Bangkok is a city of stark contrasts at every turn, as sleek skyscrapers overlook ancient temples. This city is busy, noisy, and a bit polluted, but Bangkok has the power to astonish visitors who really dig into the culture. Wat Phra Kaew is a must-see attraction to top any visitor’s list, with its golden spires and the legendary Emerald Buddha shrine. Many of the lesser-known temples are worth a visit as well, like Wat Benchamabophit and Wat Arun. The dedication required to build temples like these boggles the mind.

For all its beautiful architecture and historic sites, Bangkok’s food scene might make the most lasting impression. Thai food seems to know no limits, making use of fresh seafood, tofu, rice noodles, curry, bamboo, and more spices than one can imagine. Pick up something spicy from a street vendor, and you’ll find yourself sweating but wanting a second helping. When the sun goes down, consider makinge your way to a nearby bar like Tuba Bar, a trendy, low-key spot that’s part thrift-store, part bar.

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