PHOTO: Bangkok's Grand Palace. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
TravelBound has the scoop on Bangkok, Thailand’s capital and a can’t-miss destination. Distinctive culture and beautiful settings awaits visitors. Here’s the top five to-do’s.
No, not a “long” boat ride, a “long boat” ride
Bangkok is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With its beautiful natural setting and eye-popping infrastructure, Bangkok truly hits a “home run.” Haven’t caught your attention yet? How about taking a ride on a long boat down the murky, yet pretty Chao Phraya River? You can even make purchases while on the boat at the famous floating markets, all while getting a captivating view of the city’s monuments in the background.
Visit the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace houses a multitude of buildings directly in the center of Bangkok. The King of Thailand lived in the palace for well over 100 years until the early 20th century. While it no longer houses the king, royal ceremonies and state functions still take place there. The architecture of the palace is stunning, and the Thai art matches its beauty. Take a boat ride to and from the complex with gorgeous views as you approach. Make sure you completely cover your legs when heading to the palace, otherwise you won’t be allowed in. Want to learn more about its background? Take one of the free — yes, free — guided tours.
Wat Pho, aka Temple of the Reclining Buddha
This main attraction of the temple is the reclining Buddha, which stands at about 15 feet tall and 150 feet long. This may be the best 100 baht (entry fee) you spend during your trip. For another 200-400 baht, you will be able to join English speaking guides to find out all of the minute details. No, the reclining Buddha is not the only attraction here. Go for a walk to any of the four chapels containing almost 400 gilded Buddhas. You can even get a relaxing massage in the backyard of the temple, which many people refer to as the best they’ve ever received. To top it all off, it’s a short ten minute walk from the Grand Palace — why not make it a day trip?
READ MORE: An Inside Look at Bangkok’s Wat Suthat
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Fifteen thousand stalls. Two hundred thousand visitors per day. Sound intimidating? Welcome to the market life of Bangkok. Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest in Thailand, offering everything from Thai-style food to plants, clothes, books and even pets! You should definitely try to hit the stalls early as they will be filled by midday, especially since all but one section (Jatujak Plaza) is only opened Saturday and Sunday. Be prepared to bargain, though, because this is a norm in Thailand! Prices are cheap already, but the less it costs, the more you save — or the more you get to spend elsewhere.
Wat Arun, aka “The Temple of Dawn”
One of the most eye-catching temples in Bangkok, this landmark was given its name by King Taksin in 1768 after arriving there as dawn was breaking. If you enjoy quiet, easy walk-throughs, we suggest visiting early in the morning before the large crowds make their way over. Don’t hesitate to visit around sunset — it’s a beautiful sight when it’s lit. The base of the tower atop the structure has sculptures of Chinese soldiers and animals. The inner hall has a golden Buddha, similar to those in Wat Pho, and is decorated with murals. If experiencing new cultures is your thing, Wat Arun is a must-see.