- Both the capital and the most populous city of the Kingdom of Thailand, Bangkok can be traced back to a small trading post that dates into the 15th century. It’s rapid growth from 1960-1980 has led to it being one of the most influential cities in Thailand, but Bangkok is more than just that! There are so many interesting and entertaining activities and sights to see in Bangkok you won’t want to leave when you trip comes to a close. One of the most popular attractions found in Bangkok is the Grand Palace. Found in the heart of Bangkok, this complex of buildings was used to house the Kings of Siam, and the king as well as his court and government were housed there until 1932, when all government related agencies were moved out after the abolition of pure monarchy. This beautiful ornate complex is made up of many different buildings connected by halls, courtyards, gardens, and pavilions. Its rather eclectic style is due to the process in which is was developed: over a span of 200 years there were multiple add-ons and additions made by the ruler in power. Surrounded by four walls, the Grand Palace is partially open to the public with the function of a museum even though it still operates as a working palace, with royal offices still located inside.
- Within the walls of the Grand Palace you will find another one of the most incredible structures in Bangkok: Wat Phra Kaew. Known in English as The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it is considered the most sacred buddhist temple in all of Thailand. The main building contains the statue of the Emerald Buddha, which legend says originated in India after a sage prophesized that the Emerald Buddha would bring prosperity and preeminence to each country it presided in. The Emerald Buddha was carved out of one singular jade stone, as “emerald” in Thai means deep green color, and is believed to have been carved some time in the 14th century. Wat Phra Kaew has over 100 buildings, and are generally considered to be of the rattanakosin architectural style or more commonly known as “old Bangkok style.” With a green and orange tiled roof as well as pillars inlaid with breathtaking mosaic, the main temple of the Emerald Buddha is a work of art in itself. The statue itself is clothed seasonally, and the costumes not being worn are put on display at the Pavilion of Regalia, Royal Decorations, and Coins in the Grand Palace. Though not located on the grounds of the Grand Palace, Wat Arun is another temple worth taking a trip to see. This buddhist temple can be found on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, and is most known for its iconic central spire’s ornate tiling. This feature is what makes it one of Thailand’s best known landmarks, and another reason it should not be missed on your trip to Bangkok.
- Lumphini Park is worth spending an afternoon of your time in while on a visit to Bangkok, as it offers rare public space unlike many other areas in Bangkok. Spanning 142 acres, Lumphini Park has trees, playgrounds, and even an artificial lake where visitors can rent boats. The paths that snake through the park are popular amongst joggers, and a picnic in Lumphini Park is the perfect way to wind down from all of the sightseeing in Bangkok. One really unique quality about the park is just how multi-faceted it is. On its grounds there are many different resources and activities for both visitors and residents. For example, the Smiling Sun Ground is an area devoted to activities for the disabled and even features a disabled-friendly parking lot. Lumphini Park is a popular bird watching park, and even offers bird watching instruction every year! Lumphihi Park even has a refuge for homeless children, called the Home of Hope. Not only is Lumphini Park a place to spend an afternoon unwinding, but it extends a helping hand to those in need. For more family-oriented fun, check out the Dusit Zoo, the oldest zoo in Thailand. Found situated in the heart of Bangkok, the zoo is home to over 1,600 species of domestic and international animals including penguins, elephants, kangaroos, and giraffes to name just a few. Dusit Zoo is also home to two rarities: the Albino barking deer and the white Bengal tiger. The zoo also contains an educational center, zoo museum, and animal hospital! Take a break from the hustle and bustle of sight seeing and spend the morning at Dusit Zoo.
- For more animal oriented fun in Bangkok, be sure not to miss a day at Safari World. Home to two different parks, Marine Park and Safari Park, Safari World features daily animal feedings, stunt shows, safari rides, and more! Spend an hour driving through the park and seeing all the different animals, then take a trip through the jungles of Asia and Africa on the flume ride. For more water-themed adventure in Bangkok you also have Siam Park City, a water and amusement park. Also known as Suansiam this park is fun for all walks of life. With both a water park and an amusement park there is sure to be something to entertain everyone in your party. The water park houses 7 different water attractions, and one of those is the Guinness Book of World Record’s certified largest wave pool in the world. This wave pool spans over 13,000 square meters and is a sight to see in itself. The amusement park portion of Siam Park City has over 40 rides to choose from including roller coasters and free fall drops. There is even a kid-friendly area for the little thrill seekers! If you need a break from all that adrenaline, learning about Bangkok (and Thailand’s) history and culture is the way to go. Bangkok National Museum offers this and more, as it is the main branch museum of the museums in Thailand. Bangkok National Museum is the largest museum located in Southeast Asia, and features many Thai art and history exhibits. The museum currently has three exhibition halls and houses three permanent galleries. The museum even offers scheduled, guided tours in an array of languages to all visitors for free with admission.
- You might not associate Bangkok with being a big shopping city right off the bat, but it does offer some absolutely incredible malls and stores to peruse. Terminal 21 is one of the most notable and popular of shopping centers, and this is because it is more than just a mall! Terminal 21 is a mix-use complex containing both a retail area and a hotel and residence area. Another really unique quality about Terminal 21 is that each of the 9 floors of the retail area are themed and modeled off of the different market streets that fit the theme. For example the M floor is themed around Paris, and is decorated with sculptures of the Arc de Triumph and the Eiffel Tower. Each of the 9 floors has their own theme and some of these include Rome, the Caribbean, Tokyo, and San Francisco City. Each floor offers different shops and activities, like movie theaters, restaurants, and spas. For a destination inside of a destination, don’t miss out on a chance to explore the different levels of Terminal 21. MBK Center is another large well-known shopping plaza located in Bangkok with around 2,000 shops, stores, and restaurants. With three floors of shopping, as well as floors for restaurants, cinemas, electronics, bowling, and karaoke there is an endless amount of entertainment to occupy even the pickiest person!
Bangkok is a unique and exciting place to visit. With history contained in its architecture and unparalleled shopping and amusement, a vacation in Bangkok will not disappoint.