Yes, Bangkok is a recreational and spiritual cocktail. How was it made? Step 1: Acquire hidden markets, T-shirt touts, sacred temples, grand palaces, monks in prayer, crazy traffic, amplified nightlife and flavour-exploding food. Step 2: Blend. Step 3: Serve intermittently chilled by air-conditioning.
Most of the top sites are in the Old City, in the district of Rattanakosin. Here you'll find the Grand Palace – which includes the most sacred temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew – and the often-visited huge Buddha statue, Wat Pho. The budget traveller's mecca, Khao San Road, is adjacent to Rattanakosin too. A shop-'til-you-drop excursion Bangers style can yield gold, gemstones and tailor-made clothes. King of the markets is the 8,000-stall Chatuchak Weekend Market in Phahonyothin. When you get hungry and inevitably eat at a ubiquitous street stall, here's a free tip: only say yes to satay sauce if you want hot sauce.
Accommodation runs the gamut of budget to call-the-limo-and-the-concierge. High season runs October to April so bargains are up for grabs May to September.