Nothing I thought I had learned from various sites, pamphlets and friends prepared me for the capital city of Thailand, the mesmerizing Bangkok. I was enthralled by the different facets of the city – the infrastructure and skyscrapers, culture and religion, shopping malls and markets, flyovers and sky trains and yes, the haven for legal prostitution. Bangkok is invariably the ‘Not to miss for the World’ item in your checklist when you plan a trip to Thailand. And man! A day or so is just not enough!
One ought to plan meticulously to explore this city. It has its fair share of fun but can also make you feel totally lost. I did! At least on my very first day in Bangkok. Where do I stay? What do I see? How will I go about from one place to another? It was chaos. But then I realized that this prime city of the world offers a lot of simplicity when it comes to planning.
How to reach Bangkok?
Bangkok is well connected with rest of the world by air, and there are two international airports in the city. The Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) is located 25 kilometers east of Bangkok and the Don Mueang Airport (DMK) is located 24 kilometers to the north. While most international and domestic airlines operate at the Suvarnabhumi Airport, the latter is the hub for most Thai airlines. You can reach the airports by buses and taxis, and the Airport Rail Link -a high-speed train service into downtown Bangkok.
Where to stay in Bangkok
For easy understanding, I have divided Bangkok largely into two – Old Bangkok and Sukhumvit. Old Bangkok upholds Thailand’s culture and tradition for it has the magnificent Grand Palace and temples called ‘Wat’s. Sukhumvit area is where you find a lot of hotels, restaurants, bars, clubs, markets, shopping malls and other attractions. It is also the longest road in Thailand with many sub-streets or Soi. Tourists tend to stay in this area for it is close to many popular attractions, good accommodation, and the Suvarnabhumi airport.
Infrastructure in Bangkok
The roads of Bangkok are well-maintained and well-marked with street signs, mostly bi-lingual. It was like floating on the clouds for there were no bumpy rides. I was always leaning and looking out of the windshield of the car, like a little child in awe, to see the skyscrapers, shopping malls and almost all the top designer labels in the world; be it Prada, Chanel, Dior, Giorgio Armani, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Versace, Boss or Lamborgini. A lot of thought and planning has gone into building these assets and infrastructure for it to match with the aesthetics of the city. Unlike in many countries, you will always find better civic sense among localities as the traffic stream abides by the law.
The nights in Bangkok made me feel as if I was in a fairyland; neon lights, music blasting from the bars, the yummilicious street food including seafood, barbecued insects and delicacies for the tourists.
There are drawbacks too because Bangkok is Thailand’s most growing area in terms of human population as well as automobile population. It is too difficult to cope with this enormous demand on its existing road systems.
Mode of Transport in Bangkok
Tourists usually prefer the Skytrain/BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), the underground train/MRT (Metropolitan Rapid Transit) or the Airport Rail Link to get around in Central Bangkok. It is more efficient and preferred for it is faster and you can bypass the heavy Bangkok traffic. It is better to pick a hotel near any BTS station. We stayed near the Nana BTS and the conveyance has never been easier. Find out which is the nearest BTS station you are headed to and get a ticket from the counter. There are also ticket vending machines, but be sure that you have Thai coins. You can also ask for change from the counters. We did that! We loved putting coins one by one and getting the ticket at last. Crazy! There are maps and directions at all stations and you will not get lost.
If you are somewhere near Grand Palace, you can also opt for the Chao Phraya Express Boat. The cheapest mode of transportation, this ferry service will take you to all major attractions. We had visited the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun and then boarded a boat from the Tha Tien Pier and headed to Sathorn Pier, took a BTS to Siam and went shopping.
I was fascinated by the different colored taxis in Bangkok and had to ask our taxi driver what it signified. There are either one colored taxis like green, pink, red, orange and blue and also, two colored taxis mostly green and yellow. While the former is owned by a company, (each color telling us about the taxi company), the latter are private taxis owned by the individual.
Major Attractions in Bangkok
a. The Grand Palace b. Wat Pho c. Wat Arun d. MBK Mall e. Safari World f. Shopping g. Street food
Bangkok has a variety of options for every budget. Stay tuned as I will be talking in detail about Bangkok’s attractions, shopping, and other things the place has to offer.
Like it? Don’t forget to Pin it!
I am writing all about Thailand this April for the A to Z Challenge 2017. Thanks for all the love you’ve showered on this space! You can also check out my food blog for A to Z Indian Dishes to Die For.