Bangkok

The huge, modern city of Bangkok is split into 50 distinct districts, but the most popular tourist hubs with the best choice of hotels are mostly found in and around Siam Square, Sukhumvit Road, Silom and Sathorn districts, along with entertainments ranging between raucous and refined. Bangkok is nightlife heaven and a shopaholic’s delight, and it’s certainly never dull. The historic centre is Rattanakosin, a remarkable district holding the magnificent Grand Palace, Wat Pho temple with its massive, jewelled stupa and Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred temple in the land and home to the Emerald Buddha. Every possible type of accommodation is found here, from five-star luxury resort hotels through plenty of choice in the middle and lower price ranges, to budget guest houses and backpacker hostels. The city’s most high-end properties are located in the diplomatic district of Sathorn, and for those needing to be on top of the action, Sukhumvit Road has many upscale and mid-range high-rise suite and aparthotel blocks, as well as accommodations set amid a great selection of glitzy shopping malls, nightclubs and bars.

Suvarnabhumi Airport is Thailand’s air arrivals hub, set 30 minutes outside the city centre by train, taxi or bus. Exploring the city’s landmarks is straightforward and cheap via the excellent Skytrain and metro systems which cover most of the main attractions. Metered taxis and tuk-tuks (motorised rickshaws) take care of the rest but take time due to traffic congestion on Bangkok’s roads. Hiring a car for self-drive excursions outside of the city is easy but care should be taken.

Bangkok is an all-year city due to its plethora of things to do and its sub-tropical weather. Most places you’ll visit will have air-conditioned comfort, useful when temperatures top 40°C during the March through May hot season. A must-see if you’re visiting during April is the famous Songkran festival, during which time getting regularly soaked to the skin with cold water is refreshing as well as enormous fun.