1. Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Thailand. Since it was built in 1782, it has been the official home of Thailand (formerly Siam) royalty. The 2,351,000 square feet (218,400 square meters) complex is made up of multiple buildings, halls, pavilions, gardens, etc.
The Grand Palace is open daily from 8:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Admission costs 500 Baht (about $14 USD). Website.
“Grand Palace.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. January 13, 2016. Web. February 24, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_Palace
2. Wat Arun
The iconic Wat Arun temple is located on the banks of the Chao Phraya river. The main feature is the tallest prang (tall spire) which represents Mount Meru, a sacred mountain that is considered to be the center of all the physical, metaphysical and spiritual universes.*
Wat Arun is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Admission is 50 Baht (about 1.40 USD). Website.
*”Mount Meru.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. February 15, 2016. Web. February 24, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Meru
“Wat Arun.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 11, 2015. Web. February 24, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wat_Arun
3. Yaowarat Road
Bangkok’s Chinatown is located on Yaowarat Road. Chinatown is one of the oldest parts of Bangkok and has been the center of Chinese trading in Bangkok for nearly 200 years. Yaowarat road is a popular destination for foodies, and you can also buy gold, clothing, fabric, souvenirs, and more. Website.
4. Muay Thai Fight
Muay Thai is Thailand’s combat boxing competition that has been around for centuries. It is thought that it started when fathers would teach their sons the close combat tactics they learned for battle. Muay Thai is referred to as “The Art of Eight Limbs,” because there are eight points of contact on the body. Muay Thai uses the body to mimic weapons. The hands act as daggers, the shins and forearms act as armor, the elbow as a hammer, the legs and knees as the axe and staff.*
You can catch a fight at the Rajadamnern Stadium, which is the oldest stadium in Bangkok, and in other areas throughout the city. Tickets range from 1000 to 2000 Baht (about $28-$56 USD).
*History of Muay Thai. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.kombatgroup.com/html-muay-thai/history.html
5. Chao Phraya River & Waterways – water taxi
The Chao Phraya River runs through the middle of Bangkok and has great views of the city and many of the temples. Touristy river tours are available, but take a water taxi instead. It’s a lot cheaper and offers the same views.
Water taxis costs 10-20 Baht ($.28-$.56 USD). Website.
6. Wat Pho
Also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, and for a good reason – inside you’ll find the largest reclining Buddha. The temple is also the national headquarters for the teaching and preservation of Thai medicine.*
Wat Pho is open daily from 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM. Entrance costs 100 Baht. (about $2.80 USD). Website.
*Wat Pho – Lonely Planet. (n.d.). Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.lonelyplanet.com/thailand/bangkok/sights/religious/wat-pho
7. Chatuchak Weekend Market
This 27 acre market in Bangkok has more than 15,000 shops selling a wide array of products, including wood carvings, handicrafts, ceramics, flowers, furniture, clothing, silk, souvenirs and more.
There is no entrance fee. The Chatuchak Weekend Market is open Wednesday through Sunday from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM. Website.
8. Khao San Road
Khao San Road is a short strip in Bangkok full of hotels, bars, clubs, internet cafes, restaurants, bookshops, massage parlors and more. It’s a very popular destination for travelers and backpackers.
9. Jim Thompson’s house
Jim Thompson was an American businessman in the silk industry. As he was building his silk business in Bangkok, he collected works of art from Thailand and surrounding countries.* While building up his collection of sculptures, paintings, porcelain and antique maps**, Thompson (a former architect) planned to build a home to showcase his art collection. This is the home that can be visited in Bangkok today.
The Jim Thompson house is open from 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM daily. Admission costs 150 Baht (about $4.20 USD) for adults and 100 Baht (about $2.80 USD) for students. Website.
*”Jim Thompson House.” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. November 18, 2015. Web. February 25, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Thompson_House
**The Jim H.W. Thompson Foundation (2003). Jim Thompson Life & Legend. Retrieved February 25, 2016, from http://www.jimthompsonhouse.com/life/index.asp
10. Wat Traimit
The most notable site at Wat Traimit is the Golden Buddha, which is a gold statue that weighs 5.5 tons. At some point in history (estimated to be in the 1700’s), the Golden Buddha was covered in plaster to prevent it from being stolen. In 1954, the statue was moved to a new location. While lifting it up from its pedestal, the ropes broke and the statue fell and chipped, revealing the gold underneath. After some evaluation, the plaster was removed to reveal the Golden Buddha underneath. The pieces of plaster are also on display at Wat Traimit.*
Wat Traimit is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily. Admission is free to visit the Golden Buddha and 10 Baht to visit the museum. Website.
“Golden Buddha (statue)” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. September 8, 2015. Web. February 25, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Buddha_(statue)
11. Lumpini Park
Lumpini Park is a large park in downtown Bangkok.There are paths around the park, statues, a library, a youth center, a dance hall, street food and more. Paddle boats can be rented for 30 Baht (about $.84 USD) for 30 minutes.
The park is open daily from 4:00 AM to 9:00 PM. Website.