What is Bangkok famous for

Bangkok: multifaceted metropolis with millions

In Bangkok, centuries-old temples meet futuristic hotels, financial districts meet red light and food stalls meet star chefs. The metropolis of millions inspires millions of visitors every year with its many facets and historical sights

Bangkok at a glance

General information
Bangkok is located in southern Thailand and has been the capital of the kingdom since 1782. The metropolis is dominated by the Chao Phraya River and is located north of the Gulf of Thailand. The Bangkok metropolitan area now has a population of almost 15 million and covers an area of ​​7,761 square kilometers. The Thai capital is the country's political and cultural center. The time difference to Central Europe is +6 hours in winter and +5 hours in summer. The Bangkok currency is the Thai baht.

Climate and Weather
Bangkok is located in the tropical climate zone and has an average annual temperature of 28 degrees. According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is the hottest city in the world on an annual average. March and April are considered to be the warmest months in the Thai capital. During the monsoons between May and October, however, heavy rains can occur in Bangkok, which regularly cause flooding in the urban area. Most precipitation falls in Bangkok in September and least in January.

getting there
Almost 17 million people visit Bangkok every year. This makes the city one of the most visited cities in the world. One reason for the immense number of visitors is the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, which opened in 2006 and is considered the most important international airport in Southeast Asia. Up to 45 million passengers are handled here every year. This also includes travelers from Germany who can reach Bangkok, for example, from Frankfurt, Düsseldorf or Munich by direct flight in ten to eleven hours. Other flight connections lead to Bangkok Airport via hubs such as Dubai, Istanbul or Doha.

All of Bangkok is a sight

Glass skyscrapers, the Chao Phraya River and the centuries-old temples Wat Phra Kaeo, Wat Pho and Wat Arun form the backdrop of Bangkok. The heart of the Thai capital beats right in the middle - in the bustling districts where the 15 million inhabitants ensure that Bangkok reinvents itself again and again. The constant seemingly effortless change between modernity and tradition makes Bangkok an attraction in itself. No question about it, Bangkok is one of the most popular cities in Southeast Asia and forms the beginning or the end of their trip to Thailand for the majority of the approximately 900,000 German visitors annually. And if you can, mingle with the Bangkok people and dive into the pulsating life of the royal city for a few days.

The Chao Phraya - Bangkok's lifeline

The mighty Chao Phraya River - in its entirety Mae Nam Chao Phraya - meanders through the entire city when coming from the north. The Chao Phraya flows through the country for a total of 372 kilometers before flowing into the Gulf of Thailand shortly after Bangkok. Many of the khlongs also feed from it, the 1682 canals that cross the capital area. Along the banks of the Chao Phraya, the Royal Palace and the most important temples of Bangkok are lined up with several sights.

To get a first impression of Bangkok, a trip across the river is a good choice. If you want to plunge directly into the concentrated life, take for a few Baht one of the public passenger ferries. Everyone else charter one of the longtail boats that are just waiting to be waved at many of Bangkok's official landing stages. The boats glide leisurely past hotel icons, skyscrapers and apartment buildingsuntil the ornate towers of the temple complexes, which form the cultural heart of Bangkok, appear. They are located at Tha Tien (Wat Pho Temple and change to Wat Arun), Tha Chang (Wat Phra Kaeo) and Maharaj Pier (Royal Palace). So before you get on one of the boats, decide where you want to go, because not all lines stop everywhere.

Bangkok: the city of mighty temples

Of course, no Bangkok tourist can miss the great temples Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Wat Phra Kaeo. Even if it can get crowded at any time of the day, the insights into the Buddhist religion and culture predominate.

Admission is only granted to those who dress respectfully and appropriately - this means for both men and women: Cover your knees and shoulders and take off your shoes before entering each temple. Cloths and robes can be borrowed from the large facilities for the duration of the visit for a fee.

If you only spend a short time in Bangkok and cannot visit all the major temples, you have to decide which complex will appeal to you the most:

  • Wat Pho: According to all previous knowledge, this complex was founded in the 17th century and is located south of the royal palace. The main attraction of this royal temple is the 46 meter long and 15 meter high gilded reclining Buddha statue.
  • Wat Arun: The silhouette of the temple from the Ayutthaya period shapes the skyline of Bangkok's old town like no other temple. The center of Wat Arun is the almost 70 meter high Phra Prang. The entire complex is decorated with colorful Chinese porcelain and seashells.
  • Wat Phra Kaeo: The King's Temple is located in the old Royal Palace of Bangkok. Not only the area and design are impressive - the emerald Buddha is also the national sanctuary of Thailand.
  • Wat Suthat: The plant is one of the largest in the Bangkok metropolitan area. Wat Suthat is known for its eight meter high Buddha statue in the main hall as well as for wall paintings and the walkway with 156 Buddha statues in meditation posture.

Offer a more relaxed look at Buddhism the smaller temples, which are spread across the different city districts. The most beautiful include:

  • Wat Traimit: The facility is located in Bangkok's Chinatown and houses a 5.5-ton Buddha made of pure gold - one of the most valuable religious objects in the world. Also in Chinatown is Wat Mangkon Kamalawat - the most important temple for Thais with Chinese roots.
  • Wat Saket: With its golden chedi, the temple watches over the Pom Prap Sattru Phai district. The facility is raised on an 80-meter-high artificially raised mountain. It goes up almost 320 steps past plants and watercourses. At the top there is not only one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, but also a great view of the city.
  • Wat Ratchanatdaram: This peaceful complex is located in the immediate vicinity of the famous Golden Mount Temple. The golden chedis stand out from the shiny white temple and the city can also be overlooked from here.
  • Wat Benchamabophit: Located in the royal district of Dusit, the marble temple is one of the most popular with the local population in Bangkok. The walkway with 52 Buddha statues, which King Chulalongkorn once had brought here from all parts of Siam, is worth seeing.
  • Wat Phra Dhammakaya: One hour north of Bangkok is the largest active temple in the world. The modern Wat Phra Dhammakaya is not quite as charming as the old systems on the river, but it does not miss its effect. It is best to visit the fair on Sundays.

Shop and be amazed: Thanon Sukhumvit, Khaosan Road and Thanon Silom

But Bangkok not only has a lot to offer culturally, it is also one of the most popular shopping metropolises in Asia, if not worldwide. No wonder with over 50 markets and more than 60 shopping malls, at any time of the day or night, somewhere in the metropolis of millions, consumers are attracted. It offers everything from live animals and counterfeit branded goods to high-quality technology and luxury items - everything the imagination can give. If you don't have any specific wishes, you should just drift and you will quickly find what you are looking for, especially in the inner city districts of Bangkok.

This is especially true for roads like that Thanon Sukhumvit. At 400 kilometers, it is one of the most important roads in the country and stretches to the Cambodian border. In Bangkok, however, the section between the Nana and Asok Skytrain stations is particularly interesting for locals and tourists. The famous Thanon Sukhumvit Market takes place here every evening and there is always something going on in the adjacent small alleys, the so-called Sois. Whether wide tie-dye trousers or a fresh Tom Kha Gai - the range is wide.

The just under 500 meters long presents itself in a similar way Khaosan Roadwhich has now also become known as Backpacker Road. The reason for this is the many inexpensive accommodations in the area and otherwise the backpacker hardly has to stray from Khaosan Road to find pubs, restaurants, bespoke tailors, jewelry dealers and travel agencies. Every evening the always busy street is transformed into a large shopping and party zone.

The Thanon Silom in the Bang Rak district of Bangkok is very different. The main artery runs through the large financial district of Bangkok. Mobile cookshops here supply the office workers with snacks and soups at lunchtime, but otherwise the Thanon Silom appears very orderly and well-kept. With the two shopping centers Silom Complex and Taniya-Plaza, the street near the river is a good address for all those who have little to gain from the markets. Other recommended shopping malls in Bangkok are:

  • Icon Siam: The new addition in the Siam shopping district is located directly on the banks of the Chao Phraya and presents itself as a cross-section of the country. All 77 Thai provinces are represented with art and culture. There's even an artificial river that mimics a floating market.
  • Central World: It is one of the largest shopping centers in the world. International fashion labels, technology and cosmetics are mainly represented on the seven levels of the Bangkok shopping center. The large centers of Siam Paragon, Siam Discovery and Siam Center are also within walking distance.
  • EmQuartier: In addition to the large selection of national and international fashion labels, this mall impresses above all with its architecture. Hanging gardens, lots of light and glass as well as an in-house waterfall ensure that shopping in the EmQuartier is a minor matter.
  • Terminal 21: A visit to this mall on Sukhumvit Road is like a little trip around the world. Each level is dedicated to a different metropolis or world region and is very detailed.

Markets instead of malls: Bangkok's colorful market culture

Those who find such large complexes too interchangeable and not very authentic are more likely to be happy in the city's markets. Asia's first mall is a mixture of shopping center and market. The Mahbookkrong, better known as MBK, was built in 1985 and since then has housed the classic market range on seven floors of Thai delicacies, fabrics, clothing and a lot of technology. If you are looking for good used technology and cameras, you will spend a few hours on the fourth and fifth floors in particular, where hundreds of small sales counters huddle together and offer repair services in addition to devices. The two camera manufacturers Nikon and Canon each have their own large sales area in the MBK.

If you felt comfortable in the MBK despite the hustle and bustle, you can venture to the next level: the Chatuchak Weekend Market. With 15,000 stalls, it is the largest market in the whole country and counts around 200,000 visitors every weekend. Here you can marvel and act. The Bangkok market complex is divided into themes. Those with a faint heart should not visit the live animal department. Although there is no slaughter here, wild animals are offered as pets in small cages, for example.

Those who prefer to shop in the balmy evening air also have the chance to do so at around 40 night markets. While most offer a colorful mix of goods, some of the night markets specialize in certain things, such as vintage clothes or food.

Particularly worth visiting are:

  • Red Fai Market: Many things with a nostalgic touch are sold under colorful fabric roofs at this market: clothes, antique furniture and decorations, as well as toys. The market takes place every evening between Thursday and Sunday on Srinagarindra Road in Bangkok. A more compact version of the market can be found on Ratchadaphisek Road.
  • Artbox Bangkok: Artbox Bangkok in Chuvit Garden is stylish, young and, above all, not very touristy until now. Local designers sell their goods here, and in between, lovingly decorated areas invite you to relax.
  • Suan Lum Night Bazaar Ratchada: Every evening between 5 p.m. and midnight, Ratchada Road is transformed into a huge market: almost 1,800 vendors vie for the visitors' favor.
  • Patpong Night Market: Shopping and then into the infamous nightlife of Bangkok? This can be perfectly combined on this up-and-coming night market, because it is located in the middle of the Silom nightlife district.
  • ChangChui Night Market: Bangkok's only night market that focuses entirely on second-hand and upcycling products takes place around a decommissioned aircraft. The market is like an art installation and attracts mainly young people
  • Asiatique: Anyone who travels with children or is generally more concerned with structure and hygiene will be happy in this modern facility right on the banks of the Chao Phraya.

Bangkok's diverse neighborhoods: From Siam to Chinatown

What already applies to large cities such as Munich or Paris is exposed in metropolises such as Bangkok: Each quarter stands for itself and brings its own facet to the overall image of the city. As different as the districts are, as different as the opinions and preferences of the visitors, which is the most beautiful. But some districts seem to hit the nerve of most Bangkok tourists and have been popular for years:

  • Sukhumvit Most Bangkok tourists should end up here, as the area around the lively Sukhumvit Road is considered to be the largest hotel district in Bangkok. Accordingly, the density of shopping centers, shops and leisure facilities. Night owls turn into Soi 11 and find themselves in the middle of a popular nightlife district in the metropolis.
  • Siam - The Siam district, which is popular for its shopping malls, is in the immediate vicinity. The various shops are in the immediate vicinity of the Siam Skytrain stop.
  • Silom - It's a bit quieter and greener in this part of the city around the extensive Lumpini Park. Many hotels have sprung up here in recent years. But it doesn't go without the hustle and bustle here either: Silom is home to the Patpong night market and the red light district.
  • Chinatown - Around Yaowarat Road is the chaotically beautiful district that gives Bangkok its very own touch. Chinatown wakes up especially in the evenings and becomes a jumble of shops, mobile food stalls, temples and Chinese characters.
  • Old town - Although there are of course significantly more streets in the old town of Bangkok, most of them will be familiar with Khaosan Road. If you want to stay cheaply and in the middle of the traveler action and not far from the famous temples, this is the right place.

One night in Bangkok: homestays, hostels and hotels

In principle, the following applies to Bangkok: There is nothing that does not exist. Of course, this also applies to the accommodation options. From homestays with local families to tree houses on the river to exclusive suites in hotels, everything can be found in Thailand's capital. The decisive factors are the travel budget and your own sightseeing wish list.

Since Thailand is a cheap travel destination for Europeans, 60 euros for a double room with breakfast in a four-star hotel is not uncommon. If you would like to see as much as possible in a short period of time and relax in peace in the evening, it is best to choose a hotel in the Bangkok districts Silom, Siam or Sukhumvit. These districts have good and upscale hotels and are very well connected via the Skytrain network and waterways.

If you want to indulge yourself and ideally watch the skyline at night from your bed, choose one Hotel on the banks of the Chao Phraya. The major international hotel chains have their establishments here, some of which boast spectacular rooftop bars.

Of course, it is also cheaper in Bangkok. The hostel density in Bangkok is immense and travelers are spoiled for choice. Here, too, your own travel behavior should be decisive: party-mad people, for whom the country and its people are more of a sideline, descend along Khaosan Road. Private rooms are available here for as little as five euros, beds in dormitories even for less. Most hostels are similar in terms of value for money.

A little more tranquility and charm provide the accommodations around the nearby Rambuttri Road. If you want to immerse yourself in Thai culture as quickly as possible, rent a so-called homestay with a family. The model is widespread in Asia: families buy larger houses and rent out several rooms to travelers, usually there are also amenities such as breakfast or even a small pool. Such homestays can also be found in Bangkok.

Day at the Sea - Beaches around Bangkok

Very few holidaymakers take the long journey to Thailand just to spend their time in the capital. After a few days or a short stopover in Bangkok, most of them continue to one of the popular holiday islands, such as Koh Samui, Koh Lanta or Koh Chang. There are also beautiful beaches in the immediate vicinity of Bangkok, some of which can even be implemented as day trips.

This is especially true for Bang Saen Beach in Chonburi Province. The small town including the bay is just 85 kilometers from the gates of Bangkok and is flooded by the capitals, especially on the weekends. Those who come during the week will find more peace and quiet. The same applies to Cha Am in the southwest of Bangkok. However, the nearby beaches Puek Tian Beach and Chao Samran Beach offer great alternatives. Both Bang Saen and Cha Am can be reached several times a day by bus, train or minivan. The journey time is one and a half or two hours, depending on the traffic. If you start early, you can indulge in a day by the sea and immerse yourself in the hustle and bustle of the big city in the evening. However, most of them stay on the coast for at least one night.

That is just 30 kilometers south of Cha Am glamorous seaside resort Hua Hin - the country's first official seaside resort and former summer residence of the royal family. The place is a popular destination for the upper class from Bangkok. According to the offer: In addition to the very well-kept beach, there are a variety of good restaurants, spas and golf courses.

Beach, palm trees and the sea paired with wicked bars, strip shows and wild parties - this is what Pattaya is known for. The coastal town does not necessarily have the best reputation, but offers a large selection of accommodation and relaxation only a few hundred meters from the main beach with bays such as Pratamnak Beach.

If you like it a bit more authentic, you should take a scooter or bus develop the almost 100 kilometers long coastline around the city of Rayong. Many great and partly lonely bays await here, lined with a lush green hinterland. While most travelers only use the port of Rayong to get to Koh Samet, here you still have the opportunity to discover true beach pearls - such as Laem Charoen or Mae Ramphueng.

And if you really want an island in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samet is the closest paradise island to Bangkok. The journey time by bus and boat is just under four hours.

From the city to the islands

Thailand can call almost 1500 islands its own. No wonder that the majority of Bangkok travelers settle down on one of the islets after visiting the city to listen to the sound of the waves under coconut palms. How the onward journey takes place depends entirely on the destination. Popular travel destinations are the islands of Koh Tao, Koh Chang, Koh Phi Phi, Koh Lanta, Koh Phangan and Koh Samui.

While all of these holiday islands can be reached inexpensively but usually time-consuming with a mix of possible means of transport such as bus, train, private shuttle and ferry, this is most likely for travelers with the destination Koh Chang at. The travel time between Bangkok and the island is between six and seven hours, depending on the selected transfer. If you factor in the journey and waiting time at the airport, you would arrive at a similar number of hours when arriving by plane via Trat.

Most of the Thai islands are similar to Koh Chang: The nearest airport is on the mainland, from there you can only continue by ferry. For example, Krabi Airport supplies travelers to Koh Lanta, while Trat Airport supplies travelers who want to go to Koh Chang or Koh Kut. From the airport you can take a taxi or shuttle to the ferry terminal.

It is different with Koh Samui. The second largest Thai island has its own airport, which is served several times a day from Bangkok, but now also from international destinations such as Singapore and Hong Kong. Some airlines fly to the port city of Surat Thani and offer the associated ferry trip to Koh Samui in the package price. If you have time and want to get to know Thailand on the way, you can of course also reach Koh Samui from Bangkok by bus or train and ferry.

The onward journey from Bangkok definitely needs a little planning, especially if the holiday is not in the high season between November and March. Some ferries then no longer run at all or at a very reduced rate.

But as soon as the sand squeaks under your toes and the sea flashes in the sun as far as the horizon, relaxation begins. No matter whether the journey from Bangkok was easy or arduous. Promised!

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