As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital ofThailand,Bangkokfeatures both old-world charm and modern convenience, at times served up in an apparently chaotic manner, but always with a gracious smile. Invariably, everyThailandholiday includes a visit to the kingdom’s capital city,Bangkok, orKrung Thep, “the city of angels” as it is known to its inhabitants. Many tourists who travel toBangkokare immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the vast number of attractionsBangkokhas to offer. Indeed there is a wide variety ofBangkoksightseeing opportunities spanning more than two centuries of rapid development following the city’s founding in 1782 by King Rama I, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty.
Since that auspicious date,Bangkokhas swelled to a cosmopolitan, 21st century city of more than ten million inhabitants. While the immensity of the city and its bustling streets can be intimidating at first, those who spend some time in Bangkok are quickly enamored by the myriad of attractions Bangkok contains, from exotic temples, which underscore Thailand’s strong Buddhist history, to modern shopping malls, which make shopping an integral part of any Bangkok holiday.Bangkokfeatures attractions guaranteed to please visitors either simply passing through the city or spending their entireThailandholiday inBangkok. Nearly everyBangkokholiday includes a visit toThailand’sGrandPalace, arguably the premier Bangkoksightseeing attraction.
Situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island, the gleaming spires of the Grand Palace are conveniently located nearby Bangkok’s most spectacular temples, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaeo), the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), and Wat Pho, which features an enormous reclining Buddha and was home of the first Thai massage school in the kingdom. These iconic destinations are top attractions to all visitors who travel toBangkoklooking to appreciateThailand’s unique cultural traditions. In fact, there are more than 400 functioning Buddhist temples throughout the city and it’s not uncommon when you travel in Bangkok to spot saffron robed monks collecting morning alms or traveling throughout out the city, including along the Chao Phraya, the “River of Kings”, which passes alongside the Temple of the Dawn. The winding Chao Phraya is connected by numerous canals from which Bangkok has earned its nickname the “Venice of the East”; when you travel around Bangkok, a cruise on the Chao Phraya, a visit to a floating market, or an exploration of the cities “back alley” canals (khlongs) are themselves unique Bangkok attractions.
Other historical and cultural Bangkok sightseeing ‘must sees’ include the National Museum, Vimanmek Mansion, and Suan Pakkad Palace, all of which either house fine art or are national treasures in their own right. BeyondBangkok’s historical district, there are plenty of other attractions that make aBangkokholiday both enjoyable and memorable. The downtown districts along Silom and Sukhumvit Roads have a convenient electric rail system, including an elevated sky-train and underground subway, that have made travel inBangkokboth easy and enjoyable. Connecting hotels directly to shopping malls and traditional markets, such asMahBoonKrongCenterand Chatuchak (JJ) weekend market, the MRT and BTS systems have literally elevatedBangkokshopping to world-class status. Of course, noThailandholiday is complete without experiencingThailand’s vibrant nightlife. Whether, the purpose of yourThailandholiday is to immerse yourself inThailand’s unique culture or simply to splurge inBangkokshopping malls, when you travel toBangkokyou are guaranteed a fascinating experience of both old-world charm and modern convenience and luxury.
- Beware of scams involving tuk tuks, gem shops, and tailors, particularly around popular tourist attractions. Remember, there is no such thing as a free ride.
- Its better to flag down taxis that are already driving (the red light means empty); these will generally use the meter while parked taxis typically ask for higher fixed fares or will take you for the proverbial ‘ride’.
- During the monsoon season months of June through September rains come quickly and heavily, particularly in the afternoon. Adequate footwear and an umbrella are advisable.