Bangkok Tag

wat pho, bangkok, temple, thailand, tourist sight, things to do in bangkok (13)

If you visit one temple in Bangkok, make it this one!

Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thailand As far as sights go in Bangkok, one of the most important is Wat Pho. The temple complex is one of the oldest and largest in the city and is worth including in any first-time visit to the Bangkok. To make it easy for the time-strapped, it's right next to the Grand Palace - one of Bangkok's other main heritage attractions. Why not combine the two? Or, even better, why not just choose one and go to the pub for the afternoon? The temple complex is expansive and takes at least an hour to explore properly. The various structures hold artefacts and give the faithful opportunities to express their devotion. Although it is a working temple, it is overrun with tourists to the point where I can't imagine locals finding much solitude. "Dear Buddha, I would really like some guidance on...

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17 January
flower market, bangkok, thailand, yodpiman market, pak khlong talat (7)

Flowers in the air

Yodpiman Flower Market, Bangkok In Bangkok, the markets provide some of the most interesting sights. There's a vibrancy to the bustle of the locals rushing through, past the small crowded stalls. Through the whole city, none is more vibrant than the flower markets. By the very nature of the wares, it's all about colour. Throw all of those hues under the same roof and it looks like a child's crayon box has exploded and the result has been captured for sale. The flower markets are open 24 hours a day and are busiest in the very early hours of the morning (about 3 or 4 o'clock) when the professionals swoop in to get the best of the pick. But they can be enjoyed anytime. It was quiet the afternoon I popped in, with a natural lull between flowerful trading. Still, the blooms were out and there was a fair amount of business taking place....

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16 January
bangkok, thailand, patpong, sukhumvit, nightlife, markets (6)

Bangkok: A hedonist’s fantasy

Bangkok, Thailand You never do Bangkok. Bangkok always does you. In the maze of crowded alley markets, the cacophony of traffic and the fireworks of seedy nightlife neon signs, is a hedonist's fantasy. Bangkok embraces you, acts like it loves you, then ejaculates all over you in a fluid mix of ecstasy and shame. Sitting in a taxi one night on the way to Patpong, the notorious neighbourhood of go-go girls and anything-goes, the lights of the city streak by. I'm caught up in the pace - not just of the taxi, which weaves its way through other vehicles as it races along - but of a city with more energy than the liquid amphetamine that is sold in small bottles at convenience stalls. There feels like there is no way to stop...

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14 January
Khao San Road

Khao San Road blues

Do you remember that scene early on in The Beach? You know, the one where Richard is in a dingy room of a backpacker hostel in Bangkok? (By ‘Richard’, I mean ‘Leonardo DiCaprio’, for those who are more familiar with the critically-panned but cultishly-adored movie than the amazing Alex Garland novel.) It’s a room that many travellers would dread to stay in – humid, dirty and somewhat claustrophobic in its heat and poverty. But there is also something toxically-appealing about it for the young adventurer because it represents the promise of a new world, a place without boundaries where the dinginess is seen as a portal to limitless depravity and uncontrollable perturbations. This is Khao San Road, the home of the backpacker hordes of South East Asia. For years it’s been the base camp for travellers making expeditions to outlying parts of Thailand or into neighbouring countries like Laos or Cambodia. But...

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22 August
The Bangkok canal boat in the water

Canal knowledge

Venice, it is not. Gondolas, they are not. Scenic imagery and romantic subtext, it doesn’t even come close. Welcome to the canals of Bangkok. For anyone who has been to Bangkok, you’ll know how bad the traffic can be. For anyone who hasn’t, imagine a carpark. Then imagine a few tuk tuks in that carpark. Then imagine everyone is honking their horns. That is what Bangkok traffic can be like. So, one of the quickest and cheapest ways to get around the city is on the canal boats. And the best thing is that most tourists don’t know about them (or are too scared of them) and so you also get a quite unique experience, as a foreigner. If the streets of Bangkok are the clogged arteries of the city, then these canals are the small veins that give life to places you didn’t even know existed (I’ll now accept my Pulitzer for...

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01 July