The Telegraph's guide & advice for a travel to Bangkok
Why go now?
Thailand’s capital is South-east Asia’s most enigmatic city, between tradition and modernity. First-time visitors may be a little taken aback by the concrete canyons and futuristic, billboard-covered skyscrapers, but take a few steps away from the main roads into one of the city’s countless alleys and traditional Thai culture is everywhere – an urban cornucopia of smells, tastes, sounds and sights one in unlikely to forget.
Bangkok gets the balance right between the expensive, the esoteric and the profane. The squeaky-clean sky train and underground system make most of this huge metropolis navigable, whisking visitors from their luxury accommodation to a sparkling Buddhist temple or an ancient amulet market within minutes – a kind of time travel possible in few other cities of 11 million people.
River trips, museums, shopping centers and, of course, Bangkok’s nightlife (which has come a long way from gaudy to cosmopolitan) make for the defining Far Eastern urban experience. Despite Thailand’s recent political and, for the summer months, the extreme weather, Bangkok remains one of the world’s safest cities; violent crime against foreign visitors is extremely remains pretty rare. The summer heat puts many visitors off, though Thailand’s excessive New Year’s celebrations (Songkran is celebrated in mid-April) are a sight to behold. For a week, the capital turns into a battle zone for children and grown-ups alike, who roam the streets armed with water pistols, buckets of water and talcum powder which is shot or hurled at all passers-by – and watch out, foreign visitors are favorite targets). Despite the heat, it’s really a fun time to visit and partake in Thailand’s most important festival.
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