With its intense humidity, infamous landmarks, decadent nightlife and non-stop pace, Bangkok provides an invigorating sensory overload to expats and tourists who dive into Thailand’s capital city at full-throttle. Those who visit the “City of Angels” will no doubt succumb to its never-ending contrasts that can be found around every corner and feel compelled to pull back its layers to reveal its hidden treasures.
Located in central Thailand and split in two by the Chao Phraya river, Bangkok has remained Thailand’s capital since the fall of the ancient city of Ayutthaya in the 18th century and has undergone an accelerated modernisation in the last few decades to become an exciting and sophisticated city which has retained its cultural underpinnings. It is this fascinating and diverse infusion of delicate ancient history and modern civilisation as well as the extremely low cost of living that attracts adventurous expats to flood to the city to live and work.
For those who earn a living from working online, Bangkok offers a high standard of living at an affordable rate and boasts world class co-working spaces and countless coffee shops with super-fast Wi-Fi. It is this ability to possess a higher spending power and better quality of life while earning lower wages which makes Bangkok the perfect choice to escape the 9-5 regime of the western world and open the doors to financial freedom.
Bangkok is also home to some of the most awe-inspiring shopping malls in the world where the city’s finest fashion stores, designer lifestyle goods and everything in between can be discovered. From the sophisticated Emporium to the renowned MBK, these modernised, air-conditioned facilities are in stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the street markets and are all easily accessible via the city’s Skytrain system.
When the shopping malls have been exhausted, expats can sip from fresh coconuts while they browse the consumer paradise that is Jatujak weekend market and graze on the world-renowned Bangkok street food in the search for bargains. Every weekend, its 8,000+ stalls lure 200,000 visitors to engage in good-humoured haggling as they explore the different sections of this extraordinary attraction. When it comes to shopping, few cities can contend with the range of products and prices that Bangkok offers.
For those with an inquisitive nature and a hunger for adventure, one visit to this exciting and vibrant city is rarely enough. It is well-known for its tourism, but many who take the plunge and stay in this unique and diverse city long-term soon realise that it can provide an incredible way of life on a low budget.
Best Time to Visit Bangkok
Although Bangkok is a year-round destination with a hot and humid climate throughout the entire year, November to February is Thailand’s peak season for tourism and is widely regarded as being the best time to visit the city.
There are three distinct seasons;
- Cool season – November to February
- Hot season – March to May
- Rainy season – May to October
During the cool season (Nov - Feb), heat, humidity and rainfall are at their lowest, and tourists flock to the Thai capital to take advantage of the predictable weather and explore the city in all its glory. This convenience comes at a cost though as the price of air tickets increase along with almost everything else in Bangkok due to the influx of tourists. The beginning of cool season is considered the best time for sightseeing in Bangkok as many tourists don’t arrive until January so the city is less crowded.
March, April and May are the hottest months in Bangkok; this is a great chance to visit the capital before the rainy season kicks in and to find some reasonable prices on hotels and flights. April is the month of the Songkran festival and is Bangkok’s hottest month of the year. The Songkran festival is a three-day event to celebrate the Thai new year which turns the whole city into a water fight, so visitors can expect lots of water and buckets of fun around this time.
As the name suggests, rainy season (May - Oct) is the time of year that gets the most rainfall, but heat and humidity remain high during May, June, July and August. The rain really picks up towards the end of rainy season so torrential downfalls in August and September are to be expected. Bangkok’s rainy season is generally seen as great chance to pick up the best deals on flights, accommodation and any other product or service in Bangkok. The shopping malls and markets advertise huge sales on items such as jewellery, electronics, clothes and more during the months of June and August so this is the best time for shopping in Bangkok. It is also less crowded with tourists during this time, so it can provide a quiet respite from the manic activities that take place in the busier parts of the year.