Only in Bangkok

Bangkok is not just another large city; Bangkok is a universe in itself. Typically Thai
on the one hand yet very cosmopolitan on the other. A city that unifies a traditional
past with a modern life, one that captures the past and anticipates the future.

Here is our list of unique experiences to be had in Bangkok!

Bangkok

Life on a canal

‘Venice of the East’ is no cliché: canals or khlongs spread throughout the Thonburi district like a giant spider web. Take a long-tail boat tour and see the old shingle-covered teak stilt houses.

Exquisite travesty

You will see transvestites everywhere in Bangkok – the ladyboys
are out and proud in this tolerant metropolis – and the most beautiful of them can be found at the Calypso Cabaret. Dressed in opulent outfits they give their audience an action packed show.

The budget traveller

The Khao San Road is loud, colourful and unique not only in Bangkok, but worldwide – and all the international backpackers meet here. Explore this iconic mile where a party takes place every night at the hippest bars.

Midnight snack

Fast food on the pavement: Bangkok’s street cooks prepare delicious snacks and even full meals right on the road. For the haute cuisine of street food go to Soi 38 in Sukhumvit Road, where they serve delicious gourmet food at midnight.

Palace of palaces

Many royals had palaces built in Bangkok but none is grander than the Grand Palace. This fairy tale building with its Wat Phra Kaeo temple is an absolute must. It is an architectural testimony to the close bond between the Thai monarchy and Buddhism.

Tailor-made

At first glance every second shop in Bangkok appears to be a tailor. But be warned: not everyone is a master of his trade. The ones offering tempting bargains and those with touts at the door are best avoided. A better bet would be to go to a reputable professional like Pinky Tailor.

 

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Bangkok Marco Polo Guide

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Low Budget Bangkok

Discover the bustling city of Bangkok on a budget with Marco Polo’s top money saving tips:

 Bangkok Marco Polo Guide

Sightseeing

The Chuvit Garden off of the hubbub of Sukhumvit Road is a lovely place to relax. It is a private park that belongs to a wealthy man who doesn’t charge an admission fee. The park is particularly peaceful and atmospheric in the early evenings when the lanterns are lit.

Tourists have to pay an admission fee in Bangkok’s most renowned temples but off the beaten track you can find wonderful monasteries that do not require a donation. One of the best is the Wat Bonwon Wiwet Monastery, which is a peaceful green oasis with exquisite murals and ponds full of fish and turtles. Daily 9am–6pm | Free admission | Phra Sumen Rd | Near Khao San Rd | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Phanfa

Discover Designs from all over the world at the Thailand Creative & Design Centre. View the international highlights from a variety of fields – ranging from the Vespa to the Barbie doll. This creative centre, which is supported by the government, contributes towards making Bangkok a design metropolis. There is a lovely café with a gorgeous view of the city, a souvenir shop and also a library of 25,000 (mostly English) books about art, architecture and design. The TCDC is situated in the upmarket Emporium shopping centre and is a popular meeting place for creative young Thais. Tue–Sun 10.30am–9pm | Free admission | 6th floor of the Emporium shopping centre | Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 24 | www.tcdc.or.th | Skytrain: Phrom Pong (direct entry)

 

Eating Out

Affordable gourmet cuisine: the restaurants in the city’s top hotels all compete for custom and many offer excellent and reasonably priced lunch menus. For as little as 400 baht you can dine in high-class restaurants. See the ‘Bangkok Post’ for all the special offers.

Massive choice at minimum prices: the large shopping centres all offer a huge selection of meals including Thai, Chinese, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines. Some of the best are: Siam Paragon, Central World, Emporium, Mah Boonkrong (all on the Skytrain route).

Cabbages and condoms: Don’t be put off by the name of this restaurant nor the framed condoms on the wall. The restaurant is run by a birth control and AIDS prevention organisation and everyone receives a condom with the bill. They serve Thai food that has just the right level of spiciness for the Western palate. There is also the option to dine outside in the tropical garden. Open Daily | 10 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 12 | Tel. 0 22 29 46 10 | www.pda.or.th/restaurant | Skytrain: Nana | MRT: Sukhumvit

 

Shopping

Street vendors do their shopping at the Bo Beh Market where you can buy jeans and T-shirts for next to nothing. Items are usually sold in dozens, but you can ask for individual pieces at the discretion of the dealer. Krung Kasem Rd | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Charoenrat | Skytrain: National Stadium, then 5 minutes by taxi.

Bangkok’s shopping centres are constantly trying to attract custom by offering discounts. Check up on sale dates in the city’s newspapers: the ‘Bangkok Post’ and ‘The Nation’.

 

Entertainment

Happy Hour in Bangkok’s bars is usually from about 5pm to 8pm and drinks cost 50% less. Posters or bar bouncers will let you know which bars have a happy hour.

Cheap Charlie’s – the name says it all. The only place you will find cheaper beer is at the supermarket! The open air bar is an institution and a favourite among Western patrons. It is outside of the main bar area but still in the middle of the tourist centre. Daily 5pm–midnight | Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11 (across from the Ambassador Hotel) | Skytrain: Nana

The Dallas Cowboy Pub is the place where live bands perform country and western music. The beer is cheap, the Thai cuisine is spicy and the clientele are usually students. Daily 6pm–1am | 412 Siam Square, Soi 6 | Tel. 0 22 55 32 76 | Skytrain: Siam Central

 

Accommodation 

Even on the supposedly expensive Sukhumvit Road, you can still find very reasonably priced accommodation. The Suk 11 Hostel offers basic rooms (with air-conditioning) from 500 baht. 80 rooms | 1/33 Sukhumvit Rd, Soi 11 (across from the Ambassador Hotel) | Tel. 0 22 53 59 27 | www.suk11.com | Skytrain: Nana

Many hotels offer discounts if you book via their website. Hotel and travel representatives also offer discounts so it is worth making comparisons. Visit www.asiarooms.com and www.latestays.com

The D&D Inn is one of the better bed and breakfasts in the area with rooms that have air-conditioning, a tv and a fridge. There is also a swimming pool. 65 rooms | 68–70 Khao San Rd | Tel. 0 26 29 05 26 | www.khaosanby.com | Saen Saep khlong boat: Tha Phanfa

 

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Bangkok Marco Polo Guide

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Top 10 travel photos from around the world

Top 10 travel photos from around the world – as chosen by Marco Polo photographer Tim Kelly.

Tim and his faithful camera have been travelling around the world together for over three decades. Well, the camera may have changed over the years – but Tim’s eye for detail certainly hasn’t – capturing the spirit of a destination in one single shot.

Here is Tim’s personal selection of his favourite photos from all around the world:

1. Paddy field worker in Bali

Paddy field - Bali

2.  Octopus restaurant near Plaka, Crete

Octopus restaurant near Plaka, Crete

3. Narrow car-free streets of Mdina in Malta

Narrow car-free streets of Mdina in Malta

4. Aerial view of Dubrovnik from Mount Srdj

Aerial view of Dubrovnik from Mount Srdj

5. Inside the glass dome – Reichstag in Berlin

Inside the glass dome - Reichstag in Berlin

6. Camel trek through Wadi Rum in Jordan

Camel trek through Wadi Rum in Jordan

7. Night view of Our Lady before Tyn church in Prague

 Night view of Our Lady before Tyn church in Prague

8. A different view of Grand Palace, Bangkok

Grand Palace - Bangkok

9. Bird’s eye view of Rome from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

Bird’s eye view of Rome from the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

10. Dubai – the Burj Khalifa at night

Dubai - the Burj Khalifa at night

Which is your favourite?

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