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Vibrant and sprawling, Bangkok is steamy and ritzy and glittery all at the same time with nowhere else in the world quite like it. Known to the locals as the ‘City of Angels’, Bangkok is a madcap mix of traditional Thai culture, merged with modern western framework of high-rise buildings, motorways and shopping malls. Not to be missed sights include the enormous array of Wats (temples), with their glistening glass mosaics, gold statues and towering Buddhas. If you’re heading to Bangkok for the shopping, you’ll not be disappointed as markets and malls dot the city. Wining and dining reaches new heights in Bangkok with an amazing range of rooftop restaurants & bars. While treated as a stopover city by many, Bangkok has much more to offer than the couple of nights most people spend here. Stay longer & immerse yourself in more than the usual!
Conveniently located just 2.5 hours from Bangkok, the area is lined with oceanfront resorts and offers a great escape from bustling Bangkok. With seas that are warm throughout the year, shoreline swims are a daily occurrence at Hua Hin. But there are plenty of activities on offer too for those wanting to get out and about.
Pattaya lies south east of Bangkok and is only a two hour drive away, a perfect spot to add onto your Bangkok stopover. You won’t be short of choices in accommodation or dining options, with an excellent range of restaurants helped by a population that has a colourful mix of nationalities and ethnicities from near and far. Make sure you try some of Thailand’s freshest seafood at any of the many seafood restaurants.
Visit the famous bridge over the River Kwai. Stopping in the local town, you’ll visit the Allied War Cemeteries and museum before taking an hour train ride on the historic Death Railway. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before taking a long-tail boat ride along the Kwai Noi River.
Cruise up the river to the former capital of Thailand. It is home to many ancient ruins and artworks. Five dynasties have ruled this kingdom until it was destroyed by the Burmese. Picture many Buddha statues and beautiful gardens and you will come away with a true appreciation of Thai architecture.
Shopping in Bangkok is an experience that will make even the not-so-keen shopper into a professional wallet opener. There are many places to spend your baht and variety of markets and malls to choose from. Bartering is the go in a market, so bargain to your heart’s content and be prepared for a lively affair. Too many malls to list, but a highlight is Asiatique, located on the riverfront boasting 1500 boutiques and 40 restaurants and the prices are cheap cheap cheap!
Take a tour of Bangkok’s canals (or klongs, as they are known locally) by boat. See the serene family homes and temples dotted along the waterways which inspired Bangkok’s reference as the “Venice of the East”. Or grab a day pass for the Tourist Boat and you will get you a full day of stops on the river and can visit many major points of interest – Grand Palace, Wat Po (Temple of the Reclining Buddha) and Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) - all short walks from the ferry stops. It’s a great way to see the city from a different angle. Start at Asiatique Mall & head up to Khao San Road.
Wining and dining reaches new heights in Bangkok with an amazing range of rooftop restaurants & bars. Think Vertigo and Moon Bar at Banyan Tree, The Roof @ 38th at Mode Sathorn Hotel, Red Sky and Cru Champagne Bar @ Red Sky in Centara Grand Central World, and of course, Sirocco and Sky Bar at Lebua (From The Hangover movie). Amazing food & cocktails with fantastic views of the evening skyline. However, you definitely pay to be drinking at these heights.
No visit to Bangkok would be complete without visiting at least one of their grand temples. Playing a huge role in Thai culture, temples can be found dripping in gold and are steeped in history, far from anything you would find in New Zealand. Among the temples, a favourite is WaT Pho – here you’ll see the Reclining Buddha at 46 metres long! Don’t be surprised if you also see Buddhist monks in their traditional orange robes within the temple complexes as many also live on site. Please do respect their culture and cover your shoulders and knees when entering a temple.
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Are you planning your next trip to Bangkok? Want to learn more about this destination? Or looking for ideas and inspiration for your next holiday? Here is where you can find our featured articles on Bangkok.
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