Bangkok is an amazingly diverse city to visit. Not only are there the ultra-modern offices, hotels and shopping malls dotted all over the city, but in stark contrast to this landscape are around 400 ancient cultural temples. Even though they look a little out of place in the city, they're still so stunningly beautiful you just can't help but look at them.
As you roam the streets of Bangkok, you're likely to find citizens dressed in modern business clothing you'd expect in most places of the world, but you'll also see Buddhist monks in traditional saffron robes too. This kind of cultural diversity is a part of what makes Thailand so unique.
As with many other large Asian cities, Bangkok is frequently congested with heavy traffic and people everywhere. The balmy tropical weather sees most of Thailand at a warm average annual temperature of around 28 degrees Celsius (around 83 degrees Fahrenheit) although in the warm season the high humidity can make it feel much warmer. Monsoon season, although still warm, can bring driving rain and electrical storms that are second to none.
Many of the local people are very aware of the value of tourists with a Western appearance and they are very clever about trying to hustle and convince tourists about taking their particular tour or visiting their business. They're generally well-meaning though and you'll find that the vast majority of Thai people are very polite and well-mannered.
Keep in mind that charges for taxis are not the same everywhere you go. A good example of this are the cab stalls inside the international airport terminal. They'll offer you a ride to anywhere you need to go, but you might find they're more expensive than the taxis sitting outside waiting for general fares. The cabs outside your hotel are the same. Take a walk a minute away from the hotel lobby and you'll find general cabs that charge much less.
If you're brave, try a ride on a three-wheeled tuk-tuk. In such busy traffic, these can be a little nerve-wracking at first, but they are definitely worth the experience at least once during your trip to Bangkok.
There's plenty of public transport in the city too, including buses and river taxis that can get you around via the river canal system. The river taxis are a great way to get around at the same time as getting a great view of the city.
During your visit to Thailand you should be aware of some general etiquette rules that you'll need to follow. Always remember that the Thai Royal family is highly revered, so never make any comments that could be construed as even slightly negative about the monarchy.
You'll also need to adhere to dress-code when entering sacred temples. It is mandatory to remove your footwear before you enter any of the temples anywhere across the country. You'll also need to wear long pants or a sarong or long skirt inside the temples. This means that shorts and sleeveless tops are not permitted. However, you'll find plenty of light-weight clothing to suit our needs while you're visiting.
Images, likenesses, statues and even postcards of Buddha are sacred throughout Thailand, so if you plan to take a photo of yourself climbing on a Buddha statue, this could be seen as highly disrespectful. Similarly, public displays of affection between men and women are seen as improper, so take it back to your room! Of course, if public displays of 'affection' are your thing, then you might enjoy the notorious red light and adult entertainment district of Patpong.
The city of Bangkok is definitely worth exploring for a few days before you head off to some of the stunningly beautiful parts of Thailand. If your visit to Thailand is only a part of your total visit to Asia, then Bangkok airport offers great flight connections to most other Asian destinations, so it makes the city a great central location for your vacation.