Bangkok is a thriving city alive with people and tastes. Though I have not had a lot of time in the city (see my journal of my visit here) I have been able to see some of the major sites and hope this information might be helpful…

Much like any city, the old part in the centre is where the main tourist attractions are located. But do not be deceived this is a modern city with skyscrapers and shopping centres as you would find anywhere if you move away from the center.

What to See

There is a lot to see here, these are some of my highlights though often just walking around on the streets you will spot something, particularly in the old town that is worth just dropping into see…many temples are free to enter and have a look around though be respectful.

Grand Palace

The busiest attraction in the city but well worth a visit. Note that currently anyone visiting must wear “respectable” clothing which is checked as you enter the complex (you will be forced to purchase a shirt or other covering if it is too short or “indecent”).

Visiting the Grand Palace actually includes two things in one: The Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha) complex and the grand palace itself, home of the royal family. The audio guide is helpful though often confusing. After entering Wat Phra Kaew there are brochures including a map that are an essential as there are no signs posted.

The Grand Palace

A visitor ticket also includes entrance into the small but interesting “Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations and Coins” that includes a display of the seasonal clothing for the emerald Buddha that the king himself places on the Buddha. No pictures are allowed in this pavilion.

Wat Pho

Located immediately behind the Grand Palace, Wat Pho template is home of the giant reclining (gold) Buddha and a famous massage school (yes, it is worth it and yes it is reasonably priced). Take time to walk around and explore the numerous temple buildings. It is even possible to get away from the grounds and perhaps find a bit of peace somewhere…

The entrance ticket includes a small bottle of water available from a well sign-posted stand in the grounds.

Note that surrounding Wat Pho the tuk-tuk drivers are quite…forthright…with tourists.

Khaosan Rd Market

Though it has a lot of bars and nightclubs catering to westerners if you wander through some of the outer areas of this night market you can find a flavour of what it must have been like before they moved in with cheap and delicious street food on offer.

Taling Chan Floating Market

If you talk to tourist agencies they will try to steer you towards a floating market quite a way out of the city (about an hour away) but Taling Chan is actually within the city itself and as such is quite small. Open on Saturday and Sunday (8 am to 5 pm) it is slightly touristy but there are a lot of locals buying fruit and vegetable. There are only a few people cooking on long boats moored up alongside the covered eating area which is definitely worth a visit - Have a seat and they will come to take your order then go get it from wherever. The food is very fresh, very good and quite inexpensive.

There are periodic group boat tours here (you can pay a large amount of money and hire a boat to yourself but the group boats are more than adequate) that take you on a one hour trip to a local temple and back.

Be sure to buy some bread people use to feed the fish and watch the fish swarm…

Golden Mountain (Wat Saket Ratcha Wora Maha Wihan)

“Golden Mountain” temple is notable in that has a hill in the middle of it on top of which is perched a golden stuppa visible for miles around. A small entrance fee is charged for the long walk up to the top which offers great views of the city though it is not close enough to some of the sights of the old town to offer a good view of them.

Getting Around

There are many ways of getting around the city. If you are just visiting the old city walking around the area is more than reasonable however for longer journeys there are tuk-tuks (agree a price before using), buses, commuter rail (outside of the central area of the city), and transport (and tourist - though confuse the two at your cost) boats on the river.

Note that the main river (Chao Phraya River) is not a great way to see the city as it is a busy river away from many of the sites so you will only see them in the distance. We found a better option were boats operating on the canals (there are local routes but also “hop on-hop off” boats for tourists).

The airport is quite a distance out of the center of the city about a 45 minute drive.

Further Information

For further information, please see: