Golden statues at the Grand Palace, Bangkok, Thailand

Exhilarating Bangkok holidays

Thailand is many things to many people. To some, it’s soft sandy beaches, turquoise blue seas and rainforest-topped islands. To others, it’s elephants and hill tribes, and gleaming gold mosques. But to lots of people, Thailand means only one thing: Bangkok.

Home to 22% of the Thai population, Bangkok is a sprawling megacity whose skyline dips and soars from gleaming skyscrapers to golden temple spires. On the streets below, tuk tuks and handcarts compete with fast cars and juggernauts, creating a scene that is as exhilarating as it is chaotic and noisy. There is all life here: teeming markets, chanting Buddhist monks, modern high-rise buildings, and ancient backwater canals where ramshackle, stilted wooden homes and floating markets reveal how life used to be (and still is, for some) in Thailand’s capital. Water taxis and river ferries on the Chao Phraya River provide a quick, easy and exciting way to travel around and across Bangkok, while the ubiquitous tuk tuks and long tail boats provide another, memorable way to get around.

There’s so much to see and do in this exciting, exhilarating city, from serene Buddhist shrines to mega markets selling everything from live chickens to flip flops.

If you only visit one temple complex in Bangkok, make it this one. Wat Pho is still a place of worship and religious study in Bangkok, so you’ll see saffron-robed monks around its temples, grounds and tiled courtyards. Its undisputed star, however, is the giant Reclining Buddha. At 46 meters long and 15 metres high, and covered in gleaming gold leaf, this immense statue is one of Thailand’s most iconic and memorable sights.

Another must-do in Bangkok is a canal tour by longtail boat. These waterways were once the lifeblood of Bangkok, and a trip along them reveals a very different side to this multi-faceted city. Travelling by longtail boat adds another dimension, getting you close enough to see how Bangkok locals live and work on and around the waterways.

Bangkok – in fact Thailand – is well known for its lively markets and vibrant street food. The markets are brilliant for travel keepsakes like jewellery, bags and cool, loose cotton clothing – all bought for a fraction of what you’ll pay at home. Food is everywhere, on street corners and countless stalls lining the roadsides, where woks sizzle with fried rice, noodles and quintessential Thai flavours of lemongrass, chilli, lime leaves and galangal.

The official language in Thailand is Thai although English is widely spoken, especially in larger cities and tourist resorts.

The Thai currency is the baht. Each baht is divided into 100 satang. 

Yes, you can fly direct to Bangkok from the UK.

The flight from London to Bangkok is about 12 hours and 30 minutes.

Tipping, although not expected, is always appreciated. In restaurants, a service charge is often included in the bill so a tip may not be necessary, but a small tip to hotel staff, taxi drivers etc. will be gratefully received.

Bangkok is seven to eight hours ahead of the UK, depending on British Summertime. 

British passport holders can stay in Thailand for up to 30 days without a visa, but your passport must be valid for at least six months after your date of arrival. Please also check your passport’s condition because passports that are damaged or have pages missing can lead to entry being refused. We recommend you check for up to date entry requirements well before you travel by using the tool at CIBT visas and read the travel advice at GOV UK.

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