Bangkok is a heady
mix of beautiful cultural architecture, skyscrapers, mega shopping malls,
bustling markets, vibrant nightlife and interesting tourist streets. There
is no end to the sightseeing, especially when you include the museums and
day trips. If you can see past the traffic jams, humid weather and vast
urban sprawl it really is a city that deserves the 2008 Travel & Leisure Magazine’s award as the world’s best travel
foremost cultural and architectural highlight comes in the form of the
neo-Baroque king’s palace and the associated Wat Phra Kaew temple, which
houses the revered Emerald Buddha. The GrandPalace
can be found in the historic Rattanakosin district, near ChaoPrayaRiver
and Khao San road, and although the admission fee is quite steep, it is a
come to visit Wat Po temple to see the massive reclining Buddha statue and
to learn Thai massage. The temple complex is located next door to the GrandPalace
and features several beautiful buildings, including the 130-foot long
reclining Buddha, one of the world’s largest. The ancient school of
massage is also onsite and admission is thankfully cheap.
across the ChaoPrayaRiver
not far from Wat Po, ancient Wat Arun has a fabulous river setting and is
one of the most charming and the oldest temple in the city. It features a
270-foot spire and can be climbed to a reasonable height, although taking
care with your footing is a must. Wat Arun is never as busy as the other
major temples in the city due to its positioning across the river and is a
lovely sight at sunset.
Khao San road
is the major backpacker hangout in Asia; a pedestrianised
street of terraced cafés, guesthouses, bars and street markets. Constant
streams of visitors wander this tourist haven to engage in people-watching,
chilling out, marathon reading and street-side haggling. This is the place
to get dreadlocks and tattoos as well as pick up a cheap selection of CDs
was made for walking only and you will see why when you discern the level of
traffic in this compact area of the city. Come here to get away from the
main tourist spots, for the best Chinese food in the city, or to buy some
gold. Chinatown also displays the typical Chinese look, with tight markets
and script shop signs, and you will also find the obligatory collection of
Chinese herbal medicine outlets.
square is right in the thick of it, located along Sukhumvit road,
Bangkok’s main street, and featuring no end of mega shopping malls. A
bustling cosmopolitan area of tourists and beautiful people, this is the
place to head for designer gear in luxurious malls like the new Siam
Paragon as well as Emporium. For phones and electronics, the nearby MBK
centre is a better choice. Siam square has a good collection of hotels, from
five-star luxury to humble backpacker-oriented places.
are Red Light
districts in Bangkok
are Patpong, Nana plaza and Soi Cowboy. Patpong is the main red light
district, encompassing an unassuming row of markets selling all sorts of
goodies by day and night, as well as the obligatory sex. It is in the go-go
bars here that you can check out the infamous ‘ping pong sex shows’, but
beware being ripped off at every turn. The ever so slightly more respectable
near Nana Station, and Soi Cowboy, farther along Sukhumvit, are a bit more
you’re after a bargain and don’t mind tight spaces and haggling, then
Chatujak Market is for you. It is a labyrinth of market stalls featuring
Thai handicrafts and second-hand clothing, to tacky souvenirs and more. Head
here in the morning, as wandering the stalls during the heat of the day is
not a nice experience.
more discerning traveller and those into art will want to check out Bangkok’s
which features an important collection of Thai art and Southeast Asian
antiquities. Some of the Buddhist art here goes back to the 5th
century and there are also impressive displays on the history of Thailand.
is conveniently located near the GrandPalace.
square and the National Stadium BTS station, Jim Thompson’s House is a
sight which was made all the more popular after the disappearance of the
American self-made entrepreneur. He managed to revive the Thai silk
industry, and his Bangkok
home is a stunningly-preserved example of a traditional Thai home. Inside is
a fine collection of art and antiques from the Southeast Asian region.
is the world’s largest teak building, located within the DusitPalace,
is a well-preserved, all-wood structure featuring impressive architecture
and a wealth of art. Included in the many collections is the photographic
collection of King Bhumibol, which lends insight into the lives of the
Located near Hualampong Station, Wat Traimat famously holds a 10-foot high,
five-ton solid gold Buddha. The marauding Burmese missed this gem when they
looted the rest of the city, as it was hidden beneath a stucco cover and lay
there for hundreds of years until it was accidentally discovered in the
1960s. Wat Traimat gets busy so it is best to arrive early.
offers the perfect respite from an overcrowded hot and humid city and lies
smack-bang in the heart of Bangkok.
The park is ideal for walking or jogging in the daytime and also boasts a
lake in its centre where you can go for a short cruise. There are also loads
of restaurants here as well as the odd monitor lizard, but refrain from
wandering around the park at night.
Thonburi canals once earned Bangkok
the nickname ‘Venice
of the East’ as the canals covered huge swathes of the city and were the
main mode of transport centuries past. Today, they still encompass a huge
network and offer a laid back look at the city’s inner workings. Boats
leave from all piers and many tourists tend to take the Chao Phraya