Bangkok was founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty. It is now the country's spiritual, cultural, diplomatic, commercial and educational hub. It covers an area of more than 1,500 square kilometres, and it is home to approximatlely ten million people or more than 10% of the country's population.
Over the last few decades, Thailand's capital city, Bangkok, has changed into a modern, exciting and sophisticated city. It offers to visitors not only the cosmopolitan amenities they would expect from other big cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonised and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpse of Thailand's gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. This great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern world.
For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty and fascination, magnificent palaces, classical dance extravaganzas, numerous shopping centres and traditional ways of life, especially along the "Venice of the East" timeless canals and the Chao Phraya River of the "River of Kings" winding through the city. It is worth taking a trip along its waters before exploring further into different canals to take a glimpse of old Bangkok. Come find your niche among dazzling temples, eclectic markets, gleaming palaces, ritzy malls, a famous nightlife scene and the many things in between. Experience all the things: tuk-tuk ride, ladyboy show, Muay Thai (kickboxing) match, Thai massage, everyone always comes home talking about.
Getting Around in Bangkok
Bangkok is surprisingly easy to navigate your way around. The Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems connect the main shopping, entertainment and business areas of the city, while river taxis and express boats can be used to explore many historic sites and attractions at the riverside.
Taxis are cheap and appear on virtually every corner at almost any time. Tuk-tuks, once a big Bangkok attraction, are slowly disappearing in favour of more comfortable transport, but are still worth a ride at least once. Most buses might be slow and old, but a great way to travel with locals and get a real feel of the city. Another option is motorbike taxis. They're fast and efficient, but not for everyone. There is, of course, always the humble bicycle too - perhaps not the safest option, and strictly for the adventurous.
Bangkok is a tropical city that sits just north of the equator, and so it's pretty warm throughout the year. At times the heat can be oppressive. If your especially adverse to extreme temperatues, avoid between April and May when the weather is especially hot and sticky (temperatures around 34C). However, don't fret if you do choose to come then: one of Thailand's most celebrated festivals, Songkran, takes place in April and involves lots of refreshing water throwing to help cool everyone down. Perhaps the best time to visit is from October until February, when temperatures hover between 25 and 28C and there are light breezes and only occasional showers. From June through to September there's still plenty of sunshine and it's much cooler (around 24-28 C). Remember though, this is the season for rain and there can lots of it. However, this is actually quite refreshing! Others advantages are less visitors and better hotel rates.
Useful Information and Tips
Check out the following for the lowdown on Thai festivals, money matters, cultural sensitivities, communications, tipping, what to do on arrival, language, security and emergencies, time-zones, internet access, electricity and where to go for more info. All you need for a great stay in Bangkok! More details