The Grand Palace
Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace was once the official residence of the Thai Royal Family. Today it is the top tourist attraction in Thailand, drawing over eight million visitors a year. The large palace complex houses numerous ornate buildings, including Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace can be easily accessed via taxi or riverboat at the Chang Pier, and it is open everyday from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with an admission fee of 300 Thai Baht. Be sure to wear conservative attire, including trousers and shirts with sleeves.
Wat Pho & Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and home to the gold embossed reclining Buddha, constructed to symbolize his passing into Nirvana. The enormous statue measures 46 meters long and 15 meters high, and was constructed by King Rama III in 1832. Wat Pho also houses a renowned school of traditional Thai massage and medicine. The open-air massage parlour offers a variety of treatments for an exceptionally low price. The best time to visit is in the late morning before it becomes overcrowded with tourists.
19th century Temple of the Dawn, sits majestically on the western bank of the Chao Phraya River. Its exterior is adorned with porcelain mosaics, filling every conceivable nook, cranny, and wall, brilliantly creative and visually stunning.
This enormous open-air weekend market is home to more than 5,000 stalls that sell everything imaginable from all over Thailand, it offers a variety of clothing, antiques, textiles, home-wares, pets, just about anything you could want. The meandering maze of stalls feature some of the best bargains in Thailand, so don’t be afraid to barter. The market is located on Phaholyothin Road within walking distance of the Mo Chit Skytrain Station and the Kampaengphet subway station.
MBK and Siam Paragon
In Siam Square there are over 7 different malls. Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise. If you’re looking for a nice gift to take home, head to the maze like shopping mall known as MBK. Situated adjacent to Siam Paragon, MBK features an endless array of booths selling every imaginable trinket, electronic device, and article of clothing known to man. There’s also a movie theatre, bowling alley and plenty of places to have a meal or snack. Make sure to budget plenty of time and plan to get lost in this never-ending series of quaint shops.
76km from Bangkok, was the capital of Thailand for about 400 years – from 1350 to 1767 (when it was finally sacked by invading Burmese armies). In its heyday, Ayutthaya was a metropolis of considerable stature and ranked as one of the world’s most important (and magnificent) cities.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
This large and extremely popular 100+ year old floating market is about 80 km southwest of Bangkok in Ratchaburi Province. In recent years it has become a major tourist attraction with up to 5000 tourists per day. You need to be an early bird for this trip; the market starts about 7am and finishes about 11am. Most of the tourists arrive about 9am, so try to arrive earlier.
Chao Phraya River Cruise
A cruise along the legendary Chao Phraya River and the canals on the Thon Buri side is the most pleasant, relaxing way to explore the city once dubbed “Venice of the East” The charm of the Chao Phraya river adds perspective to your exploration of the city’s premier attractions. You can book a tour through various travel agents or rent a boat at Tha Chang pier near the Grand Palace.
Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha), Bangkok
When the Burmese were about to sack the city, the statue was covered with plaster to hide its value. Two centuries later, still in plaster, it was thought to be worth very little. But in 1957, when the statue was being moved to a new temple in Bangkok, it slipped from the crane and was left in the mud by the workmen. In the morning, a temple monk, who had dreamed that the statue was divinely inspired, went to see the Buddha image. Through a crack in the plaster he saw a glint of yellow, and discovered that the statue was made of pure solid gold. This graceful seated Buddha which is thought to be about 900 years old, is nearly 10 feet high and weighs over 5 tons.
Patpong Night Market
After recently cleaning up its act, Patpong has become one of the ‘must’ night destinations for avid shoppers. Found in the built-up area known as Silom, the market is always busy and chaotic with all the commotion from the GO-GO bars nearby and lots of foreign tourists. This market in Bangkok’s notorious nightlife district is often the first stop for many tourists just arriving to Bangkok. Be warned though, the quality and prices of most items sold are about as real and trustworthy as the girls shaking their wares in go-go bars flanking the area. Both market and go-go bars seem to complement each other well, but remember not to be fooled by first impressions, and to bargain hard.