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March 2007
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48 Hours: Bangkok
Text by Mary Beth LaRue    Photo by Gavin Hellier/Getty Images
Photo: giant Buddha statue in Bangkok
A monk prays at the feet of a giant Buddha statue in Indrawihan Wat.

Southeast Asia's crossroads capital blends an ancient past into a trendy culture.

With six million people living in Bangkok, you need more than just a map to navigate the Far East's "City of Angels." In the March 2007 issue of National Geographic Traveler, writer Roy Hamric explores the city in "Bangkok: Asia's City of Angels." Use Traveler's picks of Bangkok's best blogs, podcasts, magazines, movies, and more to explore Thailand's beautiful capital—a city with an ever-evolving art, music, and film scene and delectable dishes.


Blogs

Podcasts

Newspapers

Magazines

Maps

Books

Movies

 
Blogs

Real Thai
Foodie Austin Bush's "RealThai" blog is a glimpse inside the world of Thai cuisine, though Bush's meals are likely to inspire jealousy in his readers. His blog is filled with colorful photographs and mouthwatering recipes—from green curry to sticky rice—and he leaves no restaurant rock unturned, scoping out the best Bangkok has to offer with a well-trained, critical eye.
 
Bangkok Expat Mama

In 2001, Lyle Walter and her family uprooted from Washington, D.C., and planted themselves in the bustling world of Bangkok. In "Bangkok Expat Mama," Walter blogs about "the stimulating, multicultural world of expat life in Asia." As a freelance writer, Walter is inspired by the city's endless fodder for story ideas and never shortchanges her reader.
 
Metroblogging Bangkok
"Metroblogging Bangkok" is one of over 50 city blogs in the Metroblogging network covering a hodgepodge of subjects from local news to concerts to restaurants.


Podcasts

Tips for Travellers
In Gary Bembridge's "Tips for Travellers" podcasts, he provides listeners with very usable tips while visiting the featured city. Check out this one on Bangkok with advice such as "avoid a homemade tailor, but be sure and visit one of Bangkok's night markets."

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Newspapers

Bangkok Post
All news past and present is at your fingertips on the Bangkok Post website. The English-language Post covers city culture, breaking news, and business. Check out their restaurant reviews to avoid picking the wrong restaurant in such a renowned "foodie" locale.

The Nation

This sharply designed website is easy to navigate and full of information—from breaking news to politics to sports. Check out the site's discussion forums or "Weblog" for the latest issues and to get in touch with locals' opinions and preferences.


Magazines

Bangkok Recorder
Whether you're looking for the hottest Thai club or local music gig, the Bangkok Recorder has the bases covered. See the listings under "Locations" for arts and culture, books and media, cafés and restaurants, and more. The Recorder site also provides an insider's look into Bangkok's edgy fashion, film, art, and music scenes.
 
Elle Thailand

This popular American fashion magazine has a Thai version that gives a fun, colorful glimpse into upscale Thai culture. Though some of the site is in Thai, the site is easy to navigate and full of beautiful photographs.


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Maps

WikiMapia
Before heading east see a bird's-eye view of this sprawling city. Though it's not reliable for directions since it's just a satellite photograph, it's fun to scroll around the city before navigating on foot.

Yahoo! Travel: Bangkok
This easy-to-read map has streets, monuments, and hotels labeled. Just be sure to print it out on a color printer, so that it doesn't lose its readability.


Books

Landlady in Bangkok, by Karen Swenson (National Poetry Series)
Journalist and poet Karen Swenson compiled a poetry travelogue about her travels around Southeast Asia—Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Publishers Weekly writes: "These aren't the romantic escapist imaginings of a Westerner fulfilling one stage of a personal or a professional itinerary. Rather, Swenson shows how a writer can be enriched, honestly, by what is 'alien.'"
 
Bangkok 8, by John Burdett (2003)
This crime thriller paints a vivid, unsentimental, and empathetic picture of Bangkok's gritty street life, with an insider's understanding of its workings and motivations. Its narrator is an original voice in the noir genre: Thai detective Sonchai Jitpleecheep, a world-weary Buddhist cop whose mother is a Thai ex-prostitute and unknown father an American G.I. The plot stumbles at the end, but readers should enjoy the wild ride getting there.
 
Check out more books in our Travel Library.



Movies

The Beach (2000)
While staying in Bangkok, a young American backpacker, Richard (Leonardo DiCaprio), finds a map leading to a legendary island. He and a group of young wayward backpackers begin their quest to find "paradise," but not without many trials—swimming through the ocean, dodging the bullets of drug traffickers, and making their way into the strange cult that lives on the island. Though the movie's plot can be a little dark, the lush Thai island scenery is stunning.
 
The Tin Mine
(2005)
The Tin Mine is from Thai author Ajin Panjapan's book of short stories and is adapted from his childhood spent in a mine in southern Thailand after World War II. The film follows a young man who begins working in a mining camp after being expelled from Thailand's most renowned university. This visually rich and emotionally charged film shows that a college degree cannot teach some of life's most important lessons.


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