"Bangkok - City of Angels, City of Contrasts" Bangkok by mightywease
Bangkok Travel Guide: 10,207 reviews and 22,513 photos
Leaving behind a cold, wet London and travelling to a warm sunny Bangkok seemed somehow to sum up our experiences of this fascinating city as a place of contrasts
Sky and Earth: Sit 656ft above the city sipping cocktails then perch on a roadside stool slurping noodles
Ancient and Modern: Ride the futuristic Skytrain then marvel at the Emerald Buddha in the Temple of Wat Phra Kaew
Busy and Quiet: Jostle your way through the crowds of Chinatown then sit and watch the beauty of Tai Chi early in the morning at Lumphini Park
Wealthy and Without: Sumptuous and towering hotels, shopping centres with designer stores stand next to derelict buildings and small lean to shacks
Healthy and Unwholesome: Treat yourself to a revitalising massage at Wat Pho but mind the city's seemingly ever present smog
Bangkok is also a sensory experience, sights, sounds and smells build into a sense memory that will stay with you long after you’ve left. And later something small, some sound or smell will trip that memory and almost stop you in your tracks as it sends you spinning back to Bangkok
And it's a place of emotion, of sensations. They are drawn out of you almost like the place is reaching into your soul and asking you to question yourself. Sometimes the feeling is wonderful, the temples and shrines can evoke such a spiritual sensation, regardless of what religion you are or how strong any belief that you have may be. At other times what you feel may be more ambiguous, less easy to define as, for example, you encounter the sex trade and its implications
You have to accept it all, the beauty and the less than beautiful, in order to really appreciate the city.
Don't ignore anything because each contrast, each dichotomy, is an ingredient which adds up to the amazing experience that is Krung Thep, the City of Angels.
The best way to 'tackle' getting around Bangkok seems to be to adopt a multi-transportation strategy and flit from one to the other as circumstances dictate
The BTS skytrain is an efficient, fast economical - and appealingly futuristic - way of getting round parts of Bangkok and it does have interchanges with both the metro and the river buses service. If you're staying in the Sukhumvit and Silom areas you'll probably use it a lot.
There is only one Metro line which does interconnect with the skytrain at a couple of points. It's useful for getting to Lumphini Park and some area of Sukhumvit and Silom
The various river boat services are a fantastic way to do a bit of sightseeing as well as travel to sites such as Wat Arun, Wat Phra Kaow and the Grand Palace. Different coloured flags indicate whether the boats are express - thus not stopping at each pier - or not. Check with the boards outside the piers as to which route fits which flag. Payment is made on board the boat, they do get very busy, hang on tight as they can speed along and if you do feel a bit faint of heart trying to get on and off there is usually someone to help you or, if it's really busy, push you from behind! Don’t worry, its incredible fun! There is also a tourist boat for which you buy a day pass allowing you to hop on and off at 10 major sightseeing spots and which gives you a commentary on the way. Worth it if you are intending to spend the day exploring the river and its sites, if you are just intending two or three short hops stick to the other boat services.
Taxis are plentiful and cheap but can get gridlocked in the, at times, immobile Bangkok traffic. Insist that the meter is turned on - unless you want to spend time negotiating a price - and for both taxis and Tuk Tuks its worth having the name of your hotel or destination written down in Thai.
Tuk tuks are useful for short journeys but do be careful in case you are inveigled into first going on a side trip to a 'friend' or 'family members' jewellery shop or tailors and get stuck there being persuaded to buy something rather than been taken to your chosen and requested destination! Just insist on going where you want to go and agree the price first.
In other places, such as Chinatown, given the traffic, the amount of people and just for the sheer fun of wandering about simply take a walk!
- Pros:Temples, Palace, History, Culture, Shopping
- Cons:Smog, Scams
- In a nutshell:A sensory experience that will stay in your mind and imagination
Situated next to a busy road the Sri Mariamman Temple provides wonderful assault on your senses. Built by Tamil... more travel advice
The futuristic Skytrain is an economical, fast and efficient way of getting round Bangkok, as well as providing a kind... more travel advice
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