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Text: Erik Pontoppidan, Copenhagen, Denmark

When you tell people, who have never been to Thailand, that you have visited Bangkok, it's very likely that you will meet a lot of prejudices. An amazing number connect Thailand - and especially Bangkok - with prostitution, porno and similar things. However, don't listen to them! Bangkok is a VERY exciting city!

Bangkok is full of noise, cars, traffic jams, smog, slum and other negative indications. Nevertheless, I like the city. Below the surface of noise and chaos, it's exotic and exciting, and in addition, it has an attractive, hectic, dynamic atmosphere, which you feel everywhere: On the main streets, at the numerous markets, onboard the river buses of Chao Phraya, at the hundreds of restaurants and food vendors and at several other places.

Take a ride with the river express from one of the stopping places on the floating pontoon-bridges. For a couple of dollars, you can sail from one end of the city to the other along the important main waterway of Bangkok. Here, the atmosphere is very active! The boat only stops for a few seconds, allowing the passengers to jump off and on, and a man with a flute makes signals to the captain, when the footboard has reached the bridge.

Or you may enter a tuk-tuk instead of an ordinary taxi, when you need a city transport. Sitting in the open air in a 3-whell tuk-tuk, racing through Bangkok on a tropical night is a symphony of smells, people, visual sensations and experiences. I never get tired of it! My very first impression from Bangkok took place, when I arrived with the train from Chiang Mai to the Hualampong central railway station. We hired a tuk-tuk and rushed through the city centre in a completely crazy way, which made me ask myself whether this was dream or reality.

Most people call Bangkok a modern metropol - and they are right in this. But behind the modern facade, you will find an unmistakable mark of Thailand. If you deny this, you might as well say that New York is not USA or London is not England. Almost everywhere, the humid air is dense with foreign smells and impressions: The spices from the Thai kitchen, the markets with vegetables, fruits and flowers, the dirty water from the river and the canals - and then, of course, the more familiar smog from the cars. Bangkok has a reputation as one of the world's best provided cities when talking about eating places, so if you get hungry, your meal will always be very close. And the food selections are numerous, both regarding exclusive restaurants and street vendors.

Bangkok never sleeps. Things are happening all the time. If you are a backpacker, then sit down at a café or a restaurant on Khao San Road at midnight and have a beer or a meal in the middle of everything. Or enter a super market late at night and buy a giant soft drink full of ice. Or visit one of the numerous dancing restaurants and decide, whether you prefer traditional Thai dance or disco. Or take the elevator to the roof terrace of "Tower Inn" and enjoy an exclusive drink with a fantastic skyline. Not even New York by night exceeds the view, you have at the tropical night from up here.

And then, of course, there are the compulsory "must" - sights for every tourist: The Royal Palace, the enormous, lying Buddha in the Wat Po - Temple, the ruins of Ayuthaya, etc. And not to forget: You can make the shopping of your life if the purpose is to save money. If you need clothes, leather goods, jewellery, etc., Bangkok is the place to buy it. And if you have always wished a tailored suit for yourself, then use the opportunity while you are here!

Click HERE to read my article about trekking, rafting and elephant riding in northern Thailand.

Click HERE to see my photo gallery from Thailand.

Click HERE to visit my main home page with plenty of links to travelling and trekking.