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Your guide to Bangkok
All About Bangkok
Bangkok sets all the senses abuzz, from the sounds of the rushing traffic and the overlapping fragrances coming from sizzling woks to the rush of colors on display on the ornate temples. Modern skyscrapers sit alongside sacred shrines, and huge shopping malls compete with street bazaars and the city’s famous floating markets. The city’s culinary scene ranges from fine dining in exclusive rooftop restaurants to nighttime stalls selling Northern Thai grilled meats or bowls of brothy noodles, kway teow, with a myriad of toppings.
Cross over the Chao Phraya River to Rattanakosin Island to wander amid the city’s most important sites, including the opulent Grand Palace and Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. A tuk-tuk ride might take you through the alleys of Chinatown — packed full of shops, temples, and bustling restaurants. Or you can hop in a longtail boat and explore the ancient canals in Thonburi, home to some of the city’s legendary floating markets.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in Bangkok
Bangkok experiences a tropical monsoon climate, so it’s hot and humid most of the year. The months between November and February are among the most pleasant times to visit, when you can expect sunny and dry days with moderate heat and low humidity. The Lunar New Year, celebrated in January or February, is an occasion for festivities all over town, and Chinatown turns into a giant celebration. Late spring and summer, from April through June, bring the hottest temperatures and the most frequent thunderstorms. Wear breathable clothes during those months, and make sure you’ve got sun protection, a hat, and plenty of water when you’re out and about. (Keep in mind that you’ll need to cover your shoulders and legs to enter sacred temples.) In April, Thais embrace the hottest month of the year at the Songkran Festival, three days of friendly water fights and street festivities.
Top things to do in Bangkok
The Grand Palace
The spectacular Grand Palace is the former home of Thai royalty. The complex, built in 1782, comprises impressive buildings and well-cultivated grounds. In the Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, you may have an opportunity to view the small but revered Emerald Buddha, which dates back to the 14th century and whose robes are changed each season by the king himself.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Near the center of Bangkok, just south of Chatuchak Park, you can visit one of the biggest flea markets in the world every weekend, with more than 8,000 stalls sprawling across more than 14 hectares. As many as 200,000 people descend on the market every week to shop for art pieces, handicrafts, kitchenware, clothes, music, and sweets. If you’re not a fan of crowds, you can go early in the morning when it’s quieter.
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, on the banks of the Chao Phraya, is one of the city’s largest temples and home to a giant reclining Buddha. Covered in gold leaf, the Buddha is 46 metres long and 15 metres high — the feet alone measure five metres. Inside the temple, you’ll find a collection of historical Thai murals and sculptures related to warfare and astronomy. You can also explore the gardens to admire its many intricate stone sculptures.