Bangkok: Highlights and top sights

Bangkok: Thailand’s glittering metropolis with a heart for tradition

The capital of Thailand was once a small village on the Chao Praya River in the vast plains of Siam. But then the country’s proud residence, Ayuthaya, was destroyed in 1767 and the elite fled south. The small village was developed into the new capital of Thailand, its official name as long as a whole rock song, abbreviated as Krung Thep Maha Nakon, City of Angels. Well, Bangkok today is not inhabited by angels, but by about 14 million people, so exactly no one knows. But the most important sights of the metropolis of millions are concentrated in a few centers, which can be discovered in a few days. 

The magnificent Royal Palace with the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaeo

Whoever takes a trip to Bangkok must also have seen the Grand Palace with its temples. It is located in the old center on the island of Rattanakosin near the great Chao Praya River.The colorful roofs of the Grand Palace glitter from afar. The huge square in front of it is the Sanam Luang, where official festivities are traditionally held, including funeral ceremonies for members of the royal family. Wat Phra Kaeo is the heart of the magnificent walled complex. This sacred place houses the Emerald Buddha, the highly revered Buddha statue made of shimmering green jade. It is the national shrine of Thailand and is said to bring good luck to the kingdom. Many more fascinating temples can be visited here, but the royal palace itself is not accessible. 

Wat Pho, spiritual center of the country

Once across the street, you’re standing in front of Wat Pho, the time-honored “Temple of the Reclining Buddha,” a monumental statue of the religion’s founder that barely has room in the temple hall. Everyone wants to touch the Buddha’s mother-of-pearl-inlaid soles, which promises good luck and blessings. Outside in front of the temple buildings are stone sentinels, which were created in the Chinese style. Wat Pho is where traditional Thai massage was developed and is still taught today. Of course, you can also have yourself massaged there by expert hands. 

Treasure trove of history and art in Thailand: the National Museum

Also on Ko Rattanakosin is the National Museum of Thailand. If you want to understand the country and its history, you must go there. From ancient Khmer sculptures of the Angkor culture to works of the ancient Siamese empires of Lopburi and Sukothai to the magnificent artwork of Ayutthaya, one can experience Thailand’s art, all of this in sometimes historic buildings. In the Budhaisawan Chapel on the grounds of the National Museum, you can discover beautiful murals on sacred legends and also on everyday life in ancient Siam. 

The Chao Praya, lifeline of Bangkok and the whole of Thailand

On the broad and powerful flowing Chao Praya there is almost always busy shipping traffic.It is possible to explore Bangkok by water on this particular city trip. In the past, the metropolis was crisscrossed by canals, of which a few still exist, especially on the western side of the river, in the Thonburi district. One can travel from station to station on the public boats and observe life on the shore from the river, or one can rent a private boat. 

Wat Arun: The replica Sacred Mount Meru on the western bank of the river

An unforgettable experience on a Bangkok vacation is the time-honored Wat Arun, the “Temple of Dawn.” As its name suggests, the temple, covered in countless shards of colored porcelain, shimmers romantically in the morning light. Mythological creatures flank the central temple tower, which is symbolically modeled after Mount Meru in the Himalayas. Halfway up, it can be circumnavigated, which is akin to prayer, but also affords a wonderful view of the river and city. 

The Golden Mountain: Get a glimpse of the ancient and modern city from Wat Saket

It may not be everyone’s cup of tea to climb, in the tropical heat, the only hill in Bangkok far and wide on which a temple, Wat Saket, is perched. The hill is artificially heaped up, and in the temple rest precious relics of Buddha. From the top, you can see not only the maze of houses and the many temples of the old city as well as the old Portuguese trading colony, but also the metropolis of today with its countless glass skyscrapers rising in the distance. The skyline of Bangkok is especially visible from afar, it can easily compete with any other megacity in the world.

Golden shimmering jewelry stores and roast ducks: Discovering bustling Chinatown and the Indian Quarter

For those who love crowds on busy streets, small side alleys, cluttered markets and maximally packed displays in front of tiny stores, Chinatown and the adjoining Indian Quarter are the place to be. Here, big business is done, but also small adventures are experienced. Certainly, it is worth hiring a guide for this area who knows the ways to the many gems of this neighborhood bursting with life. Only those who have experienced Chinatown, for whom this city trip is complete. 

Modern Bangkok with Siam Square, Silom Road and Sukhumvit Road

If you want to get an overviewof Thailand’s vibrant center, which has skyrocketed in recent decades, it’s best to take the elevated train, the Sky Train to experience the modern business districts.This is much better than getting stuck in the traffic jam below. In wide curves, the train crosses the main shopping malls of the metropolis, which are located mainly in Siam Square and Sukhumvit Road. Many a side alley of Silom Road holds surprises, cookshops with freshly prepared delicacies alternate with pulsating markets, in between there are red light districts and above all the air-conditioned hotels and tourist restaurants are enthroned. For a person who loves city trips and shopping, these quarters are indispensable. The modern and the old Thailand are right next to each other here. 

For shopping maniacs Eldorado and nightmare at the same time: the Chatuchak Weekend Market

On weekends, the countless stalls and stores of Chatuchak Market are open and the narrow walkways are packed with visitors. There is an order to this maze: jewelry, leather goods, ceramics, clothing or shoes, everything has its place here – you just have to find it! Tourists and locals alike bustle about and are sure to find everything they need and don’t need. A perfect place to lose yourself, but especially to buy souvenirs and souvenirs from that unforgettable vacation in Bangkok. After tough bargaining, a special low price is also possible! 

View the big city lights from above in one of the hottest rooftop bars

One of the high-priced pleasures of this city break is heading to a rooftop terrace orair-conditioned rooftop bar. Here you will be served delicious cocktails that will make you forget the tropical heat and invite you to dream. Every now and then, you can take in the colorful lights of the metropolis much further down the road, lost in the distance. A trip to Thailand would not be complete without these enchanting impressions from Bangkok. 

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