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Bangkok Travel Guide

About Bangkok

Buzzing, humid and exotic, Bangkok is the larger-than-life city where magnificent temples, historic markets, skyscrapers and rooftop bars create an intoxicating vibe that’s hard to resist.

A blend of the traditional and the modern, Bangkok's every street has a surprise in store. Ramshackle buildings crouch next to striking holy shrines, which are overlooked by modern hotels and offices.

But traditional Thai life is never very far away. Saffron-robed monks weave among the morning rush hour to collect alms; communities dwell in stilt houses by the Chao Phraya River, eking out a living using centuries-old skills.

Most visitors begin in Rattanakosin, drawn by the Grand Palace and Wat Po. It’s here the Chao Phraya River separates the city proper from its old capital Thonburi, a spot where quiet, narrow canals and floating markets illustrate why Bangkok was once called the ‘Venice of the East.’

Banglamphu, the city’s backpacker hub, still draws visitors to the non-stop action of Khao San Road, while the markets and restaurants of Chinatown lie just south. North is the leafy district of Dusit, home to Vimanmek Mansion and numerous government buildings.

East of the canals is modern Bangkok, a hive of activity with countless businesses, markets and shopping malls, handily connected by the BTS Skytrain. Around Siam Square and Victory Monument, and up to Sukhumvit Road, is where Bangkok’s top hotels, restaurants and bars vie for attention.

The weekend market at Chatuchak remains an essential Bangkok experience. Locals, tourists and ex-pats flock here on the weekend to bargain for household goods, souvenirs, clothes and original Thai art before grabbing a bite to eat or a quick leg massage.

Those heading straight for Thailand’s beaches, or to the countryside of the north, miss out on experiencing one of Asia’s most exciting, ever-changing capitals.

Spend a few hours in its charm and it’s easy to see why the great South East Asian gateway is one of the world’s most visited cities; spend a few days in Bangkok and become hooked for life.

Key facts

Population:
8280000
Latitude:
13.749096
Longitude:
100.515941

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Featured Hotels

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The Eugenia

A fine boutique hotel, with just 12 suites, in an elegant colonial house. The suites all have antique furniture, part of a collection belonging to the owner. There is a lounge bar and a restaurant, the D B Bradley, which serves a fusion of east and west. Facilities include an open-air swimming pool and high-speed internet access. Airport transfers can be arranged in one of their fleet of vintage cars.

The Dusit Thani

This is one of the most opulent hotels in Bangkok and is conveniently located off the Silom Road in the business and entertainment district overlooking Lumphini Park. The 500-plus rooms are all sumptuously decorated in Thai style and all have satellite TVs, VCRs and mini-bars.

The Oriental

One of the most famous hotels in the world, The Oriental is located by the Chao Phraya River and is the hotel of choice for royalty and celebrities past and present, such as Somerset Maugham, the Prince of Wales and Elizabeth Taylor. Although the original Author's Wing was built in 1887 and is very much colonial in style, two more modern wings tend to dominate the appearance of the hotel. However, the 393 rooms (including 35 suites) are all sumptuously decorated.

Conrad Bangkok

Stylish Bangkok hotel, close to Lumphini Park, with contemporary, understated Thai design throughout. Silk and wood are used in all the rooms and suites. Superb facilities including several restaurants (Italian, Chinese and Japanese), nightclub, spa, fitness centre, swimming pool, jogging track and tennis courts.

Peninsula

With commanding views of the Chao Phraya River, this hotel in Bangkok has a reputation for excellent service and hospitality. All rooms have a river view, some with balconies, terraces or outdoor Jacuzzis, and are sumptuously decorated. Rooms have marble bathrooms, executive work desk, CD/DVD player, camcorder video playback facilities and Wi-Fi. Diners are well catered for with several restaurants including Mediterranean cuisine at Jesters and Thai home-made style cooking at Thiptara. Leisure facilities include a spa, gym, tennis courts and three-tiered swimming pool.

Dream Hotel

This trendy boutique hotel, where the style is a fusion of East meets West, is now well-established on the Bangkok scene. The 200 rooms have plasma TVs, iPods, Wi-Fi and under-bed lighting. There are even pet-friendly rooms. There is one restaurant, Flava , and a cocktail lounge, spa, health club, swimming pool and business centre.