The “Big Smoke”, “City of Angels”, “Venice of the East”, “Sin City of Asia” and numerous other nicknames attempt to encapsulate Bangkok but it is simply; not that simple. It is all of those things and more. It is a concept that is totally undefinable by looking at it component parts in a vacuum. More than anything it is a city of contrasts. Street food vendors set up their simple charcoal burning carts in front of some of the swankiest office buildings on the planet while business people in custom tailored suits, laborers and cab drivers stand in line for lunch. Seedy neighborhoods with dark labyrinthine alleys exist in the shadow of ultra-modern shopping malls. Tuk-tuk drivers deliver commuters from their homes to the modern Bangkok Sky Train. Remarkably it all works.
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Bangkok is a city of “up and comers” and “dead enders”; monks and sybarites; priests and prostitutes. If you want it you can find it here. One minute you can be sipping $15 martinis while watching the skyline at the aptly named, ultra chic, Sky Bar and twenty minutes later you can be drinking $1 beers in one of the infamous girlie bars of Soi Cowboy. If you go to Bangkok looking to be inspired, you will be. If you go to Bangkok looking to be offended, you will be. If you go to Bangkok with an open mind and open to experience you will get to enjoy one of the world’s truly great cities.