Bangkok is the capital and the largest city of Thailand. During the Ayutthaya Kingdom (1351 to 1767) it was just a trading port at the mouth of the Chao Phraya River. Bangkok was given the status of the capital in 1768 after the burning of Ayutthaya.
When to go
Bangkok has a tropical wet and dry climate. April and May are the hottest months. June brings the monsoon rainy season which continues intermittently until the end of October. From November to the end of February the climate is much less trying with a cooling North East breeze and a reduction in the humidity level. This is also the main tourist season, and the best time to visit Thailand.
Provides transport along the Chao Phraya River and the canals around the city. It’s quite cheap and faster way to travel to some places compared to land transport.
The cheapest way of traveling. However it’s not comfortable and could take hours to travel short distances due to heavy traffic in Bangkok. You have to be familiar with the local area and the routes.
Meter taxi is the most comfortable mode of transport with reasonable prices. However if the driver suspect that you don’t know where you are going, you might be taken for a ride.
Faster and less comfortable than meter taxi but not cheaper. Getting a good rate highly depend on your bargaining skills.
The fastest way to travel short distances and at reasonable prices, it could be something of a white knuckle ride.
MRT and BTS
MRT (Metro) and BTS (SkyTrain) are the best way to travel in Bangkok although the destinations are limited. There are 2 MRT lines and 2 BTS lines. They interconnect at several places. Maps of routes are freely available and easy to understand.
What to see
Bangkok has hundreds of temples; most of them are not much different from the other. However there are three must see temples.
Wat Phra Kaew – (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), is the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. It is situated within the grounds of grand palace.
Wat Pho – (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), home to the world’s largest reclining Buddha image and a famed massage school.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). The main pagoda is about 70 meters high and it is surrounded by four smaller prangs. It is beautifully decorated with colorful Chinese porcelain pieces.
Palaces and museums
Grand Palace – there are couple of throne halls, palaces and other buildings built, renovated, refurbished, repaired and extended by every reign since the King Rama I.
Suan Pakkad place – it is a beautiful place which has been converted to a museum.
Dusit Palace – A European style building built by the king Chulalongkorn to escape the heat of the Grand Palace.
Vimanmek Mansion – the largest golden teakwood house in the world. You could spend whole day in the museums there.
Other museums include the National Museum of Thai history and archaeology, as well as the Museum of Siam and the King Prajadhipok Museum.
There are many shopping malls in Bangkok; Siam Center, Siam Square, Siam Paragon, MBK and central world are some of them. Chatuchak Weekend Market has about 20,000 stalls which sell anything and everything. Suan Lum Night Bazaar is a smaller, cleaner and more expensive version of Chatuchak market.
Accommodation in Bangkok ranges to suit your budget, from shared rooms to 5 star hotels. Khao San Road has the cheapest accommodation in Bangkok. Backpackers and budget travelers are drawn by very reasonable deals. Silom and Sukumvith Road are another two areas where most of the tourists stay.