Bangkok, Thailand's multi-faceted capital city since 1782 is known as the gateway to the country and the most visited city in all of Asia. It is the centre point of Thailand's political and economic powers and where new trends and fashion statements begin before spreading nationwide.
Its cheap accommodation, unbeatable bargains, simple lifestyle and flourishing culture have for dozens of years appealed strongly to millions of young backpackers and culture-vultures in search of broadening their horizons and opening their minds. All we can say is that they headed in the right direction!
Urban and cool, Bangkok is today brimming with over 100 modern skyscrapers; glitzy shopping venues the size of small countries; hip hotels; fancy restaurants; and a bustling city life. With a population of over 8 million people, Bangkok appears to be always on the go. Roads are almost always choc-a-bloc and streets are piled with vendors selling everything and anything to make ends meet like clothes, souvenirs, craftwork and Thai delicacies. Offland, the iconic Floating Markets that have existed for hundreds of years still dominate many canals on weekends where thousands including tourists huddle to buy fresh produce at low prices.
Despite being Thailand's most industrialized and metropolitan city, one of the main beauties of Bangkok is how it has managed to stay true to its heritage preserving many old traditions in the form of its cuisine, festivities and distinct architecture. Even dozens of centuries-old historical and cultural sights still stand to this day allowing tourists to travel back in time and explore ancient buildings, values and beliefs.
This city of flashing lights with a larger-than-life vibe is thoroughly addictive with something new to discover and wow you on every street. Riddled with rivers, Bangkok has for many years been described as the "Venice of the East" as rivers and canals or Khlongs as they are called in Thai play major roles in the movement of people from place to place as they travel in the typical long-tail boat that has turned into an icon of the country. Flowing through the heart of the city is a major river known as Chao Phraya River lined with numerous tourist attractions that at night reflect in the river's waters creating spectacular visual delights.
Exquisite temples, Royal palaces, towering statues and genius designs grace the city from north to south, east to west. Some of the most famous landmarks of Bangkok include Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Arun, Wat Pho, The Grand Palace and the temple of the Golden Buddha. In fact, what you'll find most of are Buddhist temples as you will quickly realise that life here strongly revolves around religion and spirituality. Monks, another significant icon of the country, draped in vivid saffron-coloured robes can be seen in their large numbers walking around in close proximity to the temples adding colour to the already vibrant and multi-coloured surroundings.
Bangkok is an imperative stop off point during your travels through Thailand. Filled with must-see attractions and must-attend events, it will complete your experience and teach you all about the true Thai way of life. Bangkok is one of the world's classic examples of how its possible to intertwine the old with the new and maintain a perfect balance between the two.