Travel Agents for Asia Travel
The Sights of Bangkok in Thailand
One of the most popular destinations in Asia to visit over recent years has been Thailand. This of course has also coincided with the booming popularity of Thai cuisine around the world. Bangkok, the capital city of Thailand, is the main entry point where the vast majority of tourists to Thailand will use. Bangkok is a very interesting city because in addition to the usual modern buildings of offices, hotels and shopping centers, there are also about 400 exotic Thai temples that seem to stick out among the urban landscape. There are Thai citizens on the streets dressed in modern business clothing as well as Buddhist monks in saffron robes. Yet this is what part of Thailand is.
The traditional mixed in with the modern. In fact, it’s the traditional attractions that make Thailand so magical. The temples are sights that one just cannot see in the western world. They are like objects that popped out of an Asian fairy tale. Like many other large Asian cities, Bangkok is congested with traffic, people and pollution.
In fact, the air can be bad enough that there are locals wearing surgical masks in the streets. With an average annual temperature of 28 degrees Celsius or 83 degrees Fahrenheit, it can be somewhat uncomfortable outside for some tourists, especially those from northern climates. Also beware that there will be people on the streets who will try to hustle tourists and direct them to their own businesses and tours. But unlike places in the Caribbean, Thais are polite and not aggressive people. For example, once upon arrival at the international airport, there will be people within the terminal including the ones at the booths who will be offering taxi transportation to your hotel. Although these are legit, they will charge a premium compared to the taxis waiting outside the terminal. There is a similar situation at the hotels. The taxis waiting right outside the main hotel entrances do seem to quote more than those waiting on the side streets just further down. The three-wheeled ‘tuk tuk’ vehicles also vary a lot so it may be wise to ask for quotes from a few drivers rather than taking the first one you see. The tuk tuks are a fun ride by the way so they should be experienced at least once while in Bangkok.
The city also has various public buses and river taxis which are long boats used on the river canal system. A nice way to spend some time is to take a ride on one of these river taxis to cruise the canals which some refer to as the ‘Venice of the East’. The Grand Palace is probably the most visited attraction in Bangkok. This complex is surrounded by walls built in 1783 and contains government offices, royal residences monuments and the Emerald Buddha Chapel. The Royal Chapel which contains the Emerald Buddha is the monarch’s private chapel. The Buddha itself is actually a one piece jade sitting on top of a golden altar. It’s not a large Buddha but it is very special. Apparently, they change the Buddha’s clothing which is also made of gold on a seasonal basis. There are numerous monuments on the grounds that are dedicated to past monarchs. Walls with large mythological scenes are displayed throughout.
The buildings and monuments within the Grand Palace have some very striking colors including golds and greens. Gold color is used quite a lot and the distinctively curved Thai roofs on the buildings are very detailed. Equally stunning are some of the interiors of these buildings with their magnificent rooms and halls used for different ceremonies and events. Some of these halls have special royal altars. One temple not to miss is Wat Pho which is the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It features a giant Buddha lying on its side. Even the soles of this Buddha’s feet have very intricately detailed designs. Other nice temples to see are Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) and Wat Benchamabophit (Marble Temple). The Wat Pho temple has traditional Thai massage services which are very popular among tourists. Other temples such as Wat Mahathat and Wat Parinayok also have Thai massages available.
The Royal Barges or long boats which are used during ceremonies on the river are also nice to see. The details put into decorating these boats are just remarkable. For wildlife enthusiasts, there’s the Pasteur Institute’s Snake Farm where poisonous snakes are fed daily and visitors can watch handlers milk cobras for their venom. There is also the world’s largest Crocodile Farm. The national sport of Thai kickboxing can be seen at two different stadiums in Bangkok. Both the Ratchadamnoen and Lumphini stadiums feature events throughout the week on different days. Thai theatre and traditional dance are very interesting to watch as cultural entertainment. These can be seen at theatres as well as some of the top hotels in the city. Bangkok has some good shopping opportunities especially for jewelry, handicrafts and textiles including silks as well as cottons.
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