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Thailand

Welcome to Bangkok

City description  

Feverish and mystical, Bangkok is a city of contrasts. On the one hand, you'll find traditional floating markets, on the other, towering modern skyscrapers. There are several world-class luxury malls, yet also over 400 traditional temples. Gradually, folklore has made way for ultra-modernism in Bangkok, without the Thais ever losing their energy and never-ending smiles. In the midst of this urban jungle, studded with the odd pocket of lush greenery, such as the Lumphini Park, ancestral traditions live on. Like the mythical Songkran, the Buddhist New Year, during the course of which revellers cover themselves with water, or Makha Bucha and its dreamlike candlelit processions. Thailand’s capital is a careful balancing act and loves to mix things up, even in its museums. From the traditional charms of the Queen Sirikit Museum of Textiles, with the most beautiful pieces from the royal wardrobe, to the modernity of the Museum of Contemporary Art, showcasing the best of today’s artists. The choice is yours!

Sprawling Bangkok spreads its tentacles along the Chao Phraya. Hop on board a boat to enjoy your first impressions of this unique geography. As you move through the water, you can tick off some of the country’s most beautiful sites from your list: the Temple of Dawn with its shimmering pagoda 79 metres tall; the Grand Palace, housing Wat Phra Kaew, better known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. When the sun sets, blessed are those who have decided to go on a dinner cruise, as the “River of Kings” literally lights up with the plethora of restaurants, stalls, buildings and bridges on its banks.

Vibrant Bangkok also knows how to relax and chill out, unveiling its treasures that need time to explore. They say that you can’t know the city until you have wandered through its markets. And there are plenty to choose from! There are the floating markets, with stalls balanced on sampans (like Taling Chan) or the ones that spread across a whole neighbourhood, each one with its own speciality. Pak Khlong Talat and its teeming streets for the flowers that set the pace for the Thai way of life, never forgetting to pay tribute at the altars found on street corners; Phahurat, or Little India, for silk, stunning fabrics and Thai patterns; Yaowarat, Bangkok’s Chinatown, for gold and jewellery; Silom, for its antiques (sculpted wood and tapestries) and precious stones, of which the country is one of the biggest exporters in the world. The Chatuchak weekend market, and the night markets, like Suan Lum, are also well worth a visit.
For a change of scenery, head to Sukhumvit, with its elegant streets and chic boutiques. To the east of the capital, this embassy district reflects Bangkok’s more grown-up side. This is where you’ll find the prestigious shopping centres Siam Paragon, the Central World Plaza and Terminal 21, as well as Western brands including Fendi, Rolex, Vuitton and Dior. To pick up some iconic Thai silk, there is only one choice: Jim Thompson House, or one of his other boutiques which are scattered throughout the city. This American architect and landscaper dedicated his life to developing Thailand's textile industry and elevated it to the ranks of the best silk in the world.
A magnetic destination, Bangkok is also packed with flavor, from sweet and sour to spicy, yet always delicious. Leading the way is the famous Blue Elephant restaurant, along with a few other gems that give the classics a new twist, such as Nahm and the Issaya Siamese Club. Thai cuisine is just like its capital: an impressive maelstrom of flavors, colors and smells.

Top things to do in Bangkok

Enjoy our selection of finest attractions

  • All
  • Highlight
  • Art & design
  • Shopping

Where to Eat

  • Sofitel restaurants
  • Café
  • Restaurants

Bo.Ian

Celebrating the richness and deep cultural roots of Thai cuisine, Bo.lan offers a seductive Thai dining experience which draws emphasises high quality local ingredients and spices.

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Gaggan

Discover the rich and exciting flavors of India while dining in the heart of Bangkok at the award-winning Gaggan restaurant, situated within the sumptuous surrounds of a former colonial mansion.

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Nahm

Australian chef David Thompson helms Bangkok’s celebrated modern Thai restaurant, Nahm, recognised as one of the best restaurants in Asia. Expect a flavoursome and innovative exploration of Thai cuisine.

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Eat Me

Set across two floors, Eat Me is the institution of Bangkok’s dining scene and doubles as an art gallery. Chef Tim Butler’s international menu showcases daring flavor combinations and draws inspiration from all corners of the globe.

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Maggie Choo’s

Enter within the discreet carved wooden doors into the seductive world of Maggie Choo's lounge bar, inspired by Shanghai’s 1930s prohibition era. Experience one of Bangkok’s most unique and enjoyable nightlife hot spots.

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Sky Bar at Lebua

As its name implies, the Sky Bar offers breathtaking views of Bangkok from its soaring 63rd floor rooftop setting. Its exceptional location and buzzing atmosphere make this one of Bangkok’s most popular nightlife venues.

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Issaya Siamese Club

Renowned for its lush garden filled with aromatic herbs, Issaya Siamese Club awakens the senses with its fresh and fragrant Thai cuisine by celebrated chef Ian Kittichai. The restaurant’s relaxed outdoor dining space is known for its hip garden party atmosphere.

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Ceresia Coffee Roaster

Frequented by Bangkok’s local coffee crowd, Ceresia Coffee Roaster is a must for those in search of serious coffee expertise and a warm welcome. Red brick walls, clean lines in light woods and floors in pale stone create a light, soothing space in which to savour Ceresia’s single origin, seasonal house blend espresso. Don’t miss the range of freshly baked pastries and cakes.

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Rocket Coffeebar

Bringing the sleek minimalism of Nordic design to Bangkok, Rocket Coffeebar is a haven of pale woods, natural light and white marble. Beneath a gallery-worthy installation of copper piping and bare lightbulbs, Rocket Coffeebar’s team of baristas create an excellent range of coffees that includes their signature Rocketfuel - a refreshing cold brew coffee - alongside mouthwatering treats. 

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Park Society

Perched 29 floors above Bangkok’s verdant Lumpini Park in the ultra-stylish SO Sofitel Bangkok, the Park Society Rooftop Restaurant & Terrace Bar is known for its glamorous rooftop setting and superb modern Western cuisine designed to be shared. Enjoy a sunset cocktail on the terrace and soak in the breathtaking panoramic views as Bangkok glitters to life. From the tempting sharing plates-style menu created by Head Chef Paul Smart, savour exotic dishes such as the pan seared scallops, whole Canadian lobster, or the succulent Australian Tomahawk steak with truffle mash. For the ultimate indulgence, opt for one of the Park Society’s rich and creative tasting menus with accompanying wine pairings for a highly memorable dining experience.

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L’Appart

With interiors inspired by the work of Baron Haussmann – the mastermind responsible for the magnificent 19th-century architectural style in Paris – L’Appart restaurant offers an elegant culinary experience in the Sofitel Bangkok Sukhumvit. Nestled on the 32rd floor of the hotel, L’Appart’s grand fireplaces, parquet floors and cosy ambience oozes the feel of a stylish Parisian apartment. Dine either in the Library, the Living Room or the alfresco terrace which showcases breathtaking views of Bangkok’s skyline*. Chef Jerome Deconinck’s creative menu showcases the best of French cuisine, featuring dishes such as slow-cooked pork tenderloin, roasted lamb saddle and butter poached lobster. For an unforgettable experience, dine at the chef’s table and you’ll enjoy a front row view of the action in the kitchen. This is the place to enjoy refined French cuisine and fine wines in the heart of Bangkok.

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Practical information

  • where to stay
  • when to go
  • Travel transportation
  • event calendar

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When to go

Bangkok is characterised by a tropical climate, with daytime temperatures superior to 30°C almost all year around and temperatures barely inferior at night. Expect a hot season from March to June, a rainy season from July to October and a cool season between November and February.

Bangkok annual calendar

  • Jan

    Sunday Concerts in Lumpini Park, January and February

  • Fev

    Chinese New Year celebrations, mid February

  • Mar

    Bangkok International Fashion Week, mid-March

  • Apr

    Songkran Festival water celebration, mi-April

  • May

    Royal Ploughing Ceremony, mid-May

  • Jun

    La Fête Bangkok, Frenco-Thai art festival, early to late June

  • Jul

    Asanha Bucha & Khao Phansa Buddhist celebrations, late July/early August

  • Aug

    Queens Birthday celebration, 12th of August

  • Sep

    Bangkok International Festival of Dance & Music, mid-September

  • Oct

    Elle Thailand Fashion Week, mid-October

  • Nov

    Bangkok World Film Festival, mid to late November

  • Dec

    Trooping the Colors and King’s Day celebrations, early December

Travel transportation

Transportation

Transportation is easy to organise in Bangkok despite the size of the city and its intense traffic all day long. If traveling by car or taxi, expect to get caught easily in traffic jams from early in the morning to late at night.
Expect a wide range of methods of transportation, including: local cabs, private car services, rental car, trains, metro, buses, bikes, boats and of course the legendary tuk-tuk (motorized rickshaw).
The elevated Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems are very convenient to move around Bangkok since they connect from 6am to midnight the most visited districts of the city: main shopping and business areas, entertainment and nightlife spots, and cultural areas such as Sukhumvit, Silom, Siam Square.
A one-day pass will be 120 Bath, more or less 3 Euros/Dollars.
Taxis are cheap and easy to find in Bangkok, even if you will be tempted to use a tuk tuk for a more local experience. Do not be afraid to negotiate the tuk-tuk fare which tends to double the price for tourists. However, we do not really recommend the moto-taxi who has the reputation of going too fast and not always being safe.
To explore the historic and cultural places close to the riverside, do not hesitate to book a river taxi or to jump in an express boat. The experience is unique.
Keep in mind that when driving in Bangkok, you must drive on the left side of the road.

Taxis

According to official sources there are more than 70,000 taxis in Bangkok, one of the biggest fleets in the world. Taxis can be hailed on the street, found at taxi ranks or booked in advance through one of the numerous Bangkok taxi company.
The initial charge is 35 Baht for the first 3 kilometers and add 5 Baht for each kilometer.
Some additional charges may apply.
Credit cards are usually not accepted and keep in mind that you will have sometimes to negotiate the final fare with the taxi drivers when they will try to apply a fee instead of the metered system.

getting to & from the airport

Bangkok International Airport (Suvarnabhumi International Airport) is located about 25 kilometers from the city center and Sukhumvit area. Expect a 40 minutes journey and a fare of 300 Baht (depending upon traffic, the time of day, toll fee for the expressway).
Metered taxis are available and private transfers can be arranged at the airports.
From 6am to midnight, the Airport Rail Link connects Bangkok Airport to the city center for only 90 Baht in less than 18 minutes. It is potentially a better alternative than buses and taxis, especially if you are staying close to Makkasan or Phayathai stations.

Getting around

Other destinations

* Prices start from. Offer subject to the hotel's conditions and availability. See the sales conditions for the rate. Depending on the country, these prices may not include taxes, may include VAT only or may include all taxes (VAT and city tax). When prices do not include all taxes, the relevant taxes (VAT and/or city tax) will be stated in the following stages of the reservation process. The price is only guaranteed at the time of reservation.

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