Thailand—especially Bangkok—is one of the most commonly misunderstood places in the world. If you have never set foot in Thailand, then you likely have some very specific preconceived notions of what it is like.
The fact is, Western movies very rarely portray things as they really are. It tends to be one extreme or the other for dramatic effect.
Take The Hangover Part II as the perfect example: sure, there are one or two scenes that depict the immense beauty that can be found in Thailand, but the majority of the movie is rooted in sex, sleazy strip bars, rowdy fights, gangsters, and all-manner of chaotic, alcohol-infused madness. For those who have never been, this only reinforces an existing stereotype – which can be dangerous.
So, is Bangkok anything like how it is portrayed in the movies or is there another face to unearth?
Bangkok is not a gangster’s paradise
To say that Bangkok is nothing like how it is portrayed in the movies would be a lie. There is certainly a darker side to Bangkok and just like any other major capital city, there is crime.
However, it’s not nearly as prevalent as it appears to be in movies. I lived in Bangkok for three years and I never felt unsafe or at risk.
All of the major tourist and expat areas are largely very safe and crime levels in Bangkok are comparatively low to many other countries.
Generally, if you keep your wits about you, show respect to everyone you meet, and don’t walk around flashing fat wads of cash on the street, you shouldn’t run into any problems.
Bangkok’s nightlife is vibrant – but it’s not just red lights
Prostitution is present in Bangkok and there are many strip clubs, however, these are strictly reserved to very specific areas of the city. Considering the fact that Bangkok spans over 1,569 km², it’s fair to say that there is so much more to it than gogo bars.
In fact, Bangkok has some of the classiest rooftop cocktail bars in the world, boasting mesmerising views of the expansive cityscape.
You can also find tons of trendy bars and up-market restaurants selling some of the finest cuisine the world has to offer. Simply put, there are many amazing things to do in Bangkok!
It’s packed with classy accommodation
Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Bangkok is a concrete jungle with choked alleyways, spattering of shanty huts and derelict buildings. There’s an awful lot of classy accommodation and wealthy neighbourhoods in the big city.
Not convinced? You can buy condos at Life Sathorn Sierra that look like something out of a futuristic Sci-fi movie!
There is amazing infrastructure
No it’s not just tuk tuks, traffic jams, and locals riding elephants. In fact, Bangkok’s infrastructure is incredible. They have the BTS Skytrain station that has over 60 stations which grant access to all of Bangkok – not to mention the underground MRT Station as well.
In addition to that, Bangkok has some of the finest private hospitals and dental clinics in the world – which is why medical tourism in Thailand is so popular.
There’s plenty of green
While Bangkok certainly does struggle with pollution and there are certain areas that can appear to be very dirty, there is a lot of beauty in Bangkok. In fact, there are dozens of luscious green spaces with many more in development!
Overall, Bangkok is depicted as being dirty, sleazy, and poor. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is, there’s a lot of wealth in Bangkok and the rich, cultural tapestry that can easily be discovered is well worth exploring.
Put it this way, if you’ve never been to Bangkok and think you have a pretty good idea as to what it’s like – you are wrong. Bangkok always takes people by surprise with its immense beauty.