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Destination of the Week: Bangkok

Posted by Maria Inês Pinto on 28/11/2014

Bangkok is a vast city offering all kinds of entertainment and cultural venues to its visitors. The capital of Thailand has recently gained a reputation for its naughty nightlife but don’t let that hold you back if that does not appeal to you. This cosmopolitan hub has much more to offer from majestic temples, to beautiful palaces, charming canals, busy markets and quite a variety of nightlife venues.

Located just 14 degrees north of the Equator, Bangkok is actually considered one of the hottest cities in the world. With a tropical climate, its average temperatures vary little throughout the year ranging from lows of 21ºC to highs of 35ºC year round. The “cool” season (November-February) is the best time to visit as it is both the coolest and driest period of the year.

What to do

A vibrant and cosmopolitan city, Bangkok is gaining a reputation for being a quintessential Asian capital. Mixing history with modernity, and a rich cultural heritage with an exciting nightlife, Thailand’s capital offers something special and unique to every kind of visitor.

If you’re looking to get to know Bangkok’s rich history, the Old City is the place to spend your days. Visit the exquisite Grand Palace and its adjacent temple of Wa Phra Kaew, and explore the beauty of the majestic Wat Pho temple and its impressive Buddha statue. There are plenty of other temples to visit and Rattanakosin (or Bangkok’s historic centre) is where you will find most of them. There are also plenty of museums such as the National Museum, Museum of Siam, and the King Prajadhipok Museum which give great insight into Bangkok and Thailand’s past.

For a relaxing break, Bangkok offers plenty of restaurants, quality hotels, spas and nightclubs. Pamper yourself in one of many world-class wellness centres or treat yourself to a fun night out in one of Bangkok’s many exciting bars and nightclubs. There are also a variety of shopping venues ranging from vast modern shopping centres to quaint boutiques and lively markets.

For a unique experience, enjoy a canal tour of the city and visit one of Bangkok’s many floating markets.

Where to stay

With thousands of hotels, accommodation in Bangkok varies greatly. You can find anything from some of the world’s most luxurious hotels and spas, to mid-range international chains and budget hostels and guesthouses.

Praya Palazzo (£££)

A 19th century mansion transforms into a hotel, and this luxurious 5 star boutique accommodation is the result. With just 17 rooms, this elegant hotel becomes a true peaceful oasis in the middle of the bustling city of Bangkok. The outdoor pool, exquisite art gallery, and charming library all provide great evening entertainment.

Siam @ Siam Design Hotel & Spa (££)

Located in Central Bangkok, this fabulous 4 star hotel offers stylish décor, an infinity pool that overlooks the city, and a world-class spa. You have two dining options here, both of which serve delicious local and international cuisine. And you will be close to a number of city attractions such as MBK Shopping Mall, Jim Thomson House and Siam Paragon Shopping Centre.

HQ Hostel (£)

This charming hostel offers trendy yet affordable accommodation. Shared dormitory rooms and plenty of common areas (including a TV room, library corner and internet café) provide excellent opportunities for meeting fellow travellers. Plus, all your belongings can be safely stored in your individual locker.

Where to eat

Bangkok boasts an astounding 50,000 places to eat: from thousands of Thai restaurants to a wide selection of international cuisine, you will find it all in Thailand. But if you are looking to try some of the more traditional dishes of the country, you can choose between specialties from the northern and southern part of the country. The northern cuisine (Isaan food) is known to be very spicy but extremely delicious: dishes like som tam (a salad made from raw papaya), khao niew (sticky rice), kai yang (grilled chicken), and moo yang (grilled pork) are fan favourites. Southern Thai cuisine is also very tasty and you can’t leave Bangkok without trying some massamam curry.

Nahm (£££)

Hailed as the best restaurant in all of Asia in 2014 by international food critics, this delicious Thai restaurant in the south of Bangkok serves traditional dishes with a modern twist. Inspired by ancient culinary books, Australian chef David Thompson has made previously forgotten dishes popular once again.

Al Hussain (££)

If you want to mix Thai cuisine with some Middle Eastern food, this is the place to go. Located in Little Arabia, Al Hussain serves everything from hummus, to falafel, chicken tikka and nan. The charming antique decoration make for a cosy atmosphere.

Street Food (£)

While there is no street restaurant in particular that we can recommend, if you really want the authentic Thai experience, you can’t leave Bangkok without eating at one of these. Whether you find them in a market or on a busy shopping street, street restaurants may not always offer the most stylish decorations but the quality of the food is unbeatable.

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