Bangkok—A blend of sacred traditions, exotic food and earthbound pleasures

This article was excerpted from The Wall Street Journal’s Insider’s Guide to Bangkok.

When one first arrives in Bangkok, the frenetic pace and chaotic traffic can be overwhelming. However, the allure of Thailand’s capital city lies more in its electric pulse and exotic sensory experiences. From bustling sidewalk markets and pulsating nightclubs to tranquil Buddhist temples, the city exists as a playground and cultural classroom at the same time. The influx of foreign chefs and restaurateur, as well as new luxury hotels, such as the colonial-style Siam and the design-driven Sofitel So Bangkok, are helping the city shed its reputation as a haven for backpackers and dropouts.

image: destination360.com

The Garden Suites at the Sukhothai Hotel. Amazing place to stay or hang out. The hotel restaurant, Celadon, and the gym, pool and ambience are all stellar. 13/3 South Sathorn Rd., sukhothai.com

Chakrabongse Villas. Formerly the home of a prince, early bookings are essential at this exquisite boutique hotel. thaivillas.com

Sky Bar. For a drink with panoramic views, hit Sky Bar, one of the highest open-air bars in the world. 63rd floor, The Dome at State Tower, 1055 Silom Rd., lebua.com

image: lebua.com

Sra Bua. A sibling of Copenhagen’s Michelin-starred Kiin Kiin restaurant, Sra Bua serves remarkable Thai-fusion food amidst a beautiful ambience. Siam Kempinski, 991/9 Rama 1 Rd., kempinski.com

Bed Supperclub. This upscale restaurant, club, art gallery and theater merged into one attracts a young, hip crowd. 26 Sukhumvit Soi 11, bedsupperclub.com

Boat trip in the klongs (canals). Hire a boat at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel pier to see Bangkok via its multitude of canals.

image: thai-blogs.com

Wat Traimit. This temple is home to an astonishing golden Buddha with an incredible history. Thanon Mittaphap Rd.

WTF. The arty set gathers at this intimate bar slash gallery, which serves excellent cocktails and Iberian-inspired small plates. wtfbangkok.com

Street Food on Soi 38, Sukhumvit Road. This strip of stalls is a favorite late-night nosh spot among everyone from celebrities and socialites to office workers.

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