Bangkok is a diverse city with a richness of sights and sounds that easily combines the old and new. This is a great destination on the Indochina tour packages for the urban explorers that wish to experience a frenetic combination of towering skyscrapers, busy pedestrians, motorcycle taxis and colourful taxicabs.
While it soon becomes a busy metropolis, the streets first thing in the morning can still include the Buddhist monks wearing their yellow robes. Similar to most area of Thailand, the markets are lively with a lot of bartering and negotiation. A visit to this capital city gives travellers a long list of activities to get involved with, from spas, galleries, shopping to religious and historical.
Some of the city’s holiest sites include the serene temples of Wat Arun and Wat Pho. While the Lumphini Park is completely different and much like New York’s Central Park, but has a huge lake filled with monitor lizards.
Other areas of interest to explore on the Thailand tours holidays include the fascinating street food scene that is open 24-hours and quite unique to Bangkok. However, there are also the city’s world-renowned spas and plush hotels for the travellers with more to spend that want to refresh and experience a quiet getaway.
The preferred time to visit Bangkok on the Thailand tour packages is November to February when the country experiences the cool season which is humid, yet comfortable. This is shortly after the monsoon season has passed and before the intense heat arrives at the start of March.
The months that bring the most intense heat include April, May and June which makes travelling on a motorbike or sightseeing quite unpleasant. The rains start to arrive mid-June and give a welcome respite from the heat, while also making the plants grow and removes the dust from the air.
The rainy season (May to November) can make a pleasant time to visit even when there is the risk of the occasional monsoonal downpour because of the lower temperatures and fewer tourists. But, there is the chance of floods in the streets that makes travel very difficult.
How to get there
Bangkok is easily reached using one of the two international airports in the capital: Don Muang Airport and Suvarnabhumi Airport. The airports are approx 30 km from the centre of the city, so the onward journey would need to be completed by taxi. Alternatively, there is a shared or private airport transfer service to the city, and for those travellers that wish to self-drive, an Avis car rental service is available at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The most common transport options include the tuk-tuk and taxi. The tuk-tuk is great to experience the most authentic travel and it helps to set a price before starting the journey because these vehicles do not have a meter. The taxis are everywhere and easily flagged down.
There is a reliable public transportation system in Bangkok including the extensive BTS and bus networks. Plus, the cost of riding the local transport is a lot less expensive. For instance a 20 minute journey on a local bus costs less than a dollar, while a similar trip in a taxi can cost up to $3-$4.
Where to stay
Bangkok has the accommodation and price to match the needs of all travellers on the Thailand tour holiday packages, from the low-cost backpacker hostels to the luxury five-star hotels.
The best district for the all-round travel experience is certain to be Banglamphu which has a choice of modern hostels, elegantly converted traditional houses, stylish hotels with rooftop pools, as well as the cheap hotels and hostels for the backpackers. Ratanakosin is great for the travellers that are coming to Bangkok for romance with its boutique hotels that give perfect views. Chinatown is a practical choice for the urbanities with its endless streets to explore and visit great restaurants. And for the travellers that love to shop, Siam Square is certain to appeal.
Eat and drink
Whether you are planning to sit down for a five star meal, a snack of fresh fruit, or savouring a tasty street vendor, there are plenty of choices in Bangkok for the local Thai food as well as the international dishes (Malaysian, Japanese, Italian, French, American, etc.).
The average cost of food in Bangkok can vary with the type of establishment. A visit to one of the street stalls can include a local meal (som tam, fried rice, pad Thai, soup, etc.) costing in the region of $1 or less. A drink of Thai ice tea costs about $0.50, a fresh bag of fruit is about the same, while a serving of rice and grilled chicken is $4.
A visit to a decent sit down restaurant can start with local dishes at $1.50 while those travellers preferred the western fare can expect to pay $3+. There are plenty of malls in Bangkok with large and popular food courts at the affordable price of $1-$1.50.
The most cost effective option to keep the stomach full is to use the street markets much like the locals, which can mean a total cost of $6 on food per day. Plus, the street stalls offer some of the best food with a variety of exotic offerings that are fresh and comparable to several of the hotel restaurants.
Many travellers on the Holidays to Thailand are attracted to Bangkok for its tailor-made clothes and low-cost gems and silk. But, there are also plenty of high-quality goods in this city, including handmade leather goods, fine porcelain and quality silverware. Plus, a lot of the prices are significantly below the equivalent in western stores; there is even the possibility to haggle the prices down in many stores, and especially in the markets.
While the MBK Center has an endless list of goods and major brands on display, the tourist is certain to get the most authentic shopping experience by visiting the busy market stalls. One of the most popular is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is packed with nearly 8000 stalls selling everything imaginable, such as elaborate Asian objects, pet supplies, handmade jewelery, local fashion and kitschy gifts and souvenirs.
The most popular places to shop in the city include Charoen Krung (New Road) and Oriental Lane for the antique shops, Chinatown (Yaowarat Road) is great for gold trinkets, Sukhumvit Road is useful for leather items, and Surawong Road and Silom Road are those shoppers in search of high-quality silk.
Things to see and do
From experiencing the historic and spiritual Buddhist temples to adventurous outdoor activities, there are endless things to see and do in Bangkok. The most striking temples to explore include Wat Arun and Wat Pho. One of the largest markets in South East Asia is the Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is a must-visit for the tourist in the local area. City landmarks like Lumphini Park and Grand Palace are worth a visit. Plus, for the tourist on the Thailand travel packages that needs a rest or likes a bit of pampering, the Oriental Spa and Sofitel So Bangkok Spa are popular choices.
Grand Palace and Wat Po
The Grand Palace was built in the 18th century on behalf of King Rama I and mainly used now for ceremonies. A visit to the palace makes it possible to see the Wat Pra Kaeo temple which is the location of the 15th century Emerald Buddha. Also, there is Wat Po which houses the well-known statue of a golden reclining Buddha. The cost to enter the Grand Palace is in the region of $15 and a visit to Wat Po costs $3.
A visit to Bangkok’s Lumpini Park is certain to appeal to the outdoor enthusiasts with its wide range of activities. Rowboats for rent, weight-lifting, Tai Chi classes, chess and picnic tables, and jogging paths are just a few of the things in the park to experience.
Bangkok is rich in Thai ruins, temples and history. Within the city alone there are 10 major temples that are easily explored in a single day (about 5 hours in total). Most of the temples have different layouts and architecture for the most unique sightseeing tour. For those travellers with limited time, the most impressive temple to visit is the Wat Arun, The Temple of the Dawn, as well as Wat Po and the Grand Palace.
Khao San Road
A walk along Khao San Road makes it possible to explore the infamous tourist/backpacker street in Bangkok. It is a great hub for travellers and gives instant access to shopping stalls, great food, nightlife and plenty of other activities that last all day and night.
A short distance from Bangkok is the floating market that is well worth a visit while touring the local area. The preferred time to tour the floating market is early in the morning when it is most lively and generally has fewer tourists. The market isn’t the best place to shop, but it is appreciated for its food and great background for photography.
A day-trip to Ayutthaya is easily possible from Bangkok and makes it possible to see some of the breathtakingly unique temples, the summer palace and the old capital.
Why not catch the theatre at Patravadi which puts on a wide range of shows that consist of dance, theatre, drumming shows and acrobatics. It is a quite trendy place that was established by a Thai actress and located close to the river.