Travel blogs and features from one of the world’s best cities: Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok Travel Guide
The ultimate guide to the best things to do and see in Bangkok
Bangkok is without a doubt one of the world’s best cities, full of great food, cool nightlife and exciting things to do. The Big Mango, as it’s sometimes lovingly called, is a teaming Asian metropolis with a strong Thai cultural identity while also being extremely international, making it a fascinating place to visit. Start here with my basic Bangkok travel tips, or jump down below to read my latest Bangkok travel blogs.
When to Visit
Bangkok is hot and humid most of the year and never really experiences cold weather, meaning it’s a great place to visit at almost any time of year. The biggest distinction in the climate is how much it rains – May to October sees the monsoon season with heavy downpours and the highest temperatures, so most visitors avoid the city at this time. December to February are the coolest and driest months, making them the most popular time to visit.
There are several cultural and religious celebrations worth keeping in mind when planning a trip to Bangkok. The Lunar New Year (also known as Chinese New Year) in late January or early February will be a busy time to travel, but it can be very rewarding to witness the celebrations. Songkran in April is a great time to visit if you enjoy water fights on the streets with strangers, but perhaps give it a miss if you don’t so much like big crowds.
Top Things To Do
Eat all the street food – If you’re an adventurous foodie, it’s hard to imagine a better destination than Bangkok for eating. The best way to sample the local cuisine is on the street at one of the city’s ubiquitous street food stalls. Try the pia pao (fish barbecued in salt), gai/moo bing (grilled chicken/pork skewers), som tam (papaya salad), pad thai (noodles) and fresh fruit smoothies!
Get a massage – Traditional Thai massage is an ancient healing system which combines acupressure with Indian Ayurvedic principles and assisted yoga postures. It’s a good idea to wear something loose-fitting as you’ll remain clothed while the massage therapist stretches and compresses your muscles by bending you into a variety of yoga-like positions.
Watch a Muay Thai fight – Head to Rajadamnern Stadium, the oldest boxing stadium in Thailand, to see an authentic match between world-class fighters, who train for years before being able to joining the professional league.
As such an immense, sprawling city, Bangkok can feel overwhelming at first, so taking a tour is a good way to get oriented in the city and discover some corners you might otherwise miss. Take a look at this selection of Bangkok tours.
LGBT – Gay Bangkok Travel Guide
As one of the most gay-friendly countries in Southeast Asia, and the largest city in the region, it’s no surprise that Bangkok is something of a gay hotspot. Here are a few of the best places you should know about in gay Bangkok, all of which are in the Silom district.
Telephone Pub – The oldest gay pub in Bangkok, this friendly place has a karaoke lounge and also serves food all night, making it a great place to either start off an evening of debauchery or head to after hitting the clubs when you’re hungry.
DJ Station – Fridays and Saturdays are the most popular nights here, with drag shows early in the evening (around 11pm), but the club stays open late. The three floors and Bangkok’s hot and humid weather means that it gets very hot and sweaty inside, so dress appropriately if you plan on dancing all night.
Stranger Bar – With great cocktails, friendly staff, unique drag shows and comedy routines, this place guarantees a fun night out. And if you’re lucky, you’ll spot the famous Thai drag queen, Pangina Heals there!
Bangkok has plenty of cool and quirky hotels, as well as all the big chains you’d expect. They can get full when there’s a conference or special event in town, so consider booking in advance. I’ve found that using Booking.com, Agoda.com or Hotels Combined can be useful for finding last-minute deals.