Bangkok has made it onto numerous best city lists around the world. Thailand’s capital is a buzzing metropolis with plenty to see and do 24 hours of the day. From temples to skyscrapers, shopping malls and street food, this hub of Thai culture is fun to explore. Here is a handy list of what do in Bangkok and 10 places to tick off your list.
Wat Arun is a beautifully designed temple that rises majestically next to the Chao Phraya river. Aptly known as the Temple of Dawn, it’s one of the best places to visit at sunrise when the sun’s rays shine over the towering structure. It’s also pretty amazing to visit the temple at night, when the spires are bathed by the light of the moon. It’s such a peaceful and tranquil sight.
Bangkok’s Grand Palace is a must-see tourist icon. The magnificent palace has been home to Thai royalty for 150 years. Significantly, Thailand is the only Southeast Asian nation that wasn’t colonised by the French or the British. You’ll be awed by the beauty and grandeur of the design. To the Thai people, the Grand Palace is the spiritual heart of the Thailand.
Enjoy fresh fruit and food at Thailand’s famous Floating Market. The sight of a traffic jam of boats on the river is quintessentially Thai. Vendors paddle past selling all sorts of fresh produce, such as tropical fruit, vegetables, coconut juice and an array of street food cooked on their boats.
Bangkok’s Chinatown is a street food haven.The maze of narrow streets are filled with eateries and local shops. There are gold shops, Chinese medicine shops and clothing shops. Visit during Chinese New Year for a fun-filled atmosphere full of colour and life. It’s great place to go shopping for souvenirs.
Buddhism is at the heart of Thai culture, so a visit to Wat Pho (also known as Old City) should definitely be on your list. Wat Pho is one of the largest temple complexes in the country. You’ll be awed by the golden Buddha status. It’s also a great place to get a traditional Thai massage or an alternatative traditional medicine treatment. The various temple buildings have unique in design.
6-Bangkok’s khlongs and canals
It’s easy to see why Bangkok is called “Venice of the East”. There are canals right through the city which you can explore by ferry and taxi boat. Or you can also take a gentle stroll towards the canal paths and see how far these canals extend.
7-Khao San Road
Khao San Road is where Thai heritage collides with western influences. Along this wide road there’s a mixture of shops and stores. From traditional food, tropical fruit and other local products to department stores and sleek shops selling international luxury brands, Khao San is the place to shop, eat and soak up the Bangkok vibe.
Founded by a well-known Thai actresses, Patravadi, the riverside complex is a hub for performing arts. At Patravadi Theatre, there are also gift shops and restaurants. Entertainment includes acrobats, avante-garde performances and festivals. And on weekends there’s a dinner theatre. www.patravaditheatre.com
9-Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson is an icon who revived the Thai silk industry. A lover of Southeast Asian culture and arts, Jim Thompson decorated and designed his house with art and antiquities that revolved around the East-meets-West theme. Jim Thompson House is now a museum with six traditional Thai-style houses.
Looking for fun after dark? Soi Cowboy is a vibrant red light district worth a look. The short street is packed with flashing neon lights, gogo bars and adult entertainment. Several movies were filmed here and Hugh Grant visited Soi Cowboy in 2003 while filming Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.
Christina Pfeiffer has travelled to Thailand a number of times as a guest of Tourism Authority of Thailand