Travel + Leisure Magazine Votes Bangkok Best City in the World

Bangkok best city in the world according to Travel + Leisure magazine

For the first time ever, Bangkok has just been voted the world’s best city in a travel poll by Travel + Leisure magazine.

As someone who has lived in Bangkok for years and who loves the city very much, I must say I am proud.

After all, while many people in Bangkok complain about the traffic and the pollution (both of which are bad), overall, the positives in Bangkok far, far outweigh the negatives and I have to agree with the people who took the Travel + Leisure magazine poll – Bangkok is the best city in the world because it isĀ unlike any other.

The heat in Bangkok

When you first get off the plane in Bangkok, what you notice is the heat. It’s hotter than anywhere you’ve ever been and literally rises up to meet you and enclose you in it’s damp heaviness.

The next thing you’ll experience are the smells. Grime coated pollution, mixed with jasmine flowers and the scent of food cooking everywhere – the first few days you’ll be nauseated by it then, as your body becomes used to the smell, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.

Bangkok is the city that never sleeps. You can get food at any time of the day or night, street vendors ply their wares from early morning till late at night, ladies of the night are out at night (and often in the morning too!), and so are the elephants who are brought into the city by their owners to beg for money from the tourists.

Shopping, movie theaters, temples and tuk tuk

It’s all here too – mega malls, brand name shops, fake brand name clothes, enormous movie theatres, tiny neighborhood temples, orange robe clad monks wandering the streets for alms, lazy soi dogs sleeping, tuk tuks chugging by, and gorgeous Thai girls manicured to perfection.

The nicest thing about Bangkok though is the Thais. Quite possibly the nicest and happiest people in the world, the Thais are relaxed about everything. Nothing phases them, nothing seems to make them angry and nothing ruins their enjoyment of life.

Smiles are everywhere – not for nothing is Thailand known as ‘the Land of Smiles’. Even the poor, who have very little, will still flash you a smile as they try to sell you a 20 baht (60 cents) snack from a rice basket slung over a bamboo pole carried across their shoulders.

Bangkok is Bangkok – known in Thai as Greung Thep, City of Angels – but the Thais themselves are what make Bangkok so special.

So, no, I’m not surprised that Travel + Leisure readers voted Bangkok the best city in the world. Number three in last year’s poll, it made it to the top this year. Thai Airways also made it to the top three as the third best airline in the world for the first time.

Congratulations to Thailand. With political upheaval, worsening economy and uncertainty about the future – Thais have something to be proud of and it couldn’t have come at a better time.