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BANGKOK AND AROUND
Unique and Dynamic Metropolis

Founded in 1782 by the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, Bangkok is home to approximately ten million people and is now the country’s spiritual, cultural, diplomatic, commercial, and educational hub. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience fascinating glimpses of Thailand’s unique culture, amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples, magnificent palaces, classical dance extravaganzas, and numerous shopping centers, all which are subjects of great beauty and fascination. Still, traditional ways of life abound, especially along the “Venice of the East” timeless canals and the Chao Phraya River, also known as the “River of Kings,” which winds through the city.

01. The uniquely Thai Grand Palace & Wat Phra Kaeo

The splendid Grand Palace enclosure is home to many ornate temples and buildings with a variety of architectural styles. Gold leaf, reflective tiling, and Buddha images are seen everywhere. The magnificent Wat Phra Kaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) is a treasure trove of Thai arts and home to the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most revered Buddha image. Much is still to be seen in the Grand Palace compound, such as the Royal Thai Decorations and Coin Pavilion, where a permanent exhibition of royal regalia, decorations, medals, and coins dating back to the early 11th century are on display.
02. The city that temples built

Bangkok is still a city of temples, and the whole place is resplendent with golden spires, orange-tiered roofs, saffron-robed monks, and serene Buddha images. Prepare to be amazed with the beauty of the 150-foot long and 49-foot high gold-plated Reclining Buddha, with mother-of-pearl inlaid eyes and feet at Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha). Experience the architectural splendor at Wat Benchamabophit (The Marble Temple), with its classically beautiful proportions, and European influences evident on its stained glass windows and use of Carrara marble. End your day with the sun setting in the red sky behind the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn).
03. Explore the city with a canal & river tour & dinner cruise

Bangkok was once known as “The Venice of the East.” Cruising along the “klongs” (as the canals are called in Thai) takes you on a journey of contrast back to earlier years, all the way to modern Bangkok. The contrast continues as you pass into idyllic rural pockets where villagers grow fruit, vegetables, and orchids. An ideal way of combining dining with river enchantment is to enjoy a dinner cruise along the Chao Phraya River.
04. Shop for bargains or a bite to eat at the floating markets

Bangkok’s floating markets are a colorful reminder of the days when farmers brought their produce to sell by boat. Make an early visit when the sun is not hot and the fruit and vegetables are at their freshest. Try Thai food, noodles, and sweets, or buy handicrafts from the floating shops. Popular floating markets include Damnoen Saduak, Taling Chan, Tha Kha, Lam Phya, and Bang Khu Wiang.
05. The architectural wonders of the Vimanmek Mansion & Anantasamakom Throne Hall

Travel back through time to gain a rare insight into the lifestyle of royalty at the Vimanmek Mansion, the world’s largest golden teak building. The mansion was built as a royal residence, but now houses priceless treasures and a collection of late 19th and early 20th century royal memorabilia. Close to the mansion is the Anantasamakom Throne Hall. Built in 1906, this Renaissance building was constructed of marble from Italy and was once used as the National Assembly. Enjoy the beauty of the dome of the throne hall which houses picturesque frescoes of royal activities, as well as the exhibition on “Arts of the Kingdom V”, displaying the masterpieces of Thai craftsmen.
06. Marvel at the outstanding craftsmanship in the Royal Barges National Museum

Located on Khlong Bangkok Noi, off the Chao Phraya River, this musuem has a display of several intricately carved royal barges with unique designs and decorative details. These barges are used on royal and official occasions and formerly served as war vessels. The most beautiful and well-known barge, “Suphannahong,” is used by the king only when he makes his royal river procession for the Kathin Ceremony, a Buddhist tradition of offering robes to monks. There is also “Narai Songsuban Ratchakan Thi Kao,” the latest royal barge especially built on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee of His Majesty the King’s Accession to the throne in 1996.
07. Thai’s performing arts: a feast of cultural expression

Experience one of the most refined performing arts at Sala Chalermkrung, where Khon, a Thai classical masked dance originally limited to the royal court, is performed. Enjoy a world-class spectacular performance at Siam Niramit, featuring 3 stories about Thailand’s cultural heritage, all told with the magic of state-of-the-art technology and special effects. Be amazed with the glory of the traditional puppet show performed by the last of the kingdom’s traditional Thai small puppet troupe at Naatayasala (Joe Louis) Theater.
08. Home of the Muay Thai

With feet, arms, fists and knees used in the fights, the unique martial art of “Muai Thai” or Thai boxing has caught on in many countries. “Muay Thai” can be seen throughout the week at two major boxing stadiums, Lumphini on Tuesday and Friday, and at Ratchadamnoen on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday.
09. The original, traditional Thai massage

Experience the real thing while you are in Thailand. The best-known school of Thai traditional massage is located in Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha), where a two-week course is taught for anyone interested in mastering this unique and fascinating art. Major hotels and spas in Bangkok also provide Thai massage services.
10. History has found a home in the Bangkok National Museum & the National Gallery

See and feel the glory of the kingdom at the Bangkok National Museum, one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in Southeast Asia. Within walking distance from the Grand Palace, the museum houses an impressive collection of artifacts from all parts of the country and all periods of its history. The complex consists of several old and beautiful buildings that were once used as a palace. For art lovers, visit the National Gallery for both traditional and contemporary works by leading Thai artists. It is also noted for its collection of works by national figures, including King Vajuravudh, the present King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and former Prime Minister Chaun Leekpai.
11. Expand your knowledge in the Museum of Siam

Within a walking distance from Wat Pho, the Museum of Siam serves as a learning center on ethnology, anthropology, and other fields related to Thai society and Southeast Asia. The contents on display, in the form of the ‘Essays on Thailand,’ have enabled visitors to learn and understand historical stories about the Thai nation. Learning activities have been organized for the youth and visiting museum aficionados. This building is proud to have won an outstanding award of art and architecture preservation in 2006.
12. The rebirth of Thai silk at the Jim Thompson House

This exquisite collection of traditional Thai houses stands as a museum to Jim Thompson, the man who revived the Thai silk industry and founded the Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. The house sits on approximately a half acre of land on Mahanak Canal. Ban Khrua Village, where his silk weavers lived and worked, is just on the other side of the canal. Jim Thompson’s eclectic collection of antiques and artifacts is on permanent exhibition, making this a magnificent tribute to a well-respected and sorely missed legendary figure.
13. Let the fun begin at Khao San Road

Over the last twenty years, Bangkok has become famous for Khao San Road, where backpackers and budget travelers have found a home away from home. Although the street is not very long, it is extremely interesting for visitors from all over the world examining the market stalls, looking for accommodation, good eats, and cyber cafes. In the evenings, the street is filled with loud music, and during the Songkran Thai New Year Festival, visitors will not escape a soaking. It is a good-humored friendly place and well worth visiting.
14. A multitude of choices for entertainment & nightlife

One will be hard-pressed to single out the definitive entertainment district in Bangkok, for there are many areas that offer leisurely activities. So wherever you are, nightlife opportunities are never far away. Bangkok has so many pubs, clubs, bars, and restaurants, with each offering a different experience and a reason to return each time. Popular districts include Patpong, Soi Cowboy, Nana, Asoke, Sukhumvit Soi 18 to 39, Thong Lo, Silom, Saladaeng and Khao San.
15. You might have to do a double take at the Thai Human Imagery Museum

Located in Nakhon Pathom, this wax museum houses life-like sculptures created by a group of Thai artists. These breathtaking human figures showcase various characteristics, and the replicas of important people are displayed in many sections, such as the Great Buddhist Monks, Former Kings of the Chakri Dynasty, and One Side of Thai Life.
16. A taste of Thailand at Amphawa

This market town in Samut Songkhram has transformed in recent years from a sleepy backwater into a vibrant destination. Today, visitors throng the embankments on both sides of a canal off the Mae Khlong. Some sit on the steps eating noodles prepared on boats. Others dine at stalls, down Kafae Boran (Thai traditional coffee) from quaint old cafés, and munch on bagged delicacies while browsing through the clothes, jewelry, and other products on sale. Restored teak shop houses expand the choice of activity, from massage to traditional music shops. Many market visitors end their trip after dusk with a ride to see the fireflies.
17. An impressive replica of Thailand at Muang Boran

Muang Boran, or the “Ancient City,” is dubbed as the world's largest outdoor museum. Situated in Samut Prakan province, its 200 acres feature structures of Thailand's famous monuments and architectural attractions. The grounds of Ancient Siam correspond roughly to the shape of the Kingdom, with each of the monuments lying at their correct places geographically. Some of the buildings are life-size replicas of existing or former sites, while others are scaled down.
18. Watch and be amazed in Thailand's crocodile farms

Built in 1950, Samut Prakan Crocodile Farm and Zoo in Samut Prakan is the world's largest crocodile farm. The farm has over 60,000 crocodiles of different varieties in numerous pits, with daily shows featuring handlers catching crocodiles barehanded. Visitors will also enjoy shows starring the other animals in the zoo: elephants, gibbons, turtles, boa constrictors, pythons, birds, camels, hippopotamuses, and various species of fishes. There is also another crocodile show at the Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo in Nakhon Pathom. See a thrilling crocodile show featuring a master crocodile catcher wrestling crocodiles in the tradition of Krai Thong, the most famous crocodile hunter in Thai legend.
19. A slice of the simple life at Buffalo Village

This theme village is located in Suphan Buri, which occupies over a 40-acre plot of land. Feel the real rural lifestyle of the central region, such as Thai farming villages, rice-threshing ground water, the buffalo ranch, and traditional Thai houses on stilts. Explore various corners featuring different local wisdom such as Thai medicine, Thai massage, local herbs, Thai astrology, as well as buffalo shows.
20. History meets technology in the Dragon Descendants Museum

Dragon Descendants Museum is the latest attraction in Suphan Buri. It was built in a shape of huge fiberglass cloud dragon spraying water. Using the latest interactive computer technology, it focuses on 5,000 years of Chinese history and the migration of Chinese clans from China to neighboring countries such as Thailand, where they established their roots and built successful business empires. Inside the Dragon’s body, there are a total of 20 multimedia rooms and each room tells an exciting story about the history of the Chinese civilization.
21. A day of pottery and good eats at Ko Kret

Ko Kret is on top of Bangkok’s list of river and canal tours. Located in the nearby province of Nontaburi, it is a pottery village lining the pathway around the island. Village potters make many kinds of earthenware products for daily use such as bowls, vases, mortars, and water jars. Watch the potters work at the Ancient Mon Pottery Center. After that, try some good local dishes, especially those made from young coconut shoots. Finish up a meal with sweets in the Khlong Khanom Wan, or “Dessert Canal.”
22. The sweet smell of a community’s legacy in the Rose Garden

Within an hour’s drive from Bangkok, the Rose Garden is a destination that is truly organic in design. Three generations of owners and the community have put their passion and energy into making the Rose Garden, making it more like a community destination than just another attraction. Experience a living gallery of traditional Thai living and enjoy a cultural show, riverboat ride, cooking class, a botanical park, and a round of golf. Accommodations are also available.
23 Play like the pros in Bangkok’s world-class golf facilities

Today, Bangkok and its neighboring provinces boast of having many modern, professionally run golf courses, with a number of them designed by famous golfing names from Europe and America. Thailand golf courses are well designed and inexpensive, and caddies are always available. Challenge yourself at the Thai Country Club, where Tiger Woods and Ernie Els played in the Honda Classic. Or shatter your handicap at the Alpine Golf and Sports Club, where the best golfers from Europe played against the best from Asia in the Royal Trophy.
24 Bangkok is a shopper’s paradise

Shopping in Bangkok is not limited to one or two places. A multitude of high-end mega malls, chic department stores, boutiques, local specialist shops, and more traditional markets are scattered throughout the city. Major shopping malls include MBK Center, Siam Center & Siam Discovery Center, Central World, Erawan Bangkok, Siam Paragon, Gaysorn Bangkok, Siam Square, Central Chidlom and The Emporium. All are conveniently accessed by the BTS skytrain services. For a unique shopping experience, visit Chatuchak Weekend Market, Patpong Night Market, China Town, and Silom Night Bazaar.
25 Prepare for a gastronomical voyage in Bangkok

The variety of eating experiences in Bangkok is fantastic, ranging from five-star fine dining venues with world-class cuisine, to trendy cafés serving temporary fusion, to “hole-in-the-wall” shops and street side stalls for appetizing local dishes. Favorite dining districts are Sukhumvit, Silom, Lang Suan, Siam Square, Narathiwat-Ratchanakharin, China Town, Chao Phraya Riverside, and Bang Lamphu-Khao San.

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