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Little can prepare you for the frenetic pace and sensory overload of Thailand’s largest city. Markets are crowded, the traffic erratic and the hawkers relentless in their offers of cut-price clothes and watches. All this activity mixes with the pungent aroma from the hundreds of food carts frying pad thai and other tasty dishes.
Spend a little time in Bangkok, however, and you’ll find spots of serenity among the bustle. This is a city where religion is deeply rooted in daily life. The smell of incense often signifies a nearby shrine where you’ll see people from all walks of life stop to make an offering before they go about their business.
Known to locals as Krung Thep (City of Angels), Bangkok is home to almost 10 million people. It covers more than 570 square miles (1,500 square kilometers) and encompasses two former capitals: Thonburi and Rattanakosin. The latter is Bangkok’s historic center and where you’ll find most of the main attractions. These include the National Museum and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, on the grounds of the showy Grand Palace. Nearby, see the huge reclining Buddha at the Wat Pho temple. Remember to dress modestly when visiting any temple.
In the Banglamphu district, prepare for an onslaught of sights and sounds at the notoriously busy Khao San Road. Haggle for counterfeit clothes and accessories, or simply perch on a stool in one of the many bars and watch the colorful characters pass by.
For some relaxation, join a free, outdoor yoga or tai chi class at Lumphini Park, or indulge with a spa treatment, available at most hotels. A short boat ride north of Bangkok you’ll discover the community of the Mon people. They have made the tiny, artificial river island of Ko Kret a haven for their culture.
While tuk-tuk rides are all part of the Bangkok experience, the city is well connected for those times you feel like traveling in comfort. The excellent Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems run between all the major shopping and entertainment districts of the city. For a different view of Bangkok, take a trip on the Express boats that constantly churn the waters of the Chao Phraya River.
Before you leave home, visit the Bangkok hotel guide to compare the prices of the capital's numerous great accommodation options.
Often recommended examples of the more high-quality accommodation options in Bangkok are the Mandarin Oriental, Bangkok, 48 Oriental Avenue, and The Siam, 3/2 Thanon Khao. Alternatively, if you're looking to make some savings, you'll be sure to find a bargain at the Dream Town Pratunam Hotel, at 33 Soi Petchburi 11, Petchburi Road, or the Lub d Bangkok - Silom - Hostel, at 4 Decho Road Suriyawong Bangrak.
One of the most popular aspects of any vacation in Bangkok is the Wat Pho. If you'd prefer to stay nearby the iconic attraction, the Chakrabongse Villas and the sala rattanakosin are both worth checking out.
From its prime location near the Chao Phraya River and expressway, lebua at State Tower is within comfortable distance to several city attractions. It is a 10-minute walk to the BTS Sky Train Saphan Taksin station and shuttle ferries, plus only a 15-minute drive to Asiatique The Riverfront.
This family-friendly Bangkok hotel is located on a river, within 1 mi (2 km) of Sri Mariamman Temple, Asiatique the River Front, and Chao Phraya River. Patpong Night Market and Lumpini Park are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Situated near the airport, this spa hotel is 3.5 mi (5.7 km) from The Paseo Mall and within 12 mi (20 km) of Bangkok Chain Hospital Public Company Limited and Huachiew Chalermprakiet University. Suan Luang Rama IX Park and The Mall Bangkapi are also within 12 mi (20 km).
Located in Bangkok City Centre, this spa hotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of Snake Farm, Patpong Night Market, and Lumpini Park. MBK Center and Siam Square are also within 1 mi (2 km).
Situated in the city center, this luxury hotel is close to Terminal 21 Shopping Mall, Embassy of India, and Benjakiti Park. Also nearby are Benjasiri Park and Embassy of Pakistan.
Located within Bangkok's embassy precinct at the geographic center of the city, the Sukhothai is close to shopping and business districts but remains set back some 80 meters/yards from South Sathorn Road.
Located in Bangkok Central Business District, this aparthotel is within 1 mi (2 km) of EmQuartier, K Village, and Benjasiri Park. Dinosaur Planet and Bangkok University are also within 2 mi (3 km).
This family-friendly Bangkok hotel is located in the business district, within a 10-minute walk of Lumpini Park and Patpong Night Market. Siam Paragon Mall and MBK Center are also within 2 mi (3 km).