Bangkok is a surprise entry in the cool cities list and some would list it in their ten worst shitholes on the planet but for all its pollution, noise and concrete intensity, Bangkok really does have a cool vibe of its own, once you get into it.
Speaking Thai helps, naturally and when you do know your sabai from your sanuk the Thais open up to you in a way that the average smelly farang could never imagine. Most backpackers only ever hang around the soulless circus that is Khao San Road and never get to appreciate the cooler sides of Bangkok.
For one thing, the current generation of Thais in Bangkok are some of the coolest people in Asia to hang out with, their taste in music is good, they’re open minded and they’re quite happy to let you join their gang when sat at a crowded little blues bar or coffee joint.
There are markets that sell everything on the planet, a canal network that beats Amsterdam or Venice, good street food and plenty of ways to find work so that you can live here in comparative ease.
It’s also a pretty cheap place to live where you can find yourself a little apartment out of the way somewhere and eat out whenever you feel like it. Yet everything from the internet to the post office works, and you have the feeling of being in the chaotic East at the same time as riding the modern wave of Asia.