The Basics  |  Bangkok - In general  |  Bangkok - Nightlife  |  Outside of Bangkok
    Next >
  Bangkok – 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 and entertainment.

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 for directions.