Photo:  Wat Benchamabophit

Saffron-robed monks enter Wat Benchamabophit, the Marble Temple.

Photograph by Paul Souders/Getty Images

Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and exciting city, Bangkok is an intoxicating and sometimes jarring mix of modern and ancient. Scattered concrete skyscrapers share space with traditional wooden homes, while gleaming temples to fashion abut temples gleaming with golden Buddha images. Built on the floodplain of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok was once known as the “Venice of the East” because canals crisscrossed it, though these have mostly been turned into traffic-clogged roads. They connect older quarters such as the royal island of Rattanakosin and heaving Chinatown with hotel and condominium filled districts around Sukhumvit, Silom, and Sathorn roads. Wherever you venture, the smells of jasmine and grilling street food will remind you where you are.

Related Features

  • Photo:  Sirocco restaurant

    Bangkok Must-Dos

    Get recommendations on the top Bangkok attractions (what to see, where to go) from experts at National Geographic.

  • Photo: A golden Buddha statue

    48 Hours: Bangkok Destination Guide

    Southeast Asia's crossroads capital blends an ancient past into a trendy culture.

  • Photo: An elephant walking in Thailand

    Thailand's Urban Giants

    Thailand's domestic giants, harshly treated by some of their handlers, face a perilous future in a land of shrinking forests and spreading cities.

  • Photo: Boat plying through thin waterway

    Dangerous Straits

    The Strait of Malacca. Pirates haunt it. Sailors fear it. Global trade depends on it.

Take a Nat Geo Trip

Select a destination or trip type to find a trip:

See All Trips »

Join Nat Geo Travel's Communities




2014 Traveler Photo Contest

  • Picture of people on the Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

    Enter Today to Win!

    Submit your best shots for a chance to be featured in our weekly galleries and to win a grand prize trip for two to Alaska.