Awesome Bangkok – It’s no surprise that the capital of Thailand remains wildly popular with world travelers. Aside from the grand palace Bangkok, the city itself is just an awesome place in many ways.
- As someone who lived there for 15 years, I’ll touch on a few of these.
First of all, you’re in a huge city that has all the comforts and conveniences of any First World city, yet in a culture that is exotic almost beyond belief – especially to a Western visitor.
You land at the spectacular Suvarnabhumi Airport, one of the most beautiful and unique in the world. Take a taxi into the city center, a roller-coaster ride you won’t soon forget if it’s your first trip to Bangkok.
There are plenty of first-class hotels to choose from. Some of them, notably the Oriental and the Shangri-La, are often named as among the world’s best. But there are eight different five-star hotels on Bangkok’s riverbank. And this doesn’t even include the nearby Dusit Thani, which is perfectly located at the skytrain and subway stations on Silom Road, the heart of the city’s nightlife, as well as directly opposite the huge Lumpini Park in the city center. Of course, there are also a plethora of less expensive hotel options to choose from.
Bangkok, like most of Thailand, is filled with exotic Buddhist temples. A must-see is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in the Grand Palace complex. Though it’s filled with tourists, the aesthetic beauty of the place is astonishing at first sight.
There are lots of other temples to visit if you choose, including the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) on the river, and Wat Traimit with its solid gold Buddha image, located in Chinatown. If you’re into meditation, I recommend finding one where the monks chant around 6 p.m. You’ll find yourself in an exotic, peaceful setting you won’t soon forget.
For shoppers, the height of the hi-so malls is Siam Paragon at Siam Square, which happens to be the most photographed place in the world on Instagram. You’ll see lots of tourists from all over the world there, as well as Thai celebrities.
The place is filled with exclusive shops, and even has a jaw-dropping Lamborghini dealership inside the mall. It also has Kinokuniya, the city’s largest English bookstore.
There is street food everywhere in Bangkok selling a wide assortment of things. The tourist areas have sidewalk vendors selling all manner of merchandise. Just walk around and take a look.
There are tons of restaurants in the city, and plenty serving Western food. Almost anything you can imagine is available. Check a travel guidebook for the many options.
Bangkok’s nightlife is second to none, and if you happen to be gay it’s simply the world’s best, hands down. If you’re into drop-dead gorgeous Asians, you’ll find yourself in paradise.
There are many dance clubs in the city, with DJ Station on Silom Road most popular with gay tourists. The Silom Road area is the heart of the gay scene, catering mostly to tourists and Thais who like foreigners. If you’re not ready to go home when DJ Station finally closes, never fear. Just head down the sidewalk for a short walk to G.O.D., which stays open until daybreak.
The area is also the heart of Bangkok’s commercial nightlife, with the go-go boy bars clustered around nearby Suriwong Road, and the girl bars in nearby Patpong. Most of these bars feature special shows, which border on the unbelievable to the uninitiated. On top of that, the gay cruising area just behind the awesome Grand Palace Bangkok, (In Thailand, the terms “boy” and “girl” in these bars do NOT refer to the underaged. The workers are called boys and girls at least well into their 30s).
The city is also filled with massage places, both of the sexual and nonsexual variety. Highly recommended is a foot massage for those aching feet, which can be easily found all over the city.
The heart of the straight nightlife scene for foreigners is centered around both Patpong on Silom Road and Nana Plaza on Sukhumvit Road. Sukhumvit also has many other places frequented by foreigners, such as British and Irish pubs.
If you’re gay and not into a commercial venue, don’t worry, there are plenty of ways to meet regular gay Thais, including dance clubs, pubs, saunas, and online chat rooms, as well as just walking down the street, in a mall, or in Lumpini Park. Don’t be shy!