Why Bangkok Was Rated Best City In The World?

Bangkok1Bangkok was recently rated as the 2008 World’s Best City by “Travel + Leisure”. Here is my take on the eight reasons why.

1. Abundance of world class hotels and resorts. I can not think of another city with more 5 star resorts, readily available vacancies, and costs for luxury accommodations as low as Bangkok.

2. Some of the regions best shopping including both local centers like MBK (clothes and telephones), Chatuchak Market (everything under the sun), Pantip Plaza (computers) , and Thaniya Plaza (golf equipment) and luxury shopping malls like Siam Paragon and the Emporium.

3. Mind-blowing, spicy, and healthy cuisine such as Som Tom (papaya salad), tom yum goong (spicy soup with coconut milk and shrimp), rice noodles with minced pork (a golf course favorite).

4. Efficient transportation including the sky train, subway, highways and links to airports and Bangkok golf courses.

5. Exotic cultural attractions like the Grande Palace (one of the world’s man made wonders), floating market, Chao Praya River and numerous temples and palaces.

6. Nightlife that will delight every taste. If you are in the mood check out the world’s highest outdoor restaurant at Sirocco. If you are prefer clubbing alongside of local movie stars try Bed Supper Club constructed from a large horizontal aluminum tube. Finally, for those who are on in Bangkok on their own remember the hit song “One Night in Bangkok……”: it is still all true!

7. That Thai smile! It is unbelievable; women wearing flat bamboo hats welcome visitors from around the world with broad smiles. Every Thai from owners of large companies to room maids walk around all day with a bright smile! Now isn’t that is a real service mind set and a change from what you see when visiting most major Western or other Asian cities?

8. Finally, last bust not least especially for golfers: availability, variety and quality of Bangkok golf courses. With 60 golf courses to choose from visitors, unaccompanied by members, are allowed to play even if the course claims to be private. In the USA and Europe, or even in Australia or China, it is rare for amateurs to have the opportunity to play on professional level courses. Yet in Bangkok you can readily play at courses such as Alpine Golf & Sports Club (where Tiger Woods won in 2000) and Thai Country Club (where Vijay Singh won in 1998).

Well that is my take on things. If you have any thoughts please feel free to post a comment or send me an email at my Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia golf tour company.

6 comments

  1. Loz Darmon

    Hi Mark,
    While I am a big fan of many things about Bangkok (and Thailand in general),I think to rate as “World’s best city” is a bit of a stretch. Your points are well-taken, and I agree with most of them. However, here are some of my reasons why Bangkok is not “Worlds Best”
    1. Climate – yes, it’s usually nice and warm, but quite often excessively so, especially for those who are unused to the heat and humidity (and rainfall). I am not a cold-weather golfer, but I could do without the sweat-soaked days sometimes.
    2. Transportation – I think “efficient” is a little generous, especially if you are talking about taxis. I have noticed over the last year or so an increasing unwillingness of Bangkok taxi drivers to use the meter, particularly if you are not a local. My wife (who is Thai-born) even has trouble if she is with me.
    3. Nightlife – without being a prude, I do think that the city reputation is diminished by this aspect, which seem to have become increasingly seedy in some areas. When a city is known for “sex tours” it is hard to imagine it appealing to some sectors
    4. Local attitudes – I agree with the Thai smile comment, but local bias (especially Thai males) sometimes is intrusive, even at the highest class hotels. My wife had a problem at a 5-star hotel, where the male staff refused to acknowledge her simply because she was an Asian with a Farang – absolutely unacceptable at a hotel of this class.
    Don’t want to be too negative, as I do think that Thailand is a wonderful country (with GREAT golf!!) but “worlds best”?? Not too sure about that….

  2. Hi Loz,
    Good points indeed and well taken. let me know when you get a break from Brazil and we will get out and hit some. There are a few new golf courses on the outskirts of Bangkok and maybe we can play one together.
    Otherwise we can grab a Singha somewhere around Soi 33.
    Hit em straight!
    Mark

  3. Danny Mills

    Hi Mark,
    whilst I accept we are all entitled to our own opinion, I cant help but muse over the negs from Loz.
    I travel with my business, at least 6 month of the year I spend in different countries and I can say with confidence that there is no other city that comes close to Bangkok.
    every city has the downs that Loz refers to and may I say on a much greater scale, leaving again Bangkok a standalone prize winner, try Brazil, Mexico, London, Moscow
    Blessings.
    Danny.

  4. Scott

    Hi Mark,
    You’ve wet my appetite for trying out the Bangkok courses. I hope to be in Bkk for a week in late February or early March and hope to play at least 2 times in the week.
    I played a few rounds in Phuket last november at Red Mountain, Both Blue Canyon courses, Loche Palm, Paunanka (spelling), and the 9 hole course at The Country Club.
    Next week I’ll be in Koh Samui for 2 weeks and will have a lash at Santiburi, some fun at The Bophut Hills Country Club and Royal Samui.
    If you have some favourites around Bkk I’d love to get your thoughts.
    Cheers,
    Scott
    Perth

  5. Hi Scott,
    Here is an even better tip; skip Samui. The course, Santiburi Samui, is overpriced and very mickey-mouse. Royal Samui is not finished, and Buphut Hills is just a pitch-and-putt. Plus Samui is packed with backpacking tourists in February and March and all the prices are hiked for the visitors. July is much better when you can save costs and get much better service.
    Hua Hin is a great choice now. You will be much happier relaxing, sun bathing and golfing there.

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