“Daunting,” “overwhelming,” “dirty”—there are few adjectives describing Thailand’s capital that would deter even the most traveled tourists from visiting. But Bangkok is one of the most exhilarating and unique cities in the world with so many diverse attractions, eateries, and more that are sure to please all those who visit. Here are the top 10 reasons why you should visit Bangkok.
Gay clubs, red light districts, sky bars—Bangkok is sure to have every type of nightlife. Though the city is quite spread out, many nightlife venues are clustered, catering to every night owl visiting the capital. For example, LGBT-friendly venues can be found along Soi 4 in Silom, which also sits adjacent a seedy red light district for those with guilty pleasures. Visitors could be in Bangkok for weeks and never frequent the same nightlife venue twice.
Self-proclaimed foodies have countless dining options when visiting the City of Angels. Though the street food is slowly (and sadly) being cleared away in the capital, there are still plenty of restaurants, cafés and more at the ready to please even the pickiest of diners. For one, the variety of cuisine available in Bangkok is endless: Japanese, European, Thai (rare, right?), vegetarian, seafood—there are almost too many possibilities. In addition to offering a near-infinite variety of food, dining out the capital is relatively cheap. Visitors may find themselves eating out for every meal because even the strictest budget would allow them to do so.
It should come as no surprise that Thailand’s capital is teeming with coffee shops. Bangkokians need something to keep up with fast-paced city life, right? This may be the reason for the somewhat recent influx of coffee shops found throughout the city. Each new café and coffee shop seems to get quirkier and cooler than the last. Certain areas are known as caffeine hubs—Ekkamai, for example—but almost every neighborhood has a one-of-a-kind coffee shop worth refueling at. Whether it’s for top-notch brews or novelty espressos, Bangkok is the coffee city to visit.
From the crowded Wat Pho to the tranquil Wat Lat Phrao, the city is simply crawling with temples. The best part is how conveniently accessible these sites are. Some of the most famous and stunning temples are located just off public transportation stops. For example, Wat Traimit in Chinatown is just a 10-minute walk from the MRT Subway Station Hua Lamphong.
While the traffic in the city can oftentimes be unbearable, private transportation isn’t essential, so those who use public transportation like the BTS Skytrain, subway, motorbike taxis, and the khlong boats will be pleasantly surprised at how easy and quickly they can get around. Many areas of Thailand, like the islands, require visitors to spend a fortune on overpriced taxis or risk renting a motorbike to get around, but Bangkok’s congested (and dangerous) streets normally deter the average visitor from renting a scooter or bicycle. This isn’t to say that public transportation is hassle-free because it certainly can be, especially during rush hour, but those who learn when and how to commute can have a much more efficient commute.
From an airplane graveyard to a museum dubbed the Death Museum, attractions don’t get more strange or unique than those found in the City of Angels. The capital seemingly has every attraction one could possibly imagine with museums, galleries, malls, and more found on every soi (street).
It is often hard to keep track of all the markets the city has to offer. Fresh markets, wet markets, open-air markets, night bazaars, entire markets dedicated to Buddhist amulets—the list of interesting finds goes on and on. In addition to selling cheap and unique souvenirs, many of the night markets in Bangkok are cool hangout spots and often have local bands playing live music. There is a market open every day of the week, so be sure to check out at least one while in the capital. Some of the most noteworthy markets are Chatuchak Weekend Market, JJ Green Night Market, Rod Fai Night Market, and Khlong Toei.
Culture and tradition
In addition to the many museums and cultural excursions, visitors will catch glimpses of Thai culture throughout the city no matter where they find themselves. From spirit houses to shrines on the corners the busiest city intersections, there is certainly no shortage of ways in which visitors can see and experience Thai culture. Thai puppetry, traditional Thai dance, local Thai galleries—the capital has it all.
Many believe Bangkok is lacking green spaces, but they just don’t know where to find them. Though the majority of the city flaunts urban décor, plenty of parks can be found scattered about. Lumpini Park is a great place to gather in one of the unique gazebos and watch monitor lizards sunbathe. Chatuchak Park sits adjacent to one of the biggest markets in Asia, where visitors escape to after spending a day weaving in and out of souvenir stalls. Bang Krachao, otherwise known as the green lung of Bangkok, is a short ferry ride away from downtown and a lovely green space to spend an afternoon cycling.
Bangkok is one of the most visited cities in the world
Bangkok has been the talk of the town (so to speak) recently, and for good reason. CNN ranks its street food as the best in the world, and Forbes lists it as most visited city in the world. Thailand is the first Asian country to do so and comes in just ahead of London. Don’t be that person who misses out on one of the most visited cities in the world.