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This whole pandemic situation has got me daydreaming of traveling to faraway lands. This wasn’t uncommon BC (Before COVID), but lately, it seems to be happening more and more frequently. One place my mind keeps returning to is Bangkok, Thailand.
You might be wondering: Why on earth would somebody miss Bangkok?
If you’ve visited the Thai capital and never made it past Khaosan Road, it’s easy to understand why you might think I’m out of my mind.
Bangkok is often a city that is vastly misunderstood. To many travelers, the City of Angels represents a dirty, smelly, and sleazy destination that is just a stopover on their way to the islands.
Many young travelers, if not most, have found themselves spending a lot of their time in Bangkok on Khaosan Road.
The truth is, Khaosan Road is the symbol of everything that is crazy and wrong about Thailand: Cocktails in buckets, ping pong shows, and grilled insects set the scene when you set foot on this legendary walking street.
However, underneath the seedy stereotypes, Bangkok proves to be an extraordinary city. A city full of ancient beauty, incredible food, and some of the friendliest people on earth.
There’s a lot to love about the Thai capital.
If you’ve visited Bangkok and never made it past Khaosan Road, then this post is for you! If Bangkok didn’t win you over as it did me, this post is for you too.
Sometimes, first impressions aren’t everything.
Keep reading to find out the 10 reasons I love Bangkok, Thailand.
10 Reasons I Love Bangkok
1. The Food
Ask anyone that’s been to Thailand what they love most about the country, and I guarantee that the food will be high on their list.
In Bangkok, you can eat anytime, anywhere.
And I mean literally all kinds of food, 24 hours a day.
From dusk until dawn, Bangkok’s busy streets are lined with street food vendors firing up fresh moo ping (grilled pork) and dishing out steaming hot bowls of boat noodles.
There are night markets and there are morning markets.
There are cheap places to eat and there are even Michelin-star restaurants.
But, in Bangkok, street food is king – it’s fresh, it’s plentiful, and it’s cheap.
You can get any type of cuisine imaginable. Indian, Italian, Mexican, you name it – you’ll find it here. Now I’m not saying that when you come to Bangkok you should come to eat pasta, pizza, and burgers. However, Bangkok does offer a lot of fusion food that curiously blends the tastes of different cultures ever so perfectly.
2. The People
Another one of the reasons I love Bangkok, and the entire country of Thailand for that matter, is the people.
Most travelers who have visited the Kingdom of Thailand will agree that Thai people are helpful, unpretentious, accepting, incredibly hospitable, and most importantly, always wearing a smile.
From the old lady selling fruit on the corner of the road to the taxi drivers and even the cashiers at 7-Eleven, everyone is smiling.
Wherever you go in Thailand, you’ll always run into people who will be open to talking and engaging with you. Believe it or not, many Thais will even go to extreme lengths to give you a hand.
In addition to their kindness, the Thai people could serve as a shining example to many western countries for their ability to be diverse, yet live in peace. Thailand is an overwhelmingly Buddhist country, however, many different faiths and races commingle, particularly in Bangkok. Problems among ethnic groups are few, thanks to the amicable nature of the Thai people.
Their kindness and acceptance are two very admirable traits that we could all learn a thing or two from.
Some of the most beautiful temples in the world can be found in Bangkok. There are over 400 temples (called wats) located in the Thai capital alone! Which isn’t surprising as 95% of the country’s population is Buddhist.
The grandest temple is, perhaps, Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). It’s not hard to see why this particular temple is considered to be one of the must-see attractions on any Bangkok itinerary. Its grounds and its buildings are truly a spectacular sight to behold. Other temples worth mentioning are Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn) and Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha).
Though not necessarily located in downtown Bangkok, there are a few culturally rich locations that are close enough to take a day trip to. The first is one of the many floating markets that surround the city. I would recommend visiting Amphawa Floating Market, as it is one of the more traditional ones around, plus it’s filled with plenty of locals. Another visit worth making is a day trip to Ayutthaya. This Angor Wat lookalike was actually the capital of the Kingdom of Siam many years ago. It is now an archeological site that contains palaces, temples, and statues that truly make it a must-see.
4. The Chao Phraya River
The Chao Phraya River is arguably the beating heart of Bangkok. This intricate system of a magnificent river and canals have a rich history. So rich, that they are often referred to as the artery of the nation.
The Chao Phraya River is also known as the River of the Kings. This river was, and still is, an important waterway to the people of central Thailand. Many of the locals still live and commute along the river and its many canals. For others, the Chao Phraya is a way of life and even a source of livelihood.
Today, many of Bangkok’s most notable attractions sit right on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Some top attractions that are easily accessible from the river include Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and Wat Phra Kaew.
Arguably one of the best ways to see Bangkok is by hopping on a longtail boat and drifting through the canals. And, although it might be touristy, a cruise along the Chao Phraya River at sunset is a magical and unforgettable experience.
Bangkok is a mecca for shopoholics.
I don’t usually spend a lot of time shopping when I travel, but since shopping is one of Bangkok’s most significant attractions, I figured it deserved a spot on this list.
All different kinds of shopping centers are scattered around the City of Angels. Whether you are looking for the latest Louis Vuitton bag or cheap local clothes, anything you wish for is just a Skytrain ride away.
If you have some money to blow, Bangkok’s high-end shopping centers are the place to be. Siam Paragon and Emporium feature the world’s most luxurious brands, like Prada and Chanel, as well as hip Asian fashion designers you won’t find anywhere else.
On the other hand, MBK and Platinum malls boast a dizzying amount of souvenirs, knock-off clothing, and even imitation electronics. Perusing the shops at these malls is an experience in itself!
In addition to the many malls, Bangkok is teeming with countless markets where you can buy anything under the sun.
From homewares to traditional snacks, and pet rabbits to faux silk scarves, there’s nothing you can’t find at a market. Some markets worth visiting are the Chatuchak Weekend Market and the Pat Pong Market in Silom.
There is truly no other place in the world that has such a fantastic combination of markets and malls like Bangkok!
6. It’s full of life
Another one of the reasons I love Bangkok is because it is so full of life.
This cosmopolitan city is both vibrant and colorful.
It’s a place that is buzzing with things to do, at all times of the day.
From tuk-tuks to temples, humble street food vendors, lively rooftop bars, crazy nightclubs, and ancient village homes, there’s always something new to be discovered.
It is truly a city that never sleeps – you simply cannot be bored when you’re in a place like Bangkok.
Simply put, transportation in Bangkok is fast, affordable, and easy.
Getting around this mega city couldn’t be any more straightforward than it already is.
There are countless ways to get around the city that include the Skytrain, MRT (subway), motorbike taxis, boat taxis, tuk-tuks, buses, and regular taxis (probably the worst option).
The city is notorious for traffic jams, and gridlocks are a daily issue. However, Bangkok’s extensive network of Skytrain and MRT lines makes it possible to move around the city quickly and with ease.
8. It’s green
Few people associate green spaces with Bangkok.
Typically, it’s the congested streets and crowded concrete walkways that pop into people’s heads when they picture the city.
You might be surprised to learn that Bangkok isn’t all skyscrapers and pollution – there are actually a large number of parks and green spaces scattered throughout the city.
For a relaxing, and refreshing evening in Bangkok, you can head to the city’s very own Central Park, better known as Lumphini Park. This tranquil oasis is often missed by tourists just passing through the city.
However, Lumphini Park provides much more than just a green escape, it also gives you a glimpse into local life! In the morning, you can enjoy watching the locals go for a jog or practice tai-chi on the grass. Depending on when you visit, you can even enjoy one of the many concerts that take place in the park!
Other green spaces around the city include Chulalongkorn University Campus, Rama XI Park, Chatuchak Park, Princess Mother Memorial Park, Santi Chai Prakan Park, and Bang Krachao.
I love the convenience of Bangkok.
Anything you need can be accessed at all hours.
This might seem silly, but whoever invented 7-Eleven deserves a monument. I currently live in Croatia, where many places (including pharmacies) are closed on Sundays. There is one single 24/hour grocery store in the entire city that is located on the opposite side of town from me. If you want or need anything past 8:00 or 9:00 PM during the week or weekend, good luck finding it.
In Bangkok, on the other hand, you can walk into a 7-Eleven at any time of day and buy, well, anything.
I also love that you can get food at all hours. No matter how late it is, you can find a food stall making fresh Pad Thai or other roadside delicacies.
In addition to convenient stores and 24/7 street food, Bangkok’s geographic location is convenient itself.
Its position on the world map makes it the perfect gateway to the rest of Asia. With excellent flight options to numerous Asian nations, its location makes it a super convenient base for exploring the rest of the continent.
10. It’s Safe
Finally, topping off the list of the many reasons I love Bangkok, is the fact that it is safe. It’s a city that is safe even for solo female travelers.
Of course, anything can happen anywhere in the world – it’s best to be alert at all times and to always trust your gut. However, I have never personally experienced anything that made me feel unsafe in Bangkok, nor did the other 30 students I was traveling with.
Generally speaking, Thai people are very accepting of foreigners and are always willing to help with a smile.
That wraps up my list of the top 10 reasons I love Bangkok.
Have you visited the Thai capital before? What was your experience like?
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