Bangkok: a kaleidoscope of culture, colour and exoticism, and one of the most popular visitor destinations in all Southeast Asia. Of all of Thailand’s vibrant towns and cities, its capital is the biggest and most fascinating — not to mention its wackiest and weirdest.
In recent years, Bangkok has become the go-to hub for young backpackers from across the globe, a fact which has given the city a reputation for being a boisterous party town. Stay clear of the Western partygoers, however, and the authenticity, culture and heritage of the city shines through.
Is Bangkok part of your cruise itinerary? If so, check out our guide to the city below, which includes tips and advice on what to see and do in this incredible Thai metropolis.
Founded in 1782, the Grand Palace was the official seat of the Kings of Thailand until 1925, and now plays host to some of the country’s most prestigious events. Luckily for us mortals the Grand Palace is open to the public, so you can explore the many forts, outhouses and temples which make up this magnificent site.
Open spaces are hard to come by in Bangkok, a fact which makes Lumphini Park all the more special. Boasting a vast array of exotic flora, this public space is popular with locals and tourists alike thanks to its serene natural beauty; the perfect place to relax away from the bustle of the city.
Cameras at the ready folks; Wat Arun is without question the prettiest Buddhist temple in all of Bangkok. Located on the western bank of the Chao Phraya, this ancient temple was built sometime during the time of the Ayutthaya Kingdom — making it one of the city’s oldest and most treasured landmarks.
Visit a Floating Market
Combine your love of shopping and culture with a visit to one of Bangkok’s famous floating markets. Taking place across the city, these unique daily markets attract hundreds of traders and craftsman, each of which arrives at the site by boat. If you’re good at bartering and don’t mind negotiating the crowds, this is a great place to bag a bargain.
Talk a Walk Through Chinatown
Despite being hundreds of miles from China, Bangkok’s Chinatown district is about as authentic as the real thing. Sprawling for several kilometres, this colourful neighbourhood is awash with street vendors and restaurants, and it’s incredibly easy to get lost in the throng of narrow, charming streets.
Enjoy a Chao Phraya River Tour
If you’re not yet tired of being waterborne, one of the best ways to see Bangkok is by boat. Several boat tours operate along the Chao Phraya River, giving tourists the opportunity to see a number of famous landmarks along the banks of the water in one fell swoop.
If you’re not afraid to tuck into traditional Thai fare during your visit to Bangkok, the Sensi Restaurant is the place to go. With an expansive menu chock-a-block with Thai favourites including Satay Chicken and Red Thai Curry, Sensi is the perfect place to savour the true taste of Bangkok.
Smokin Pug American BBQ
Alternatively, if you prefer the taste of familiarity, pay a visit to Smokin Pug American BBQ, where you can have your fill of authentic all-American cuisine. With steaks, burgers and BBQ ribs aplenty, this family-friendly restaurant is the ideal place to visit if you’re travelling with picky-eaters or young children.
No visit to Bangkok would be complete without stopping by one of the city’s many street food vendors. One of the best places to sample authentic Thai street food is Soi 20, an area renowned for its amount of noodle and dumpling stalls.
If this guide has left you longing for a trip to Bangkok, browse a complete range of upcoming Southeast Asia cruise deals on our website or call our team on 1300 857 345.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit:Mike Behnken, Greg Knapp, Colin Tsoi, Femme Run