Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night 1

For the first time visitor, Bangkok can be something a sensory overload. With its glittering array of exotic sights, sounds, smells and tastes set to a hectic pace that rivals London, LA or new York, there’s nowhere quite like it.

To a 19-year-old at the very start of his solo gap year travels, Bangkok can seem more than a little daunting. However, that’s exactly the situation I found myself in one balmy night in June 2005 and I was resolved to dive right in. Within a matter of hours, I’d fallen in love with Bangkok and it remains my favourite city to this day.

Having seen the capital grow in sophistication as well as size in the last 7 years I think it’s safe to say that Bangkok really does have something wonderful to offer travellers of every stripe. However, like so many cities, I believe it is best experienced at night. So here’s my night owl’s guide to Thailand’s thrilling and exotic capital.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

As impressive as Bangkok’s cultural and architectural wonders look during the day, there’s nothing quite like seeing them spectacularly lit up in the dead of night. Whether you’re on a cheap holidays budget or not, it’s an absolute must to experience the thrill of seeing The Royal Palace or the Democracy Monument streak by from the back of a speeding taxi-bike or tuk-tuk!

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

One place I always go without fail is the city’s premier Muay Thai venue, the Lumpinee Stadium. The atmosphere is always electric as thousands of kickboxing fans crowd in to cheer on the titans of their beloved national sport.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

The ubiquitous Bangkok transport solution that is the tuk-tuk often gets a bad rap as a supposed deathtrap, which is very unfair! It may feel like you may die at any passing moment as the driver weaves in and out of traffic with the nonchalance of a hardened Hollywood stuntman, but you very… probably won’t!

Tuk-tuks are much less dangerous than some travellers’ remembrances might make out. I can’t get enough of them and would highly recommend that you take at least one ride to really experience the thrill of whizzing through the warm Bangkok night.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Think that shopping sprees are only for the sunlit hours? Think Again! Late night shopping experiences abound in Bangkok, from the spectacularly plush shopping mall complexes that dominate the surrounding blocks, to the more intimate and diverse night markets like Sanam Luang or Ratchada that are scattered around the city’s districts.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

If the beating heart of the city is thudding too loudly in your ears, then take a moment to find serenity in one of the many beautifully maintained temples that grace the cityscape.

Unfortunately, many temples close at around 6pm but it is still easy to find your little oasis of calm in the form of Bangkok’s many public parks.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

One of my favourite things about Bangkok – and Thailand as a whole – is that it’s always a good time to eat. No matter where you are in the city you are likely to be less than 30 seconds away from an incredible meal.

Not only is there always a panoply of enticing restaurants within striking distance, but often some of the tastiest treats come from the street vendors passing by. So if you need a quick pick-me-up, the vendors are the perfect people to see.

Bangkok Breakdown – One Wild Night

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  1. brilliant photos – i feel like i’ve been there myself.

  2. Night photos are my favorite, and these are great. Love how you captured the traffic and frenetic energy of Bangkok.

  3. Avatar of Juan Cifrian Juan Cifrian says:

    Great shots, Paul. Brings back great memories of my trip there in 2005, just a few months before you. Muay Thai is a definite must, and the motorcycle and tuk-tuk rides were a thrill to say the least. Safe travels!

    1. Avatar of Paul Steele Paul Steele says:

      Sounds like you had fun too Juan 🙂

  4. Avatar of Karin@yumandmore Karin@yumandmore says:

    Great post Paul! been traveling to BKK regularly for 20 years but I never cease to be enthralled by it.
    I agree though that night definitely has a special allure there!

  5. Avatar of Rahman Mehraby Rahman Mehraby says:

    Looks like Gold is the color of the town or maybe the country. I liked the photos very much. It seems that all this life in the vein of Thailand is the reason why it's so well-liked by many.

    Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

    Rahman Mehraby
    TraveList Marketing Platform

  6. To Tom,

    The common consensus is wrong, that is a small part of Bangkok, just like if you go to Tokyo you wont be greeted with tentacle porn. Travel the world a bit and it will surprise you! I love Thailand, I do make a point to skip the "red light" districts though, but they are tiny compared to the size of Bangkok/Thailand.

  7. talking about bangkok! this is what u choose as your topics? Muay Thai, Shopping, tempeles and food. lol. okay! hey guys. be careful out their. Bangkok will kick u in the balls. and make u love it!

  8. Uh really? I thought the common consensus was that bangkok was a cess pit of a city, full of cheap nasty hookers, slave keeping bordellos and vile lady boys.

  9. Wow, Bangkok seems like a very beautiful city! Should be surely classified as a "mos def visit"! And thank you for teaching me a new word "TUK-TUK". They're like rickshaws in India haha

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