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BangkokThailand

Golden temples, buzzing streets, languid rivers and spiritual retreats – Bangkok is a city alive with the meaning of 'contradiction'.

At first glance, Bangkok can overwhelm. It's a city spilling with the bright colours of tacky tuk-tuks, saffron-robed monks and street vendors’ wares. The noise is exuberant, the smells are fragrant and the chaos infectious. It can seem a long way from the spiritual peace that the Thais like to claim as their own.

Delve a little deeper and Thailand's capital city will show you her other, calmer side; a weeping fig in a garden, casting shade from the sun; a monk sitting cross-legged in contemplation; the curl of incense from a temple door. Bangkok has been immersed in Buddhist tradition for centuries, and the trappings of modern society can't distract you from its quest for inner peace, for long.

But this is also a city full to bursting with showy sights that insist on being seen. None more so than the Grand Palace, home to the shimmering golden spires of the Wat Phra Kaew - Temple of the Emerald Buddha. It's also here, in Rattanakosin Island, the historic centre of Bangkok, that the similarly magnificent temples of Wat Arun and Wat Pho are to be found. For the 10 million inhabitants of the 'City of Angels' (as the local name 'Krung Thep' means), the Grand Palace is more than a tourist attraction – it is also the spiritual heart of the city.

The parks of Bangkok are also coloured by the quest for 'higher planes'. See the green splendour of the Lumphini Park, and you'll be very tempted to enrol in a tai chi or yoga class under the sun, or to jog around its pretty lakes. But once you have ridden those spiritual highs, you may want to descend to the material world – and in Bangkok that comes in the form of the cosmopolitan buzz of Khao San Road. A backpacker's paradise, it is home to a noisy profusion of stalls, bars and (allegedly) fabulous merchandise at exceptionally low prices.

Travelling around Bangkok is best done – for fun – in the ever-present tuk-tuks. But for efficiency and comfort, the Thais have excelled themselves in terms of their public transport systems. The Skytrain whisks you over and above Bangkok's swarming crowds, while the MRT underground system will speed you beneath its streets. And don't forget to explore the Chao Phraya river. Boats can quickly take you to many of the city's best locations. And one of the most interesting of those is the quiet river island of Ko Kret. This is home to the Mon people, an ancient culture distinct from the Thai culture. One that has somehow managed to evade Bangkok's endless tussle between bustle and calm.

Bangkok Travel Guide Video

Where to stay in Bangkok

Sukhumvit

Sukhumvit

4/5Very Good!(287 area reviews)

Known for its fantastic nightlife and popular shops, there's plenty to explore in Sukhumvit. Check out top attractions like Emporium and Soi Cowboy, and jump on the metro at Thong Lo BTS Station or Ekkamai BTS Station to see more of the city.

Sukhumvit

Top hotels in Bangkok

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Metropole Residence Sukhumvit 39
Metropole Residence Sukhumvit 39
4 out of 5
5/9 Soi Phromsri, Sukhumvit Road, Klongton-Nua, Wattana, Bangkok, Bangkok
The price is NZ$82 per night

Located in Sukhumvit, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of EmQuartier and Emporium. Soi Cowboy and Terminal 21 Shopping Mall are also within 2 miles (3 km). ...

4.2/5Very Good! (132 reviews)
Central business location

"Very well located in the residential area behind Emporium dept store. Convenient dining and close proximity to BTS and Airport train. Walkable neighborhood."…"

Reviewed on 9 Mar. 2020

Metropole Residence Sukhumvit 39
Galleria 10 Sukhumvit Bangkok by Compass Hospitality
Galleria 10 Sukhumvit Bangkok by Compass Hospitality
4 out of 5
21 Sukhumvit 10 Sukhumvit Road, Klongtoey, Bangkok, Bangkok
The price is NZ$68 per night

Located in Sukhumvit, this boutique hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Terminal 21 Shopping Mall, Benjakiti Park and Emporium. Benchasiri Park and Erawan Shrine ...

4/5Very Good! (997 reviews)

"lovely hotel with nice staff. the location is amazing. gladly stayed longer than expected, will definitely be returning"…"

Reviewed on 18 Jun. 2020

Galleria 10 Sukhumvit Bangkok by Compass Hospitality
Citrus Suites Sukhumvit 6 by Compass Hospitality
Citrus Suites Sukhumvit 6 by Compass Hospitality
4 out of 5
25/1Sukhumvit Soi 6, Bangkok, Bangkok
The price is NZ$969 per night

Located in Sukhumvit, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Nana Square, Terminal 21 Shopping Mall and Central Embassy. Embassy of the United Kingdom and ...

4.2/5Excellent! (522 reviews)

"What a great property. The facility is new and very well maintained. Stayed in one of their premier suites for four days and found it spacious, comfortable. The stay was during Bangkok's Norovirus shut down, so i had a lot of time on my hands and found the staff fantastic, very helpful."…"

Reviewed on 23 Mar. 2020

Citrus Suites Sukhumvit 6 by Compass Hospitality

Popular places to visit in Bangkok

Khaosan Road
Image for Khaosan Road

Khaosan Road

4/5(207 reviews)

With cheap hotels, diverse food, and cut-price clothing to bring in the back-packers, this street also offers fun, noise and eclectic cultural mix.

Grand Palace
Image for Grand Palace

Grand Palace

4/5(243 reviews)

A city-within-the-city, this palace is a fabulous concoction of temples, halls, pagodas and royal residences that took two centuries to build.

Lumphini Park
Image for Lumphini Park

Lumphini Park

4/5(123 reviews)

Young or old, to keep fit or kick your heels, if you want to breathe easy in Bangkok, you come to Lumphini Park.

Top activities in Bangkok

Guided Ayutthaya Tour with River Cruise & Lunch
Image for Guided Ayutthaya Tour with River Cruise & Lunch

Guided Ayutthaya Tour with River Cruise & Lunch

NZ$79
Per adult
84% of travellers recommend
Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk Tour
Image for Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk Tour

Bangkok Night Lights Tuk Tuk Tour

NZ$111
Per adult
96% of travellers recommend
Floating Market Tour with Long-Tail Speedboat Ride
Image for Floating Market Tour with Long-Tail Speedboat Ride

Floating Market Tour with Long-Tail Speedboat Ride

NZ$46
Per adult
78% of travellers recommend
Golden Buddha, Reclining Buddha & Marble Temple Tour
Image for Golden Buddha, Reclining Buddha & Marble Temple Tour

Golden Buddha, Reclining Buddha & Marble Temple Tour

NZ$47
Per adult
82% of travellers recommend
Bangkok Siam Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
Image for Bangkok Siam Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

Bangkok Siam Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour

NZ$40
Per adult
Bangkok: 2-Hour Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess
Image for Bangkok: 2-Hour Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess

Bangkok: 2-Hour Dinner Cruise on the Chao Phraya Princess

NZ$64
Per adult

Reviews of Bangkok

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
412
5 - Excellent 38.254410399257196%
4 - Good
523
4 - Good 48.56081708449396%
3 - Okay
120
3 - Okay 11.142061281337048%
2 - Disappointing
18
2 - Disappointing 1.6713091922005572%
1 - Terrible
4
1 - Terrible 0.3714020427112349%

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

23 Mar. 2020

Really enjoyed our stay in Bangkok, I would definitely return to the Grande Centre Point Hotel.

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveller

14 Mar. 2020

Love this city

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

14 Mar. 2020

Bangkok is a great vibe great restaurants and shopping enjoyed my short stay.

4/5 - Good

Babs

11 Mar. 2020

We walked around Wattana area. If you wander out of the shop area into the area where the people live, beware of the dogs. they are agressive.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveller

29 Feb. 2020

Not so busy this time and i feel sorry for the thousands of sellers standing idle in there stalls or shops everyday of the week. My country's dollar is poor. Many things aren't so cheap anymore. Look around and get away the tourist locations $

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveller

22 Feb. 2020

Its a city in asia when i was younger it was much better now i only go if i have to.

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