Another city that doesn't sleep, Bangkok
has so much to see and do it can be hard to know where to start. To give you a hand, here are Getaway
's top five picks.
Cheap and air-conditioned with 23 stations across the city, BTS Skytrain is the best way to beat the city's heat and crazy traffic. It will take you pretty much anywhere you want to go. It's safe and comfortable and has transformed the face of transportation as passengers are lifted above the crowded streets in modern, electrified trains. They enjoy 100 percent punctuality and run between 6am and midnight. www.bts.co.th
MBK Shopping Centre
A shopper's dream, MBK is eight storeys high with 2000 stores, including the four-storey Tokyu department store, restaurants and entertainment. Prices are pretty much the same as at the open-air markets and you are expected to bargain. Shopping in air-conditioned comfort is more pleasurable as you ogle the goods on sale but many of them are counterfeit. It's connected to the Siam Discovery and Siam Paragon shopping centres by elevated walkways, both upmarket and with authentic merchandise. www.mbk-center.co.th
A tourist must-see, hire a long tail boat and join vendors with their craft piled high with tropical fruits, vegetables, cold coconut juice and local food prepared on floating kitchens. These days it is pretty much slanted towards tourists, but you still get the idea of how people once shopped. It's a cultural experience with Damnoen Saduak the biggest. Smaller markets such as Tha Kha and Amphawa offer a less touristy experience and more local flavours.
Wat Arun Rajwararam
Bangkok has much more to offer than shopping. Thailand is 95 percent Buddhist and Wat Arun Temple is one of the city's best known landmarks. Known as "Temple of the Dawn" as morning's first light gives a pearly iridescence, it was built in 1809. It features a central prang a Khmer-style tower and is decorated with bits of broken porcelain that were used as ballast on Chinese trading ships. The Buddha image from the reign of Rama II watches over his ashes which are buried at the base.
Khoa San Road
Closed to traffic at night, Khoa San Road is a place where everything and anything can happen. It's cheap, buzzing and crammed with market stalls, food stands and bars. Everyone's out for a good time and it's where your bargaining expertise can really be put to the test!