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- Khao San Road
- National Museum Bangkok
- Pratunam Market
- Terminal 21 Shopping Mall
- Siam Paragon Mall
- Jim Thompson House
- Chatuchak Weekend Market
- Patpong Night Market
- Erawan Shrine
- Platinum Fashion Mall
- Bangkok City Centre
- Sampeng Market
- IMPACT Exhibition and Convention Centre
- Chulalongkorn University
- Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center
- Grand Palace
- Victory Monument
- Rajamangala Stadium
- Bumrungrad Hospital
Where to stay in Bangkok
The vast, sprawling metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, is a unique combination of ancient, modern, Asian and Western flavours all crammed together in a riotous mix. Glittering temples and royal palaces stand side by side with nightlife quarters ranging from high-end to shady, and everyday people live in the shadow of the consumer society-addicted wealthy elite. For visitors, it’s one of the most contrasting, fascinating destinations in the world.
The city’s 50 districts are further split into around 154 sub-districts, with getting around made easier by an understanding of the conceptual differences of each area. For example, Sukhumvit is an expat and visitor enclave, with the most to offer as regards entertainment, nightlife, shopping and dining as well as accommodation. In contrast, Rattanakosin district is Old Bangkok complete with palaces and famous temples. Accommodation at all levels if found in most areas, with Sukhumvit the most popular for its location and home to high-end hotels such as the Sheraton Grande and the JW Marriott.
Bangkok’s endless sights range from elaborate heritage buildings and mirror-glass inlaid, gilded and jewelled temples to museums, bustling backstreet markets and the city’s famous, if slightly odorous, canal system. The mind-blowing naughty nightlife hubs of Soi Cowboy and Patpong are world-famous, although visitors are advised to watch their wallets and personal possessions whilst exploring.
- Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
The Royal Palace is Bangkok’s premier landmark, a spectacular mix of traditional and modern Thai architecture and still the heart of religious and other important ceremonies. The sacred part of the complex is Wat Phra Kaew, better known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, an ancient image first discovered in Northern Thailand and regarded as the symbol of Thailand for hundreds of years.
- Wat Pho
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is Bangkok’s largest religious complex, home to an exquisite, fully-gilded image of the reclining Buddha measuring 46m in length. The temple itself predates the city by at least 200 years, although most of its structures able to be seen nowadays date from the 18th century. It’s a masterpiece of Thai religious art, and a must-see for visitors.
- City Pillar Shrine
In a tradition unique to Thai culture, every ancient city in the kingdom was protected by a City Pillar after its establishment. These pillars are still venerated today, with Bangkok’s version set in a gleaming white and gold pagoda on Lak Muang Road. The present carved wooden pillar replaced the disintegrating original in 1782, and is a centre for pilgrimages.
Eating and drinking and shopping nearby
Bangkok is food city central, offering a huge variety of international and regional Thai cuisines at all price levels. The city is famous for its street food and food courts, found in all districts and all food is generally safe to eat and spicily delicious. Streetside local eateries, Western-style fast food joints, Chinese and Indian foods in the ethnic districts and celebrity-chef Michelin-starred haunts are all here along with cocktail bars, Western-style pubs serving pub grub and European beers and innumerable local shophouse bars. The city is shopaholic heaven with everything from famous-name designer outlets in upscale malls to local markets and Pratunam district’s massive market with its plethora of stores offering take-offs of the latest in cool gear. Chatuchak weekend market is another must-visit for bargain fashions, arts and crafts and much more.
Bangkok’s public transport network is its pride and joy, with its BTS Skytrain covering most of the downtown district, with stations close to the majority of attractions. The Bangkok MRT Metro is a subway system that has a wider reach outside the downtown area, and interchanges with the Skytrain at several points. The Airport Rail Link runs from downtown to Suvarnabhumi International Airport. For short journeys by road, there’s the option of tuk-tuks, taxis or motorcycle taxis, but the city’s horrendous traffic problems make the Skytrain or metro the best ways to get around.
Bangkok travel guides
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