Bangkok, Thailand’s capital. It is a large city known for ornate shrines and vibrant street life.
Bangkok began as a small trading centre and port community on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River some 200 years ago. Today, while the city is up to speed with modern times, the grandeur and glory of its illustrious past still prevails. See it dazzling temples, spectacular palaces, a world-famous floating market or colorful Chinatown, each of these famous places has an intriguing story to tell.
TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK
1. Wat Phra Kaew
Wat Phra Kaew , commonly known in English as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Officially as Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram, is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The Emerald Buddha housed in the temple is potent religio-political symbol and the palladium of Thai society.
Built in 1782, and for 150 years the home of Thai Kings and the Royal court, the Grand Palace continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail. Wat Pra Kaew enshrines Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), the sacred Buddha image meticulously carved from a single block of emerald.
2. Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn)
The impressive silhouette of Wat Arun’s towering spires is one of the most recognised in Southeast Asia. Constructed during the first half of the 19th century in the ancient Khmer style.
Apart from its beauty, Wat Arun symbolises the birth of the Rattanakosin Period and the founding of the new capital after Ayutthaya fell.
The temple derives its name from the Hindu god Aruna, often personified as the radiations of the rising sun.
3. Floating Market Khlong Lat Mayom
Khlong Lat Mayom is one of the three floating markets located close to Bangkok, no more than twenty kilometres from town and accessible by taxi from Wongwian Yai (the last BTS station on the Silom Line).
Khlong Lat Mayom is nothing like the huge touristy Damnoen Saduak or the crowded Amphawa. But really has the charm and authenticity of a local market and you might be one of the only foreigners around.
You can spend a couple of hours here then move to the largest Taling Chan floating market, just a couple of kilometers away.
4. Chinatown ( Yaowarat )
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction and a food haven for new generation gourmands who flock here after sunset to explore the vibrant street-side cuisine.
Packed with market stalls, street-side restaurants and a dense concentration of gold shops, Chinatown is an experience not to miss.
The energy that oozes from its endless rows of wooden shop-houses is plain contagious – it will keep you wanting to come back for more.
Plan your visit during major festivals, like Chinese New Year, and you will see Bangkok Chinatown at its best.
5. Wat Pho
Wat Pho, also spelled Wat Po, is a Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok, Thailand. It is on Rattanakosin Island, directly south of the Grand Palace.
Known also as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, its official name is Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn.
There’s more to Wat Pho than the gigantic reclining Buddha and traditional Thai massage. Wat Pho harbours a fascinating collection of murals, inscriptions and sculptures that delve into various subjects. From warfare to astronomy to archaeology.
The vast temple complex contains a landscaped garden with stone sculptures, a souvenir shop and the College of Traditional Medicine.
6. Chao Phraya River & Waterways
The ‘Venice of the East’ .
This scenic river, flowing through the heart of Bangkok, offers convenient boat transportation and sightseeing cruises since many of the major city attractions are easily accessible from various points along this waterway.
Exploring Bangkok by boat is a fantastic way to get a glimpse into the timeless charm of the city, as well as witness the role Bangkok’s many waterways have played in its past right up to the present day.
7. Chatuchak Weekend Market
You may think you’ve visited some pretty amazing markets in your lifetime, but we’re fairly sure that none will come close to beating the sheer size and variety found at Bangkok’s Chatuchak Market.
It really is a sight to behold, and it’s arguably the best place in the whole city to buy souvenirs and all manner of other things.
8. Khao San Road
Khao San Road – The popular book ‘The Beach’ famously described Khao San Road as “the centre of the backpacking universe”.
Judging by the truth-seeking travelers who converge here it’s a phrase that sums it up pretty much perfectly.
Here at Khao San and the streets either side, you can shop, exchange tales and prepare for you next stint on the backpacker trail.
9. Soi Cowboy
Soi Cowboy was named after the cowboy hat-wearing African-American who opened the first bar here in the early 1970s.
This red-light district has a more laid-back, carnival-like feel to it than Patpong or Nana Plaza.
Flashing neon lights up a colourful streetscape of 20 or so A go-go bars that line its sides. Don’t be shy, it’s pretty easygoing and open-minded, entry is always free and drink’s prices are fixed.
10. Jim Thompson’s House
The Jim Thompson House is a museum in central Bangkok.
Housing the art collection of American businessman and architect Jim Thompson, the museum designer and former owner.
Built in 1959, the museum spans one rectangular “rai” of land
What is the best time to visit Bangkok?
September and October are Bangkok’s (and Thailand’s) rainiest months. So, those are the months that you should avoid.