Local Expert Tip
"The snake handling show is at 11, and 2:30, while on weekends, there is no 2:30 performance, so plan your visit accordingly. Best reached via Skytrain to Sala Daeng and then walk up through Soi Thaniya to the Red Cross complex."
Things to Do In Bangkok
Bangkok Travel Guide
Get Your Bearings in Bangkok
Where to Stay
Bangkok is one of the top spots in the world to splurge on 5 star lodgings. Take your pick between elegant old hotels along the Chao Phraya River or swanky new, cutting edge digs around Silom Road and the city center. The best lodging choices here all offer sumptuous buffet breakfasts, sky bars, and world-class restaurants to go with the premium sleep. The river area is the most relaxed and atmospheric part of the city, whereas the central areas offer quick access to the BTS Skytrain along with a dizzying variety of eating and nightlife all around.
Caution: Book ahead for Christmas and New Year, the most crowded time here.
Hot Tips: Last-minute Internet booking can yield some great finds with all the hotel competition in Bangkok.
What to Eat
Bangkok is voted by many as the best city to eat in in the world. From posh rooftop restaurants to out of the way, hole-in-the-walls, you can be eating spicy Thai, Japanese sashimi or even Ethiopian all on the same day. The best restaurants tend to cluster around Silom Road, but it's also worth it to go out of your way to experience simple local eateries. Do make sure to mix it up while in Bangkok, try northern and southern cuisine, as well as fine Italian while visiting.
Hot Tips: Don't be scared of street stalls or restaurants with Formica tables and metal stools; they often serve the best food in town!
Be Sure to Sample: Som tam (papaya salad), grilled chicken, and sticky rice.
Things to See
While not overly noted for its attractions, Bangkok does have enough sightseeing to keep you busy for many days. In addition to all the temples, there are some excellent day tours that can be made around the city, taking in the green spaces or river areas that most visitors don't often get to see. Bangkok may not have the art galleries or history museums of places like Paris or Cairo, but it does have its fair share of quirky little museums that are highly worthy of a stopover.
Avoid: Tuk tuk drivers and anyone who tells you that sights are "closed" or who want to give you a free ride; they are just out to scam you.
Hot Tips: Don't miss Wat Phra Kaew and the Emerald Buddha, if you only have time for one temple, this is the grand daddy of them all.
Places to Party
The government closing laws of the past years may have slightly dampened Bangkok's reputation as a city that never sleeps, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying some of the the world's highest rooftop bars, along with the best dance clubs, music venues and new snazzy spots to sip the latest signature cocktail. Roof or riverside bars are the place to start at sunset, moving to the clubs and pub venues along Sukhumvit and Silom Roads as the night progresses.
Hot Tips: Many drinking spots have great happy hour deals before 7 or 8, or special nights for ladies; do some research before heading out.
Where to Shop
It seems like there is a new shopping mall going up every month in Bangkok, and the city has some of the most fashionable upscale shopping malls in the world. Not only are the malls here full of designer shops and goods, they are great spots to eat, watch movies and enjoy the cold air conditioning. For more traditional goods, don't forget to visit some of the outdoor markets such as Chatuchak or the Talat Rod Fai retro market on weekends, which give a nice slice of local flavor.
Caution: Pirated goods are illegal in most countries and you can get in trouble with customs back home, so avoid the fake watches, clothes and other goods that are hawked at the night markets and elsewhere here.
Take It or Leave It: Bargaining is de rigeur here, but don't expect to knock off more than 20% of the quoted price.
Best Local Souvenir: Thai pillows, cushions, and silk products are all worth bringing home.
Ready for Your Dream Vacation?
Bangkok Is Known for...
Five of Bangkok's most unique features and characteristics.Food
From bottom to top, Bangkok is one of the best places to eat in the world. It has some of the tastiest and cleanest street food one will find anywhere on the planet. In fact, a large majority of Thais buy their meals from street vendors rather than cook, as the dishes are delicious and very inexpensive. Everyone has their favorite stall, just ask around. On the other end of the spectrum, fine dining in chic and luxurious surroundings also abound, in 5 star hotels, on rooftops, and in relaxing gardens. And in between, well, maybe the best of both worlds!Wats (Temples)
Throughout time, the images of Bangkok most renowned are those of wats, or temples, whose slanting roofs and gables are gilded in gold and replete with mythical naga serpents. Famed temples like Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn, rise gracefully from the Chao Phraya River. The wats are not only tourist attractions, but living pilgrimage spots, and thousands of locals visit daily to make merit, burn joss sticks, and ask for luck in the coming year. The most famous temple is Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha statue, but there are hundreds more to choose from, each with their own colors, history, and stories of interest.
Read the full list of five »