The biggest city in mainland South East Asia, Bangkok has long occupied a special place in traveller’s hearts. Filled to the brim with temples and monasteries, as well as hosting perhaps the liveliest nightlife in all of Asia, it’s a city packed with unique experiences.
A view of Bangkok’s skyline.
On the temple front, the biggest and most impressive is the Grand Palace complex. Seeing it all is enough to occupy the better part of a day in your itinerary, and the sacred Emerald Buddha, integral to the coronation ceremony of Thai kings, makes its home in the biggest temple on the palace grounds. Wat pho meanwhile is probably the most famous of the temples, as it houses an absolutely gigantic reclining Buddha statue, resplendent in gold coating. The Golden Mountain Temple is also worth a visit, as climbing the snaking path around the mountain allows a great view of the old part of Bangkok.
The famous reclining Buddha.
Finally, Wat Arun, appropriately translated as “The Temple of Dawn” stands on the shores of the river. Since it’s located on the west bank, you’re likely to have to arrange a boat to get there, and as such goes well with a visit to the floating market or a guided boat tour down the river. An evening spent dining or drinking on the east bank lets your tour group truly appreciate the splendour of the temple as the sun sets and the spires glitter in the fading light.
Wat Arun, aptly named The Temple of Dawn.
Bangkok’s nightlife is a two-sided affair. For wild partying in the street with backpackers and young locals, head to Khao San road after the sun has set, and witness the ever-present spectacle of young backpackers fresh from home mingling with the youth of the city. To experience the infamous seedier side of the night scene, Soi Cowboy is where you want to go. Named for the American “cowboy” who opened the first bar on the street, it’s now filled with bars glowing in neon light of all colours.
Soi Cowboy represents the madness that Bangkok is famous for at its most chaotic.
While amazing street food that will delight culinary tourists is everywhere on the streets of Bangkok, the clear highlight for this is in Chinatown. The markets here are bursting with life both in the daytime, when products of any category are for sale, and in the evening, when they change gears to hawking the most delicious street food your guests will ever experience.
In conclusion, Bangkok’s legendary status among travellers is well deserved, and the streets brimming with life will mesmerize anyone who visits.