Introduction to Bangkok
Spicy, sweet, sour and salty; the hallmarks of Thai cuisine are also appropriate descriptors for the country's capital as well. As one of the most cosmopolitan cities in Asia, Bangkok is a metropolis of many contrasting flavours. An intoxicating mix of old and new, shy and brash, fast and slow, small and skyscraping. For all its sprawling concrete and traffic-clogged roads, you need only scratch at the surface to find a Bangkok worth sticking around for.
The other 'City of Angels', Bangkok is known as Krung Thep to the locals and bears more than a passing resemblence to Los Angeles. The urban sprawl, spaghetti overpasses and skyscraping high rises are all here but with a quintessentially Thai touch. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the embodiment of this trending yet traditional city where young Thai talent purvey their cutting-edge designs amid knock-offs and beautiful handicrafts. A Buddha statue over there, fisherman's pants here and embroidered pyramid cushions for the taking. Even pets and deep-fried insects get a look in here.
Indeed the more you dig, the more this bustling city will reward you. Take a wrong turn to find a hidden market. Wander down laneways to discover a magnificent temple. Miss the train and ride a ferry through the canals instead. Go looking for a coffee and wind up with a bowl of green curry in its place. Such is the charm of Thailand's largest city.
For all its chaos and sensory overload, Bangkok will surprise you when you least expect it. Blink and you'll miss it though, so keep your eyes open. You never know what you might find; a spicy floating market, a sweet and serene temple, a sour sidecar cocktail on a rooftop bar or a salty street stall snack. Deep-fried grasshoppers anyone?