Colorful and multifaceted, Bangkok is the capital and the biggest city of Thailand; its primary economic, political, trade, cultural and religious center. In addition to this, it is the main gateway to the Sunny Kingdom. Up until recently, the country’s numerous guests perceived it merely as just a stepping stone on the way to Thailand’s heavenly islands, however those who knew their onions when traveling quickly realized that Bangkok was worthy of much more. This rapidly developing Asian metropolis knows what to show and how to surprise even the most sophisticated of wanderers. Since turning into touristic Mecca, the Thai capital is now a world leader because of its attractiveness for travelers from all over the world.
Bangkok is a city that is incredibly rich in its contrasts. In fact, the main secret of its overwhelming attractiveness is in its shocking contradictoriness. It creates a striking combination of the exotics of the orient and western modernism, combined with a desire for maintaining century-old traditions and, simultaneously, for meeting the tasks of the 21st century. Squat, dilapidated huts stand alongside shiny, luxurious high-rise buildings, modern high-speed overpasses tower above narrow streets, entrepreneurs in business suits mingle through crowds of Buddhist monks dressed in saffron yellow garments, while creaking, rattling tuk tuks stand in endless traffic jams, side by side with deluxe automobiles.
Thailand’s capital is a gigantic living organism, where everything is constantly moving, making noise, roaring and sparkling with bright colors. The only islands of peace and tranquility in this chaos are found at Bangkok’s 400 Buddhist monasteries and temples. Their strikingly beautiful buildings, with golden roofs and original mosaics, creating rainbow colors in the sunshine, are true architectural masterpieces that grant an opportunity to see city’s eclectic side.
Bangkok’s real name is Krung Thep, meaning “the city of angels.” If angels really do live in this wild mega city, then they probably settle on the roofs of skyscrapers, which tickle the vault of heaven like huge pillars. The highest of them all, the Baiyoke Sky Tower, reveals an amazing panorama of the city, with its bizarre range of buildings, fantastic interchanges, the Chao Phraya River’s twisting riverbed (which circles half of the capital like a huge arch), and numerous handmade canals. Klongs, as they are known as by the Thais, have long become one of Bangkok’s symbols. A boat trip along them is probably one of the best ways to feel city’s inimitable aura and to see how more humble Thais live.
To understand the heart of Bangkok and its residents truly beats, guests can pay a visit to the picturesque markets. They are worth visiting, if not for shopping then certainly for the unforgettable impressions and exotica: a truly special atmosphere, created by the amazing whirl of colors, shapes, sounds and scents, can be found there. In addition to this, Bangkok’s markets offer an opportunity to get to know the delightful Thai cuisine, a harmonic mixture of rice, vegetables, seafood and inconceivable spices that conjure a mind-boggling combination of remarkably different tastes.
Moreover, Bangkok provides a wide selection of entertainment, made to fit any taste. Thailand’s capital offers plenty of opportunities for recreation: authentic restaurants, original theatricalized performances and shows, an impressive variety of all sorts of bars and amusement facilities, as well as entertainment and shopping centers.
However, Bangkok’s main treasure remains its residents. Their mysterious smiles and their open and friendly nature create the inimitable atmosphere of the city, while their Buddhist calmness and unhurried manner counterbalance the hustle and bustle of the pulsating urban jungle.
Bangkok’s contrast shocks its visitors, but only for a short time. Once the busy streets have been wandered along, their tense modern rhythms felt, the thousand-year history of Thailand experienced and the amazing beauty of local temples gaped at, guests will fall in love with this illogical and paradoxical city, giving their heart to it for good. They all promise to come back, in order to feel its exceptional charm, woven (like all of Southeast Asia) from mysteries, secrets and riddles.