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We may earn a commission from affiliate links. Bangkok is everything you'd expect from the capital of Thailand: it's noisy, crowded, colorful, exciting, infuriating, and smile-inducing. There are temples, ancient sites, and other attractions to be visited, as well as modern shopping malls that have a kitschy yet high-end ambience.
Bangkok can be overwhelming, but it's also a fascinating city that represents Southeast Asia's tension between the developed and developing worlds. Bangkok also serves as a gateway to many other parts of Thailand.
From here, you can hop a short flight to Phuket, Chiang Mai, Koh Samui, and other popular destinations. You can also board a train or hop on a bus for little money, and visit national treasures such as The best of bangkokLopburi, and many other gems around the country.
Discover the best things to do in this bustling city with our list of the top attractions in Bangkok. See also: Where to Stay in Bangkok. Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. Grand Palace. If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame.
Built inthe grand palace was the royal residence for generations and is still used for important ceremonies and accommodating he of state. Dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which basically means covering your arms and legs and avoiding any sloppy attire. This is a half-day sightseeing tour, either morning or afternoon, with pickup from your hotel and a local guide to put what you are seeing in context.
Without a guide, it's easy to miss important features or not fully understand the relevance of what you are seeing, and the hotel pickup makes the whole experience that much simpler. Wat Pho. Located immediately south of the Grand Palace precinct, Wat Pho makes an excellent addition to your palace tour, provided your feet are up for more walking. The temple was built by King Rama I and is the oldest in Bangkok.
It has long been considered a place of healing, and was famous centuries ago for its pharmacy and as Thailand's first "university"-both established by King Rama III. You can get a Thai or foot massage at the traditional medical school on the premises, but the prices are ificantly higher than what you will find at massage parlors elsewhere in The best of bangkok city.
Today Wat Pho is best known for the Temple of the Reclining Buddhawhere you'll find a statue so big 45 meters long and 15 meters highit cannot be viewed in its entirety but only appreciated in sections. The soles of the feet, inlaid with a myriad of precious stones, are particularly beautiful. Look also for the long earlobes ifying noble birth, and the lotus-bud configuration of the hand to symbolize purity and beauty.
Wat Arun. Wat Arun is something of a triumphant complex, dating back to the time of ancient battles between the former The best of bangkok and Burma. Having fallen to the Burmese, Ayutthaya was reduced to rubble and ashes, but General Taksin and the remaining survivors vowed to march "until the sun rose again" and to build a temple here. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, was that temple. It is where the new king later built his royal palace and a private chapel. If you climb to the top of the prang just before sunset, you will be rewarded with an unforgettable view as the sun sinks over the Chao Praya River.
Even if you don't plan on doing any climbing, sunset is really the time to take in this place in all its glory. Wat Traimit, Temple of the The best of bangkok Buddha. Sheer luck or lack thereof makes this attraction special. During the s, the East Asiatic Company purchased the land around the temple. A condition of the sale was the removal of a plaster statue of Buddha, but the statue proved too heavy for the crane being used. The cable parted and the figure was dropped, being left overnight where it fell.
It The best of bangkok to be in the rainy season, and when next morning some monks walked past, they noticed a glint of gold shining through the plaster. The coating was removed, revealing a 3. All attempts to trace the origin of this priceless statue have so far failed, but it is assumed to date from the Sukhothai period, when marauding invaders threatened the country and its treasures, and it became common practice to conceal valuable Buddha figures beneath a coating of plaster.
No one knows how it came to Bangkok, but here it stands, available for the admiration of visitors from all over the world. Wat Suthat. Wat Suthat, adjacent to the Great Swingis one of the oldest and most beautiful of Bangkok's Buddhist temples. Three kings had a hand in its construction: it was begun soon after the coronation of Rama I founder of the Chakri dynasty incontinued by Rama II, and completed 10 years later by Rama III.
Apart from its delightful architecture, the temple boasts some exceptionally interesting wall paintings. Wat Suthat is less popular than some of the other temple complexes in the city, so you'll enjoy a more peaceful and intimate experience here. Giant Swing. In the center of the busy square in front of Wat Suthat stands one of Bangkok's most eye-catching sights: the meter-high teak frame of the so-called The best of bangkok Swing. Built in the s to be used as part of traditional Brahmin Hinduist ceremonies, the swing was later damaged by lightning and became just decorative.
This used to be the focus of a religious ceremony held every year in December after the rice harvest. Teams of three took turns to balance on a dangerously narrow board and be swung 25 meters or more off the ground "up to Heaven," at which point they would attempt to catch a bag of silver coins in their teeth. King Rama VII banned the contest infollowing a The best of bangkok fatal accidents. National Museum, Bangkok. History buffs will want to devote at least half a sightseeing day to the national museum. Until the mids, this was Thailand's only museum, which explains why its collection is so big and diverse.
Fortunately, just about every exhibit is labeled in Thai and English and guided tours are also offered in English, so you won't miss out on any of the country's fascinating ancient and contemporary history. King Rama I's Wang Na Palace, located within the grounds of the museum, remains essentially as it was, and stands as a testament to Thai history.
Visitors can see regalia, religious and ceremonial artifacts, ceramics, games, weaponry, musical instruments, and the Viceroy's throne, as well as an impressive collection of Buddha figures arranged according to period. Chatuchak Market. This sprawling semi-outdoor weekend market is the largest in the world and one of the top things to do when visiting Bangkok.
Shoppers can find everything from jewelry and religious icons The best of bangkok pet supplies, paper lamps, and delicious street food here. Chatuchak Market is home to over 15, stalls offering just about anything you can dream up-even better, any souvenir you might want is probably available here at a much cheaper price than anywhere else in Bangkok.
This is a great place to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in everyday Thai life, so arrive early and clear your schedule for the rest of the day if you want to do this place justice. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. For an even more interesting market experience, you can arrange a tour to Damnoen Saduak, a famous floating market located in Ratchaburi about 1. The popularity of floating markets once earned Bangkok the nickname "Venice of the East. Keep in mind that floating markets are now highly touristic enterprises, so don't expect an exclusive morning of shopping by boat-but you will be able to buy fresh and delicious foods and interact with locals in an authentic way.
The best way to reach the market is to a tour such as the Floating Markets Cruise Day Trip from Bangkokwhich takes about six hours and includes pickup right from your hotel and transport in an air-conditioned coach. A backpacker on Khao San Road. This is Bangkok's infamous backpacker district, a neighborhood jam-packed with guesthouses, food vendors, clothing stalls, and travelers from every corner of the globe.
You'll need to tap into your patience when hanging out here, because while it is colorful and exciting in its own way, the crowds and scents and blaring music can test even the calmest soul. All that said, Khao San Road is also a great place to pick up a few pairs of baggy fisherman pants, the perennial staple of every backpacker's wardrobe when trekking through Thailand; browse the treasures in a used bookstore; and dig into some delicious Indian food from a neighborhood restaurant. Jim Thompson House. The historic home of a "self-made American entrepreneur" who disappeared while traveling in Malaysia now stands as a relic of an older time in Bangkok.
Jim Thompson settled in Thailand after spending time there as a serviceman around the end of WWII and quickly became a well-known name in the Thai silk industry. Thompson was awarded the Order of the White Elephant, an important honor given to foreigners who have made ificant contributions to Thailand. Thompson's home has been turned into a museum offering insights into his life and business, as well as the history of the city and the Thai silk industry. Lumpini Park.
Lumpini Park provides visitors with a green oasis amid the traffic and chaos of Bangkok. Hang out on one of several lawn areas, enjoy the shade of a Chinese pagoda, or take a boat out on the lake. Lumpini Park is a great place to spend an afternoon enjoying the contrast of the tranquil park with the skyscrapers rising all around it.
Note that the park has been the site of anti-government protests that have occasionally turned violent in the past, so be sure to check on the current political situation The best of bangkok visiting. Keep an eye out for the massive Asian water monitors as well-they can often The best of bangkok found taking a stroll around the lake. Don't let the airport-like name fool you - this shopping mall is one of the best places to visit in Bangkok if you're looking for a mix of local and international brands, as well as plenty of unique buys.
Terminal 21 is unique in more ways than one-even by Thailand's shopping standards. Every floor of the mall has been themed to a different international city. Enter at the level of the BTS station and you'll be in Paris; go up a floor and it's Tokyo; another floor and you're staring at the iconic red phone booths of London.
The Caribbean, San Francisco, and Istanbul also figure into the de theme. Street Food Stalls. To really experience Bangkok, you have to try the local cuisine. You haven't really "done" the city without chowing down on grilled meats and fish, spicy noodles, fresh fruit, and curries. If you think you know Thai food, you're in for a surprise-whatever you've tried before is nothing like the dishes you'll find here. You'll have no trouble at all finding vendors to tempt you with treats all around Bangkok and help you live through a quintessential Thailand experience, tucking into a delicious if mysterious meal, surrounded by the chaos and heat of the city.
Surprisingly, some of the best street food in Bangkok is on Khao San Road - both in the little stalls lining up the street and in the small shacks and restaurants just off the main road selling pad Thai, pad see ew, and mango sticky rice. Cruise boat in front of Wat Arun. The Chao Phraya River is Bangkok's heartline. Known as the "river of kings," this major waterway will allow you to discover some of the city's most stunning temples and monuments from a completely new angle. During the day, take advantage of Bangkok's many ferries and express boats, which depart from Sathorn Pier and will stop right at the ports of major tourist The best of bangkok, including Wat Arun and Ratchawongse.
Local canal boats khlong Saen Saep are used by the locals to commute to work and are a great way to see the real Bangkok, as the boats zigzag through small canals and behind residential buildings. Bangkok is a big city with many areas where visitors can stay and still have good access to sightseeing, shopping, and dining.
Many of the top-end hotels are in the historic Riverside area. Not far away, budget-minded travelers and backpackers often frequent the Khao San Road area, which lies in close proximity to some of the major sites, including the Grand Palace, Wat Phra, Wat Pho, and museums.
Sukhumvit is a more modern area with good shopping The best of bangkok easy access to other parts of the city on the Skytrain. This The best of bangkok a good place to find mid-range hotels. Below are some popular hotels in these key areas:. Ready to explore outside Bangkok? Thailand Travel Guide. Written by Diana Bocco and Casey Hynes Updated Jun 23, We may earn a commission from affiliate links Bangkok is everything you'd expect from the capital of Thailand: it's noisy, crowded, colorful, exciting, infuriating, and smile-inducing.
See also: Where to Stay in Bangkok Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues. Admire the Beauty of the Grand Palace Grand Palace If you only visit one major historical tourist attraction in Bangkok, this should be the one. Wat Pho Wat Pho Located immediately south of the Grand Palace precinct, Wat Pho makes an excellent addition to your palace tour, provided your feet are up for more walking.
Wat Arun Wat Arun Wat Arun is something of a The best of bangkok complex, dating back to the time of ancient battles between the former Siam and Burma. Address: Arun Amarin Road, Bangkok. Wat Suthat Apart from its delightful architecture, the temple boasts some exceptionally interesting wall paintings.
Giant Swing Giant Swing In the center of the busy square in front of Wat Suthat stands one of Bangkok's most eye-catching sights: the meter-high teak frame of the so-called Giant Swing. Stock Up on Authentic Souvenirs at Chatuchak Market Chatuchak Market This sprawling semi-outdoor weekend market is the largest in the world and one of the top things to do when visiting Bangkok.The best of bangkok
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25 Best Things to Do in Bangkok (Thailand)