Sprawling, frenetic, and sultry, this Asian metropolis of 10 million seems like a city on overdrive. Towering high-rises jostle for space in the jumbled skyline; down below, rainbow-colored cabs and tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis, inch their way through the gridlock. Gleaming malls filled with the latest designer threads beckon, as do the infamous red-light districts. When it comes to food, the city is an endless—and affordable—bacchanalia. But at dawn, more ancient rhythms are revealed. Saffron-robed Buddhist monks collect alms, while women thread together the marigold and jasmine garlands that festoon the many temples and shrines—a reminder of the city’s Thai name, Krung Thep, or City of Angels.
- Indulging in street food. Set aside any squeamishness and plunge right into the city’s 24-hour street-side feast, especially in Yaowarat and the nighttime-only Sukhumvit Soi 38.
- Taking a canal tour to get a glimpse of why Bangkok was once called the Venice of the East. Grab a long-tail boat at the Tha Chang pier near the Grand Palace, and don't forget to stop by the striking Wat Arun temple on the other side of the Chao Phraya River.
- Exploring Chatuchak Weekend Market. Hot, chaotic, exhausting, and full of delightful surprises, it’s a microcosm of the city and an excellent spot for people-watching.