Introduction to Bangkok

A lot of first time visitors aren't quite sure what to expect when first arriving in the capital of exotic Thailand, and some may be disappointed by their first impressions on the way into town - endless high rise buildings, busy expressway flyovers and billboards of western companies advertising in English. Yet while Bangkok has undoubtedly embraced westernization and modernization, you only need to look a little under the surface to see that it remains undeniably a Thai place at heart. In between the skyscrapers and Grand Palace in Bangkok sophisticated shopping centers there's still the remarkable Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (pictured), the Temple of the Dawn and many more. Traditions live on too: don't be surprised, for example, to find a large dedicated spirit house built for good luck alongside almost every major building, or to see files of Buddhist monks making their early morning alms round - and it's surely one of the only major cities in the world where seeing an elephant paraded round the streets hardly even ranks as being unusual.

Amidst all of this is what many find one of Asia's most interesting and exciting cities, but it does have it's fair share of problems also - not least of which is the heat. Due to it's location in the tropics, Bangkok's average day time temperature is rarely much below 30 degrees centigrade at any time of year and the night time temperature is not much cooler. The maximum temperature can occasionally top 40 degrees during the hot season in April / May, when it is, not surprisingly, the low season for tourism. Despite the temperature, it is not all that sunny in Bangkok and most days are grey and overcast - meaning many visitors are surprised when they first walk outside Bangkok airport and discover that what appeared to be a cold, cloudy day is actually uncomfortably hot.

The heat, combined with the humidity and pollution, makes walking a sizable distance in Bangkok almost impossible, and breaking into a sweat after only a couple of hundred meters almost inevitable. The Thai people themselves will rarely walk any significant distance and there's a very large number of cars, buses,taxis and tuk-tuks to help them get about.

Sadly, these combine to make the traffic jams and pollution that Bangkok is justifiably world famous for. The seemingly permanent rot dtit (traffic jam) is a fact of life in Bangkok, and makes simple journeys that should take 20 minutes end up over an hour, even out of rush hour. The relatively small number of roads, the annual floods in September and October, and the hundreds of new cars flooding on to the roads every day don't help matters much either. However, Bangkok's impressive skytrain and new subway facilities combined now cover much of areas of the city a visitor is likely to go to and provide a convenient way to bypass them. Traffic jams in Bangkok

The combined effect of the traffic, heat, humidity, noise, dirt, pollution and the unappealing look of the city makes some want to leave Bangkok almost as soon as they've arrived. Though this is understandable to an extent, Bangkok has a lot to offer those who persevere.
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The good side of Bangkok
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Been living in Bangkok for the past 4 years and agree with the summary illestrated above. Having said that, Bangkok is a place where you can live rest of your life and it is a good escape to South Eastern countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, Philipines. It is a shopping paradise, especially clothes and electronics and the people are much more polite than any other people in the world
' Satish
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I think the impression is not about Skytrain and all those staffs. The real impression factor is the friendly people with smile and talk to us.
' brathna
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I thoroughly loved Bangkok during my visit there for 3 weeks in March this year. I attended the Sufficiency Economy Training at Kasetsart University and would love to visit Bangkok again. Good place for shopping and the people are nice as well. As for food, I'd say its great. I have no complains. Thailand is a great place to visit.
' Sharon Lakhan
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I really love Thailand and its people..I lived year 2010 At NakhonRatachima and year 2012 at ChaingWat Udon Thaini. Absolutely Mafvelous ....I can still speak lots and lots of Thai even though its been almost Gow Sib Pee (40 yrs)
' Robert M. Riggs
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Traffic, heat, humidity, crowds, smell of automobiles, bargaining with venfors for a few cents, Thai smiles, Thai courtesy, Tuk Tuks, if you do not like this sort of thing, stay home, for me, it is paradise. I love everthing about Thailand, my family loves it as well.
' Chet Hobart
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MY FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF BANGKOK WHERE NOT GREAT, BUT JUST AFTER A FEW DAYS I REALLY STARTED TO LIKE IT, DESPITE THE DIRTY APPEARANCE, THE TRAFFIC, AND THE HEAT. I NOW AM LOOKING FORWARD TO ANOTHER VISIT. WHEN PEOPLE ASK ME WHY I LIKE BANGKOK, I HAVE TO STOP AND THINK,'WHY DO I LIKE IT'. WELL , I AM NOT SURE. I THINK IT COMES DOWN TO ONE WORD, ATMOSPHERE. ALSO I FOUND THE PEOPLE VERY FRIENDLY AND EASY TO TALK TO , DESPITE THE LANGUAGE BARRIER, THEY SEEM TO MAKE AN EFFORT TO COMMUNICATE. I WAS TREATED IN A POLITE MANNER AT ALL TIMES BY JUST ABOUT EVERYONE I MET.
' KEN
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THANKS for the warning about the jewlery scam at the grand Palace - it was humorous to read about it but a different story as I was approached multiple times on my recent visit. It started to play out just as you described - can I see your map? - visit the local temple and come back at 1PM - my friend has a TukTuk to take you - and so forth. One guy actually approached me literally at the gate and offered to "help me get my ticket" right in front of an army guad. I kept remembering your statement that the Palace is Always Open. THANKS!!!!! They sure have a persuasive story.
' Jim Witherow
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this page totaly helped me out with my big project due tomorow! who ever made this web, i wanna meet them(woot woot) unlees of course ur a gurl:0:):):):):) love:P emma decarlin 16 years (i can almost drive lol)!!
' Emma DeCarlin
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Kindly enlighten me about the cost of living in Bangkok. Kindly enlighten me how much should one earn there to earn a decent living.
' sripathi
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