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Bangkok, the capital of Thailand is one of the most vibrant and colorful capital cities that you can go to. A trip to Bangkok is surely going to be a magical experience for you! It is a charming place where you will find an awesome mix of the ancient and the modern. From temples dating back centuries to ultra-modern malls, Bangkok is a place that has it all! Bangkok, being the capital city, is a gateway to other parts of Thailand such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, and Koh Samui. If you are planning a short trip and want to stay in Bangkok only, well, even in that case there’s plenty to do!
The Grand Palace & Wat Pho
If you have time to visit only one of the many historic locations in Bangkok, this has to be it. This spectacular palatial building is indeed grand! It was constructed in 1782 and has served as the royal residence for generations to come. The best way to explore the Grand Palace would be by taking a guided tour. This will ensure that you do not miss out on important features of the temple. If you go for a guided tour you will be picked up by your guide at the hotel making the entire experience much simpler and hassle-free. Wat Phra Kaew is located on the premises and is an unmissable option as you are exploring the Grand Palace. Wat Phra Kaew or Temple of the Emerald Buddha is regarded as one of the most important temples in all of Thailand. The statue is much smaller compared to all other gigantic statues but it has been sitting there since 1784 and sees thousands of tourists every year.
Talking of grand Buddha statues, after you are done taking in the grandeur of the Grand Palace be sure to step into the nearby Wat Pho. This might also be part of your guided tour, but if not, be sure to visit the temple. This is the oldest temple in Bangkok and was built under the guidance of King Rama I. There was a pharmacy within the temple and it also served as Bangkok's first university under the leadership of King Rama III. The Temple of the Reclining Buddha is one of the most famous attractions of Wat Pho. The 45m long and 15m high statue cannot be viewed entirely in one go and needs to be admired in sections. If you look carefully enough you will note the various symbolic depictions that have been incorporated into the statue.
Temples of Bangkok
Bangkok has had a rich cultural heritage and is surrounded by exciting and exotic temples. Of the many temples in Bangkok, you have to visit the intricate complex of Wat Arun. It dates to the time of the legendary battle between Siam and Burma wherein the Burmese won and Ayutthaya was reduced to dust. It was at this site that General Taskin vowed to build a temple and thus The Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun was constructed. One of the most spectacular things about a visit to this temple is the picturesque view you get from the top of the prang during sunset. In any case, sunset is the best time to really appreciate the temple in all its glory.
Wat Traimit or the Temple of the Golden Buddha is another interesting temple to visit- especially because of the legend it holds. Around the 1950s the place around the temple was bought by the East Asiatic Company with the condition that the plaster statue of Buddha in the temple will be removed. However, the plaster statue appeared too heavy to be lifted by the crane arrangement. It fell and was allowed to sit there throughout a rainy night. The next day, as monks were passing by the site, a hint of gold revealed that the plaster cast was hiding away a 3.5m Buddha statue cast out of 5.5 tons of gold.
Wat Suthat & The Giant Swing
Wat Suthat is one of the oldest and most stunning temples in Bangkok. It was constructed over three generations- started by King Rama I, continued by King Rama II, and completed by King Rama III. The impressive architecture coupled with beautiful wall paintings makes this temple one of the most pleasant structures in Bangkok. Since it is less popular, you can also enjoy the stunning works in a much more peaceful environment.
The Giant Swing, situated adjacent to the temple is one of the most iconic features of Bangkok. It stands tall at 27m and dates back to the 1700s and was supposed to be used for religious ceremonies amongst Hindus.
There is always someone in the group who likes to indulge in the history, culture, and tradition of a place/ for someone like that in Bangkok; there is no better place to start than the National Museum. Till the middle part of the 1700s, this was the sole museum in Bangkok which explains its immense collection of the museum. You will find all kinds of artifacts dating back several hundred years including musical instruments, ceramics, weaponry, games, religious and ceremonial artifacts, and the Viceroy's throne among other things.
Shopping & Food in Bangkok
Bangkok is a terrific place to shop with all its huge malls and kaleidoscopic shopping stalls. Amongst the many places where you can shop for stuff, you have to visit the Chatuchak Market. This semi-outdoor market is organized on weekends and is the largest one in the whole world. There are about 15,000 stalls spread throughout the semi-outdoor market selling all kinds of things that you can imagine. This is one of the best places to go to if you are planning to buy lots of souvenirs for friends and family. It is also a great place if you want a slice of daily life in Bangkok.
Damnoen Saduak is another terrific market complex that you have to visit while you are in Bangkok. Unlike the normal market, this market, situated in Ratchaburi, is a floating market where you shop on and from boats on the river. It has earned the nickname “Venice of the East” because of its peculiar nature.
As you are visiting the marketplaces in Bangkok you should also indulge in the local cuisines. You cannot get the full Bangkok package unless you have gone down the delectable lane of culinary experiences in Bangkok. Street food in Bangkok is a must-try and the Khao San Road holds the best options for you if you are up for such an adventure.
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