Bangkok Travel: Royal Palace, Temples, Shopping, Festivals and Culture

Bangkok, also called the “City of Angels”, is one of Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destinations. Its combination of history and culture, cuisine and entertainment pulls in millions of foreigners every year. A map of Bangkok will reveal that the city is located along the Chao Praya River whose basin surrounds the city. Many canals were built during the 19th century that have given the city the nickname “Venice of the East”.  The weather in Bangkok with its tropical temperatures also makes it a popular getaway destination: daily temperatures range between the low 20s and the low to mid 30s degree Celsius. Temperatures vary little throughout the year with December and January being marginally cooler than the other months. The least humid months are November to April which make it ideal destination for a winter getaway.

Royal Palace

Royal Palace (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/hagleitn/” target=”_blank”}Mot the barber{/a})

Here is a list of major attractions and things do to in Bangkok:

–          Royal Palace and the Wat Phra Kaeo Temple: This complex comprises more than 100 buildings of different architectural styles, including the famous Wat Phra Kaeo Temple which holds the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most revered Buddha statue.

Emerald Buddha

Emerald Buddha (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/islandgyrl/” target=”_blank”}Chrissy Olson{/a})

–          Wat Pho, literally translated, means Temple of the Reclining Buddha, referring to the one of the largest reclining Buddha statues in the world with a length of 46 metres and a height of 15 metres. This temple is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage and home to one of the oldest Thai massage schools.

–          Wat Arun is the Temple of Dawn and features a 75 m tall pagoda covered entirely in tiles that sparkle in the sun.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun at sunset (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/tom_ruaat/” target=”_blank”}Mark Fischer{/a})

–          Lumpini Park is the largest park in the city’s centre where the locals practice Tai Chi in the morning. It features an artificial lake with pedal and row boats that can be rented. Jogging and bicycling (only during daytime hours) are also popular activities here.

Lumpini Park

Lumpini Park (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/28132620@N04/” target=”_blank”}gabontour{/a})

–          Shopping in Bangkok is a very popular pastime. One of the city’s main shopping areas is the Silom – Surawong – Patpong shopping district that features a wide variety of shops, boutiques and street vendors. Pholen Chit-Ratchaprason is home to high-end department stores and luxury shopping malls. The Patpong Night Market is a red light district where street vendors sell many fake name brand goods to tourists. It also features many live-music clubs and good restaurants.

Patpong Night Market

Patpong Night Market (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/justastranger/” target=”_blank”}Mani Yang{/a})

The Chatuchak Weekend Market is the largest market in all of Thailand and is visited by more than 200,000 people every day. You can purchase a wide variety of clothing, household goods, foods, Thai handicrafts and even religious collectibles. There are also numerous water markets or floating markets where local vendors exhibit their merchandise in boats on the canal. Damnoen Saduak is a morning floating market, while Ampawa is an evening floating market. Haggling is allowed.

Floating market

Floating market (image by {a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/archer10/” target=”_blank”}archer10{/a})

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