So what makes Bangkok so special?

So what makes Bangkok so special?

Foreign visitors in town offer their perspective

Bangkok is a city of contrasts with action at every turn. The metropolis provides tourists with essential elements (especially 24-hour street food everywhere), diverse lifestyles and unique experiences making it one of the best destinations in Southeast Asia, according foreign travellers.

The Bangkok Post talked to foreigners in town to throw light on why this city is the favourite of so many. TheTravel + Leisure Southeast Asian website this month recognised the "Top 10 cities in Southeast Asia" with its inaugural "Asia's Best Awards 2022", in which Bangkok came in top place.

Nico, a 30-year-old Austrian tourist, said she was on her fourth visit. It is an exciting and surprising city where travel experiences are unpredictable, she said. She can ride a Bangkok motorbike taxi that is very inexpensive, and after that can get on a bus leading her to a destination.

''Riding on a tuk-tuk to explore some of the spectacular routes, communities and scenery is exciting.

''There is nothing like Bangkok,'' Nico said as she took photographs of architecture in Siam Square.

Bangkok also has many wonderful attractions, she said, especially temples.

''Around Bangkok I have been to an ancient city, and also visited some of the temples here. It is very calm and relaxing,'' she said.

The city is also renowned for its appealing variety of street food, where she finds unusual eating experiences. "Even at night after a couple drinks, I can walk through the alley and have some of the best food in the world; papaya salad is one of my favourites."

Tourists marvel at the tall stupas inside Wat Arun Ratchawararam (the Temple of the Dawn) which teemed with visitors over the long weekend. 

Marc Jay, a 22-year-old American tourist, who is here for a summer trip, said he likes Bangkok because it is "a city of diversity".

"There are so many tourist attractions in Bangkok that attract tons of people worldwide while there are numerous destinations around the region.

''Coming here from America is a huge cultural shock because everything is different, from the food to the people to the way people live, so I think this is an amazing place.

''Bangkok is one of the most exciting cities I have visited. There are so many activities you can do whether visiting shopping malls, walking streets, temples or night bars,'' Mr Jay said.

He is also a fan of the street food. ''There are many dishes that I like but the moo ping (grilled pork) experience is unforgettable, as the vendor will grill the ingredients in front of you,'' he said.

Bangkok also offers premium nightlife options that cover everything from rooftop to cocktail bars, dancing clubs and so forth.

"In Bangkok, I like going to the Phrom Phong and Thong Lor areas because there is so much to do, lots of nightclubs and also Khao San Road.

"Khao San Road is famous for its cheap accommodation, restaurants and massage shops. To me, at the end of the day Bangkok is a city of variety and diversity,'' he said.

Elsewhere in Thailand, Phuket was recognised as the "Best Island in Southeast Asia 2022". Koh Samui also made it the list at second place.

Julie Jenifer, a 27-year-old Australian backpacker living near Khao San Road, said she has been to Koh Samui, Phuket and Koh Chang in Trat, but this is her first time visiting Bangkok. "Koh Samui is the most charming island, with picturesque attractions, beaches and comfortable facilities,'' Ms Jenifer said.

Visitors can also stay at five-star hotels with coastal and beachfront views, or visit restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Those who like adventure can also go diving, climbing and join beach parties.

"The outdoor walking streets [on Koh Samui], held weekly, allow us to try street food and to purchase souvenirs and handcrafted merchandise, and the prices are cheap relative to other countries. "The beachside streets are surrounded by stores, nightclubs and bars,'' she said.

Speaking about the capital, she said Bangkok is more sophisticated and rushed compared to the islands.

She said, however, it offers incredible experiences with a wide variety of destinations, ranging from temples to floating markets to walking streets and exciting nightlife. She also enjoys hanging out at Yaowarat Road, Bangkok's Chinatown.

''The variety of delightful destinations combined with cultural diversity make Thailand an appealing tourist attraction to explore,'' Ms Jenifer added.

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