Top Things to do in Bangkok
- Visit the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
- Drop in to a Floating Market
- Explore the Grand Palace
- Discover the Wat Phra Gaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
- Take the Express Boat on the Chao Phrya
- Ride in a Tuk Tuk
- Notice the Contradictions Throughout the City
Visit the Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn)
Located on the bank of the Chao Phrya (river), this beautiful temple has colorful spires and porcelain tiles filling every possible spot. The wat is dominated by a large prang (Khmer-style tower), and four smaller prangs on each corner. The detail is stunning and is really appreciated up-close.
Drop in to a Floating Market
This is a scene that you really shouldn’t miss. Sellers in long-tail boats sell produce and meals straight from their boats. There are many markets to choose from like the DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET (the oldest and largest in Bangkok) or the Bang Phli Floating Market (one of the most authentic floating markets). Some markets are only open on the weekend so be sure to look into the hours of operation before you go.
A great way to see the floating markets without being overwhelmed is by hiring a guide. We hired a guide that took us to a floating market as well as Wat Arun, the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Gaeo. This made for a very efficient and lovely day.
Explore the Grand Palace
The Grand Palace is the former residence of Rama I through Rama V (the former kings of Thailand); and the current Rama still uses the Palace for royal ceremonies. This is a very large complex including the residence (broken into the outer, middle and inner courts) and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The buildings are often encrusted with gold and precious jewels and the detail applied to each building is amazing.
Discover the Wat Phra Gaeo (Temple of the Emerald Buddha)
Within the confines of the immense Grand Palace is Wat Phra Gaeo, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). This is a spectacular building on its own, and houses the (surpirsingly small) Emerald Buddha.
Surrounding the building are murals depicting the Ramakien Gallery. There are 178 panels, painted in 1783 when the building was constructed; and the murals require constant maintenance.
Ride in a Tuk Tuk
Now this is an experience! These small open vehicles are a cheap way of getting around town. The name comes from the sound the engine makes as they crawl through the congested traffic. Riding in any vehicle in Bangkok is an adventure, but riding in a Tuk Tuk brings it to a new level.
Take the Express Boat on the Chao Phrya
Boats are a very convenient way to get around in Bangkok as the Chao Phrya (river) runs through the middle of the city. The Express boat stops at many of the Wat (temples), including the Wat Arun and Grand Palace.
Notice the Contradictions Throughout the City
I really love Bangkok. The people are very friendly in this city, which is why it is called the Land of Smiles; and the sites are awe-inspiring. What surprised me was the contradictions I saw throughout the city. For instance, I would see the golden, jeweled temples one minute then see the shacks on the river the next.