The city of Bangkok is constantly teeming with relentless activity, from traffic jams that make London’s rush-hour roads look like a breeze, to street vendors selling fried insects and repairing clothing. On every street corner Thai culture is unmistakable- you see it, inhale it and immerse yourself within its activities. However, the city can be overwhelming at times. If you feel like having a fried Tak Ga Tan insect or a plate of Pad Thai, the streets of Bangkok are the place to find it and practically for next to nothing price wise. It's just one amazing thing among many in this crazy city.
Bangkok is a fascinating place; you can wander the streets for hours, never seeing the same thing twice. Every evening, the footpaths become pop-up dining rooms where you’re able to dine on authentic Thai food or a large Big Mac and trawl through forgotten neighbourhoods, decayed temples and sleazy bars. The images you see of Thailand’s capital are all completely accurate; it’s all the things you’d imagine: it’s extremely polluted, insanely crowded, deafeningly noisy and incredibly sleazy.
Can you think of a better way to drink in views on a balmy evening than from the roof of a skyscraper? For nightlife, take the elevators skywards to the top of some of the city’s tallest buildings. There are a number of rooftop bars worth visiting in Bangkok, ranging from the world’s highest, the Skybar, the rooftop bar on the 63rd floor of Lebua at the State Tower, to the 58 storey Moon Bar at the Banyan Tree Hotel. Have a drink at the Skybar, where parts of The Hangover II were filmed. The drinks are quite expensive at this beautiful hotel, but with them you get an incredible, panoramic view of the city and the Chao Phraya River. This is the place to be in Bangkok, so dress to impress and come to people-watch. The Moon Bar is equally as fascinating, where there is a 360 degree view across the city, which flickers below. Both bars attract a diverse clientele, a mix of nationalities and ages. As with all rooftop rendezvous points there is a smart dress code and of course, their cocktails are not cheap.
In typical Asian style, Bangkok is home to millions and millions of shops, as well as the market stalls. Finding what you want is another matter altogether! There are shops dedicated to selling car exhausts, shops that sell computer screens, shops that sell incense, shops that sell antiques, all bang in the middle of the city, tucked between the noodle restaurants and the bars. Bangkok has kilometres of aisles and a huge choice of retail outlets that can easily lighten your wallet. One shopping centre I always champion is the ‘MBK Centre’, a massive 8 storey shopping complex that boasts over 2000 shops and stalls, where you can buy just about anything. Other shopping centres in the vicinity are: ‘Central World’, ‘Siam Square’ and the ‘Peninsular Plaza’. Bangkok is one huge department store with hundreds of different departments and no air conditioning!
Bangkok is full of legitimate massage establishments (and the other kind as well) where you can indulge in a foot or traditional Thai massage for as little as 300 baht an hour. When you’re in Thailand you can have a massage every day: why not, when they’re so cheap? If you are more into pampering and ambience, splash out at one of the more upmarket spa complexes, such as CHI, The Spa at Shangri-La.
Whilst visiting the capital, you have to take a trip to one of Bangkok’s many night markets. I would recommend the world renowned Patpong Night, located in the Silom area (also known as Bangkok’s Red Light District). If it interests you, this is the place to see a show performed by the ladies of the night. And the rest, well, we can leave that to the imagination. However, if that doesn’t interest you, take a look at the rows and rows of stalls selling an assortment of Hermès Birkins and Chanel handbags, clothing and fake watches including excellent replicas of