Banhkok Travel Guide
Bangkok is a megalopolis, and a hugely noisy and chaotic one at that. It is a city of neon signs and traffic jams, tuk-tuks and water-taxis, bustling markets and congested sidewalks where street vendors and ladies of the night ply their trades side-by-side. Yet, it is a city, too, of architectural wonders and tranquil temples, of expressways and elevated rail systems, modern shopping venues and a metro vibe, where saffron-robed monks and smartly-dressed European businessmen happily mix with the Thai masses. It is a city, one might add, that can pamper the newcomer, and at a small price, with its profusion of spas and massage parlors, yet one that can just as easily jar the sensibilities of the unwary visitor with its torrid pace and urban chaos. Bangkok, ultimately, is a city of rare contrasts, at once ancient and modern, religious and risqué, where the flavors of the piquant coconut-milk Thai curry linger long after one has left the city.
Bangkok is the capital of Thailand, situated in central Thailand in the Chao Phraya River Delta, directly above the Gulf of Thailand. Its principal airport, the spacious new Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced soo-wan-na-poom), is situated some 18 miles (30 km) east of the city, and is the main entry and exit point for visitors to Thailand.
Bangkok has expressways, an elevated rail system and a BTS SkyTrain servicing the city, and remarkably efficiently too. In July 2004, an 18-station subway system was added, and in 2010, at a cost of nearly 500 billion baht, the principal mass transit systems were expanded to cover a total of nearly 300 kilometers, linking all parts of the city. Thus, public transportation is a good mode for getting around the city, as are city taxis, water taxis, and the ubiquitous motorized tricycles known as tuk-tuks.
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