Bursting with culture and colour, Thailand’s capital Bangkok features traditional gold palaces that bask in the shadows of soaring office towers while the streets feature vibrant market stalls and beaming neon signs. This is a destination full of contradictions and infectious energy.
Winter never really comes to Bangkok. The change in weather is instead more noticeable with the transition from wet season to dry season. Bangkok is said to have the highest average temperature of anywhere in the world. The city reaches its peak from March to August when the days usually reach well over 30 degrees and occasionally into the early 40s. The southwest monsoon arrives in May and lasts through into November. During these months rain and humidity occur with August and September copping the brunt of it. Even in the dry months from December to April the average maximum temperatures still measure in the early 30s.
Though the temperatures are still high, the dry months are the best time to travel to Bangkok because there is less humidity and downpours are less frequent. This period is also the peak travel season as it occurs during the Christmas and holiday breaks. During this time it can get quite busy, but then again Bangkok in general is a bustling city.
Holidaying in the summer months shouldn’t be totally ruled out though. In mid-April, the hottest part of the year, Thais celebrates Songkran, also known as the Thai New Year. This celebration is the biggest in the Thai calendar and sees locals in Bangkok and other cities take to the streets to throw water at each other. The tradition originates from water blessings and has grown to all out water fights. Be prepared to get wet and laugh a lot.
While it is physically possible to venture to Thailand via its shared boarders, this can be tricky and not always safe. The best way to get to Bangkok is by air. Airlines that fly from Australia include:
Direct flights from Australia to Bangkok usually take just over nine hours. Other flights may include stopovers in Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City or Manila depending on the airline. Bangkok has two international airports; Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Mueang International Airport.
Bangkok’s luxury hotels appear very grand on the outside and lavishly spacious on the inside. In spite of the impressive size, many of these hotels provide personal service and intimate privacy. Luxury hotels in Bangkok act as a calm sanctuary amongst the city noise, and are ideal for escaping the hectic city streets.
A lesson at one of Bangkok’s cooking schools is an exclusive opportunity to learn how to cook Thai cuisine from the experts. Take a guided tour through the markets, try your hand at cooking some of Thai’s most beloved dishes and return home with a few new recipes in your repertoire. View Food Tour options
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
Visiting Bangkok’s numerous temples has become almost a rite of passage for tourists. On any given day you’ll find packs of visitors cooing at glistening gold Buddas and towering architecture at one of Bangkok’s many temples. Some are more revenue driven and crowded than others. Try the Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho) which is less packed than the more popular temples and is just as spectacular.
Bangkok’s colourful nightlife is world famous for a reason. From traditional cultural performances to go-go dances, these stage shows are uniquely Thai and not always for the faint hearted. An open mind and a sense of humour will see you get the most out of Bangkok’s nightlife.
Many tourists opt for a Thai massage while in Bangkok without realising that it can be quite a painful experience. Locals here prefer quite a hard approach which foreigners aren’t always used to. Skip the sore experience all together and enjoy a day of true relaxation at the luxurious Oriental Spa at Mandarin Oriental.
Don't leave home without...
Leave some room in your suitcase for the journey home. Bangkok is a manufacturing hub so it’s recommended not to bring too much with you as you will probably be taking home a lot of clothing, gadgets and other items at a bargain price.
Light sleepers may find the ever present noise of Bangkok’s buzzing streets a little unbearable. Whether trying to snooze on a train ride or sleep in your hotel room, ear plugs will do you wonders.
Wai is a traditional Thai greeting that involves holding your palms together in a prayer and bow towards one another. The wai is also used when saying sorry or saying goodbye.
Family and respect are of the utmost most importance to Thai society and way of life. Thais avoid confrontation and criticism at all costs, believing that hostility attracts the wrath of spirits and may result in violence and tragedy.
Things to be careful of…
The Thai King is held in high esteem, so always show respect towards His Highness.
Thai people are generally quiet and consider loudness to be impolite. Don’t raise your voice or laugh loudly unless in a bar or tourist resort.
Touching a Thai person on the head is perceived as an insult and should be avoided. Also remember to remove your shoes before entering a temple.
Stick to bottled water, as the tap water isn’t drinkable. Avoid drinks with ice, as the ice may be made from tap water.
- Hello (male speaker) Sawatdee krup
- Hello (female speaker) Sawatdee kaa
- Yes Chai
- No Mai chai
- Thank you Khorb Koon
- How much is this? Ra ka thao rai?
- How are you? Sabai dee reu?