Bangkok Travel Guide
It's now the rainy season in Bangkok, but that doesn't mean it's a bad time to visit. The rains come in sometimes violent thunderstorms that usually start late in the afternoon, right around rush hour it often seems. You get ample warning that rain is on the way, as the sky darkens and strong winds begin to pick up. If you plan your day accordingly, doing most of your sight-seeing in the morning, and leaving your afternoons flexible, you can still enjoy Bangkok at this time of your. If needed, we have a few ideas on what to do when it rains.
The Thai capital is most travelers' entry point to Thailand. Most foreign airlines only fly into Bangkok, although if you are coming from elsewhere in Asia, some flights are available directly to places such as Phuket and Chiang Mai. In recent years there has been some tendency to bypass Bangkok or move on up-country quickly due to the city's notoriously bad traffic.
In fact, traffic is not as bad as it used to be and there are many places worth seeing in the big city. Almost all of the most interesting sights are near the river, and so accessible by express boat. Between the boat and the train system you should be able to get just about anywhere in town that a tourist would want to go. Pick your hotel carefully to be near the river or the train system, and you'll have no trouble getting around on your own.
The "standard" tourist sights include the Grand Palace in which the temple of the Emerald Buddha is located and the nearby temple commonly known as Wat Po where the large Reclining Buddha is found. Tour groups are also often taken to see the large solid gold buddha in the otherwise unremarkable Wat Traimit.
If you're on your own or in a small group, we highly recommend a tour of the canals by long tailed boat. Its the best way to cool off after a hot day trudging around a few temples. Most riverside hotels rent boats, or you can arrange them from the pier at the River City shopping complex. You generally pay by the hour. Two hours is more than enough to get a flavor of canal life, see the royal barges and stop by Wat Arun.
For more ideas about what to see and do, as well as where to stay and eat, see my lists of the best of Bangkok.
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