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View from Lebua State Tower
View from Lebua State Tower © Swami Stream

Bangkok Travel Guide

Bangkok, meaning the 'city of angels', is often described as crowded and noisy, yet the city is full of culture, historic sites and beautifully authentic food: 

Travelling to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, is like throwing yourself into a mad melee of a metropolis, decadent and often squalid, but extremely traveller-friendly. Locals welcome those who holiday in Bangkok with wide smiles and amid all the chaos and congestion there are hidden gems to discover. Bangkok is also the gateway to Thailand's legendary beach resorts and is ideal for those travelling on a budget.

A Bangkok holiday is particularly popular among young backpackers, simply because they are catered for in many cheap hostels. There is, however, a vast array of accommodation to suit all budgets in this tourist-oriented city. Despite popular belief, the city is also very child friendly and with many zoos, play parks and educational museums, the city even caters for families who have young ones.

Best time to visit Bangkok

The best time to travel to Bangkok is between November and February, although with its tropical climate a Bangkok holiday offers high humidity and temperatures all year round. It is best to avoid the hottest months of March, April and May, and the rainy season between June and October. Read more on Bangkok's Climate and Weather.

What to see in Bangkok

-Visit the Bangkok National Museum.

-Marvel at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho).

-Take in the sights at Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple).

-See the Royal Barges National Museum.

What to do in Bangkok

-Get lost in the maze of stalls at Chatuchak Market.

-Experience the national sport of Thailand, Muay Thai.

-Take in a piece of history at Jim Thomson's House.

-Admire the unique Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.

Beyond Bangkok

Bangkok is the perfect doorway to a number of regions of Thailand, including the Phuket and Chiang Mai. As the capital city, Bangkok is easily accommodated on any travel itinerary of Thailand, not least of all because it is easy to get flights into the city from all over the world. Most parts of Thailand are easily accessible from the central hub of Bangkok with various forms of transport to each location, including bus, train and plane. A popular excursion from Bangkok would be to visit the hisorically rich Kanchanaburi, famous as the site of the Bridge Over the River Kwai.

Getting there

Flights to Bangkok land in Suvarnabhumi International Airport, located 19 miles (30km) east of Bangkok; and Don Mueang International Airport is a small secondary facility located 15 miles (25km) outside of Bangkok. There are flights to Bangkok from various cities in the UK, US and many European cities. Get more information on Airports in Bangkok.

Did you know?

-Some Bangkok bathrooms offer a third gender option for ladyboys.

-All of the temples pictured on Thai baht coins are in Bangkok.

-Bangkok holds the record for longest capital name in the world.


Chaotic, carnal and congested, Thailand's capital is divided by the Chao Phraya River and is nestled in one of the world's most fertile rice-producing deltas. Bangkok's 605 square miles (1,568 sq km) are criss-crossed by a series of canals carrying passengers and cargo, its roads clotted with endless traffic jams, while the city sprawls in all directions with a hodgepodge of urban, commercial and industrial buildings. A new overland metropolitan railway speeds above the city, providing visitors with a relaxed and efficient way to observe the hustle and bustle below.

Despite its pollution and overcrowding, Bangkok is undoubtedly one of Asia's most exciting cities, and one of the world's largest, promising to reveal to each traveller the wild and untamed mysteries of the east. Khao San Road is one of the city's most vibrant streets, and is probably one of the best examples in the world of a backpacker's 'ghetto'. Day and night the short stretch of road is abuzz with activity. On the banks of the Chao Phraya visitors will find the Grand Palace as well as Wat Phra Kaew, the palace temple housing the Emerald Buddha, constructed entirely from translucent green jade. Slightly upriver are the exquisitely ornamented Royal Barges, still used today for special floating processions.

Of the 30 or so temples in Bangkok, the largest is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, which houses an impressive statue of the deity. The famous Floating Market is a delight to visitors and well worth a visit. As the sun lurches towards the horizon in the west and the sweat cools, this city of royalty and religion comes alive with a palpable decadence. Music and dazzling neon advertise a plethora of trendy bars and nightclubs, as well as the notorious 'girlie joints' that have ensured the Patpong district its reputation for hedonism.

Though the city's frenetic pace and infamous congestion can be overwhelming, a holiday in Bangkok is a must for anyone travelling in Thailand.

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