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Thailand - Part 1 - Orlando / Florida Guide

Florida Guide > Travelling

It’s the first stop on almost every Thai trip, the charismatic but frenetic capital, hotel prices drop significantly in July, August and September, and while you might get weeks of blue skies. It is the monsoon season, so you could also arrive in heavy rains, ferocious thunderstorms, even flooding. Springtime offers good deals so long you can handle the 35celcious heat. Otherwise, stick to the dry and sunny November-March peak season.

Be savvy with where you stay, this is a sprawling metropolis so location matters and first-timers should aim to be on the scenic riverside, close to the star attractions. The Mandarin oriental is the city’s white-gloved, orchid-filled grande dame, or try Riva Arun for sunny rooms and serene views of the magnificent Wat Arun temple.

Second time in town? Stay in the action-packed Siam Area, close to Erawan Shrine, Lumpini Park and about a billion malls and markets. Gawp greenery framed city views from the brand new Waldorf Astoria. Meanwhile, the trendy Akyra Tas Sukhumvit has elegant rooms, chilled vibes and is plastic-free.

Skip the airport link train, most flights from the UK arrive mid-morning or mid-afternoon, missing the worst of Bangkok's traffic, so take a cab- it's usually quicker and more comfortable than the train. Count an hour to get through immigration, plus at least another hour to reach your hotel.

Don’t let jet lag hold you back, no matter when you re sleepless 24/7 Bangkok has something for you, from 6 am visits to the local temple to see monks receiving alms, to late-night Muay Thai boxing bouts at the oldest stadium in Thailand, Rajadamnern.

Be clever with visits to the big sights, with their jewelled walls and twirly technicoloured towers the Grand palace and adjoining Wat Pao temple, are rightly two of Thailand’s biggest, most revered attractions. But these days the crowds are soul-crushing. Get ahead of the pack by arriving at Wat Pho when it opens at 8 am, follows with the palace, heading straight for the main draw, the Emerald Buddha. Dressing appropriately (shoulder and knees covered) will save you time queuing for rental garments. And watch out for scammers in official-looking uniforms, who claim the compounds are closed and offer to take you to another temple for a fee. Ignore them.

Explore the Thonburi neighbourhood. The ancient waterways of this charming residential area are where Bangkok began. Hop on a long tail boat for a Khlong tour of the city’ atmospheric backwaters, all rickety wooden houses, confetti-coloured flower gardens and huge monitor lizards slithering past.

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