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Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok is the capital of Thailand and, with a population of over eleven million inhabitants, by far its largest city.

Bangkok is a tropical metropolis that is also one of the most traveller-friendly cities in Asia.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is the world's hottest city. Located just 14 degrees north of the Equator, Bangkok is sunny at any time of the year with temperatures over 30°C (86°F). The most pleasant time to visit is the cool season that lasts from November till February.

Bangkok is served by two airports: Suvarnabhumi Airport and Don Muang Airport. Suvarnabhumi Airport is used by all airlines in Thailand, except for domestic flights on Nok Air and Orient Thai, which still use the old Don Muang Airport.

There are plenty of ways to get into the city from Suvarnabhumi Airport. Most people opt for the Airport Rail Link, by far the fastest way to get into downtown, although taxis are also reasonably priced by world standards.

Located on the basement level of the passenger terminal, the Airport Rail Link offers a high-speed train service to downtown Bangkok. It's also a way of avoiding Bangkok's horrendous rush hour traffic, particularly when it's raining. Trains run 06:00-midnight every day and travel at an amazing 160 km/h (100 mi/h).

When buying tickets for buses out of Bangkok, it's best to skip travel agents and their private buses, and get the tickets for public buses directly at Bangkok's three public bus terminals. The largest, busiest, and most modern terminal is the Northern Bus Terminal,also known as Mo Chit.

The State Railway of Thailand serves Bangkok with railway lines from all four directions of Thailand. Hualamphong Train Station is the most important station, located close to Yaowarat and served by its own MRT station.

Not many people come to Bangkok by boat, but there are some cruise ships that attend the city. Large ships must dock at Laem Chabang Port, about 90 minutes southeast of Bangkok and about 30 minutes north of Pattaya.

Getting into Bangkok by car is not a good idea, as you can easily waste half a day waiting in traffic just to get to the other side of the city. Three major highways lead to Bangkok from all directions of Thailand.

Bangkok is infamous for its congestion, but these days there are ways around it: hop on the Skytrain (BTS) and metro in the city centre, or use boats to navigate the city's rivers and canals.

The MRT finally opened in July 2004. For now there is only one line, the Blue Line that connects the central Hualamphong Train Station to the northern Bang Sue Train Station, running through Silom, Sukhumvit, Ratchadaphisek and area around Chatuchak Weekend Market in Phahonyothin.

A ride on the Chao Phraya River should be high on any tourist's agenda. The cheapest and most popular option is the Chao Phraya Express Boat, basically an aquatic bus plying up and down the river.

In addition to the workaday express boat, there is also a blue flagged Tourist Boat which stops at a different subset of piers, offers commentary in English and charges a flat 150 baht for a day pass.

Most of Bangkok's sights are concentrated on the island of Rattanakosin, often referred to as the "Old City". Out of Bangkok's hundreds of temples, the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Arun usually make up the top 3. The Grand Palace has an immense size, so expect to spend at least a full morning or afternoon there.

Within the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew, the most sacred Buddhist temple of Thailand. Unlike other temples, it is not one building, nor are there living spaces for monks. Instead, it is a collection of highly decorated holy buildings and monuments. One of its buildings houses the Emerald Buddha, and while you might not expect it from its size, it is the most sacred Buddha image of Thailand.

When a foreigner first gets to Bangkok, they're often very surprised at everything the city has to offer, including nightclubs, great restaurants, cheap shopping, cool culture - there are so many things to love about Bangkok.

Unlike a lot of Asian cities, where American restaurants are not easy to find, there are tons of American restaurants in Bangkok, such as Sizzler, Burger King, and  Hard Rock Café, just to name a few.

It's possible to get to a beautiful Thai beach within an hour and a half south of Bangkok, and spend a relaxing weekend for a fraction of the cost of a similar weekend in the US. A weekend away in Phuket or Pattaya at a lovely hotel can cost you as little as $23 a night and, with cheap food everywhere, cheap beer and cocktails, and inexpensive shopping. 

Thai people are the nicest in the world. Helpful, friendly and non-aggressive, If you are staying in Bangkok long term and plan to work, working in a Thai business is so much more relaxing than in a comparable U.S. business.

The lifestyle in Thailand is just better than it is in the US. Overall, you tend to work less, have a more relaxed time at work, work with nice, friendly people and, even though you make less money, cost of living-wise and tax-wise you make more.

Even for people with middle class occupations such as teachers, sales people, business owners etc.) the salaries that can be made in Thailand along with the low tax rate (about 10%) make it easy to live a very comfortable lifestyle, dining out often, having a cleaning lady, and even a car and driver.

With an estimated number of 150,000 (just counting American) expats living in Thailand and more coming every year, you'll feel right at home and the Thais will make you feel welcome too.



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Overview of Bangkok

Overview of Bangkok

Beautiful Bangkok Temples and more
Bangkok Metropolis 2012
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