Thailand’s long and captivating heritage is perfectly captured in the city of Bangkok, making it an essential Asian destination for a 2019 / 2020 holiday. From sumptuous golden temples, to flower-adorned waterways, Bangkok is a rich cultural experience that captivates each and every one of your senses. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in Thai culture or learn more about the Buddhist way of life, Bangkok has everything you need for an unforgettable holiday with your significant other, your family or group of friends. Thanks to the importance of Buddhism in this area and the city’s popularity with backpackers, it’s also a wonderful place to venture as a single traveller. In the Far East, Bangkok is known as the ‘City of Angels’ and reflects that name in its awe-inspiring architecture, rich sense of spirituality and world-class attractions.
The first thing you’ll want to do when you arrive in Bangkok is visit the iconic Grand Palace of Bangkok, a huge historic complex with several buildings including museums, shrines and temples. This historic landmark was the former residence of the Siamese Royal Family – they lived there from the 18th century until 1925. Here you’ll find a stunning range of traditional Thai architecture, one of the main attractions of a holiday to Bangkok. The city is also home to hundreds of historic Buddhist temples such as the legendary Wat Arun, Wat Pro and Wat Phra Kaew. The wide range of historic landmarks and places of interest makes Bangkok an ideal holiday destination for those seeking a culturally enriching holiday. Bangkok is the ideal place to learn about the Buddhist religion, speaking to monks, watching them perform religious ceremonies, and admiring the wonder of traditional Bangkok architecture.
Thai food is known for its strong flavours, fresh local produce and exciting colours. If you’re an intrepid foodie, you’ll love Bangkok’s flavoursome dishes. Some of the classic dishes in Bangkok include bamboo-barbequed kebabs with thin sliced meat, peanut sauce and chilles, or sugary syrup. The ubiquitous dish of Bangkok is Lod Chong Singapore, squiggly strands cooked from rice flour. Other popular treats you can grab as you walk along the street include iced coconut milk and jackfruit, and sukiyaki, a wok-fried mix up of glass noodles, seafood and egg with chilli sauce and pickled garlic. In the old town you can find a number of time-honoured dishes cooked in a variety of ways, including khao gang, or curried rice, which is eaten for lunch and even breakfast here.
Bangkok has a multitude of exciting activities for your holiday, from riding on a rickety tuk-tuk – which in itself can be an exciting experience – or journeying down the Chao Phraya river in a long-tail boat and feeling the wind in your hair. Bangkok’s climate is very hot, so you’ll want to ensure you pack plenty of sun protection, hats and sun-suitable clothing to keep your little ones protected from the warm sunshine. Luckily, Bangkok has adapted well to its scorching climate with a number of family-friendly indoor playgrounds, as well as entertainment venues for playing computer games and small fairground-style rides.
As you’d expect from a bustling megacity, you’ll find numerous family-oriented activities including bowling, indoor ice skating, go-karting and arcades. There are also several water parks with a number of diving boards and water slides, as well as tide pools, which are wonderful for cooling off after a day spent exploring the city. If you’re travelling with very young children, it’s a good idea to limit your time spent outside in the city centre during the daytime hours due to the high temperatures, then head into the centre during the evening when its much cooler and less crowded. In the evening your family can walk through the food markets together sampling the local delicacies.
Action & Adventure
When you first arrive in Bangkok, the sight of all the stunning traditional architecture, Buddhist temples and monks walking around the streets can make it hard to believe that the city has a lot of attractions for adrenaline junkies too. Nearby at Dinosaur Planet, the whole family can enjoy dinosaur-themed attractions including rides and themed exhibitions for all ages. The superstar of the theme park scene in Bangkok is Siam Park City, the largest and most popular theme park in the Bangkok area. This attraction is home to a number of exciting rides, themed areas, live shows, and singing and dancing performances. You’ll also find a large water park with swimming pools and slides.
As Bangkok is not situated on the coast, the city itself has no beaches. For many people, this poses no problem as Bangkok is largely visited by those looking to spend time at cultural attractions, visit historic landmarks and enjoy the wonderful architecture. If you’re still craving beachy fun, you can head to Hua Hin, a little over two hours from Bangkok. Hua Hin is the preferred retreat for Thai royalty and with pristine white sandy beaches, high-end hotels and beautiful weather, it’s easy to see why. Pattaya is located on the opposite end of the Gulf of Thailand, a little under two hours away by car from Bangkok. Pattaya is known for its super-soft sands, with an atmosphere that’s similar to that of Bangkok, attracting visitors around the year and particularly in the summer months. Pattaya also has good amenities for a number of water sports including surfing, windsurfing and swimming. With several choices of beach resort close by to Bangkok, you’re only a short drive away from a fun day out by the sea.
Much of Bangkok’s appeal lies in its exciting and vibrant nightlife scene. Khao San Road and its surrounding area is filled with bustling electronic clubs, live music venues and dance bars that attract thousands of visitors every night. This area is particularly popular with backpacking tourists and young holidaymakers, as well as locals. One of the distinctive features of Bangkok’s nightlife scene is its variety of glamorous rooftop bars, perfect for sipping a cocktail while you take in the glittering city landscape. Some of the most popular venues include Vertigo and Sky Bar at Lebua, which have an exciting atmosphere and reasonably priced drinks.
Of course, no guide to Bangkok nightlife would be complete without a mention of the infamous ladyboy shows that are popular in the region. These glamorous shows involve men dressed as ladies in flamboyant, extravagant costumes and performing music or dances. It’s worth remembering that the Thai population are open, liberal and tolerant, so you’re likely to come across a number of ladyboy venues during your time in Bangkok.
Bangkok is a wonderful choice of destination for a romantic couples holiday, whether you’re looking to celebrate a milestone anniversary, pop the question or spend quality time together. Bangkok offers a culturally enriching holiday experience that focuses on historic landmarks, scenic architecture and taking in the rich heritage of the city rather than lounging on the beach. No couples tour of Bangkok would be complete without a trip to the city’s main temples, the most stunning of which is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. If you’re a spiritually attuned couple seeking to learn more about Buddhist, or aren’t religious but are looking to embrace a different way of life, you’ll enjoy visiting sacred sites such as Wat Pho. There are many Buddhist monks in Bangkok, giving you the opportunity to learn from their wisdom, watch them practice time-honoured rituals and try your hand at meditation, taking you away from the stresses of everyday life.
Bangkok has become one of Asia’s coolest holiday destinations, a bustling city that stands out among its rivals. Bangkok embodies many of the Asian and Buddhist traditions that make for unforgettable holiday experiences, whether it’s riding in a tuk-tuk as it darts through the dense traffic or haggling with market traders for the best deals. Everything here is an experience, a memory, from sampling delicious local dishes to taking in the supreme peace and tranquillity of one of the city’s Buddhist temples.
This is a place of opposites, with traditional long-tailed boats travelling across the Mae Nam Chao Phyra River just feet from motorbikes speeding along huge multi-lane motorways. Buddhist temples are shaded by towering skyscrapers, and traditional market traders sell their wares outside modern arcades. With 602 square kilometres of city to explore, you’ll need to carefully plan ahead to make the most of your time in Bangkok, and really take in the culture. Some of the most important cultural attractions include the Grand Palace, the iconic landmark that tops most tourist’s checklists. This majestic palace spans 53 acres and was once the home of the King of Thailand, lending it a sense of heritage and importance. No trip to Bangkok would be complete without a visit to a few of the old Buddhist temples including Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho and Wat Arun, which are important both in religious terms as well as stand-alone architectural landmarks.