For tourist, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer, the modern-day “City of Angels” is a huge and buzzing metropolitan of approximately ten million people. The capital of Thailand is a dynamic metropolis. Bangkok is the undeniable political, economic, cultural, diplomatic a, educational hub. and spiritual heart of the constitutional monarchy in Southeast Asia. A pre-eminent global city, Bangkok is home to 12 million people and myriad national monuments and landmarks. Bangkok is the soul of Thailand.
While the gleaming skyscrapers, the ultra-modern buildings and extravagant malls have signaled in the time zone we live in, Bangkok also embraces what is due to the past. The glory of its traditions as reflected in its wealth of rituals, monuments and arts is riveting, and at times indescribable.
Bangkok is a hodgepodge of interesting sights; the city has 400 dazzling marble temples and golden Buddhas of immense beauty and grandeur, marvelous palaces, museums and galleries, timeless canals, colorful street markets, tuk-tuk ride, flashy shopping malls ladyboy show, spirit houses and the world’s unrivaled and pulsating night life.
THE GRAND PALACE in Bangkok is Thailand’s most illustrious spot and one of its most visited. The Grand Palace sits on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River. It served as the official residence of the king of Thailand from the 18th century to the mid-20th century. For just about 150 years, Bangkok’s Grand Palace was not only the home of the King and his court, but also the entire administrative seat of government. After the death of King Ananda Mahidol in the Grand Palace, King Bhumibol moved the official royal residence to Chitralada Palace. Construction of the palace complex began in 1782, during the reign of Rama I. This royal abode is a compound of several buildings admired for its splendid and well-kept early 19th century architecture. Even if the palace is only used for ceremonial functions nowadays, it still has a stature befitting royalty and an imposing presence of greatness. With soaring roofs, mosaic-clad walls and pillars, and tapering glided spires are truly treasures with oriental splendor.
THE TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA is considered the most significant Buddhist temple in Thailand. Situated within the compound of the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew was the first permanent structure built in Bangkok by King Rama I in 1782. It was built to house the most distinguished image in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha. The Emerald Buddha is in reality carved from a large piece of green jade. According to a reliable chronicle, in 1434 A.D. lightning struck a chedi in Chiengrai in northern Thailand and a Buddha statue covered with stucco was found inside. The image was brought into the abbot’s residence and one day he noticed that the stucco on the nose had flaked off and found the Emerald Buddha. People then flocked to worship this precious statue. In 1551, the Emerald Buddha was seized by King of Laos and later moved to Vientiane due to pressure from the Burmese army of King Bayinnaung. And in 1778 during the Thonburi period, King Rama I captured Vientiane and brought the Emerald Buddha back to Thailand.
King Rama I had two seasonal costumes made for the Emerald Buddha, one for the summer and one for the rainy season. King Rama II added another for winter. The ceremony of changing the costumes of the Emerald Buddha takes place three times a year. No one is allowed near the statue except the Thai king, who conducts rituals at the temple throughout the year.
The Palace is open to the public everyday from 8.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m. except during special Royal Ceremonies. Admission Fee is Baht 200, it includes admission to Wat Phra Kaew, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion in the same compound and to Vimanmek Mansion Museum.
Wear appropriate clothing because this is a sacred place and not Disneyland, you must cover your legs and shoulders- so no shorts, see-through clothing, heel-less sandals or flip-flops are allowed.
Be quiet and respectful when you enter the shrine room with the Emerald Buddha; be respectful of other people praying! You’ll find that this is a great place to collect your thoughts.
Photography is prohibited inside the Emerald Buddha sanctuary.
Watch out for nearby touts who’ll tell you that the Palace is closed – this is a ploy to divert you to a gem or gift shop (so they’ll earn a commission on any overpriced merchandise you may be fooled into buying).
How to get there: Take SkyTrain (BTS ) to Taksin Station. From here take a Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Chang Wang Luang Pier. It is a short walk from the pier to the entrance to The Grand Palace public entrance. – Or you can just take a taxi.
If you are staying in Khao San Road or nearby, the temple is reachable on foot
If you need more information, you can contact the following numbers.
Tel: (+66 2) 224-3328 /(02) 226-0255
Fax: (+66 2) 225-9158
JIM THOMPSON’S HOUSE is amongst the history, culture and arts of Thailand, this place is the most intriguing of all. An officer with the American’s Office of Strategic Services (OSS) during WWII, James Harrison Wilson Thompson came to Thailand at the end of the war and settled in Bangkok, though trained as an architect in New York, his fascination for the art of hand silk weaving inspired him to invigorate the Thailand silk industry from the brink of obliviousness. Jim Thompson is a major key player in making Thai silk known around the world. Jim Thompson gained further prominence by his exertion to uphold the ancient Thai architecture. He gathered 6 teak houses from different places in Central Thailand including Ayutthaya and lovingly reassembled them in 1959 in its most indisputable way.
Jim Thompson has a penchant for collecting Asian artifacts and antiques and The Jim’s Thompson’s house is perhaps the embodiment of his collection. He mysteriously disappeared when he went out for a walk in Malaysia’s Cameron Highlands in 1967. Until today, Thompson’s legacy is very much in force with the world renowned Thai silk.
The Jim Thompson House is located on Soi Kasemsan (2) Song, opposite the National Stadium on Rama I Rd. The museum is open daily from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm. With the last guided tour at 5:00pm. Admission fee is 100 baht for adult and 50 for students.
How to get there: Located in the center of Bangkok, accessible by car, taxi, tuktuk or Sky Train (BTS) Take the Sky Train and the nearest station is National Stadium then follow the exit signs marked Jim Thompson’s House.
If you need more information, you can contact the following numbers.
Jim Thompson House
Tel: (+66 22)58-3491/ (0-22)58-3494
WAT PHO – The Temple of the Reclining Buddha gained worldwide recognition because of its spectacular sight- the enormous gold plated reclining Buddha, this regal icon representing the Buddha as he was achieving Nirvana is 46 meters long and 15 meters high. The Buddha is exquisitely embellished and a real sight to behold. The feet and the eyes are embossed impeccably with mother-of-pearl. The engraving in the feet illustrates the 108 auspicious characteristics of the Buddha. Occupying a 20-acre site next to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is the largest and oldest temple in Bangkok bursting with history and was built during the reign of King Petraja of Ayutthaya in 1668, and later the Wat was rebuilt by King Rama I, when Bangkok became Thailand’s capital. Also regarded as the first center of public education, or sometimes called “Thailand’s first university, the temple houses inscriptions, mural paintings and statues envisioned to educate people on various subjects.
Wat Pho is also recognized for another reason, its legendary massage school. This temple is the center for Thai traditional medicine, a true Thai massage that involves acupressure and chiropractic manipulation, as well as kneading, stretching and stroking. If you’ve never tried a traditional Thai massage, Wat Pho is a good place to start, this therapeutic massage is more invigorating rather than relaxing, a good benefit in releasing stress and improve blood circulation.
Admission fee is 20 baht and opens daily from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm. With a break from 12:00-1:00 pm. Guides can be hired at the entrance for 150 baht per person, 200 baht for two, but they’re really not needed.
Massage area open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm.
The massage center is located at the back of the Wat. To get a traditional massage here cost 150 baht for half an hour and 250 baht for 1 hour and herbal is available too for 350 baht an hour. A foot reflexology massage is also available at 250 baht for 45 minutes.
How to get there:
Wat Pho is in Maharat Road of Bangkok but the entrance of the Wat is on Chetuphon Road. A short distance from Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Pho is also accessible by boat, just alight at Tha Tien Express Boat pier which is very near the temple.
The buses that will take you to Wat Pho. Aircon buses 6, 8 and 12 Ordinary buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 62 and 91. All stops near Wat Pho
If you need more information about it you can contact them at the following numbers:
Temple information: (+66 2) 222-0933
Massage Center: (+66 2) 221 2974 / (02) 225- 4771
Fax: (+66 2) 225- 4771
WAT ARUN – The Temple of the Dawn standing proudly on the western bank of Chao Phraya River – on the interim capital site of Thon Buri. Having a central prang typical of Khmer-style tower rising 104 meters above the prayer complex. Wat Arun is one of the city’s most memorable landmarks. Wat Arun is the hallmark of the reign of King Rama III, the Wat is an architectural replica of Mount Meru, the center of the world in Buddhist cosmology. The prang at the four corners which contain figures of the guardian god in four directions fortify the symbolism. Way Arun or the Temple of Dawn is named after Aruna, the Indian God of Dawn. Despite the name, it is one of the most stunning riverside landmark of Thailand, the most impressive view of the monument can be seen from the east side of the river at sunset.
The temple is open every day from 8:30 am to 5:30 pm. Admission fee is 20 baht.
How to get there: Due to its location, just about everyone gets to Wat Arun by boat. Take the Chao Phraya River Express Boat to the Tha Thien pier, then transfer to the cross-river ferry, which costs 2 baht.
Buses that go near Tha Thien are ordinary buses 1, 25, 44, 47, 62 and 91 which stop on Maharat Road.
Enchantment, grandeur, old-world elegance, dazzle and extravagance exude from the stage of the Ratchada Theater…no the breath-taking show that captivates 2,000 individuals daily isn’t a renowned Broadway or infamous Las Vegas show. Rather, it is a source of opulence right here at the core of Bangkok- the world famous cultural show Siam Niramit (Siam -The Enchanted Kingdom).
Siam Niramit is a lavish one-of-a kind cultural theme showing you an in-depth look at Thai’s history, beliefs, culture, festivals, ceremonies and about heaven and hell, a journey that bring spectators back in time to sublime yesteryears.
This 80-minute world class stunning performance of Thai art and cultural heritage draws the audience into a journey of three acts and eight lush scenes with 102 sets in the worlds largest stage using gratifying backdrops of intricate craftsmanship, thrills of superlative music, superb costumes and enhanced special effects of the most sophisticated technology making this a grand and extremely high tech production. There are live animals, aerial artist, funambulist, pyrotechnics, magicians and a spiral stage-lift that elevates a scene before the audience’s very eyes.
Outside the theater, the bygone world of the Kingdom of Siam greets them in the form of an ancient Thai villages, unbelievably genuine and picturesque surrounding covering 5,600 sq.m of the complex. For a taste of authentic Thai cuisine, there is a 800-seat restaurants that you can indulge yourself. The Siam Niramit is a vision and feast for the eyes not to be missed by anyone visiting the city of Bangkok. Captivating and unparalleled enchantment are epitomized by every audience’s unforgettable experience of the extraordinary world-class performance that is the Siam Niramit.
Siam Niramit is located on Tiam Ruammit Road, near the Thailand Cultural Center.
Tickets are 1,500 baht (excluding dinner).
Showtime: 8:00 -9:30 pm
For more details contact Siam Niramit:
Tel: 02-649-9233, 02-649-9222 ext 138-140.
For history buff, the National Museum is definitely worth a visit when in Bangkok. The Bangkok National Museum houses the world’s foremost collection of ancient Thailand’s archeological, religious, artistic artifacts from New Stone Age era ( Neolithic Period), through Srivijaya, Dvaravati, Khmer Kingdoms, and the Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and to Bangkok period.
The National Museum traces back its history in 1874 When King Rama V opened the first public museum, but before that the National Museum was the personal museum of the King Rama IV, repository of the vast royal collections and antiques.
There are 6 buildings in the museum complex; picturesque buildings of colorful Thai architectural design, each have its own division to focus on particular topics. Wang Na contains interesting display of Thai objects d ‘art, including elaborately carved ivory “howdah”(saddle), some theatrical masks and an array of traditional musical instruments. The Buddhaisawan is an exquisitely ornate chapel and house the second holiest Buddha image in Thailand, after the Emerald Buddha. And if you still have time to explore the museum, drop by Tamnak Daeng or the Red House which was originally the living quarters of an elder sister of King Rama I.
The Bangkok National Museum is a very large and informative museum and considered to be the biggest museum in South East Asia. The museum is great for those who would like to understand the history of Thailand. A visit to Bangkok will not be complete without going to the National Museum, it will surely give you a view through the windows of the past.
The museum is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.
Admission fee is 40 baht
How to get there :
The National Museum is in Na Phrthat Road, phra Nakorn District, close distance to Thammasat University, opposite Grand Park( Sanam Luang) and National Theater. The most enjoyable route is to take Skytrain (BTS) to Taksin Station, from here take Chao Phraya River Express boat to Tha Phrachan Pier. Walk straight from the pier to Sanam Luang Park and turn left past Thammasat University to the museum.
Bus that will take you to the national Museum – Bus No. 3, 6, 9, 15, 19, 30, 32, 33, 43, 53, 59, 64, 65, 70, 80, 84
Air Condition bus No. 3, 6, 7, 38, 39, 80, 82, 91 & Airport Bus No A2
For more details contact: Museum Education Section Tel. (+66 2) 224-1333, Fax. (+66 2) 224-1404
Curatorial Staff Section Tel (+66 2) 224-1402
Siam Ocean World in Bangkok is a fun and exciting attraction for young and old visiting Bangkok. A 10,000 square meter world-class aquarium located at 2 basement levels in the upscale and elegant Siam Paragon Mall. The Siam Ocean World is the largest aquarium in all of South East Asia.
Siam Ocean World showcases more than 30,000 marine animals and as many as 400 aquatic species, these includes Stingrays, Blue-Ringed Octopus, Sea dragons, Giant spider crabs, Ragged-tooth sharks, Elephant nose shark, Gray nurse shark and even Penguin.
The aquarium has the capacity to hold more than 4 million liters of water equivalent to 3 Olympic size swimming pools and gives you a 360 degrees view in one of the basins. The voyage through Siam Ocean World will take you through seven different zones; the Weird and Wonderful, Open Ocean, Deep Reef, Rainforest, Rocky Shore, Living Ocean and Sea Jellies.
There are other interesting activities in Siam Ocean World that you should try, like the Ocean walker. They give you a suit and a glass helmet over your head and walks for 15 minutes on the sandy bottom in one of the giant tanks (no shark on that area of course!). Dive with the shark is another thrilling activity, where you get to dive for 30 minutes inside the tank with an instructor and be among the sharks. One good thing about Siam Ocean World is you can walk at you own pace there is no time limitation for visitors. The largest aquarium complex in the region will make your visit to Bangkok a memorable one.
Entrance fee: 850 baht Adult
650 baht Children (80-120 cm)
Opens daily: 10:00 am – 8:00 pm
For further details contact:
Siam Ocean World
Tel: (+66 2)687-2000
Fax: (+66 2) 687-2001
This temple is known for its famous Golden Buddha, constructed during the Sukhothai period. The beautiful image of pure gold is three meters high and weighs five and a half tons. Wat Trai Mit houses the world’s biggest gold Buddha image, persumably 700 to 800 years old. It is a valuable treasure of Thailand and of Buddhism. Local worshipers worship here and rub gold leaf on the wat’s other smaller Buddha images to make merit.
The Golden Buddha was discovered by accident as an outer Buddha image broke when it was moved and the inner Golden Buddha was revealed. The golden image was probably covered with plaster to conceal it from Burmese armies threatening Ayutthaya.
Location: Wat Trai Mit is located at the end of Chinatown’s Yaowarat Road near the Bangkok Railway Station (Hua Lam Phong).
The temple is open everyday from 9:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M.
Admission is 10 Baht.
Popularly called the Marble Temple, Wat Benchamabophit is one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand. Built of Italian Marble, the construction of the temple was started in the year 1899 by King Chulalongkorn. The main attraction of the temple is Sukhothai-style Buddha statue which is situated in the Ordination Hall called Ubosot. The statue is named as Phra Buddhajinaraja. The galleries around the hall contain nearly 52 different types of Lord Buddha statues which also invite the admiration of the tourists.The so-called Marble Temple is located on Sri Ayuttaya Rd, near the King’s official residence at Chitrlada Palace. The temple got its name from the Carrera marble used in its construction.
How to get there : Bus routes 72, 503
Open : Daily from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission : 20 Baht
Tel : 0 2281 2501, 0 2628 7947