Bangkok, Thailand

Similar but distinct. Bangkok, a city where the familiar and the exotic mix like the flavours on a dish of pàt tai, is summed perfectly by this Thailish T-shirt philosophy.

You haven’t really tasted Thai food until you’ve eaten on a Bangkok street. The basic flavors—hot, sour, sweet, and salty—can combine intensely. There may not be a better dining location in the entire world for foodies who are daring and don’t want white tablecloths. It’s a really diversified experience, with immigration bringing every type of regional Thai and international food to the nation’s capital. And lastly, Bangkok must rank among the top places in the world for value-conscious diners.

No one has ever been unable to communicate with Thai people due to language issues. Virtually every aspect of daily life in the capital reflects its cultural roots, but its people’s sense of humour, or sànùk in Thai, is what makes it so enjoyable. In Bangkok, sànùk is a necessary component of anything worthwhile. A lighthearted attitude, perhaps a hint of flirtation, and a smile are typically present when ordering food, exchanging money, and bargaining at markets. Thai spoken on the street is as emotive as it is spoken.

Few cities in the world reward exploration as generously as Bangkok does because so much of its daily activity takes place on the streets. Visit a secret market to round out a long boat ride. A stroll off the beaten path in Banglamphu may result in a discussion with a monk. Get lost in Chinatown’s narrow streets and you could come across a Chinese opera performance. Or, if it’s getting late, let the BTS (Skytrain) take you to Sukhumvit, where the neighborhood’s nightlife culture exposes a diverse and energetic metropolis.

Contradictions are what give the City of Angels its nuanced, diverse personality. Climate-controlled megamalls coexist with 200-year-old village cottages in this region. Golden-spired temples coexist with neon-lit stretches of sleaze. Buddhist monks in robes shop for the newest iPhones. Streets lined with food carts are overseen by restaurants situated on the tops of skyscrapers. These contradictions are only set to grow and intensify as Bangkok rushes into the future, even as they provide the city its own distinctive and always changing interpretation of Thai cosmopolitanism.


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