The bustling capital of Thailand, here the hypermodern and ancient collide along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Traditional long tail boats and large ferries bob up and down the winding waters; golden peaks of ancient temples jut serenely into the air alongside hectic highways; century-old village houses stand humbly amongst imposing modern skyscrapers flashing with neon lights.
Experience the amazing food and culture of this bustling city
Yes, Bangkok is a recreational and spiritual cocktail. How was it made? Step 1: Acquire hidden markets, T-shirt touts, sacred temples, grand palaces, monks in prayer, crazy traffic, amplified nightlife and flavour-exploding food. Step 2: Blend. Step 3: Serve intermittently chilled by air-conditioning.
Most of the top sites are in the Old City, in the district of Rattanakosin. Here you'll find the Grand Palace – which includes the most sacred temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew – and the often-visited huge Buddha statue, Wat Pho. The budget traveller's mecca, Khao San Road, is adjacent to Rattanakosin too. A shop-'til-you-drop excursion Bangers style can yield gold, gemstones and tailor-made clothes. King of the markets is the 8,000-stall Chatuchak Weekend Market in Phahonyothin. When you get hungry and inevitably eat at a ubiquitous street stall, here's a free tip: only say yes to satay sauce if you want hot sauce.
Accommodation runs the gamut of budget to call-the-limo-and-the-concierge. High season runs October to April so bargains are up for grabs May to September.