered a dying art. Before he mysteriously vanished into the jungles of Malaysia he accumulated a vast display of Thai art and antiques that can now be viewed at Jim Thompson’s House and Museum.

Bangkok is a city unlike any other in the world. Keep your wits about you and let your imagination take you wherever it may wander, whether that be to ancient temples, bustling marketplaces, or the crossroads of cultures.

Written by Luke Duggan — February 17, 2015

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