The capital city of a thousand contrasts
With its giant statues of Buddha and extravagant skyscrapers, colourful street markets and nimble-fingered masseuses, the capital of Thailand offers a unique sensory adventure to those who know how to explore its ceaseless contrasts and unveil its many faces.
Sprawling yet majestic, as exhilarating for its modernity as its fascinating traditions, Bangkok never ceases to amaze. At every street corner, centuries-old wooden houses stand next to gargantuan skyscrapers and pad Thai flavours mix with brochettes and stir-fried vegetables cooked at sidewalk stands, attracting a crowd of hipsters and regulars. Every hour of the night, the illuminated markets, suspended bars and hopping nightclubs animate this city that never sleeps.
It is impossible to summarise Bangkok, a megalopolis whose original name in Thai means the City of Angels, home of the Emerald Buddha, impregnable city, and happy city. To truly get to know it calls for a vertiginous journey through these contrasting territories. You'll traverse major thoroughfares like Sukhumvit Road and lose yourself in alleys filled with colonial mansions and extraordinary restaurants. You'll be as amazed by the largest shopping centre in Southeast Asia as by the last of the city's floating markets, where, every morning, villagers barter for lemons, mangroves, and fish.
Rarely does a capital propose so many trips through time and space concentrated in one area. Yet all bear a common signature, that of a lifestyle that spans centuries, and which, every day, you understand a little more. New flavours discovered in the corner of a stall, the delights of a massage, or the sunset over Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) – Bangkok offers a dizzying array of simple pleasures. And neither the 2009 riots nor the giant floods of 2011 have changed it: every time, Bangkok bounces back stronger and bolder than ever, and ever-smiling. If, around 7:30 a.m., you happen to meet children wearing similar uniforms and haircuts on their way to school, you will probably understand the casual magic that these enchanting trips hold. Bangkok is a captivating place where time flies but where the smiles of its inhabitants never vary…