Situated on the west side of the Chao Phraya River, the Wat Arun or Temple of Dawn is Bangkok's most jaw-droppingly beautiful Buddhist temple built even before the founding of Bangkok as Thailand's capital in 1782. Its unique design and intricate decorations using Chinese porcelain and coloured glass are truly magnificent to look at by day but by night, as the Wat Arun stands among the forefront of a beautiful orange sunset, it is transformed into a majestic vision which is reflected in the river it overlooks. Its interesting architecture is a pure representation of Mount Meru believed to be the centre of the world in Buddhist cosmology and is filled with mystical symbolism. With four surrounding prangs, or towers, and an 80 metre prang at its centre that rips through the city's skyline, the Wat Arun is the tallest temple in Thailand. During your visit through and around this highly revered temple you will come across an array of interesting murals and symbols relating to Thai culture including sculptures of Chinese soldiers, animals and, of course, over 100 Buddha images.
Known as one of the most visited and impressive attractions of Bangkok, the Grand Palace really lives up to its name and much, much more. Contained within four walls; beaming with multi-colours, exceptional asymmetry, and eclectic Thai and even European architectural styles; this huge complex is situated on Rattanakosin Island in the heart of the capital along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It has been the official residence of all Kings of Thailand (historically known as the Kings of Siam) since 1782. Made up of a number of stunning buildings, beautifully decorated pavilions, halls, and opulent gardens, the Grand Palace is made even more famous for housing the sacred Temple of the Emerald Buddha designated as Wat Phra Kaew. With a strict dress code for many areas (legs and arms covered), the Grand Palace is a working palace and partially open for tourists as a museum that can be explored and photographed. Do not miss the chance to take a tour of this exceptional landmark!
One of Thailand's most celebrated Buddhist shrines, the Wat Phra Kaew, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, can be found within the grounds of Bangkok's Grand Palace – the King's official residence. Only 2 feet tall in total, and located at the central shrine of the temple upon an altar made of gold, is the sacred statue of the Emerald-coloured Buddha which is usually dressed in seasonal costumes representing summer, winter and rainy months. Apart from this principle feature, the temple is complete with many expensive jewels as well as interesting carvings, designs and symbols of Thai culture and Buddhist religion in and outside of the building.
One of Bangkok's most exciting features and long-lasting traditions is its floating markets which have become a marvel of the capital. Loud, lively and bursting with multi-colours, floating markets are where local venders come to sell fresh produce including a wide selection of tropical fruits, vegetables and flowers. Here you can get to know all about Thai ingredients; buy produce from the sellers or simply spend some time taking awesome photos of the very scenic markets. Containing an array of canals and rivers, Bangkok is where you will come across some of the best as well as most visited floating markets of the country apart from Ratchaburi which is located approximately 101 km west of the capital and the largest of its kind. Amphawa, Taling Chan, Wat Lam Phaya or Wat Sai markets are some of the city's most interesting destinations where boat tours can be taken at easy to afford rates so that you can appreciate these magnificent and unique attractions in the best possible way.
A huge family hit, Siam Ocean World in Bangkok, located below the fancy Siam Paragon shopping mall, is one of the largest aquariums of Southern East Asia. Containing hundreds of species; over 30,000 colourful creatures from all corners of the globe with their amazing shapes, stripes, and colours; a 270-degree glass tunnel to help create the in-the-water illusion and even world-class exhibits, Siam Ocean World is everything from educational to exhilarating and mostly unforgettable. See deadly predators up close as well as rare and bizarre-looking marine life; feel the skin of different fish on your hands in the petting pond; observe the array of creatures below you on a glass-bottomed boat; or even have a swim with sharks and sting-rays if you're daring enough!
The world's largest solid gold statue can be appreciated in the form of the famous Golden Buddha in the Wat Traimit temple located in Bangkok. 3 metres tall, weighing 5.5 tonnes, and at an estimated value of 250 million dolares, the Golden Buddha holds much mystery concerning its actual origins in terms of date and who created it. Thought to be of the 13th-14th centuries and of the Sukhothai Dynasty style, the Golden Statue as it is seen today was only discovered in the mid-20th century. For centuries, the real statue was hidden within a coat of plaster believed to have been added in order to protect it and possibly hide its real value. During an accidental drop as the statue was being moved from its then location, parts of the plaster chipped away uncovering what can only be described as a remarkable piece of treasure which is now on display for all to witness.
Where better to savour real Thai food than on the streets of Bangkok? In fact for Thai people, the quality and flavour of foods will always rate higher than the refinedness of the place you are eating in. Although great restaurants can be found across Thailand, there is nothing more authentic than sampling one of the world's most colourful and exotic cuisines on kitchen-stalls and makeshift restaurants that line the capital's streets, river banks and local markets. Also, being able to watch your meal be prepared in front of you adds to the fun and exoticness of eating on the streets. What's even better is that in addition to being convenient and delicious, food prices are ridiculously cheap which is very good news for travellers on a budget! It may be uncommon to buy your lunch or dinner from a food stall in western countries but in countries like Thailand you will typically find all classes of people buying their food from their most favourite and reliable street stalls. Contrary to popular belief, buying and eating food from street stalls in Bangkok is in the most part safe as hygiene levels are usually of a high standard. Although it may take some getting used to, you won't help but give in to temptation as the enticing rich smells of Thai cuisine surrounding you hit your nostrils. After allowing your tongue to juggle between the sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours of Thai food, you will be hooked and ready for more! Your Thai holiday will be incomplete without such a raw experience!
For bargain lovers or those in search of taking home some souvenirs, the Chatuchak Weekend Market or Jatujak Market, as it is referred to in Thai, is a fantastic attraction in the capital, Bangkok, where you will find almost everything imaginable! This extraordinary attraction is most famous for being the largest market in the world. Why? Because it covers over 27 acres, is divided into 27 sections, has over 200,000 visitors a day, and includes over 15,000 stalls with vendors selling items from every corner of the country. In store for you at the Chatuchak Market are all types of items such as flowers, plants, hand-made decorations, wood carvings, clay handicrafts, local souvenirs from various cities, ceramic pieces, tools, Chinese wares, stones, Thai Bejarong, pieces of furniture, cloth, fashionable clothing, silks, outfits, toys, miscellaneous items and so much more! Unlike at other attractions, prices are set at local bargaining rates meaning you won't get cheated by "tourist prices" here. Although known as the Weekend Market, you can get to see what Chatuchak is all about from Wednesday through to Sunday (6.00 am – 6.00 pm), although Saturday and Sunday are considered most popular days as items are greater aimed at tourists.
Situated adjacent to the Grand Palace, Wat Pho is a temple in Bangkok widely known for two main reasons; firstly, for containing the grandiose Reclining Buddha and secondly, for being considered the birthplace of the famous Thai massage. With plenty to marvel at from chapels to intricate murals, Buddha images, golden statues, colourful walkways and extensive courtyards, the revered Reclining Buddha is undoubtedly Wat Pho's main highlight. Set to leave you lost for words as you approach it, this imposing image is 46 metres long, 15 metres high and coated in gold leaf. On the sole of the Buddha's gigantic feet are 108 illustrations inlaid with mother-of-pearl exhibiting symbols such as flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories by which Buddha can be identified. Once a university, Wat Pho is today used as centre for traditional massage and medicine. Whilst visiting this unique attraction, complete your experience by relieving stress and improving your body's circulation and treat yourself to a real Thai massage like never before!
Khao San Road, the backpacker's favourite street in the capital city of Bangkok is not so much an attraction as it is an experience. Once famous for its importance in the rice trade, from which its name originates, Khao San is today the place to go to if you're a tourist looking to meet people from all corners of the globe and discuss holiday ventures and amazing discoveries. Other reasons why Khao San is so popular is that accommodation is cheap plus you can find unbelievable bargains and useful touristy items available on stalls lining the street from top to bottom. Always upbeat and totally eclectic, Khao San Road offers a little bit of everything. Daytime hours are spent either doing some shopping, getting a massage in one of the dozens of parlours around or simply chilling under a parasol at a roadside café or bar drinking a cold beer and watching the rushing world go by. However, come night time, Khao San Road turns into an authentic social scene with thousands taking to the street. Offering plenty of bars, restaurants, nightclubs and food-stalls, you'll find everything you need for a great night out. Particular times of the year will also see Khao San Road come even more alive with dancers and music as part of religious festivals and other celebratory events.