5 Best Attractions in Bangkok
No two minutes and Bangkok will ever be the same - this is a city which is constantly shifting, and is jam packed with people who never seem to stop moving! One moment will see you stuck in infuriating traffic, the next could see you calming soaring above the city on the BTS Sky Train. Looking for things to do in Bangkok can seem overwhelming at first - with so many Buddhist Temples, never ending markets and historic landmarks to discover, how can you know where to start? Start with these 5 attractions in Bangkok and you’ll fall in love with the city and its hidden gems in no time!
Temple of the Reclining Buddha
Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha is one of the largest temples in Bangkok, and as the name suggests is famous for its giant reclining Buddha. You’ll wonder how the 46m long, larger than life statue was ever squeezed in! Lavishly covered with gold leaf and painstakingly decorated with mother-of-pearl depictions of the 108 “laksanas” or characteristics of Buddha, the impressive statue commands attention and you’ll quickly realise that no photograph can ever do it justice! To mirror the 108 “laksanas” are 108 bronze bowls along the walls; buy a bowl of coins when you enter and drop them into the bowls for good luck! Within the grounds of the temple is also the country’s most famous massage school. Once you’ve strolled through the sprawling temple compound and marvelled at the Reclining Buddha, relax with a traditional massage and know you’re in good hands!
The Grand Palace
Built in 1782, The Grand Palace was home to Thai royalty and the Royal Court for 150 years and even today is regarded as the spiritual and administrative heart of Thailand. This is undoubtedly one of Bangkok’s most recognisable landmarks, and you should set aside as much time as you can to really take in all of its majestic beauty. At the heart of the palace is the Grand Palace Hall, an imposing building with more ornate detail than you could have dreamed possible, but there are three other majestic halls to discover, each with its own historic purpose and architectural style. Within the palace walls is also Wat Prah Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the whole of Thailand, and enshrines the Emerald Buddha. This exquisitely carved image of Buddha is made from a single block of jade - you can’t miss paying homage to this sacred wonder.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak is one of the largest markets in the world, and your first visit can feel a little overwhelming! A labyrinth of over 15,000 stalls, once you’re deep inside the belly of the beast you may wonder how you’ll ever make it out the other side but there is a system in place. The 27 sections which branch off numbered alleyways are each home to one type of goods, so you can’t go wrong amongst the organised chaos. With everything from antiques to street fashion, garden plants to traditional Thai silks, you really could spend a day weaving your way through this maze-like market. Try to arrive early to beat the crowds and the heat, and bring your best bargaining skills! Prices here are reasonable despite being Bangkok’s biggest market, but it never hurts to haggle - you can't go wrong with these market tips.
Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of the Dawn, is one of the most beautiful Buddhist temples in Bangkok. There’s something magical about the colourful ceramic tiles and porcelain details lit up by the first light of the morning, and even amongst the overwhelming traffic and hustle of central Bangkok, this spot on the riverside is an oasis of calm. The temple was named after Aruna, God of the Dawn, so it’s no surprise that the temple is at its most beautiful as the sun peeks over the city; and if you go early you’ll also beat the crowds. With its majestic, 79m tower looking almost as though its risen from the waters of the Chao Phraya River, the unusual design of the temple along with the mythical giants watching over the grounds make Wat Arun a must-see in Bangkok.
With out of this world street eats and markets which only really come alive at night, Chinatown, known locally as Yaowarat, is a vibrant explosion of colours, sights, smells and sounds which you’ll want to come back to again and again. Shop your way along the organised chaos of Sampeng Lane, check out the gold shops (Chinatown has the highest concentration of these in the city) and pay a visit to Wat Traimit to see the largest gold Buddha in the world. A microcosm of the city itself, Yaowarat offers incredible cheap eats, a thriving night market culture and sacred religious sites - spend some time getting lost amongst hustle and bustle and you won’t be disappointed.
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