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Bangkok, City of Smiles

Bangkok, cosmopolitan centre of Southeast Asia, is the City of Smiles that every proud world traveller must visit at least once in their lifetime. Culturally dynamic and upbeat, the Thai capital is full of character, and her people are famous for their winning hospitality. Cheap flights to Bangkok will only be the start of your adventure into the cosy corner of Asia’s Thailand.

Quite unlike any other Asian capital, the Bangkok experience is one of a kind. The first thing that hits as you step into the city are the quick sounds of traffic, and the feeling that everyone is riding off in their motorcycles or cars to live their busy lives. Take a day off to settle into your hotel and explore its neighbourhood. For those seeking cheaper options for accommodations, Khao San Road is backpacker land, while Yaowarat Road, Bangkok’s Chinatown, also houses cheap hotels. Strolling around Khao San Road, you will find shops selling quaint handicrafts, clothes, and pirated movies. There are also many bars and pubs for you to take refuge in, as you watch the busy nightlife of backpackers and locals pass by.

95% of Thais are Buddhists, and the Buddhist temple, or wat, is a must-see. Dedicate an entire day to visit Bangkok’s ornate temples. Wat Arun, located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River, boasts a tower of around 70 metres, as well as beautiful gardens within the compound. Bangkok’s largest temple, Wat Pho, features a Reclining Buddha that stretches out to a length of 46 metres. Thailand is one of the few constitutional monarchies today, and the country’s beloved King Rama IX is currently the world’s longest-serving head of state. Tourists may visit his residence, the Grand Palace, a complex of buildings that have housed Thailand’s Kings for over 200 years.

For a sample-size taste of Thai culture, tourists may visit the Jim Thompson Museum, a Thai-style house built by an American expatriate that features his collection of Southeast Asian art. Muay Thai, the national sport of kickboxing, may be viewed at the Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, however tourists should have the stomach for it. Finally, no tourist should leave Bangkok without visiting the Taling Chan floating market, where locals, usually lively old ladies, sell fresh fruits and vegetables from boats in a canal. On your way back to the hotel, ride on a tuk-tuk, a rickshaw taxi that is symbolic of Bangkok. Just like cheap flights to Bangkok, transportation within the capital is convenient, and one may also opt to take the Skytrain or subway systems.

Finally, to repay Bangkok for its hospitality, tourists may dedicate a day in Thailand’s shoppers’ paradise to purchase souvenirs and even high-end goods. Visit Mahboonkrong, otherwise known as MBK Center, which offers around 2000 shops and departmental stores. For a different take on shopping, visit the Patpong night market, located in the middle of the red-light district, or the Pratunam market if you are travelling with kids, for the cheapest clothes. To refresh the tired shopper’s body, drink fresh coconut juice served from inside its shell, which may be purchased at one of Bangkok’s roadside stalls, and round off an unforgettable time in the Land of Smiles.

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