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Bangkok

Same same, but different. This Thailish T-shirt philosophy sums up Bangkok, a city where the familiar and the exotic collide like the flavours on a plate of pàt tai.

Full-on Food

Until you’ve eaten on a Bangkok street, you haven’t actually eaten Thai food. The base flavours – spicy, sour, sweet and salty – can be an intense mix. But for adventurous foodies who don't need white tablecloths, there’s probably no better dining destination in the world. And with immigration bringing every regional Thai and international cuisine to the capital, it's also a truly diverse experience. And perhaps best of all, Bangkok has got to be one of the best-value dining destinations in the world.

Fun Folks

Language barriers have never prevented anybody from getting along with the Thai people. The capital’s cultural underpinnings are evident in virtually all facets of everyday life, and most enjoyably through its residents' sense of fun (known in Thai as sà·nùk). In Bangkok, anything worth doing should have an element of sà·nùk. Ordering food, changing money and haggling at markets will usually involve a sense of playfulness – a dash of flirtation, perhaps – and a smile. Street Thai is as much emoted as it's spoken.

Urban Exploration

With so much of its daily life conducted on the street, there are few cities in the world that reward exploration as handsomely as Bangkok does. Cap off an extended boat trip with a visit to a hidden market. A stroll off Banglamphu’s beaten track can lead to a conversation with a monk. Get lost in the tiny lanes of Chinatown and stumble upon a Chinese opera performance. Or after dark, let the BTS (Skytrain) escort you to Sukhumvit, where the local nightlife scene reveals a cosmopolitan and dynamic city.

A City of Contrasts

It’s the contradictions that provide the City of Angels with its complex, multifaceted personality. Here, climate-controlled megamalls sit side by side with 200-year-old village homes; gold-spired temples share space with neon-lit strips of sleaze; slow-moving traffic is bypassed by long-tail boats plying the canals and riverways; Buddhist monks dressed in robes shop for the latest smartphones; and streets lined with food carts are overlooked by restaurants perched on top of skyscrapers. As Bangkok races towards the future, these contrasts are only poised to increase and intensify, even while supplying the city with its unique and ever-evolving notion of Thai cosmopolitanism.

Planning Toolkit

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Bangkok.

Featured videos

The Travel Kitchen: Pad Thai

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