Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Bangkok voted World's Best City 2008 by Travel + Leisure magazine

For the first time, Bangkok (Thailand) has just been chosen as the World's Best City for 2008 in an online poll by Travel + Leisure magazine, winning over last year's winners Florence (Italy) and Bali (Indonesia). Bangkok moved up from its third place ranking in 2007 to top the list for 2008 with a score of 87.61. Travel + Leisure is one of the most influential international travel magazines in the world.



Other awards bestowed by Travel + Leisure included the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador as the World’s Best Island for 2008, Singapore Airlines, once again, as the World’s Best Airline, New York City, for the 8th consecutive time, as the Best City in the US, and Singita Sabi Sand, at the Kruger National Park, South Africa, as the World's Top Hotel. Singapore Airlines was voted number one, followed by Emirates, Thai Airways and Cathay Pacific. Last year's number one hotel, the Oberoi Udaivilas in India, fell to number 4 this year. Singita Sabi Sands was voted the number two hotel in 2007.

The result was announced by Editor-in-chief, Nancy Novogrod, of American based Travel and Leisure on Thursday. The results were compiled from votes by magazine subscribers in an Internet poll which went live between January and March 2008. Travel + Leisure will honor the winners on July 24, 2008 in New York City, USA.

As an expat living in Bangkok for almost 20 years it is great news! I've always been in love with Bangkok, and really missed Bangkok when I had to live away from Thailand for almost a decade. During that period when I was away, I visited Bangkok every year for a week or two and kept up with the changes and all that was new here. During all these years Bangkok got cleaner every year and the traffic has also improved as compared to some years ago when Bangkok traffic was at its worst. But still, everyone who's been to Bangkok cannot stop complaining about the traffic here, as it will always be bad. The pollution is also pretty bad but not at its worst.

But overall I think Bangkok is a great city to live in, you can smile at a Thai person here and get a better smile back, as Thailand is called "the land of smiles". These are some of the best things about Bangkok that I really enjoy:
  1. The Thai food and Thai sweets
  2. The smell of flowers, jasmine garlands and food from the vendors
  3. The delicious meatballs on a stick be it chicken, pork, fish, shrimp, or octopus
  4. Tuk-tuks (motorized autorickshaws) zooming past you loaded with farangs (tourists)
  5. Soft drinks, coffee or tea served with ice cubes in a plastic bag tied with a rubber band
  6. Motorized vendor carts with food/toys/stickers/broomsticks that zip along major roads
  7. The sight of robed Buddhist monks receiving alms early in the morning
  8. Elephants with a tail light roaming the city streets at night with their mahouts, begging from tourists
  9. Pantip plaza, shopping malls, authentic brand names as well as fake brand name clothes, apparel, watches, DVDs, electronics, computers, and almost everything else
  10. Wet & wild people splashing water at passing vehicles during Songkran water festival
  11. Unique Thai Buddhist temples
  12. Riding a long tailed boat down Bangkok's canals (khlong)
  13. Kathoeys (ladyboys) surgically altered to perfection, looking better than most women
  14. Street dogs sleeping wherever they like
  15. Pretty Thai girls riding up the escalators on malls and skytrains
  16. And the list just goes on...

The entire results are listed below :

Top 10 Cities (World) :

1 Bangkok, Thailand 87.61
2 Buenos Aires, Argentina 87.24
3 Cape Town, South Africa 86.59
4 Sydney, Australia 86.49
5 Florence, Italy 86.24
6 Cuzco, Peru 86.15
7 Rome, Italy 85.12
8 New York, US 85.03
9 Istanbul, Turkey 84.61
10 San Francisco, US 84.42

Top 5 Cities (Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific) :

1 Sydney 86.49
2 Melbourne 80.35
3 Queenstown, New Zealand 79.95
4 Perth 77.78
5 Hobart 77.38

Top 10 Cities (Asia) :

1 Bangkok, Thailand 87.61
2 Kyoto, Japan 84.27
3 Chiang Mai, Thailand 84.14
4 Hong Kong 83.69
5 Udaipur, India 83.51
6 Shanghai, China 81.83
7 Siem Reap, Cambodia 81.15
8 Beijing, China 81.05
9 Hanoi, Vietnam 80.87
10 Jaipur, India 80.78

Top 10 Cities (Europe) :

1 Florence, Italy 86.24
2 Rome, Italy 85.12
3 Istanbul, Turkey 84.61
4 Paris, France 82.59
5 Krakow, Poland 82.14
6 Prague, Czech Republic 81.81
7 Venice, Italy 81.74
8 Barcelona, Spain 81.32
9 Vienna, Austria 80.99
10 Salzburg, Austria 80.63

Top 5 Cities (Mexico and Central and South America) :

1 Buenos Aires, Argentina 87.24
2 Cuzco, Peru 86.15
3 San Miguel de Allende, Mexico 82.19
4 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 80.15
5 Antigua, Guatemala 79.92

Top 10 Cities (Africa and the Middle East) :

1 Cape Town 86.59
2 Jerusalem 84.39
3 Fez, Morocco 80.77
4 Marrakesh, Morocco 80.46
5 Cairo 80.23
6 Dubai 78.86
7 Tel Aviv 78.60
8 Amman 74.52
9 Tunis 71.93
10 Alexandria 70.72

Top 10 Islands (World) :

1 Galapagos Islands 87.64
2 Bali 86.32
3 Maui 86.09
4 Kauai 85.87
5 Tasmania 85.00
6 Easter Island 84.78
7 Hawaii 84.66
8 Santorini 84.52
9 Great Barrier Reef Islands 84.42
10 Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia 83.82

Top 3 Islands (Asia) :

1 Bali, Indonesia 86.32
2 Phuket, Thailand 82.64
3 Penang, Malaysia 81.67

Top 5 Islands (Europe) :

1 Santorini, Greece 84.52
2 Dalmatian Islands, Croatia 83.50
3 Sicily, Italy 82.92
4 Ischia, Italy 82.41
5 Cyclades, Greece (Santorini rated separately) 82.40

Top 3 Islands (Mexico and Central and South America) :

1 Galapagos Islands 87.64
2 Easter Island, Chile 84.78
3 Ambergris Cay, Belize 78.08

Top 20 Hotel Spas :

1 Wickaninnish Inn Tofino, Vancouver Island, Canada 92.66
2 Four Seasons Resort, Chiang Mai, Thailand 92.19
3 Lodge at Pebble Beach, California, US 90.94
4 Four Seasons Resort, Nevis, US 90.88
5 Maroma Resort & Spa Riviera, Maya, Mexico 90.79
6 Esperanza Resort, Los Cabos, Mexico 90.63
7 Auberge du Soleil Rutherford, California, US 90.37
8 Four Seasons Hotel George V, Paris, France 90.28
9 Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa Scottsdale, Arizona, US 90.14
10 Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands 90.10
11 Grand Wailea Resort Hotel & Spa, Maui, US 89.66
12 The Oriental, Bangkok, Thailand 89.58
13 Grove Park Inn Resort & Spa Asheville, North Carolina, US 89.51
14 One & Only Ocean Club Paradise Island, Bahamas 89.47
15 Four Seasons Hotel, Las Vegas, US 89.42
16 Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, US 88.75
17 The Peninsula, Chicago, US 88.64
18 Ritz-Carlton Bachelor Gulch Beaver Creek, Colorado, US 88.62
19 Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, US 88.16
20 American Club Kohler, Wisconsin, US 87.99

1 comment:

mistifarang said...

A good list of Bangkok's features, only the point "Elephants with a tail light roaming the city streets at night with their mahouts, begging from tourists" is a sad one and should not appear! I think this lawless abuse is not a good promotion for BKK!
http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_uni/3089890466/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/toni_uni/2951403612/in/set-72157610089606284/