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Bangkok travel guide

Set astride the majestic Chao Phraya River, Bangkok was named the capital of Thailand in 1782 and today represents everything both good and bad in a thriving Asian metropolis. Krungthep or City of Angels as it is known to the locals, harbours enough sights and experiences to keep travellers occupied for months, with one of the best ways to grasp its splendour to simply wander through its streets.

In Bangkok, 24-hours a day, the pedestrian takes second place to the thousands of taxis, buses, motorbikes, tuk tuks, bicycles and private cars clogging the streets, as a heavy haze rises from the tar like steam from boiling water. Many find it exhilarating, for rare are the quiet moments and rarer still are the moments when you fail to feel utterly alive. Prepare to be accosted by the marvellous aromas drifting from food stalls interspersed with wafts of stinking canals and belching car exhausts.

Bangkok also has an excellent range of hotels and guesthouses. Home to two of the best hotels in the world, the Oriental Hotel and the Peninsula Hotel, the Bangkok's riverside is lined with many five star luxury spots while the backpacker's quarter of Khao San Road is overflowing with budget guesthouses and hostels. There's a place to stay for every budget - from two dollar a night Khao San Road hostels to four hundred dollar a night riverside pampered luxury.

Do give Bangkok a chance. Don't let the smog and crowds distract you from what can be a charming and invigorating city.

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