The Exotic Appeal of Bangkok
Bangkok is an amazing place to begin a trip through Southeast Asia. Its English translation is “City of Angels” beckons like an island of sirens to come and become enthralled in a foreign paradise. There are many places in the city to explore on your own and the friendliness of the Thai people makes it a safe destination in which to travel around in compared to most other places in the world. The public transportation system makes it very easy to get around whether by subway, elevated rail, taxi, or bus and it is very affordable. There is a certain exoticness that is apparent in Thailand as it was never colonized by a western power in modern history. Because of this open attitude and tolerance compared to the other countries in Southeast Asia, many people from all over the world flock here to enjoy life. The city is a collage of suburbs spread out haphazardly from a not so obvious city center, making it reminiscent of the other “City of Angels” in the USA. Every year, Bangkok loses any Thainess that it retains and transforms into a westernized and commercialized fantasyland for foreigners and Thais alike to frolic in. Juxtapose this against the Buddhist shrines and temples dotting the city everywhere and you have a very interesting and multi-faceted city.
Sukhumvit Road Shopping Malls
Some of the best shopping is in Bangkok from hi-end supermalls to the largest flea market in the world. Terminal 21 is the newest addition to the chic and trendy malls going up around Sukhumvit Rd. It is made up of mostly clothing and fashion accessory boutiques selling Thai brands and other international ones as well. There are a lot of places to eat international cuisine here and it is a very convenient shopping center to get to as it is built right above the intersection of the MRT and BTS at Asoke on Sukhumvit Road. The other sophisticated malls around Sukhumvit are Emporium and Paragorn which cater to foreign tastes and have a lot of expensive fashion name accessories that can be found in copied form at Patpong Night Market or JJ Market, the former being in the heart of Silom and the latter being the biggest flea market in Thailand, if not Southeast Asia.
Khao San Road is where the revelers, mostly twenty-somethings go to enjoy themselves. This area is the northern part of Rattanakosin and is also called the backpacker’s mecca because it is made up mostly of European, Australian, and American youth traveling through Southeast Asia looking for a good time.
This is Bangkok’s Chinatown and it is a congested and exciting part of town to explore although it is recommended that you travel there by motorcycle taxi, otherwise you will be sitting there for an hour each way in traffic because there are no lines from either the subway or elevated rail that go there. There are markets and restaurants and a nice older shopping center called The Old Siam where you can get a glimpse of Bangkok older style before the onset of twenty-first century style commercial development. Getting around in Bangkok is quite easy with its modern subway and elevated train. However, some sections such as Chinatown, Khao San, and other outer lying areas can take a long time to travel through because of traffic congestion. It is best to use a motorcycle taxi or travel during times that are not congested such as early mornings or Sundays and holidays before noon.
There are a lot of accommodation in Bangkok, including hotels, guest houses and comfortable serviced apartments in Bangkok.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tobias Carlson is a travel and business writer.