Bangkok. The capital of Thailand is the first Asian city I’ve visited, and soon became my first love.
I travelled through Thailand for a month, alone. It was one of the greatest experiences in all my life.
When I arrived in Bangkok it felt like home, which doesn’t always happen for me, even though I love travelling. I spent five days in The City of Angels for five days, and discovered as much of it as I could, mostly by foot. I think walking is the best way to explore a city: you can stop whenever you want and look for things that you might miss with a tuk tuk, taxi or metro.
Another things I love to do while traveling is share my experience on Instagram and Snapchat! Instagram is a great social network for me, since I’m photography addicted, and Snapchat is the best way to share emotions and bring your followers with you (if you want, add me @ale.cially84!).
When Bangkok kidnaps you, you can’t escape. It’s a chaotic city, which can be challenging to visit on foot because of the traffic and few protections for pedestrians. Regardless, I’m sure you will fall in love with its great street food, the unbelievable peace to be found in its incense-filled temples and the amazing views of the city from the bars situated on top of the skyscrapers.
Here are 10 awesome places not to be missed if you are staying in Bangkok for a few days: temples (wat), parks, houses, markets. Enjoy!
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew are the most important attractions in Bangkok, that’s why it’s so crowded! But you simply can’t miss it if you are staying in Bangkok for the first time! When it comes to your outfit, be sure to cover your shoulders and legs, or you won’t be allowed to enter. In this wat (holy complex) there are over 100 buildings, but the most significant attraction is the Temple of Emerald Buddha; a little statue made of green nephrite (not made of real emerald!). This little statue is the reason so many Buddhist pilgrims come to Bangkok every year.
This holy complex is the biggest and the most ancient in all of Bangkok. It’s near Grand Palace, but not too crowded, so you can visit it in tranquility. In one of its pavilions you’ll find the famous Wat Pho Massage School, and if you want, you can relax while receiving a Thai massage by the students. Wat Pho is famous for more than the massage school. In the witan (complex that houses the Buddha’s statue), you can see the enormous Reclining Buddha, a 46 meter long statue that represents the moment of Nirvana. You will be amazed. I was!
After visiting Wat Pho, I was given the recommendation to take a boat that brings you to the other side of the river Mae Nam Chao Phraya. This temple is also called Temple of the Dawn, because of the name of the Indian Goddess of Sunrise, Aruna. It’s famous for the precious decorations made of porcelain. If you want to see an exciting view of the Wat Arun at sunset, just go for a drink at one of the bars on the opposite side of the river, or take a boat and watch it, as I did!
This particular district is perfect to have a walk through street food restaurants (you can eat whatever you want!). You will also see many shops and temples. I loved it so much! You can reach it by MRT (stop Hua Lumpong) or by Chao Phraya Express (stop Tha Ratchawong Pier).
Known as The Temple of Golden Buddha, Wat Traimit is in the Chinatown district and can be reached by walk from MRT (stop Hua Lumpong). On the 4th floor, you can see the biggest Buddha in the world, which is three meters high and made totally of gold. It was discovered in the 30’s. The statue was covered in a plaster coating (probably used to disguise it so it would not to be stolen), and the coating fell down and showed its golden nature!
Golden Mountain and Wat Saket
This is the perfect place to get away from the chaos of Bangkok’s traffic and find some peace. At the top of the mountain, you can see this contradictory city and realize how special it is. Trees, parks, temples, skyscrapers, traditions, modernism, chaos, the scent of incense, religion and monarchy, old and new: all of this coexists peacefully.
You can reach this site by taxi or taking a boat.
This temple is a ten minute walk from Grand Palace. It’s easy to find because of the Giant Red Swing situated in front. This swing is significant because of the ancient brahminical rituals in honor of Shiva. Wat Suthat is very big, in the wihan you can see a big bronze statue of Buddha made in Sukhothai’s style and jataka paintings, which represent histories about Buddha.
Also known as Bangkok’s Central Park, Lumphini is a big green park where you can relax. The locals go there to jog, work out (there are machines which you can use for free!), to take a break, pray (there is a little temple), meditate or have a nice picnic with the family. I recommend visiting at sunset. It was amazing seeing the sun going down behind the skyscrapers. You can reach it by MRT (stop Lumphini) or by BTS (stop Sala Daeng). After sunset, I recommend having a drink or dinner at Moon Bar, on top of the Bayan Tree Hotel, where you’ll get an amazing view of Bangkok’s skyscrapers!
Jim Thompson’s House
Thailand is also famous for its silk exports, and the American Jim Thompson was the promoter of this flourishing trade in the 40’s. He fell in love with Thailand and its people, so that he decided to move from America to live in Bangkok. He disappeared misteriously in 1967 when he was in Malaysia. Today his house is a museum that shows the eccentric personality of Jim Thompson and his love for Thai art. His house is made up of six Thai traditional houses – a must see! You can reach Jim Thompson’s House by BTS (stop National Stadium).
Open every weekend, the Chatuchak is the biggest market in all of Southeast Asia! It can take an entire day to see it, since it’s so big! You can reach it by BTS (stop Mo Chit) or MRT (stop Chatuchak). If you love shopping, I recommend you to visit this market as soon as possible! It is composed of different pavillons: clothes (which occupy the majority of the market), home and garden things, art galleries, furniture and food. If you travel with a backpack, don’t bring so much stuff with you, because you’ll want to fill your backpack with second hand clothes, swimming suits, underwear, trousers, skirts, t-shirts and much more.
Photos were taken by @ale.cially84