13 Feb 2014

Tourist Attractions in Bangkok

Southeast Asian cities often have to live with the reputation of being congested, dusty, and sweaty. With over a 9 million inhabitants, Bangkok is one of the biggest cities in the world and checks all the wrong boxes! It doesn’t help that Bangkok and a naughty nightlife are said in the same breath. Scratch beneath the surface, and you will find that first impressions can be misleading. This city is as cosmopolitan as any, and it boasts of many a magnificent temples and palaces. The meandering waterways, great shopping, and a vibrant nightlife add to its allure.

A countdown never really does justice to what Bangkok has to offer in terms of tourist attractions, but hey, let’s go for one all the same.

1.    Khao San Road: The Khao San Road, once a major rice market, is a backpackers’ paradise. From dorm-style accommodation and 3-stars hotels on a budget to bars, food stalls, restaurants, internet cafes, and travel agencies, Khao San Road has got it all.

Khao San Road (Photo Courtesy: http://xtremegapyear.co.uk)
2.    Bangkok Klongs: For centuries, the ‘Klongs,’ Thai for canal, and the floating markets have been a way of life for the Thailanders. Though most of these waterways have been filled in to build more streets, you can still get to experience a touristy floating market on the Klong Damnoen Saduak. Take a boat ride to the city through the Klong Saen Saeb, and you will not be disappointed.

Bangkok Klongs (Photo Courtesy: http://www.friendlyplanet.com)
3.    Jim Thompson’s House: Jim Thompson may have brought disrepute to CIA, but the Thai silk industry saw a boom after World War II under his patronage. The house is put together from six Thai-style houses, and his art collection is a must-see on a visit to Bangkok. Take a guided tour through the buildings. What’s more, the guides are at ease with plenty of foreign languages.

Jim Thompson’s House (Photo Courtesy: http://www.bangkokmag.infothai.com)
4.    Wat Arun: A view of  Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn across Chao Phraya river is truly a sight to behold. The architecture represents Mount Meru, the centre of universe in Buddhist cosmology. Contrary to its name, Wat Arun is best viewed in the evening with the sun setting in the backdrop.

Wat Arun or the Temple of Dawn (Photo Courtesy: http://www.sightseeinggroup.com)
5.    Central World: Central World positions itself as a middle class shopping center as opposed to the upmarket Siam Paragon. Despite the fire in 2010, Central World is back and 80% of its retail spaces open for business. It still remains a wallet-friendly option for a traveler on a shopping free.

Central World Bangkok (Photo Courtesy: http://fiuzu.com)
6.    Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho): Wat Pho is associated with the huge reclining Buddha it houses. It is one of the largest and oldest temples in Bangkok. This tourist hotspot also holds the distinction for the largest number of Buddha images in Thailand. The 46-metre gold-plated Buddha commemorates the passing of Buddha into Nirvana. A Bangkok itinerary is never complete without Wat Pho in the list. So keep this great place in mind when you plan your trip.

Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Photo Courtesy: http://www.pinterest.com)
7.    Grand Palace and Wat Pra Keaw: The Grand Palace was residence to Kings of Thailand until the mysterious death of King Ananda Mahidol in 1946. Today the palace is a major tourist attraction. The royal temple, Wat Pra Keaw, in the palace premises is considered the most sacred temple in Bangkok and is home to the world-renowned Emerald Buddha. No. 1 on the list and for a reason!

Grand Palace and Wat Pra Keaw (Photo Courtesy: http://www.bangkok101.com)
With a choice of international flights and connectivity like never before, it is really convenient to fly to Bangkok from even the tier-two cities without many stop-over’s and delays. So take a break from mundane work, and get on a plane. A flight to Bangkok would not really burn your pocket. Now what more reason do you need to go on a shopping spree in Bangkok?