Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is considered the most popular tourist destination in Asia. It beats even Dubai! Of course, you didn’t know that. Bangkok is more than a capital city. Many cities are nothing more than political and economic centers of their respective countries. However, on top of these Bangkok is also the cultural, spiritual and culinary center of its country. It equally appeals to both the traditionalists and the modernists. With its endless decorative shrines, the city may look like a concrete jungle, disorganized and noisy, but to many unbiased travelers, it is all a happy city, gracious and just perfect.
Before you travel to Bangkok, you should note the following interesting facts:
The City Has the Longest Name In The World
Bangkok has entered the Guinness World Book of Records as the city with the longest name in the world. The world knows Bangkok as the name of the capital city of Thailand, but that’s the outside world. To the locals, the correct name of Bangkok is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahinthara Yutthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udom Ratchaniwet Mahasathan Amonphiman Awatansathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukamprasit. That is more than a mouthful. It contains 169 characters. However, to save time, it has been shortened to Krung Thep.
The Hottest City in the World
Prepare to drink lots of water in Bangkok. Bangkok is the hottest city in the world. Worse, it is hot throughout the year, so there is no time you can time your visit to avoid the heat. Although hot all the time, the hottest months are between March and May while November and February may experience lower humidity and get slightly less hot.
To avoid sweating all the time, you may want to walk around without underwear. Unfortunately, it is illegal to leave the house without underwear. How the inspection is done to facilitate adherence to this law is a mystery. Perhaps many residents used to walk around without underwear due to the high temperatures until this habit became a burning issue.
Again, it is against the Bangkok law to drive a vehicle while bare-chested.
This too has something to do with the high temperatures. These laws may look weird until you imagine a city where all drivers are bare-chested, and everyone else is pantless.
If you are looking for really bizarre laws in Bangkok, then consider that it is illegal to step your foot on a Thai currency, be it a note or a coin.
This is not about the heat, but the king. You see, the money has the precious image of the king and by stepping on it, you disrespect the king. If that is not weird enough, consider one rule of fighting: it is illegal to use durian fruit as a weapon during a fight. It is not clear how this law came about, but there is a clause stating that you will be fined based on how many durian thorns pierced your opponent. Durian thorns are not that impactful, and only an idiot will use a durian fruit as a weapon. Empty hands can do better
Bangkok Is Only Safe Enough
Compared to other cities in the region, Bangkok is considered safe to visit. But your safety will also depend on what parts of the town you move in and at what time. You will also have to be extra alert. There are pickpockets with smooth hands that can softly dig out your wallet or phone while you are busy watching another person being pick-pocketed. The pickpockets are themselves unsafe from each other.
For no sooner does one pickpocket you than he is himself pick-pocketed if he lingers around to find another victim.
The pickpockets are especially active in the high-traffic areas. But there are also violent criminals whose robbing styles make the pickpockets look benevolent and saintly. If you are traveling alone, it is wise to exercise extra caution. Do not open up too fast to strangers, be they locals or foreigners. Anyone is a potential scammer. The police service, on the other hand, is not always reliable.
MasterCard once declared Bangkok the most visited city in its Global Destination City Index. Travel and Leisure also declared it World’s Best City for four consecutive years. So why do tourists so love Bangkok? It partly has to do with its lovely nightlife. If you are visiting Bangkok, you should find time to party at Khaosan Road in the night. It is all glorious. You can also try Patpong and Grand Palace. Whether you are religious or not, moments at the Buddhist temples such as Wat Arun and Wat Pho will be memorable.
Bangkok is home to several millionaires. So as you walk in the streets, chances are you are rubbing shoulders with some millionaires. The simple fellow with you on the bus could turn out to be a millionaire. With 95% of the over 200,000 Thai millionaires staying in Bangkok, it is easy to see why the city is a millionaires’ club. And they are not millionaires by the Bangkok standard; they are US dollar millionaires. In short, they are millionaires by the world’s standard.
Easy To Get Lost
You can easily get lost in Bangkok. You can cross the road to get to a building within sight only to find yourself lost, as to where you were going or from. Buying a traditional, book map may be helpful. But it can mess you so long you do not know where exactly you are, for Bangkok is so fully packed that you may not even see the landmarks. A GPS map is better; at least it can highlight your current location and the names of the nearest landmarks.
If you do not have either of the maps, ask to be taken to the Siam square or Silom areas if you get lost. These are the well-known city center areas from where you can ask for further assistance or start your walk afresh after knowing which direction you should be going. Even locals occasionally get lost in their Bangkok, and they will refresh their sense of geography by first finding the direction of Silom or Siam Square. They are what the Ambassador Hotel, Times Towers and KICC are to Nairobi residents.
Home to Massage
One other attraction that has for many years pulled tourists to Bangkok is, surprising, massaging! The exotic massage has always been an experience that word cannot explain. Fortunately, these days the government has made it possible for you to enjoy your massage without getting unsolicited attention from the commercial sex workers who used to fill up such places when the same massage bases also doubled up as brothels.
When the hustle and bustle of the city get too much, you can always escape to the Rama IX Park and Chatuchak Park, which are the most serene and largest parks in Bangkok.
Thai has the best delicious delicacies in Southeast Asia. Make sure you enjoy jasmine rice or Thai Pad dishes. You can wash it all down with a bottle of Red Bull. By the way, did you know the famous Red Bull was created in Bangkok? It was pioneered in 1976 by a barely educated man called Chaleo Yoovidhya who died in 2012 as the third richest man in the world. The third richest, that is, because of Red Bull.
Learning some Thailand language might help you. For instance, Sawadee Krhap’ means ‘Hello’ or ‘Greetings.’