To say that Bangkok is a unique city is an understatement! There's really no other place quite like it! It's a beautiful balance between old and new, traditional and modern, with strong faith for the past while looking forward to the future. There's no other capital city in the world that upholds these two in equal measure. That proudly displays its culture against a more contemporary urban infrastructure. Such is the fascinating city that is Bangkok!
With over 10.5 million people living in Bangkok right now, it's one of the most populous capital cities in the world. And a good chunk of them are immigrants from different countries. Even though Singapore remains the powerhouse city(-state) in Southeast Asia, Bangkok is slowly but surely catching up. But with that said, Thai is still the main language here. So much so that there are a number of Thai-language schools in the city where foreigners can learn it too!
Thailand is right smack by the equator, making it one of the hottest countries in the world. It's no wonder its beaches are some of the ultimate summer destinations for a lot of people. With that said, Bangkok is not one of those paradise-like beaches. It's an urban city through and through. And if you go here on the hottest days of the year, most especially if you come from a place where it's usually cold, you risk having a heat stroke. So in terms of the best time to go to Bangkok, the cooler months of November to March are your best bet!
The must-visit places in Bangkok depend on what you want to see. All in all, the Thai capital is made up of different neighborhoods, each with its own fascinating attractions, excellent food, but all with the warmth and kindness of the Thai people.
However, as already mentioned there are two sides to Bangkok. There's the traditional side, wherein the top must-see sights include the Grand Palace, the river markets, and the many Buddhist temples in the city. On the other hand, the likes of Emporium Mall, Khao San Road and the Sukhumvit district are more for those who want to see the contemporary side of Bangkok.
At the outset, it may seem like Bangkok is an expensive city, but when you take into account the currency exchange rate, it's not that bad. All in all, you will need to budget wisely whilst in Bangkok. It can get pretty expensive if you're not careful. Remember that the Thai capital, and the economy of Thailand at large, is booming. Pretty soon, it's going to be as expensive to stay here as it is in Singapore. For now, it's not that bad. A common monthly rental fee here is ฿35,000.00 which, in US dollars is only $1,174.10.
Don't let the stereotypes about Bangkok fool you! Even if Western movies, TV series, and the like have painted Bangkok to be this liberated and 'wild' city in Southeast Asia, it's still a pretty conservative place. Thai people treasure tradition more than you might think!
So when you get here, always keep your manners in mind. Know the customs and etiquette of the country to avoid the risk of offending anyone. From greeting with a wai to respecting the image of the King (especially when dealing with his face on the Thai baht!), you really need to be careful!
What's also a bit unique about Bangkok is its public transport. Although similar to other Southeast Asian capital cities, it has an MRT system, many buses, and several taxis, there are those that you can only ride in Thailand. One of which is the famous tuk-tuk! Basically a tricycle-turned-taxi, it's an open-aired option that's as Thai as the temples and the food here! Though do be careful as a lot of tuk-tuk drivers tend to scam unsuspecting tourists. If you do prefer the more common public transport systems, know that using a transportation app will make it easier for you!
Healthcare in Thailand is different for a lot of people. For those moving to the country, especially to Bangkok, you don't have to work so hard to get access to it. As it operates on a universal system, the moment you become a legal resident here, you're entitled to get the public option. Meanwhile, for tourists who are visiting the country temporarily, you might want to get travel medical insurance or a private plan from an international provider. Doing so will allow you access to the best medical centers in the city, with all the fine doctors, equipment, and treatments that they offer.
Spicy, sweet, savory, and more! These are the types of tastes you should expect in Bangkok. It's no secret that Thai cuisine is one of the most delectable ones out there. In fact, some people travel all the way to the Thai capital just to eat! For them, eating authentic Pad Thai and tasting the real mango sticky rice is more important than seeing the iconic sights!
Fortunatley for them, and for. a lot of people as well, Thailand has a lot of excellent places to eat at! They range from upscale Michelin-starred establishments to even food stalls that offer the best street food! You really haven't been to Bangkok until you've tried them all!
Thailand is one of the very nations that still hold their royals in such high regard. And because of it, a lot of the public holidays in Bangkok pertain to significant events in the Royals' lives. The coronation day of the current King Maha Vajiralongkorn, for instance, is celebrated as 'Coronation Day' every May 4. King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Birthday Anniversary, arguably the most impactful monarch in recent history, is regarded as 'National Day' every December 5. Of course, there's also the Songkran Festival every April, a water-filled event that has delighted both locals and tourists for a long time!
Bangkok is the type of city that tourists would love to travel to. Many amazing sights, excellent food, and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet! What's not to love? Visiting here will be an experience you won't soon forget!
With that said, actually moving here is totally different. There's a lot more to consider when planning your trip, from all the legal paperwork to preparing where you'll live and more! Though as intimidating as all that sounds, this relocation guide can help you! It lays out pretty much most of what you need to know about relocating to Bangkok!