Modern metropolis meets ancient civilization in the bustling streets of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital and most populous city. In a world full of ornate temples, colourful store fronts, and Buddhist monks still ambling around every corner, one might expect these elements to contrast sharply against the paved streets and sleek skyscrapers that have characterized the city’s development.
And yet, nothing seems out of place. Even amidst the 21st century’s urban sprawl, Bangkok has never lost touch with the ancestral roots of its kingdom, effortlessly weaving two distinct eras into its very infrastructure while proudly keeping the Thai heritage alive and well.
A vibrant city to say the least, it’s no wonder Bangkok has established itself in recent years as one of Southeast Asia — and the world’s — must-visit destinations. Boasting two major international airports and a reputation for world-class hospitality, Bangkok’s accessibility and character has helped land Thailand on the United Nations World Tourism Organization’s (UNTWO) list for Top 10 Most Visited Countries in 2018. The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) reports upwards of 35 million tourists in the last year alone. Compared to that of years prior, an increasing number of visitors hail from neighboring Asian countries Malaysia, China, and Japan, as well as western countries Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
And those numbers will only continue to grow. As Thailand, aptly nicknamed “The Land of Smiles”, continues to expand its tourism industry and infrastructure, the TAT is also actively working to promote inclusivity, inviting and openly embracing travellers in the LGBTQ+ community. Alongside a global GoThaiBeFree campaign declaring acceptance and welcoming expressions of diversity, Bangkok played host to the second annual LGBT+ Travel Symposium earlier this month, solidifying its position as a safe space for travellers, no matter how they identify. For further destination inspiration you can also visit Fanclub Thailand.
With a long-standing history of acceptance and celebration for alternative communities, if there’s one thing Bangkok has made clear, it’s that there’s a place for everyone in this iconic city. Whether you seek luxury or local experience, our first-timers guide will help you navigate the endless opportunities Bangkok has to offer and develop a travel itinerary specific to your needs.
72 Hours in Bangkok
When to Go… Dominated by a tropical climate, Southern Thailand is famously known for year-round heat and humidity. However, there are three notable seasons to keep in mind when planning your trip to Bangkok:
What to Wear… In terms of both tourism and temperature, Bangkok is an international hot-spot that has become well-acquainted with the various garbs and garments of foreigners. Although warm weather clothing is normal for street wear, it’s advisable to pack at least a few outfits that err on the side of modesty. When visiting temples and royal venues, visitors are required to keep shoulders, knees, and torsos covered. Sarongs, or traditional Thai coverups, can easily be purchased near most sacred sites, but it’s still best to be prepared and respectful of Thai cultural standards. In general, light and loose fabrics are highly recommended to help stay comfortable in the heat. If you’re travelling in the monsoon season, a durable rain jacket will also be useful.
Where to Stay … Bangkok’s urban style and creative flair is captured perfectly at the Akyra Thonglor. For the modern traveller, Akyra is a luxurious home away from home, lacking not for the familiarities of the Western world. From its contemporary design to its convenient location in Thonglor, a commercial district filled with upscale restaurants and entertainment, Akyra is the epitome of urban flair and sophistication.
Discover the symbol of an ancient kingdom in a living metropolis The Sukhothai Bangkok, Lotus ponds, teak wood accents, and warm Thai-style hospitality distinguish Sukhothai Bangkok as a boutique hotel rich in tradition as much as luxury. Guests are sure to be captivated by the ancient kingdom’s charm come to life in their own cosmopolitan castle.
The Sukhothai Bangkok’s rich history, elegant charm spread over seven acres position it as the perfect location for a destination wedding or honeymoon.
The Sukhothai Bangkok
The Peninsula Bangkok, merges two worlds much like in the city itself, a 5-star hotel that effortlessly integrates elements of authentic Thai culture into both aesthetic and operation. Elegant suites, a prime location along the Chao Phraya River, and an exotic spa featuring holistic wellness treatments are just some of the highlights for visitors here.
The Peninsula Bangkok
Where to Eat… When it comes to food, Bangkok is a city of gastronomic proportions. From fine dining to humble street eats, visitors have the unique chance to try the full range of culinary experience.
Discover Bangkok’s Nightlife… From serene after-hours atmospheres to lively dance floors and parties, Bangkok’s buzzing night scene offers something for everyone.
Visit the Iconic Thailand Temples… No visit to Bangkok would be complete without marveling at one of the city’s ornately decorated temples, known as Wats in Thai. With over 400 to choose from, perhaps narrow your list to one of our top 3 (and be sure to check them out after the sun goes down for a different perspective!):
- Wat Arun, Temple of the Dawn
- Wat Pho, Temple of the Reclining Buddha
- Wat Phra Kaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha
Pamper Yourself with a Traditional Thai Massage… The birthplace of traditional Thai massage, Bangkok is home to countless massage practitioners. Ancient techniques meet new age facilities for ultimate rejuvenation at these high-end spas:
Check Out Cultural Thai Entertainment… From boxing matches to traditional dance performances, a variety of cultural entertainment is unique to Thailand. Try adding one of these highlights to your Bangkok bucket list for a once-in-a-lifetime experience:
- Watch a Muay Thai boxing match at Rajadamnern Stadium
- Witness traditional Thai folk tales come to life in a Bangkok Puppet Show
- Catch a theatrical Thai dance performance at Siam Niramit
So Where to Next… A city of vibrant culture, famous hospitality, and seemingly endless entertainment, Bangkok is just the beginning for Thailand travellers. To discover more magic in Thailand, be sure to follow @luxurylondonguy for all the latest travel updates and advice. For help planning your own Bangkok itinerary, please don’t hesitate to contact us.