Give Bangkok a little time and attention, and you'll discover a different side to this bold city than the brash exterior that initially blinds the eye. This isn’t a city best seen by car; tuk tuks, sky trains and river boats allow you to seek out Little India, Chinatown and the more sedate districts where tourists rarely tread. Follow your nose to street food kitchens and backstreet restaurants, stumble upon a temple bedecked in marigolds, and join local families flying kites in the park. Pick a corner to explore and go with the flow from morning to midnight.
Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...
One of the best adages to stick to on the streets of Bangkok is: 'If it's cooked, it's safe to eat'. This is a city that sizzles, steams and smokes. Skewered meats are grilled on impromptu barbecues while curries and soups simmer in giant silver saucepans. There’s no way you can stroll around the Sukhumvit and Khao San Road areas and not get hungry. Be brave. Pull up a plastic pew. Learn to ask for a few dishes in Thai or just point and nod enthusiastically! Markets are great places to sample street food like a local, night markets especially. Once you've found your favourite food, you'll want to return again and again, a bit like the city itself.
The Chao Phraya River splits Bangkok in two, with temples, skyscrapers and pockets of distinctive culture filling both banks. River boats continuously run from pier to pier like buses, giving commuters, shoppers and saffron-shrouded monks (who have their own reserved sections) access to all areas. You could spend an entire day hopping on and off as you please, or watching from a plastic seat or shared wooden bench as Wat Arun, Wat Pho and the Grand Palace float by. Bangkok blossoms outwards from the Chao Phraya, and seeing the city from the water gives you a greater understanding of what really makes it tick behind the scenes.
Clamber into the back of a Bangkok tuk tuk and you may wonder what on earth you've let yourself in for! Lights flash, icons jiggle and tassels swing, making it feel more like a fairground ride than a mode of transport, but if there's a more exciting way to see the city, we’re yet to find it. For a slick, modern means of getting around Bangkok, take the Metro or Skytrain. Although they might appear to offer less immersive experiences than a cycle-pulled rickshaw, they’re extremely efficient ways to explore. Navigating the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s streets is an experience in itself, but if you want to get around swiftly, take to the sky or go underground.