Here’s why Bangkok is the world’s most visited city

Jun 22, 2017

When it comes to travel must-do lists, Bangkok checks more boxes than most cities. Cultural wonders? Tick. Delicious local flavours? A resounding yes. Great shopping? Uh huh. Relaxing spas? Yep. Pumping nightlife? Do we even need to answer that?

These are some of the reasons 21.5-million travellers visited Bangkok in 2016, making it the world’s most visited city – according to Mastercard’s Global Destination Cities Index. Singapore Airlines has been flying to the Thai capital for almost 70 years, and here is why it will likely remain one of the most popular routes for the years to come.

Food, glorious food


Bangkok’s culinary scene is one of the world’s most tempting. Delicious scents waft from award-winning restaurants – think chef David Thompson’s Nahm at Como Metropolitan Bangkok – and the city’s myriad street-food vendors. But grabbing a spicy tom yum goong (prawn soup), or mango sticky rice by the roadside may soon be a thing of the past. In April, local newspaper The Nation reported that the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration plans to clear the city’s popular food stalls by the end of 2017.

SEE ALSO: Thai chef Ian Kittichai’s best places to eat in Bangkok

Shrines of gold (and emerald)

Wat Phra Kaeo

With more than 40,000 temples, travellers seeking culture are well served in Thailand. The best place to start is Bangkok’s Wat Phra Kaew (above). Considered the country’s most important Buddhist temple, it is home to the Emerald Buddha, which dates back to the 15th century. Meanwhile, those who believe the mantra “bigger is better” should head to Wat Pho, where Bangkok’s largest reclining Buddha can be found, along with the biggest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.

SEE ALSO: How to keep kids entertained in Bangkok, Thailand

Ready, set, shop!

MBK center

Give your credit cards a workout at one of the city’s air-conditioned megamalls, like the eight-storey MBK Center (above) or the upmarket Siam Paragon. For a more authentic shopping experience, bring lots of Thai baht and make your way to the market. See local life in full colour at the Damnoen Saduak (main photo) or Amphawa floating markets. And don’t miss Bangkok’s famed Chatuchak, one of the largest markets in the world. Vegetables, plants and flowers are sold during the week but Chatuchak is in full effect on the weekend, when stalls offer everything from vintage clothing and furniture to coconut ice cream and more.