Bangkok’s modern skyline hides an ancient culture expressed through traditional temples and historic monuments, in a city that hums with life.
Thailand’s capital city is the most popular tourist destination in the World for good reason: hidden somewhere within its bustling streets, everyone can find what they are looking for.
With the help of the modern Skytrain (BTS) and underground rail network (MRT), getting around the city couldn’t be simpler. To see the sights from a more authentic perspective, you might want to try catching a riverboat express or hailing the driver of a traditional Thai tuk-tuk.
If you seek spiritual succour, you can find it at the Erawan Shrine dedicated to the Hindu God Brahma, or in one of the many Buddhist temples dotted around the city: the elevated heights of Wat Saket, Wat Pho, with its giant reclining Buddha, Wat Arun, named for the God of Dawn, and the world-famous Wat Phra Kaew – or Temple of the Emerald Buddha – home to Thailand’s most sacred object.
The ancient metropolis of Rattanakosin, now enveloped within the city boundary, is home to a treasure trove of historical attractions. In the National Museum, you can trace the country’s history through artefacts, sculptures and costumes from the ancient world to the modern day. The Grand Palace will take you back to the era of the Kings of Siam and King Rama I, who established Bangkok as the country’s capital.
Meet the descendants of Thailand’s earliest settlers on Ko Kret Island, a rural islet in the middle of the Chao Phraya River that makes a great day trip.
For a taste of twentieth-century extravagance, you can take a tour of Vimanmek Palace, constructed as a royal residence by King Rama V in 1900. A more modern mystery awaits you at Jim Thompson House, the home of an American expat who disappeared without a trace in the 1960s.
Before you get too lost in memories of times gone by, take a trip to Khao San Road and let yourself be dropped headfirst back into the present day. Haggle with hawkers, snack on legendary Thai street food and watch the whirl of backpackers and street sellers while you sip a cool drink.
For a slower pace, you may want to spend some time in Lumphini Park. A haven of green in the midst of the hubbub, it offers a breathing space where you can rebalance body and soul with a spot of yoga or Tai Chi.