Bangkok (Thai: กรุงเทพฯ Krung Thep Maha Nakhon) is the capital of Thailand and, with a population of over eleven million inhabitants, by far its largest city. Its high-rise buildings, heavy traffic congestion, intense heat and naughty nightlife may not immediately give you the best impression but don't let that mislead you. It is one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities with magnificent temples and palaces, authentic canals, busy markets and a vibrant nightlife that has something for everyone.
For years, it was only a small trading post at the banks of the Chao Phraya River, until King Rama I, the first monarch of the present Chakri dynasty, turned it into the capital of Siam in 1782, after the burning of Ayutthaya by Burmese invaders but they did not take over Ayutthaya. Since then, Bangkok has turned into a national treasure house and functions as Thailand's spiritual, cultural, political, commercial, educational and diplomatic centre.
The first phase of Bangkok's ambitious public transport system is now complete, the city's public transport system is fairly efficient and convenient, but there is still a fair amount of room for improvement to the system's integration.
The city, like many developing cities, suffers from paralytic traffic jams periodically throughout the day. In rush hours, it may be worthwhile combining public transport by different means. For example: soar over traffic jams by skytrain to the station closest to your destination and thereafter take a taxi for the final leg.
Bangkok is one of the most interesting cities in the world and is known to be number one for scenery. Perhaps you would like to know how to move around the city. There are many different ways to move around Bangkok. For example, using buses or Taxis, or maybe even on the water with a Ferry, or the famous public transit like BTS and MRT.
YourBangkokitinerary wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the world’s largest teak architecture. Vimanmek is the main structure in the complex ofDusitPalace. This three-storey mansion made of gold-colored teakwood was once a royal resort retreat called Munthatu Rattanaroj Residence at Chonburi’s Koh Si Chang. King Rama V demanded the dismantled and reassembled at its current premise in 1901 to serve as his residence. The design was inspired by Victorian architecture, with interiors finished with five different theme colors: blue, green, pink, ivory and peach. The 81-room mansion now exhibits royal amenities and furniture belonged to King Rama V.
Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 9.30 a.m. - 4 p.m. Thai dancing shows : Daily at 10.30 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Admission: 100 baht, including entry to all venues in the compound ofDusitPalace. Entry tickets to The Grand Place also cover entry to Vimanmek.
Note: Proper attire is required
Contact:Ratchawithi Rd., Dusit,Bangkok, Tel :0 2628 6300-9, www.vimanmek.com
Getting there: Bus no. 12, 18, 28,56,70, 108, 515
Bangkok’s Chinatown, Thailand’s largest Chinese community, is commonly known among Thais as Yaowarat, according to the name of the road where it is located. The Chinese community dominated trades between Siam (ancient Thailand) and China since the reign of King Rama I, centered around Ratchawong Pier, while the construction of Yaowarat Road hadn’t begun until 1891 during the reign of King Rama V. Today, Yaowarat is widely known as the kingdom’s largest center of gold trade and a great foodie destination. Yaowarat simply has two faces: If you visit Yaowarat during the day, what you see along both sides of this one and a half kilometer road are shops selling gold, Chinese herbs, fruits and Chinese restaurants serving authentic cuisine. But if you visit Yaowarat after sunset, the road turns into a street food heaven where a number of food trucks prepare you marvelous food, from Chinese fried noodles to iced Chinese dessert, you hardly find elsewhere.
An extravagant show about the history of Thailand that involves stunning costumes, skillful dancers, entertaining music, state-of-the-art techniques and cutting-edge light and sound system; that what this 2,000-seat theatre has to offer. The 80-minute show that aims to portray Thai cultural heritage is narrated in three acts: ‘Journey Back into History,’ ‘Journey Beyond Imagination,’ and ‘Journey Through Joyous Festivals’ that you’ll be never disappointed. Visit the theatre early and you’ll be able to enjoy walking through a Thai village that shows the lifestyle of ancient locals.
Showtime : 8pm, gate open at 5:30pm
Tickets : Show only 1,500 Baht and 2,000 Baht (gold seat); show with dinner 1,850 Baht and 2,350 Baht (gold seat)
Contact : Tien Ruam Mitr Rd., Ratchadapisek, Huay Kwang, 02-649-9222. http://www.siamniramit.com
Getting there : MRTThailandCulturalCenterstation.
The Grand Palace
The Grand Palace has an area of 218,400 sq. metres and is surrounded by walls built in 1782. The length of the four walls is 1,900 metres. Within these walls are situated government offices and the Chapel Royal of the Emerald Buddha besides the royal residences. When Siam restored law and order after the fall of Ayutthaya the monarch lived in Thonburi on the west side of the river. Rama I, on ascending the throne, moved the centre of administration to this side of the Chao Phraya; and, after erecting public monuments such as fortifications and monasteries, built a palace to serve not only as his residence but also his offices--the various ministries, only one of which remains in the palace walls.
This palace came to be known as the Grand Palace, in which the earliest edifices contemporary with the foundation of Bangkok were the two groups of residences named the Dusit Maha Prasat and the Phra Maha Monthian.
Just north of the Royal Residence of the Maha Monthian from which there is a connecting gate lies The Chapel Royal of The Emerald Buddha. It consists of all the architectural features of the monastery without however the residential quarter, for monks do not live here. The Assembly Hall, or Ubosoth, serves as the monarch's private chapel. Hence the partition on either side of the main altar intended as a retiring room,which is never to be found anywhere else but the only other chapel royal, that of the King of Thonburi, which serves now as the Assembly Hall of the monastery of Arun within the former grounds of the palace of that king. The "Emerald Buddha" is carved from a block of jade. It is an object of national veneration and crowds come to pay respect to the memory of the Buddha and His Teachings on certain days of the weeks when it is open to the public.