Covering an area of 1,500 square kilometres, the greater Bangkok Metropolis fits into the ‘big city’ league with great ease. Add to that an estimated ten million inhabitants, more than 30,000 taxis and an ever-increasing number of tourists, and you’ll soon realize that getting to grips with such a vast concrete jungle is no easy feat, especially if you’re a first-time visitor. This is where our Area Guides come in pretty handy… Certain areas have become more popular than others, largely due to their good location and the things there to do and see — be it traditional attractions, shopping highlights or a notoriously famous nightlife scene. Navigating this exciting city has also become much easier, thanks to the Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) systems connecting large areas. Get to know Bangkok a little better before your trip.
The longest road in Thailand, both it and its many adjoining ‘sois’ (sub-streets) are poor on traditional tourist attractions but rich in of-the-minute shopping, eating and nightlife. The many fashionable restaurants, bars, air-conditioned malls, luxury hotels and hip clubs give the area a distinctly modern, cosmopolitan flavour. Some of the city’s most sinful spots, red-light districts Nana Plaza (Soi 4) and Soi Cowboy (off Soi 23) are also found here. And little, stress-busting pockets of calm can be found in the sweet cafes, atmospheric restaurants and lush day spas that hide down many of its sois. Making exploring its staggering length incredibly easy is the Skytrain (BTS) that runs through most of its downtown stretch.
Silom is undoubtedly one of the city’s most important financial districts with many bank headquarters, financial institutions and office buildings. Fine hotels, smaller type malls and great restaurants abound in the area too – and then of course there’s the famous nightlife scene of Patpong. Bangkok’s two most sophisticated mass transportation systems – the Skytrain (BTS) and underground – both have Silom connections, which are also conveniently connected by the walkway between MRT Silom and BTS Sala Daeng stations. Siam, Chidlom, Ploenchit, Sathorn, and the riverside are only a few BTS stations away.
Siam is unquestionably the centre of shopping in Bangkok, home to some of the city’s most popular and important shopping centers like MBK Center, Siam Discovery Center, Siam Center, and Siam Paragon. Within Siam Square itself, there is a wide range of shops and services, including restaurants, cafes, designer clothing boutiques, record stores, cinemas, bookshops, a Hard Rock Cafe, hotels and banks. The shoppers vary from young-aged school and college students to office workers, trend-setting city dwellers and, of course, throngs of tourists.
Bangkok began as a small trading centre and port community on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River some 200 years ago. Today, while the city is up to speed with modern times, the grandeur and glory of its illustrious past still prevails. Be it dazzling temples, spectacular palaces, a world-famous floating market or colourful Chinatown, each of these famous places has an intriguing story to tell.