Bangkok is a truly remarkable city. Having primarily explored only European cities previously, visiting Bangkok is somewhat of a culture shock with its eclectic mix of people and a feeling of utter disarray – but in the best possible way.
In the day, Bangkok is a strange place. The unbearable humidity means many people avoid venturing out, leaving an almost eerie atmosphere. All the noise and buzz during the day is emitted from the roads, which are a hodge podge of chaos. The whizz of scooters, the revving of motorcycles and the endless honk of vehicles. Bangkok is famous for its buzz, madness and vibrancy – in the day these traits are only subtle.
And then the sun sets.
Bangkok at night
The temperature cools, only a little, but just enough. Suddenly the streets are alive and crawling with people. Pop up stalls appear from nowhere, creating an obstacle course for every tourist to negotiate. From jewellery stands to edible bugs, there’s everything you’ve ever wanted to fulfil your bush tucker trial fantasies.
Music bellows from every bar, each competing for volume with the next. Scorpions on sticks are kindly shoved in your face at every step. Lady boys intermingle with the crowd and are often frighteningly difficult to distinguish. And I guarantee that you’ll never come across so much laughing gas in your life.
You don’t even need to do anything in Bangkok. Just walking the streets at night is an experience in itself. It’s a total nut house but it’s addictive and exhilarating.
What to do in Bangkok
It’s the most popular attraction in Bangkok and therefore an absolute hive of tourists, but the Grand Palace is a must-visit. You’ll never beat the crowds but try to get there for when it opens to stand even a small chance of not getting trampled by the various tourist gaggles all holding their little umbrellas to shade themselves.
Don’t forget it’s a temple, so that strapless crop top can wait for the beach. Cover dem shoulders and knees if you want to get through the entrance. Oh yeah, and be prepared to melt from the humidity. I’m not really selling it am I? Trust me, this place is absolutely stunning.
I’d also suggest trying some of the street food – no, it doesn’t have to be a scorpion – but use a little common sense when choosing a food stall. No one there and flies crawling all over the meat? Probs best avoided. Take a ride on the sky train or hop aboard a boat to get around the city. If you’ve got a death wish then jump on a motorcycle; it’s by far the best way to weave your way through the ridiculous traffic throughout Bangkok. Just don’t tell your mum.
If the madness of Bangkok has got you feeling a little stressed, you’d better get yourself a Thai massage. Okay so you may come out in more pain than you went it but it’ll do your back some good. I think. Failing that, find yourself a rooftop pool above the hustle and bustle of the city and enter chill mode.
Just a heads up that if you are visiting Bangkok in rainy season (May to October), beware of the sudden and ridiculous downpours which appear out of nowhere. This is the case across most of SE Asia. Personally I love them – there’s no better feeling than getting caught out in the rain, especially when it’s so hot. Dancing optional but highly recommended.