Bangkok, the Capital of Thailand, developed as a trading post in the 19th Century, a far cry from the bustling tourist city of today with its 11 million inhabitants and the huge numbers of tourists, around 30 million that always spend time here even if their ultimate destination is somewhere else in Thailand. There is plenty for them to do and see with only New York and London able to claim more international visitors annually. While tourism represents around 20% of Thailand’s GDP, Bangkok is also an important financial centre so it welcomes businessman and tourist. This Bangkok travel guide should help all of them to enjoy the best of the City.
In many ways Bangkok is a chaotic city which can be difficult to get around. The waterways and the Skyrail certainly help and for tourists on holiday with few appointments to meet it is surely not a problem?
Bangkok is divided into a number of districts and it is important to know about a few of the most important of them:
• Siam Square is the heart of the city with the best hotels and shopping in Bangkok.
• Silom by day is the financial district but by night it includes the infamous Patpong, the tourist nightlife haven.
• Rattanakosin between the river and downtown contains many historical and cultural attractions of Bangkok including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.
• Yaowarat and Phahurat is where you can find Chinatown while Phahurat is the district where many of the Indian community live. They are full of temples, markets and restaurants.
• Thonburi is a district to see from the water; the west bank has floating markets and Wat Arun.
A Bangkok travel guide will help everyone plan their free time but a good tour company ensures that visitors get to see the highlights using their expertise and local guides. Everyone should spend some time on the water and certainly the floating markets will be new to anyone travelling in Indochina for the first time. Even more fun is a nighttime dinner cruise seeing the sights of Bangkok all lit up.
Tourists on Thailand tour packages will soon learn that the Country has a well-developed tourist infrastructure with excellent hotels and knowledgeable guides. Thailand travel might have had a slow start half a century ago but the rate of growth has been enormous since then.
The main attractions of Bangkok include:
The Grand Palace and Wat Pra Kaew. The Palace is the city’s major landmark while the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Pra Kaew) on the same site dates back to the 15th Century two centuries before building of the palace began.
Wat Arun is a much photographed temple, the spire over 200 feet high being part of a very famous South East Asian skyline that you will surely have seen online or in a magazine.
Wat Pho holds the reclining Buddha which measures almost 150 feet long and 50 high. It is covered in gold leaf and its dimensions make it a challenge even for good photographers.
Jim Thompson disappeared in the Malaysian jungle in the late 60s but this American is regarded as the person who fostered the expansion of the silk industry worldwide. His home is now a museum; six teak houses in traditional Thai style with everything as it was when he left.
The Golden Buddha dates back to at least the 14th Century. It is 10 feet tall, weighing 5.5 tonnes and was covered in plaster and brought to Wat Chotanaram in the 19th Century. It was dropped in the mid-50s after it had been in Wat Traimitfor 20 years and suddenly its real value became apparent.
There are many museums with personal interests probably the way to decide which to visit: Corrections Museum, Bangkokian Museum, Bangkok National Museum, The Ancient City Museum, The Royal Thai Air Force Museum and Erawan Museum.
When you take a holiday to Thailand it is likely that you will land in Bangkok even if your Thailand holidaybase is going to be coastal, perhaps Phuket or Pattaya? This Bangkok travel guide aims to provide you with the highlights of the City if you have limited time before you move on. The attractions mentioned above are just part of the experience that a Bangkok holiday provides. Thai cuisine has become popular worldwide providing a contrast from other Asian cuisines. The street food is good and eating as you walk through a night market is perfectly acceptable. As with anywhere that crowds gather you need to be careful and perhaps keep valuable documents locked up elsewhere if you don’t need them?
Bangkok does not need an excuse for a party and here in this Bangkok travel guide there are a few parties that are mentioned next that are worth seeing. There are various festivals and depending on when you visit you may get the chance to experience one. Christmas, Chinese New Year which varies each year, Easter and anything that celebrates royalty are all excuses for a festival. One of the festivals unique to Bangkok is the Vegetarian Festival in Chinatown which lasts a week and attracts huge crowds. It is in the 9th Chinese lunar month which precedes November’s Loy Krathong Festival when people launch small rafts with a lit candle to pay respects to the Goddess of Water as thanks for the rice harvest.Songkran Festival in April also revolves around the importance of water and its ability to wash away bad luck.
Our Bangkok travel guide can never be more than an introduction to the City. We want to show you more and help you to experience the City, its attractions and its friendly people. While it may appear that many are too busy to stop Thais are naturally hospitable and you will see that for yourself within hours of arriving in Bangkok. There are plenty of open spaces to enjoy as well as the bustle of the City centre and although there are times when rain will be heavy in monsoon season Bangkok is a city that you will enjoy any month of the year.