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Wired Destinations has stuffed your suitcases with loads of information on Thailand; Thailand travel tips, Thailand diving and Thailand culture. We also offer everything you need to know about Bangkok Sightseeing, Bangkok Shopping and Bangkok Nightlife as we take you on a tour of this fascinating tropical paradise. Click Thailand Travel Guide to begin your trip.
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Thailand's history began with migration from southern China into mainland southeast Asia by the 10th century AD. Before this, Mon, Khmer and Malay ruled the region. The Thais then established their own kingdoms starting with Sukhothai and Ayutthaya. These states fought one other under constant threat from Khmers, Burma and Vietnam. Later, European colonial powers threatened in the 19th and early 20th centuries, but Thailand survived as the sole Southeast Asian state to avoid colonial rule. Following the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, Thailand endured sixty years of mostly military rule before the establishment of a democratic system.
Bangkok's remarkable history started in the 16th century, when a king decreed that a 2-km long canal be dug across the neck of a 17-km loop of the Chao Phraya River. This was to connect the sea and Ayutthaya. The yearly torrential floods battered the banks of the duct until it widened to become the main stream of the river. On its banks two towns emerged –Thonburi on the west and Bangkok on the east, later to become Krung Thep. Bangkok was then little more than a village (bang) in an orchard of what were thought to be wild plum trees (kok). Hence the town's name Bangkok, which translates as "village of the wild plum."
Over time Bangkok was to become one of Asia's grandest cities. To understand why the city developed as it did, one must look to the development of Thailand as a whole.
It became the capital city of Thailand in 1782. King Rama I, founder of the Chakri dynasty, relocated the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. By use of thousands of Khmer prisoners of war, the city walls were built. The canal system was further developed and new temples were erected by artisans from Ayutthaya. After completion in 1785, it received a new name: “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Yuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit”
Eventually the name was shortened to just 'Krung Thep, the 'City of Angels', as the world would know it as 'Bangkok'.
From Bangkok International Airport Suvarnabhumi into the city takes from 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on traffic. The most congested period is between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Bangkok Airport Taxis
Official Bangkok airport taxis are air-conditioned and metered. At a counter outside the arrival hall, a clerk hands out a numbered slip.
The clerk will write your destination in Thai. Give the slip to the appointed taxi driver. This is valuable Bangkok travel info: Refuse to get in if the taxi already carries a passenger, Make sure the driver turns on the meter! You have to pay 50 baht surcharge plus the fees for the expressway if you wish to use it.
Alternatively, take the footbridge in front of the airport. On the other side of the motorway are usually a half-dozen taxis waiting. These "alternative" taxis will try to negotiate an extra 100 baht or so. However, they are not very persistent, so you might get off cheaply anyway.
Thailand's taxi drivers don't usually speak English, unless indicated by a sign in the window “We can speak English” or “We love farang”. They usually know the locations of all major Thailand hotels or a temple nearby. It is a good idea to have the destination jotted down on a piece of paper that drivers can easily understand.
Tuk-tuk are those noisy and brightly colored three-wheeled, open taxis. Since the introduction of metered taxis, there isn’t much reason for foreigners to take a tuk-tuk, unless they are the “been-there-done-that type”. Only the most experienced bargainers will be able to get the local tuk-tuk fare lower than that of a metered taxi. Some tuk-tuk drivers will offer a 10-baht fare "anywhere". The catch is that you would stop at a tourist shop where the driver gets gas coupons as commission.
Air-conditioned bus services are available to all tourist destinations in Thailand; VIP coaches with extra leg room and bus hostess are most suited for overnight journeys to Phuket and Chiang Mai. The Eastern Bus Terminal is on Sukhumvit Road (BTS Ekkamai) to Pattaya and beyond. For the adventurous, there are fan-cooled buses that are used by poorer Thais for their journeys across the country. More valuable Bangkok Travel Info on Bangkok Insider Travel Tips.
Express boats with orange trim run regularly in 20-30-minute intervals up and down the Chao Phraya River, and all the way to Nonthaburi. The three routes are indicated by different colored flags. All routes start from Nonthaburi and end at either Wat Rachasingara near Krungthep Bridge or the Ratburana area. The service begins at 6 a.m. and ends at 6.40 p.m. Fares are all under 20 baht.
Bangkok Ferries cross at dozens of points and are very cheap. They begin operating at 3 a.m. and stop at 10 p.m.
The Chao Phraya Tourist Boat operates daily from 9.30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The tour begins at Sathorn Pier (Saphan Taksin) and continues upriver to Phra Arthit, stopping at 10 major piers along the way, e.g. The Grand Palace, Chinatown and Khao San Road.
Thai Boxing: The most famous Thai boxing (Muay Thai) stadiums in Bangkok are Lumpini or Ratchadamnoen.
Outdoor / Park Bangkok activities: Parks around the city accommodate those in need of exercise and sports activities such as tennis, jogging, tai chi, and outdoor aerobics. Parks around the city are Lumpini, Chatuchak, Benjasiri and Romaneenart Park.
For those interested in swinging their golf club, many courses, Bangkok country clubs and driving ranges can also be found. Thais are great golfing buffs, going so far as to employ some of the golfing world's stellar architects to design international-class courses. The best golf courses are in Bangkok, Phuket and Pattaya, with other courses in Chiang Mai, Khao Yai and Hua Hin. Green fees range from 500 -1,000 baht per round on weekends and it is generally not difficult to reserve a time.
The elaborate Thailand temples around Bangkok city include Wat Pra Kaew/ The Grand Palace, Wat Po, Wat Arun, and Wat Benchamabopit, see Bangkok Culture; as well as in Chiang Mai and the northern provinces.
Wimanmek Golden Teak Palace is now a museum but was once home to Thailand’s King Rama 5. Also experience performances such as Thai dancing which can be seen at various locations or even restaurants, Bangkok hotels or at the Erawan Shrine. For a modern approach on Thailand's cultural heritage, make sure to catch one of the performances at Siam Niramit. We have gathered a host of Bangkok travel info for your next Bangkok sightseeing trip.
From traditional craftsmanship to shiny Thai silk and masterfully created fake designer goods, Bangkok info provides information to satisfy the most serious visitor on a Bangkok shopping spree.
Thai food, with its careful blend of sweet, sour and spicy ingredients, has become one of the most popular cuisines in the world and is a highlight of any holiday.
While it's true that Thailand's cuisine includes very spicy dishes – some Southern Thai regional specialties achieve an almost heart-stopping intensity – many are not hot at all. Generally, an authentic Thai meal will include at least one very spicy dish, a few that are less obtrusive, and some that are positively mild, flavored with only garlic and herbs. Purely Thai creations will be served adapted Chinese and Indian dishes.
Thailand's four regions have their distinctly own cuisine. Northern cuisine is strongly influenced by the cooking style of Burma and Yunnan, while the northeast is largely influenced by Laos. The rich central cuisine contains most of the dishes visitors know from Thai restaurants abroad, while southern food combines Muslim influences with a burning spiciness that is very Thai.
Street vendors are plentiful but be cautious of cleanliness. In shopping malls and office buildings it’s easy enough to find a food court which offers a selection of dishes bought with coupons. Restaurants can be found throughout the city on the side of roads, shopping malls, hotels, office buildings or standing on their own. Try a Bangkok dinner cruise which runs up and down the Chao Phraya River. For those opting for an unforgettable night try many of Bangkok's award-winning restaurants at various reputable 5-star hotels. Recommended are Italian restaurant Angelini (Shangri-La Hotel), the famous Madison Steakhouse (Four Seasons Hotel), and Celadon (Sukhothai Hotel) for Bangkok's most celebrated Thai food.