Bangkok’s reputation for excess precedes it. Sleazy, energetic, and the gateway to what many see as the world’s greatest backpackers’ paradise, it’s a city that on the surface seems like it’s all play: toxic buckets of alcohol on the streets, fried insects to test your stomach further, and a dubious assortment of clubs where anything goes.
Dig deeper, though, and you’ll find that though the city is inarguably sordid in parts, it also has a depth and range you probably weren’t expecting. Take the Grand Palace. Only a short walk from the all-night party that is the notorious Khao San Road, the palace is nevertheless a place of silent reverence, home to golden temples, giant gemmed warriors guarding the gates and the tiny, venerated Emerald Buddha (remove your shoes, and be careful never to point the soles of your feet towards the idol).
Khao San Road itself is home to a plethora of backpacker essentials: endless bars, affordable food and accommodation, hippie-focused clothing lines, tattoo parlors and even a hefty assortment of fake degree certificates (worryingly, you can even buy one declaring yourself a qualified pilot). Try the Pad Thai for 20 baht. Nearby you can watch locals viciously assault each other in the kick boxing ring, try your hand at producing your own Thai Cuisine in one of the many cookery schools, or indulge in the affordable luxury of a Thai massage (look for the blind massage school, which is both a bargain and great cause) or a herbal spa day. Don't miss the excellent street food KSR has to offer either, whether its for breakfast, lunch or post-party snack!
It wouldn’t be Bangkok without the Chao Phraya River. Access has become so vital that the city is lined with canals (a great way to see the backstreets), and houses hover over the water on a delicate looking stilted support. Take a walk through the scented riverside markets before hopping on the bargain-basement boat trip through the heart of the city, camera at the ready.
It’s true: in Bangkok you can do pretty much anything you want to. But what you should do is explore a city that’s so much more varied and cultured than it’s ever given credit for. Then, perhaps, go to one of those parties.
Unlike the rest of Thailand, Bangkok is real. The people and area's are what you would expect to see in Bangkok. The food is delicious and the multitude of area's to visit are endless for any traveler.
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