© Cam Floyd / Culture Trip

Guide to Bangkok

Bangkok, capital of Thailand, is a city quite unlike any other: a bustling metropolis with a vibrant mix of shrines, street life and canals fed by the Chao Phraya River. Here’s our guide.

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Main Attractions

There are few spots more iconic around the world than the Khao San Road, renowned as the central hub of global backpacking and immortalised in Alex Garland’s The Beach, the road buzzes with wonder, opportunity and, of course, tourists and hanging neon signs. Bangkok is quite often the first stop for backpackers planning to head around Asia, and the Khao San Road is often the first stop for those travellers when they arrive. It’s cheap, a great place to meet like-minded adventurers and a fantastic place to party. It’s not the only side to Bangkok though – the Thai capital is a cultural hotspot, too. Wat Arun is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok Yai, on the west bank of the River, and it’s possibly the most iconic cultural landmark in the city. Surely one of the most elegant and beautiful temples in all of Asia and possibly beyond, it’s a real sight to behold. The Grand Palace is another example of remarkable Asian architecture – home to the Kings of Siam since 1782, the golden, slanting rooftops cut a distinctive, remarkable view. Elsewhere, Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is considered the most sacred Buddhist temple in all of Thailand, and the temple of Wat Pho houses the largest collection of Buddha images in the country, including one Buddha which measures 46m (151ft), and the 3m (10ft), 5.5 tonne Golden Buddha Statue can be found in the temple of Wat Traimit. Much of Bangkok life takes place on the Chao Phraya River, and on the canals that run off it. Visit the floating markets at Khlong Lat Mayom and Taling Chan, then head to Chinatown for some unique feasting from one of the many street vendors before heading back to get yourself ready for some of the most eclectic nightlife on the globe. Bangkok can be busy, hectic and it can be overwhelming at first. Get to know it and it’s a real treat.

Neighborhoods in Bangkok