– In general
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand in many ways. It’s
the seat of government, it's where the King lives and it's where
almost every tourist goes.
Bangkok will surprise you the first time. Its huge, apparently
chaotic, quite dirty and needs a major overhaul, and that’s
the good parts of it. The roads are ok, but the traffic is beyond
belief. Morning peak lasts until about 10am and lunch rush starts
at about 11.30 and lasts until about 2.30pm. The evening rush
starts about 4pm and is abominable by 7pm. In short travel early
and late or not at all.
Fortunately Bangkok now has two great train systems, one above
the street and one below it. You must select your hotel by its
proximity to the BTS or the Metro. All other attempts at traveling
by road will be met by long hours in a taxi going nowhere with
a driver who speaks little if any English and is equally frustrated.
By western standards the fares are cheap.
Bangkok, like the rest of Thailand, is littered with temples
(Wat). Some are awesome, most are impressive. Other tourist
sights in Bangkok must include the river, take a river cruise
by day or night, its very impressive, and if you get a chance
jump in a long-tail and get up the small rivers to where the
locals live, trade and eat. Can be a bit smelly, but worth it.
There are plenty of monuments, palaces and other interesting
things to see but the city is mostly business, government, retail
The hotels in Bangkok rival any on the world for service and
quality and they are reasonably priced. See previous note about
BTS proximity. Stick with the known chains or look for 5 star
Thai hotels, they are superb. 4 star in Bangkok is not recommended
unless you are on a tight budget. 3 star is never recommended.
There are some crazy things there that you have to see. Here
is a photo of what is probably the worlds biggest television.
I was staying in a hotel close to here one time when someone
decided to have a full rehearsal for about 2,000 marching band
people, which was re-amplified through this television. It started
at 1.30am and finished at 4am. I have no idea to this day what
it was all about, but it was very loud and attended by a huge
crowd, all in the middle of the night, My presentation the next
morning was not one of my best.
During the day, check out the floating markets, ask the hotel