Bangkok is blanketed in nostalgia and modernity, the pockets of tranquillity contrasted with the hustle and bustle, make it a very fascinating city. Bangkok has always been on my bucket list as it is home to a vast array of mysteries that captivate visitors and have them falling in love with the beautiful city.
I have visited Thailand three or four times and I have always chosen to travel via Bangkok – the iconic epicentre of Thailand, as the arrival and departure point on my itinerary. Every time I visit, Bangkok really surprises me due to its unique beauty that oozes elegance and somewhat vibrant charm.
BANGKOK FOR THE FIRST TIME: FLEETINGLY GLAMOROUS
When I first came to Bangkok, I found that it was not too dissimilar to Vietnam. The beautiful city is packed full of small boutique shops lining the pavements and is home to a terrific maze of winding streets. Only after spending more time in Bangkok, did I really feel how unique and charming the city truly is.
Bangkok was delightfully peaceful early in the morning as I wandered through a street on which the stores had not opened yet and everyone seemed to be in a rush to go to their offices and schools. The capital is also an ideal destination for both domestic and international Buddhists thanks to its stunningly beautiful temples.
I had already hopped on an old bus to get to Wat Pho. The bus caught my eye because of its old-fashioned design, the old seats, the windows without any glass and the lack of air conditioning. The dilapidated bus crossed the silent streets of the capital and stopped near the oldest temple in Thailand.
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, has always been a must-see sight for me when travelling to Thailand. The temple is famous for its giant gold-plated reclining Buddha statue that has been formed meticulously in a distinctive style. Only when I entered the temple and noticed the domestic and foreign Buddhists and the peaceful scenery, did I have a better understanding of the spiritual beauty of the Thai people.
I really enjoyed my time in Bangkok as I had the chance to browse the amazing variety of shopping centres. If you wish to splash your cash on luxury products, then Bangkok is the place to shop for all kinds of world-class brands. Alternatively, if you are passionate about Thai products, then there is an abundance of popular markets for you to rummage through for the best bargains.
It would be no exaggeration to say that Bangkok is the most splendid shopping paradise in Asia. I have to admit that I have travelled to many different places, but nowhere makes me as excited and happy as Bangkok. With just a few days in the city, I felt like my time passed by in the blink of an eye, but it was just enough for me to scratch the surface and know that this would be a city I would be heading back to many more times.
MY LATTER TRIPS TO BANGKOK
Every time I come to Bangkok, I experience something very different. Bangkok was first etched in my memory because of its Buddhist culture and many amusement spots, nonetheless, the capital is now opting for a quite different style. When I first cycled through the small alleys of Bangkok, I realised how exhilarating the local life is.
There is row upon row of beautiful houses sat side by side lining every alleyway, be sure to concentrate or you will get lost in an incredible maze of nooks and crannies. Despite occupying a small amount of square footage, it is the living and trading place for many Thai people. Small noodle stores dotted about the alleyway, look closer and spot the clothes racks neatly balancing out the back.
My impression of Bangkok then changed very quickly as I stood on the top of King Power Mahanakhon to admire the cityscape at sunset. A far cry from the hectic and chaotic alleys, viewing the city from above gave me an extremely different outlook on Bangkok. The city oozes modern and sparkling glamour. In the spectacular twilight, Bangkok glistened with a plethora of towering buildings, dazzling advertisements and long lines of traffic illuminating the streets as they stretched across the city.
It turns out that Bangkok, as well as many other major cities, bears its own distinctive features. Despite being wrapped in an exhilarating difference, I did not feel overwhelmed getting around Bangkok because everything in the city strikes a delicate balance.
From the small alleyways, you just take a short walk to the main roads or you can easily catch sight of street food trucks sitting at the foot of a modern skyscraper. Bangkok can be a slow burner, but as soon as you realise its beauty, you will fall head over heels in love with Bangkok. I love this city with all my heart, both its stunning views and hectic chaos.
BEST TIME TO TRAVEL BANGKOK
The climate and weather in Bangkok can be split into two categories. The hot and wet season is between May and October; the cool and dry season is between November and April. Hence, the best months to visit Bangkok are typically between November and February when the weather is cool and pleasant but without the rain.
Baht is the official currency of Thailand. You can exchange your money at the airport or at the most major shopping centres in Thailand. However, it will be better if you exchange your currency before entering Thailand to save time.
TRANSPORTATION TO BANGKOK
Travelling to Bangkok is very easy. From Hanoi, it is approximately two hours by plane and there is a vast range of airlines for you to choose from. Notably, Thai Airways is one of the best choices for your Bangkok trip.
In Thailand, you can travel around by a variety of different vehicles, for instance, taxi, train, bus, motorbike, bike or Tuk-tuk. However, when you take a taxi in Thailand, you need to remind the driver to switch on the metre to avoid being ripped off.
It is undeniable that food in Bangkok has played a vital role in upholding the reputation of Thai cuisine. Each Thai dish is a delicate blend of ingredients and spices, perfectly balancing four key elements – spicy, sweet, sour and bitter.
In Bangkok, you can embark on a thrilling culinary experience with an array of popular Thai dishes. For instance, Pad Thai, Tom Yum Soup, Prata (fried banana pancake), grilled squid, mango sticky rice, oyster omelette, papaya salad and coconut ice cream.
Le Ha | Wanderlust Tips