Bangkok a city of Contrasts, it’s the contradictions that provide the City of Angels with its complex, multifaceted personality. Here, climate-controlled megamalls sit side by side with 200-year-old village homes; gold-spired temples share space with neon-lit strips of sleaze; slow-moving traffic is bypassed by long-tail boats plying the canals and riverways; Buddhist monks dressed in robes shop for the latest smartphones; and streets lined with food carts are overlooked by restaurants perched on top of skyscrapers. As Bangkok races towards the future, these contrasts are only poised to increase and intensify, even while supplying the city with its unique and ever-evolving notion of Thai cosmopolitanism.
While Pattaya is a multicultural, hyper-touristy, it boasts some excellent and good value places to stay and eat, and the area is also a family-friendly resort coast. Nevertheless, the city itself is no tropical paradise; its reputation as a sex capital is totally deserved, with hundreds of beer bars, go-go clubs and massage parlors. Much of the rest is dedicated to mass-market sun-seeking tourism, with a huge retired expat population, and enormous tour groups hurried through town in an almost constant stream. For a relaxing stay in Pattaya, base yourself outside the central area.