[top photo: Experience the Thai way of life at Damnoen Saduak, the original floating market.]
IT'S just a two-hour flight from here. That's why Bangkok remains a perennial favourite among Singaporeans looking for a short getaway.
Foodies and shopoholics especially love the Thai capital, not to mention recessionistas (fashionistas on a budget).
One of the most famous shopping sites in Bangkok, the Chatuchak weekend market, plays host to about 9,000 different booths.
These booths sell everything under the sun, from the latest fashions to intricate handicraft, and even animals like dogs and multi-coloured fish.
The market is easily accessible via public transport.
Visitors can take the skytrain (BTS) to Mo Chit station or the metro to Suan Chatuchak station.
The best time to go to the weekend market would be in the morning. Crowds usually stream in later in the day and coupled with the humid heat, it can get quite overwhelming.
If you don't enjoy squeezing with the crowd, there are many air-conditioned malls in the city where you can shop in comfort.
Siam Paragon, located at the Siam main BTS station, is a popular choice for travellers looking for branded goods.
The six-storey shopping centre houses luxury boutiques such as Jimmy Choo, Chanel and Balenciaga, to name a few.
While the women shop, men can entertain themselves at the luxury car showrooms of Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche, all within the mall.
Even if you can't afford the cars, remember, window shopping is free.
Check out Chatuchak weekend market where there's a wide and interesting variety of goods available.
For an insight into the Thai way of life, visit the Damnoen Saduak - Bangkok's original floating market. Locals sell their wares in boats floating in the canals.
You can get anything from food to souvenirs and handicraft.
The floating market is about a two-hour journey by bus outside the Bangkok city centre.
Most travellers to Bangkok also have food on their 'die-die-must-try' list.
Bangkok is a foodie haven, especially for those who love their food rich and spicy.
Thai cuisine can send tastebuds into a tizzy with its blend of spicy, sour, sweet and salty spices.
What's more, visitors would also be able to enjoy the wide variety of cuisines in different settings.
Dine with the locals at roadside stalls and soak up the ambience.
If you wanted to appreciate the local way of life, it doesn't get more authentic than this.
For a more upmarket treat, there is also the unique Thai-style dining experience in antique teak houses.
Recently, numerous chic restaurants and bars have opened in Bangkok. These restaurants offer cuisine ranging from Asian fusion to Italian.
One example is the popular ISHQ restaurant located in the Sathon business district.
The restaurant sits in a 105-year-old colonial house, which a member of the Thai royal family originally built as a reception hall.
Here, you can try Pan-Asian dishes, influenced by Chinese and Indonesian cuisine.
After dinner, make your way to one of the many chic bars about town. One famous one is the Bed Supperclub.
The club attracts many tourists, expats and well-heeled Thais.
For a drink with a view, there's the open-air rooftop Sky Bar. Located in the second-highest tower in Bangkok (the Dome), you can have a drink 250m above the busy streets and a panoramic view of the city to boot.
This article was first published in The New Paper.