I visited Bangkok in 2014. The Thai capital welcomed 21.5 million tourists in 2016 making it the most visited tourist destination in the world. It beat cities like London and Paris to make it to the number one spot in 2013 and 2014 too. So what makes this city a top tourist destination? Now the first thing you notice about the city is that it is vibrant and rich in culture. Thai people are warm and social, however the language barrier may be an issue to few. Bangkok has Asia’s largest flea market called Chatuchak Weekend Market with over 8000 stalls. Meals in thai homes are cooked using fresh fruits and vegetables along with herbs like kaffir leaves, garlic, galangal, chilies, etc. Food is mostly spicy and aromatic. Like most other asian countries coconut is found in abundance.
The streets of Bangkok are perfect for a backpacking traveller. The food is cheap and tasty. I was at Khao San Road when I tried different kinds of satays, dumplings, bbqs, curries, etc. Hawkers start their day early in the morning serving soups, porridge, fruits, grilled meats, etc. I frequently visited the hawkers below my hotel for a quick breakfast on my way sight-seeing. Breakfast is under 10 Baht which is very cheap for a whole meal so you save money to shop some more.
I visiting the floating market which is another tourist attraction famous for its unique shopping experience and of course the food. Local vendors sell their wares on boats over the river. Tourists have to pay for a boat ride to the market and back which helps them in preserving the cultural characteristic and heritage of the market. The shopping site has a warehouse where they sell everything made of coconut. They make coconut sugar here that can be used in cooking. Nasi goreng, pad thai, satays, fruits, etc. are sold on boats so you don’t need to worry if you are hungry.
There are many palaces that are open for public viewing except for the ones used by the royal family. The Grand Palace is the king’s official residence and is a popular tourist spot. Shopping is relatively cheaper than most other cities and things are of good quality. Another thing that Thailand is famous for is its spa experiences. Thai massages are famous all over the world for their use of acupressure instead of rubbing muscles.
My last night in the city I decided to get out and check the night-life out. I met a friend who lives in Bangkok for dinner. We went to a karaoke place where there was a local band taking requests. For dinner we had thai red curry which was red curry paste cooked in coconut milk and added with meat, prawns wok tossed with basil, peppers and onions, and chicken rice. For dessert we had mango sticky rice which is a thai dish made with glutinous rice, fresh mango and coconut milk. Post that we went to a what I thought was going to be a club. It was instead a vast space something like a concert hall with rows of tables and a live stage. There were bands that performed and it filled the room with energy. Though all the artists performed in thai and I didn’t really understand but I still enjoyed the music.
Before you leave the city one must taste the fruit durian which is known for its unpleasant odour however is very tasty. The fruit smells so bad that it is banned in most public places including trains. It’s important that you carry cash with you as most places don’t accept card payments. A perfect mix of good food, trendy shopping, rich culture and value for money makes it the best tourist destination.