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Bangkok, The City With Many Faces
The City of Angels

Bangkok, (in Thai, "Krung Thep", meaning "city of angels"), is the capital and largest city of Thailand with population of over 10 million. The city is located on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, near the Gulf of Thailand.

Bangkok is one of the fastest-growing, most economically dynamic cities in Southeast Asia. It is one of regional centers rivaling Singapore and Hong Kong. The World Meteorological Organization has dubbed Bangkok the world's hottest city. It is also one of the world's most popular tourist destinations.

The Shopping Paradise

Bangkok is full of shopping malls and street markets of all types, especially in the Sukhumvit area. Prices can be ludicrously cheap by Western standards, especially for locally produced items such as clothes, although bargaining is expected and required. Dump a teenager in MBK with a few thousand baht and they'll stay occupied for the rest of the week!

A major attraction on weekends is the gigantic Chatuchak Weekend Market, in northern Bangkok but easily accessible by Skytrain and Metro. Slightly more manageable in size and open nightly is the Suan Lum Night Bazaar, covered in the Silom section.

The City That Never Sleeps

Bangkok's nightlife is notorious, although recent social order campaigns have put a bit of a clamp on things: in particularly, nearly all restaurants, bars and clubs are now forced to close before 1 AM, a few are allowed to stay open till 2 AM. You must carry your passport for ID checks and police occasionally raid bars, subjecting all customers to drug tests.

After 1 AM closing it is still possible to eat and drink at the sidewalk bars that open up. This is the Bangkok version of sidewalk dining with food and drink served all night. Available in many areas but especially in lower Sukhumvit.

Bangkok's main party district is Silom, home not only to perhaps the world's most famous go-go bar strip Patpong, but plenty of more (and less) legitimate establishments catering to all tastes. For a drink with a view, the open-air rooftop bar/restaurants of Vertigo and Sirocco are particularly impressive. Similar bars to the ones at Patpong can be found in the lower Sukhumvit area, at Nana Entertainment Plaza (soi 4) and Soi Cowboy (soi 23). A large number of more trendy and more expensive bars and nightclubs can be found in the higher sois of Sukhumvit as well (eg soi 33). Hippie hangout Khao San Road is also slowly gentrifying and there are even some Thais venturing into what were once mere backpacker bars.
About the Author
Witit Sujjapong is the webmaster of Thai Phile, the website specialized in thai things.
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