A study by Mastercard has yielded the Global Destinations Cities Index. It ranks cities based off total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending. By understanding international travel patterns and studying how it affects urban economies, the index can also predict visitor growth for the following year.
The review puts Bangkok as the most visited city in the world, with approximately 22 million international visitors. More detailed studies reveal visitor patterns, such as an average of 4.7 nights stay and average spending of USD $173 daily.
To help you, here are some things to see and do in Bangkok:
Take a Free Walking Tour
One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new destination is take a free walking tour. You’ll get to see the main sights, learn a little history, and start to get a sense of the culture. Best of all, you’ll have an expert local guide with you who can help answer any questions you have and give you suggestions and recommendations.
See the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace was built over the course of three years between 1782-1785 by King Rama I when the capital moved from Thonburi to Bangkok. It’s the official residence of the king, though he doesn’t live there anymore (it’s just used for ceremonies).
Visit Wat Pho and Wat Arun
Wat Pho, known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is famous for its massive golden reclining Buddha statue. Built in 1832, the statue is 15 meters tall and 46 meters long. It’s one of the most popular sights in the city.
Experience Khao San Road
This is the backpacker capital of the world. Khao San Road (along with Soi Rambuttri) has been the hub of backpackers in Asia since the 80s. While it’s a full-on tourist trap now, with non-stop bars, hawkers, and street stalls, it’s still a fun place to spend some time — even if you’re not staying in the area. Grab a drink, order some banana pancakes, and spend some time meeting other travelers and watching the world go by.
Check out the Floating Market
While the floating markets are a little touristy, they are super fun and can’t be missed. The two main floating markets in the city are Khlong Lat Mayom and Thaling Chan (the latter being the most popular). Locals will paddle their small boats around the water and you can just shop as they pass you by. It’s definitely a unique experience!
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