Top Backpacking Destinations Ranking: 8/10
Bangkok is often the landing point for many backpackers as they fly over to Asia to begin an extended trip and soak up everything Asia has to offer. And what a baptism of fire! Bangkok is an attack on the senses and a huge culture change from other shores.
Whilst it can be daunting when you first land and are confronted with tuk tuks, street food and men-women, once you acclimatise it is hard not to have a good time. The first destination for most backpackers will be Khao San Road which is a hub of activity, strewn with street food sellers, market stalls and backpacker hostels. Make sure you try the pad thai, it’s hard to find better street food anywhere in the world.
Once you’ve soaked up all the sights, sounds and smells of Khao San Road (which might take a while!) there’s plenty more to keep you busy. Hop in a tuk tuk and speed over to see the Grand Palace and the many stunning temples in the city. Wat Phra Kaew, the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand will stun you with its lavish gold designs whilst hidden away in amongst the temple maze of Wat Pho is a giant golden buddha which will take your breath away.
Another fantastic activity that mustn’t be missed is the floating markets of Damnoen Saduak. As well as being a fantastic way to see the city from a different perspective, it still provides a look into authentic Thai lifestyle despite it becoming increasingly touristy. With wooden boats packed on the waters you can get anything you want, from fruit and veg to mini golden buddhas. It’s also a great opportunity to interact with the locals and get an insight into their lives.
Bangkok is, of course, famous for its nightlife and the ‘variety’ on offer. No matter how crazy you want your night to be the city can cater for you, whether you’re looking for some nice food and a few drinks or a ladyboy show and something a little more raucous! The city has a curfew for bars that may seem fairly early but if you ask around there are always ‘underground’ places that will allow you to party long into the night.
Whilst Bangkok might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it can’t be accused of being boring and not offering a huge variety for people from all walks of life. Just make sure you stay on your guard as the locals are becoming increasingly clever in their ways of tying tourists into things before they realise what’s happened. You’ll often come across friendly strangers offering you an unprecedented amount of information and help for seemingly nothing in return… Love it or hate it, you’ll certainly leave with unique memories that you’ll never forget.