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Bangkok City Guide
- How big is Bangkok?
- Bangkok is a big city, spread out over more than 605 square miles. It's also the capital city of Thailand.
- How many people inhabit it?
- In terms of population, Bangkok's the world's 22nd-largest city. At the moment, there are about 8 million people living there.
- What are the language and the currency?
- The official language of Bangkok is Thai and the Baht is the official currency.
- Artwork in the Grand Palace
Things to see in Bangkok
- What is Bangkok's number one attraction?
- Grand Palace/Wat Phra Kaew is probably the top spot with visitors in Bangkok.
- Why is it so popular?
- Well, the Grand Palace is where the King of Thailand lived from the 18th to the mid-20th century. Today you can check out the extensive and beautiful grounds and the intricately detailed designs on the roofs. Alongside the Palace, you'll find Wat Phra, which is one of the most sacred temples in all of Thailand.
- Anything else which shouldn't be missed?
- Another must-see in Bangkok is Wat Pho, or 'Temple of the Reclining Buddha'. This is Thailand's biggest temple and is home to an impressive gold Buddha. This giant statue lies along the ground and is 46 metres long and 15 metres high. It should be noted that you must have your knees and shoulders covered to enter the temple. While in Bangkok, it's a pretty good idea to take a tour along the Chao Phraya River. There are a lot of different attractions scattered along the river's banks, including the Royal Barges Museum and the Wat Srisudaram fish farm. For stunning views of the city, go to the top of the Golden Mount. It's a 318-step climb to the summit but the breathtaking vista awaiting you once you get up there is well worth the effort.
- On average how much does it cost to get into Bangkok's top museums?
- Bangkok's top museums aren't free but the admission fees are very low. It's 40THB to get into the National Museum, with entrance to the National Gallery also costing a mere 40THB.
- What about shopping?
- Markets are a big thing in Bangkok. The Khao San Market has hundreds of stalls with a huge selection of different goods for sale. While in Bangkok, you can also visit the world's biggest weekend market. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is held on Saturdays and Sundays from 8am-6pm in Chatuchak Park. For a really wide selection of goods including t-shirts, underwear and DVDs, check out the Patpong Night Market. Patpong is also home to lots of go-go bars so watch out for low-flying ping pong balls!
- Anything else I need to know?
- Well, if you're looking to take a trip outside the city, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is a good choice. Hugely popular with visitors, here you'll see women in straw hats selling fruit, vegetables and flowers from their floating stalls.
Going out in Bangkok
- Where are most of the bars found?
- Khao San Road in the Banglamphu area is definitely known as the place to go for a night out in Bangkok. It's probably the best-known backpacker strip in the world and it's filled with bars.
- Any bars you'd recommend?
- The Khao San Centre is open 24 hours and it's a good place to meet fellow travellers. There's no music played here but you can get a drink, sit in one of the many seats provided and have a chat with those around you. There's an Irish bar upstairs, too. It's called The Shamrock and is a pretty popular spot. For something a little livelier, why not check out Gulliver's Travels. Cocktails are plentiful, there's a pool table and the music is loud and of the popular chart variety. Café de Tour is another vibrant bar. Here musicians tempt a continuous parade of backpackers into raucous singalongs. If you're looking for live music, check out Twilo on Patpong Soi 1. This bar and venue hosts a lot of different Thai musicians on a regular basis.
- Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
- You probably are better off having some form of ID with you, but you're not going to need it, particularly if you stay around the Khao San area.
- Anything else?
- If you're looking for a different kind of night out, you could go see some Muay Thai or Thai kickboxing. This sport has a reputation for being pretty violent but it's also an important part of culture in Thailand. So, while in Bangkok you might want to check out a match.
Eating Out in Bangkok
- Is it expensive to eat out in Bangkok?
- No; actually, it's cheap to eat out here. Restaurants serving good food at low prices can be found throughout the city. You'll also find street stalls selling all kinds of food all over Bangkok. This is a cheap and quick way to pick up a snack. Everything from corn to watermelon to noodles to pancakes and more can be purchased from the stalls. And if you feel like living dangerously, you can even buy things like deep-fried scorpions and cockroaches.
- Any places you'd recommend?
- Siddharta on Rambutri off the Khao San Road is a great place to go if you'd like to try fusion food. It specialises in Thai and Indian dishes and main courses tend to run for around 120THB. If noodles are what you crave, then Noodles 'N' More in Chinatown is the place for you. It's near the Hualamphong subway station and serves a wide range of noodle dishes. For a more educational meal, check out Tom Yung Kung on Trokmayom. This restaurant's large menu includes lots of tidbits of information about the ingredients used in the various dishes.
- What times do restaurants close?
- With many restaurants staying open until the wee hours, it's always dinner time in Bangkok.
Transport in Bangkok
- Will I need to use public transport during my stay in Bangkok?
- You will need to use public transport at some stage, even though many of the main places of interest are within walking distance of one another.
- So, what form of transport should I use?
- One of the best ways to get around Bangkok is by taxi. You can pick them up all over the city and they really are a very cheap way to travel here.
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