Places of Interest
Bangkok is one of the world's top tourist destination cities. Bangkok's multi-faceted sights, attractions and city life appeal to diverse groups of tourists. Royal palaces and temples as well as several museums constitute its major historical and cultural tourist attractions. Shopping and dining experiences offer a wide range of choices and prices. The city is also famous for its dynamic nightlife. The following is eight places of interest in Bangkok.
The royal compound lives up to its name, with spectacular structures that would put the most decadent modern monarchs to shame. It's also the home of Wat Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or Emerald) Buddha.
Built in 1782, the grand palace was the royal residence for generations and is still used for important ceremonies and accommodating heads of state. Dress modestly when visiting the Grand Palace, which basically means covering your arms and legs and avoiding any sloppy attire.
Wat Pho is best known for the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, where you'll find a statue so big (45 m long and 15 m high), it cannot be viewed in its entirety only appreciated in sections. The soles of the feet, inlaid with a myriad of precious stones, are particularly interesting with the 108 signs of true faith. Also look for the long earlobes signifying noble birth, and the lotus-bud configuration of the hand to symbolize purity and beauty.
Wat Arun is something of a triumphant complex, dating back to ancient battles between the former Siam and Burma. Having fallen to the Burmese, Ayutthaya was reduced to rubble and ashes. But General Taksin and the remaining survivors vowed to march "until the sun rose again" and to build a temple there. Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, was that temple. It is where the new king later built his royal palace and a private chapel.
If you climb to the top of the prang just before sunset, you are rewarded with an unforgettable view as the sun sinks over the Chao Praya River. Even if you don't plan to be doing any climbing, sunset is really the time to take in this place in all its glory.
Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha
The Golden Buddha, officially titled Phra Phuttha Maha Suwana Patimakon, is a gold statue, with a weight of 5.5 tons (5,500 kilograms). Sheer luck (or lack thereof) makes this attraction special. All attempts to trace the origin of this priceless statue have so far failed, but it is assumed to date from the Sukhothai period, when marauding invaders threatened the country and its treasures, and it became common practice to conceal valuable Buddha figures beneath a coating of plaster. No one knows how it came to Bangkok, but here it stands available for the admiration of visitors from all over the world.
Bangkok's sprawling weekend market is the largest in the world. Here shoppers find everything from jewelry and religious icons to animals and delicious street foods. There are 15,000 stalls, offering just about anything you can dream up. This is a great place to mingle with locals and immerse yourself in everyday Thai life, so arrive early and clear your schedule for the rest of the day if you want to do this place justice.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Damnoen Saduak, a famous floating market located in Ratchaburi (about 1.5 hours outside Bangkok). The popularity of floating markets once earned Bangkok the nickname "Venice of the East", bear in mind that this has now become something of a tourist trap, so don't expect an exclusive morning of shopping by boat. But you will be able to buy fresh and delicious foods and interact with locals in an authentic way.
Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo
Samphran Elephant Ground and Zoo in Bangkok, Thailand is not really a zoo as more of a show. It's a place where you can feed elephants, watch as crocodile trainers place their heads and arms into the mouths of their crocodiles and watch as elephants re-enact battles between Burma many years ago.
Some highlights include The Elephant Theme Show and The Crocodile Wrestling Show. The Elephant Show has a complete surround sound system with narrations throughout the presentation. The elephants are the featured stars in the show, where they perform dances, play soccer, and fight battles like the “Yutha Hathi.” Yutha Hathi is a great historical royal battle scene which the elephants are utilized during the fight. As for the wresting show, the master crocodile catcher performs breath-taking stunts with the crocodiles that you cannot believe your eyes.
Visitors can also check out the tropical garden and waterfalls on the elephant’s back. photos with a twin tiger 'Lift & Oil', or sample Continental cuisine and halal at the Erawan Restaurant.
About 1 hour drives from The Roayal Grand Palace-Bangkok, or from Damnern Saduak floating market, to Samphran District, Nakhon Pathom province.
Muay Thai boxing
There are numerous stadiums all over the country, but the biggest fights where the Thai champions compete are held in the Lumpini and Ratchadamnoen stadiums in Bangkok.
Nothing comes close to experiencing the real thing in the stadium where you can feel and especially hear the laden electric atmosphere full of yelling, excitement and hypnotic music. Every night a number of fights is held in either of the stadiums, in different age and weight classes.