It’s easy to think of drugs and prostitution lined streets when you think about things to do in Bangkok, from all of the movie portrayals. But, it would be a shame to let the Hollywood image deter you from visiting this astonishingly beautiful city filled with centuries of history, architecture, arts, and culture. Social butterflies should check the offers here if they want a more integrated visit to ‘The Land of Smiles.’ Here are six destinations to get you started on your “non-sleezy” trip to Bangkok.
This spellbinding palace was home to Thai Kings and their Royal court for 150 years. Originally built in 1782, the palaces intricate details, geometric Asian influenced architecture, and rich vibrant colors will leave you awestruck and wondering how these engineering and architectural geniuses of their time were able to construct these monumental buildings and gardens that have stood the test of time. Although the Kings of Thailand stopped living in the spectacular palace complex around the twelfth century, this palatial complex is still used to this day for regal ceremonies, and important Buddhist rituals.
Wat Pra Kaew
Also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pra Kaew sits in the complex of the Grand Palace and houses the famous Emerald Buddha itself. As if this small (approximately 66cm tall), 14th century Buddha that is carved from a single piece of stone is not enough to fill your sense of wonder, the temple’s intricate designs and harmonious energy driven décor will.
A sight not to be missed, the floating markets are sure to give you the authentic Thai experience, with dozens of wooden flat boats fresh from the farm filled with fruits, vegetables, and flowers for purchase. If you are looking for something more along the line of take-out, try one of the floating food vendors as they prepare your meal of seafood, or Boat Noodles using charcoal grills and cauldrons right in front of you.
The 15 meters tall, and 46 meters long reclining Buddha is just the tip of the ice berg when touring Wat Pho; the temple complex spans 80,000 square meters and houses more than one thousand images of Buddha, centuries old murals and sculptures, and expertly manicured gardens. In keeping with the times, the complex also has a souvenir shop, and is the site of The College of Traditional Medicine.
Chatuchak Weekend Market
With more than 80,000 stalls, this outdoor covered marketplace is like a small city within itself. Originally known as a wholesaler and traders market, it has become a beacon to tourists looking for authentic Thai merchandise from textiles to spices.
Jim Thompson’s House and Museum
Known for spending three decades dedicated to reviving the failing art of Thai silk, before inexplicably disappearing in the Malaysian jungles, Jim left behind an extensive collection of antiques and Thai art. The six teakwood Thai-style houses, preserved to their original splendor, that create the complex; are equally as spectacular and artistic as the artifacts they house.
Thailand’s centuries old history and culture based in tradition is an experience not to be missed by the true traveler, and Bangkok is the perfect place to get your feet wet in your Thailand journey.