Bangkok’s biggest tourist attraction as well as a pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists, Wat Phra Kaew (วัดพระแก้ว), the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the adjoining Grand Palace together form the greatest spectacle for any visitor to Bangkok. Originally home to the Thai King and Royal Court for more than 150 years, it is still used for royal ceremonies and national events.
The nearly 100-hectare grounds, which date back to 1782, encompass more than 100 buildings that represent 200 years of royal history and architectural experimentation, featuring an amazing array of brightly coloured buildings, glittering mosaics and golden spires.
Wat Arun, known locally as Wat Chaeng, is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, and is undeniably the most stunning temple in Bangkok – as well as being one of the few Buddhist temples one is encouraged to climb on.
Best known for its towering 80-meter central prang, the largest in Thailand, Wat Arun was built in Khmer architectural style. Made up of colourful ceramics and porcelain to form elaborate motifs and designs, this makes the prangs shimmer and shine in the sunlight, giving the temple a unique appeal that has to be seen close up to be fully appreciated.
For some fantastic authentic Thai food not far from the SEA Brew conference venue, try “Grandmother Restaurant” right next to the Rachathewi BTS station. Try their Salt-Crusted Tilapia, Crispy Catfish Salad or just a regular old Phad Thai – you won’t be disappointed.
A word to the wise; get there early as seats fill up fast in the evening.
Located nearby more well known Thonglor, Ekkamai has everything from vintage shopping, trendy coffee shops and art galleries to restaurants, bars and clubs but in a quieter, more relaxed environment.
In addition to plenty of choices, the eateries here tend to be affordable in comparison to other parts of town, with numerous street side vendors selling everything from noodle soup to Thai basil chicken.
The rambling 8-hectare Buddhist Temple Complex of Wat Pho incorporates the city’s largest reclining Buddha, the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and the country’s earliest centre for public education.
The reclining Buddha figure is 15m tall and 46m long, making it one of the largest Buddha statues in Thailand. The reclining image represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. The posture is referred to as suhasaiyas, or the posture of a sleeping or reclining lion.
For a great view of the city from the river take the public River Bus from Taksin Pier (Saphan Taksin BTS) all the way up to Phra Arthit (Khao San Road) for only THB15 (US$0.50). Jump on the “Orange Flag” boat (far left pier, be wary of ‘Tourist Boat’ touts) and be whisked past the spectacular Wat Arun, Wichai Prasit Fort and Grand Palace.
Muay Thai is said to date back to more than 2000 years ago, and its long history is interwoven with the history of the Thai people. Born of the need to defend themselves and their land from aggressive powers, they developed a martial art that transformed their hands, legs, elbows, and knees into deadly weapons.
Known for its tremendous power, maximum efficiency, and raw simplicity, Muay Thai is often referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, since it uses a beautiful symphony of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows with fluidity and grace. Muay Thai is now one of the most well-known and practiced martial arts in the world.
Looking for a place where you can literally shop ‘till you drop’? Then Chatuchak Weekend Market is the landmark and a must-visit place for tourists. Its sheer size and diverse collection of available merchandise will bring any seasoned shopper to their knees!
The 35-acre (68-rai) area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls. More than 200,000 visitors visit on a typical weekend to sift through the goods on offer. And you can buy just about anything you can imagine, from used vintage sneakers to baby squirrels.
Bangkok’s highest beer bar sits 30 stories above the center of Sukhumvit, atop the Radisson Blu Hotel.
Enjoy more than 100 craft brews and ciders over 18 taps while taking in the stunning skyline views.
From right outside the Berkeley Hotel conference venue you can jump on a Klong (River) Boat, this is a great way to get around the city and avoid the usual haggling with taxi drivers! 11 THB (US$0.35) will get you into the heart of the old city from which to explore Chinatown and the Grand Palace area.
Patpong is a street between Silom and Surawong roads, at the heart of what by day is Bangkok’s central business district, and by night becomes one of its most pulsating nightlife zones.
This area of Silom is where go-go bars first gained popularity during the Vietnam War period, and today its two main streets – Patpong Soi 1 and Patpong Soi 2 – remain a popular attraction for visitors looking to experience the city’s nightlife.