Bangkok is amongst the best known cities in the world. This is not only the hub of Thailand, but one of the largest and busiest cities in SE Asia. People from around the world visit Bangkok every year for numerous reasons. The city itself houses 8.8 million people, but including the city’s surrounding area, the total rises to over 14 million. You can feel the hustle and bustle the entire time you are in Bangkok, where the city never really sleeps. Unfortunately for me, my visit coincided with the Occupy Bangkok movement. I got stuck in protests, dropped off in a conflict area and had hand grenades go off two blocks from my hotel killing numerous people, as well as a public assassination of a protest leader. Due to this I had to cut my stay in Bangkok short before the bridges in and out of the city were completely blocked off. I managed to cram as much as possible into the time I had in the city, but felt that it was unwise to stay any longer. Additionally, I made a bad choice in my accommodations’ location, staying in a rather dodgy area of the city where almost nobody spoke English, so if you visit, just remember that Khao San Road is the place to stay if you want to be in the heart of the city and amongst other tourists. I did actually enjoy staying in a non touristy neighborhood and met a member of the merchant navy who took me out to local food places and bars and translated for me.
Bangkok is built in the Chao Phraya River delta and as such the entire city is traversed by rivers and canals. The Thai people have historically always used these waterways in most aspects of life. The river is used for transportation, as well as a food source. If you manage to have time, make sure to take a river tour and explore the canals to see a whole other side of the city.
Bangkok is one of the Buddhist capitals of the world, housing a vast array of temples of all shapes and sizes. Sadly due to my time constraints I wasn’t able to explore nearly as many of these as I wanted to.
Bangkok is also well known for its numerous and varied markets. Whatever you are looking for, a market somewhere in Bangkok probably sells it. You will see animals, fruits, plants and other items that you have never seen before. I could honestly have spent an entire day just visiting market places throughout the city.