Chaotic, exotic and very, very hot. Full of life, movement, smoke, pollution and noise. That’s how I would describe Bangkok. The capital of Thailand is a mosaic of colors, ornaments, architecture, and paintings. It is not a city that makes you fall in love at first sight, but the kindness and joy of its people will captivate you.
Known as the gateway to Southeast Asia, it is a mix up of skyscrapers, temples, Buddhas surrounded by offerings, “tuk-tuks”, floating markets, street food and flower stalls, with a subway that runs through it all in the city. It requires a couple days to know it better.
You should not miss the Grand Palace. For 500 Thai Baht’s (15 USD), you get to see this giant complex built in 1782. It comprises a series of majestic temples including the royal palace and the temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is the most revered in the country.
The line to enter seems endless, and inside, there is a tidal wave of Asian tourists who arrive daily to visit the seat of the Thai monarchy. When entering the temples, you must be barefoot and always covered. You are not allowed to take photos inside.
The décor, the small carved pieces and the precious stones that make up each pagoda have an otherworldly beauty, which will definitely make you gawk. A few blocks away is the reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, a statue that measures 43 meters.
Bangkok is much more than temples. Take a ‘tuk-tuk’ (a three-wheeled motorized vehicle used as a taxi) and haggle a little for the price, so you can go through the shortcuts and discover Chinatown.
Here, the delicious smells will come from everywhere, especially fish, and then cross to Khao San Road, the famed backpacker street that is full of restaurants and nightlife.
At night, my next stop was the Lebua Tower, and to be precise: the SkyBar. This famous rooftop came to be known from the Hangover 2 movie and it’s one of the most popular in the world. From the 64th floor you have all the lights of the city for yourself .
The bar is small and without chairs. It is permanently full because all tourists want to live the experience. I suggest you order the Hangovertini, a cocktail that was specially created due to the films popularity and has green tea liquor and Martini Rosso. After a few, you might believe that Bradley Cooper will be coming down the stairs. Pricing starts from 20 USD.
On my last day in Bangkok, I skipped a long list of amazing sites, due for my next visit, and headed instead to the Ayutthaya archaeological center. This is known as an iconic place in Thailand.
My tour included Wat Maharat (Temple of the Buddha Head). And although the citadel is completely in ruins, the famous buddha head surrounded by the roots of a tree, is perhaps one of the most famous photographs from Thailand.
In the ancient ruins you can see the number of beheaded Buddha figures during the last Burmese invasion. The Burmese decided to destroy them as a punishment in the conquering raid.
To visit the temple, the taxi (round trip) from the hotel cost 30USD. There are also buses and trains available. The journey can take about 5 hours. The temple staff recommend renting bicycles or taking tuk tuks to visit all the temples. But with a temperature of 40 degrees centigrade, I decided to tour the park in a taxi.
Sadly, my visit in Bangkok was really short. There are other sites like the Floating Market and Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) that cannot be overlooked. Despite the short time, the 10 days I spent in Thailand were an unforgettable experience. The smiles and friendliness of its people will be the best memory of the country.