Things to do in Bangkok

Things to do in Bangkok

When you visit Bangkok you will find that there is too much to do in one trip. Every time you visit you will find all sorts of new and wonderful experiences to be had. If you are planning on Spending any time in Bangkok and are stuck for ideas then may i suggest one of the following things to do in Bangkok.

The Grand Palace

This is one of the best attractions in Bangkok. Located in the heart of Bangkok, the grand palace is a complex of buildings that form the official residence of the kings of Siam. Construction of the palace began in 1762 and today has over 200 buildings associated with it. These include the Temple of the Emerald buddha or Wat Phra Kaew. Given the size of the palace you can easily fill an entire day with exploring it.

The palace still remains a ceremonial place of residence as well as the stage set for ceremonies of the monarchy. These include things such as state funerals for the monarchy and other highly regarded Thai citizens. Many of the old functions for this building have now moved out into purpose built buildings, leaving lots of building to explore as a result.

The Grand Palace itself is made up of 4 main courts, the outer court, the middle court, the inner court and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The whole complex is surrounded by an outer wall to keep out invading forces. The outer court was used to house the royal offices and state ministries. The middle court housed the state apartments and ceremonial throne halls of the king. Whilst the inner court was exclusively used to house the king’s harem and only females were permitted here.

There is so much to learn about The Thai monarchy and its history at The Grand Palace that you may want to come back more than once. Especially given the limited opening hours. Opening times are from 08:30 – 15:30 each day and the price of admission is 500 Baht from the main gate. These can be purchased on the day or booked in advance. I would advise booking in advance and i have included a link to this on Viator’s website by clicking here.

Dress code

Be aware that there is a strict dress code for entering the grand palace.  The rules apply to both men and women. A simple guideline is no bare flesh. For women this means no see through clothing and shoulders should be covered. For men, trousers and shoes should be worn along with a shirt that has sleeves. There is a booth at the entrance that can provide this clothing for a fee. Which is a good option given that it can get very hot in Bangkok and you do not want to be fully clothed all day.

 

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Wat Arun

One of the best known temples in Bangkok is Wat Arun – Temple of Dawn. It is located on the on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. This stunning temple looks out across the the river and you can get some amazing views.

Named for the Hindu god Aruna, who is said to emulate the rising sun. This Buddhist temple was built in the era of the Ayutthaya Kingdom. Wat Arun has been around since the 17th century although the main spires were not added until the 19th century. King Taksin was reported to have ordered the temple be restored after passing it at dawn. This is where the name comes from. The temple was originally located on the grounds of the royal palace during Taksin’s reign before King Rama I moved the palace across the river to Wat Phra Kaew. The Emerald Buddha was originally located here before also being moved across the river.

Wat Arun has undergone many restorations during its time and the most notable of these was carried out when king Rama II reigned. This is where the main pagoda was raised to 70 metres. This remains one of the most striking parts of the temple. Over the years the pagoda was covered with porcelain which has made this site one of the most visited in Bangkok.

Visitor to Wat Arun are allowed to climb up the pagoda, but be aware the step leading up here are very steep. Climbing these could be quite difficult, both going up as well as coming down. There is a handrail to help you so just take your time. You should be prepared to wait a little bit here as there will be people coming back down too.

The temple is open from around 08:30 and closes at around 17:30 each day. As this is a religious site, you should ensure you dress appropriately. Ladies should ensure that and dresses cover the knees and shoulders should be covered. This applies to men too, although short sleeve shirts are acceptable. You can rent cover ups near the temples entrance for a small fee.

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Visit A Floating Market

Floating markets are one of the more unique shopping experiences in Thailand and there are 5 located in and around Bangkok. The idea of these is that you board a long boat and explore the market on the water. Most stalls are selling food of all types from fruit and vegetables to fish and meats of all types. This is one of the things that most visitors intend to do on their first trip to Thailand, but many are put off by the distance between them and the markets.

There are numerous floating markets located around Bangkok that include Damnoen Saduak, Tha Kha, Bang Nam Phueng, Talin Chan Floating Markets. The most well known is Damnoen Saduak floating market which is located around 100 kilometers southwest of Bangkok. Visiting this will involve an early start as these markets can get extremely busy. Some of these market can be very touristy too, but that’s why so many people go to them.

Don’t forget to bring your camera with you when you visit a floating market. It gives you the opportunity to take some once in a lifetime pictures whist you are shown around on your boat. You should try at least one new thing when you are here as there are loads of tasty treats to be found.

It is worth noting at this point that some of these markets only open on certain days of the week, so i would advise booking through a tour company to ensure that you don’t turn up only to find out that the market is closed.

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Chatuchak Market

The Chatuchak weekend market is possibly one of the biggest markets in the world. With around 15000 stalls located within the market you will find it difficult to see it all. This weekend market is extremely popular with Thai’s and in recent years more tourists have visited. You will be able to find many different things in the market. If its hand-crafted furniture or a handy little trinket as a gift, then you should pay this a visit.

The market also has a wide number of fashion vendors, food sellers and jewelry makers. There really is not limit to what you can find in the market. This is a bargain hunters paradise and you should be prepared to barter. This can often be difficult for westerners to understand as we are used to paying the asking price. But the vendors welcome the chance to barter with you. Remember, if the price is too high do not worry about walking away. You will find the same item for sale elsewhere on the market for a reasonable price. Always ensure you have enough cash as vendors do not accept credit cards here.

As with all markets, Chatuchak market can get very busy during the afternoon so it is best to visit as early as possible. I would suggest before lunch as it can get extremely hot in the afternoons. Once the market gets crowded it can often be difficult to make your way around. Just be alert that if you are in a crowd, pickpockets can often take advantage of the bumping and banging that can go on. So ensure all your valuables are kept securely out of sight if possible.

The opening times for the market are Friday 18:00 – 00:00, Saturday 09:00 – 18:00 and Sunday 09:00 – 18:00. So there is plenty of time to look around.

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River cruise

A river cruise is a great way to see the heart of Bangkok. Take a river cruise past Wat Arun and the Grand Palace and get some amazing Pictures of your journey. Once dubbed the “Venice of the East”, the Chao Phraya river is the centerpiece of the bustling city that is Bangkok.

There are numerous companies that provide river cruises as well as dining experiences in Bangkok. Groups of up to 14 people can usually be accommodated, although this is rare and you are like to be sharing the boat with other families. Tour agent can be found near to the Grand palace by the pier.

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