Welcome to Thailand
Thailand, the only Southeast Asian nation never to have been colonized by European powers, is a constitutional monarchy whose current head of state is HM Bhumibol Adulyadej. A unified Thai kingdom has existed since the mid-14th century, and Thailand was known as Siam until 1939 when it officially became the Kingdom of Thailand. Captal is Bangkok,
Thailand is the 50th largest country in the world; most nearly equal in size to Spain.
Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F). Thailand’s largest peak, Doi Inthanon, is 2,565 meters (8,415 ft) tall. Thailand covers 510,890 sq km of land and 2,230 sq km of water. The coastline of Thailand is 3,219 km long. Thailand’s longest shared border is with Myanmar (Burma), stretching 1,800 km.
Located just 15 degrees north of the equator, Thailand has a tropical climate and temperatures typically range from 19 to 38 degrees C (66-100 F).
The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht. Baht come in both coin and banknote form. The size of Thai currency, both coins and bills increases with value and varies in color.
Below are the attractive cities of Thailand:
Introduction of Bangkok
As the political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital of Thailand, Bangkok features both old-world charm and modern convenience, at times served up in an apparently chaotic manner, but always with a gracious smile.
Invariably, every Thailand holiday includes a visit to the kingdom’s capital city, Bangkok, or Krung Thep, “the city of angels” as it is known to its inhabitants. Many tourists who travel to Bangkok are immediately overwhelmed by the sheer size of the city and the vast number of attractions Bangkok has to offer. Indeed there are a wide variety of Bangkok sightseeing opportunities spanning more than two centuries of rapid development following the city’s founding in 1782 by King Rama I, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty; since that auspicious date, Bangkok has swelled to a cosmopolitan, 21st century city of more than ten million inhabitants.
While the immensity of the city and the chaos of its bustling streets can be intimidating at first, those who spend some time in Bangkok are quickly enamored by the variety of attractions Bangkok contains, from exotic temples, which epitomize Thailand’s strong Buddhist history, to modern shopping malls, which have make shopping an integral part of any Bangkok holiday. As the kingdom’s political, economic, cultural, culinary, and spiritual capital, Bangkok features attractions guaranteed to please visitors either simply passing through the city or spending their entire Thailand holiday in Bangkok.
Nearly every Bangkok holiday includes a visit to Thailand’s Grand Palace, arguably the premier Bangkok sightseeing attraction. Situated in the heart of Bangkok’s Rattakosin district, the gleaming spires of the Grand Palace are conveniently located nearby Bangkok’s most spectacular temples, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keaw), the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun), and Wat Po, which features an enormous reclining Buddha and was home of the first Thai massage school in the kingdom. These iconic destinations are top attractions to all visitors who travel to Bangkok looking to appreciate Thailand’s unique cultural traditions.
In fact, there are more than 400 functioning Buddhist temples throughout the city and it’s not uncommon when you travel in Bangkok to spot saffron robed monks collecting morning alms or traveling throughout out the city, including along the Chao Phraya, the “River of Kings”, which passes alongside Rattakosin and the Temple of the Dawn.
The winding Chao Phraya is connected by numerous canals from which Bangkok has earned its nickname the “Venice of the East”; when you travel around Bangkok, a cruise on the Chao Phraya, a visit to a floating market, or an exploration of the cities “back alley” canals (klongs) are themselves unique Bangkok attractions.
Other historical and cultural Bangkok sightseeing ‘must sees’ include the National Museum, Vimanmek Mansion, and Suan Pakkad Palace, all of which either house fine art or are national treasures in their own right.
Beyond Bangkok’s historical district, there are plenty of other attractions that make a Bangkok holiday both enjoyable and memorable. While modern “downtown” districts along Silom and Sukhumvit Roads were once nightmares of oppressive heat and unbearable traffic, a modern and convenient electric rail system, including an elevated sky-train and underground subway have made travel in Bangkok both easy and enjoyable. Connecting hotels directly to modern shopping malls and traditional markets, such as the Suan Lum Night Bazaar and Chatuchak (JJ) weekend market, the MRT and BTS electric rail systems have literally elevated Bangkok shopping to world class status.
Of course, no Thailand holiday is complete without experiencing Thailand’s vibrant nightlife, during which time you may even witness the occasional elephant wandering the Bangkok streets!
Whether, the purpose of your Thailand holiday is to immerse yourself in Thailand’s unique culture or simply to splurge in Bangkok shopping malls, when you travel to Bangkok you are guaranteed a fascinating experience of both old world charm and modern convenience and luxury.
Over the last few decades, Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city has changed into a modern, exciting, and sophisticated city. Bangkok offers visitors not only the modern amenities they would expect from other cosmopolitan cities, but also a unique treasure trove of cultural attractions. Thailand, in the heart of Southeast Asia, was never colonized and thus kept its unique culture and heritage intact. Bangkok offers visitors the opportunity to experience a fascinating glimpse of Thailand’s gentle culture amidst the bustle of a great and dynamic metropolis. Amazingly, this great city has had astounding success in combining the ancient and modern worlds.
For tourists, Bangkok has a feast of attractions to offer. The city is dotted with 400 glittering Buddhist temples of great beauty, magnificent palaces, classical dance performances, numerous shopping centers, and a still functioning traditional way of life, especially along the canals and the Chao Phraya River, the "River of Kings", which winds through the city; Bangkok truly is the "Venice of the East".
Below are the attractive places in Bangkok:
Grand Palace/ Phraborom Maha Ratchawang
The spectacular Grand Palace is an example of great architecture. It is one of Bangkok's most impressive collections of temples and palaces. Although the Royal Family no longer resides here, the Palace is still used for ceremonial purposes, and most of it remains closed to the public; however, the four main buildings are incorporated in the grounds of the glittering Wat Phra Keo and must be visited to experience their brilliant, diverse styles. Appropriate dress code required.
The tour of Bangkok's Grand Palace and the sight of the Holy of Holies within - the Jade Buddha (also known as the Emerald Buddha) in Wat Phra Kaeo - are among the highlights of any visit to Thailand. Each of the buildings making up the 21.84-ha (54-acre) palace complex evinces not only the ethos of a period but, above all, the spirit of the monarch ruling at the time.
The whole of the holy precinct still preserves the pure undefiled style deriving from the time of its inception, notwithstanding many alterations and refurbishments - the last of these in 1984. When undertaking this restoration work, which has largely been carried out by students of the Bangkok Academy of Art, the utmost emphasis has been placed on being true to the original details, notably regarding the extensive murals which have been adversely affected over the passing of the years, not least by the high levels of air pollution to be found in Bangkok.
The palace is entered via the main or Wiseedtschairi Gate ("Gate of Wonderful Victory"), beyond which a wide roadway leads through the outer courtyard. On either side are modern buildings housing government offices. Anyone whose mode of dress is considered improper by the guards on duty will be asked to don a sarong, issued free of charge (although on production of some form of security, such as one's passport).
After obtaining an entrance ticket (the ticket office is at the start of the access roadway to the actual palace precinct), the visitor goes past a building standing slightly back, in which the Museum of Royal Regalia and Coins is housed. On display on the first floor are carved wooden furniture and interior furnishings of considerable interest (extra admission charge).
Operation: 8.30am-4.30pm, Daily except during special Royal Ceremonies
Address: Na Phra Lan Rd, Maharaj Pier | next to Wat Phra Kaeo Temple Complex, city center, Bangkok, Thailand
Wat Benchama-bo-bitr (Marble Temple)
This Wat is made of white Carrana marble, hence it is also called The Marble Temple. Constructed by King Rama V in 1901, it employs European ecclesiastic details, such as stained-glass windows and contains a superb cloister collection of bronze Buddha images. These images, which are 33 originals and 20 reproductions, represent famous idols and styles from all over Asia and other Buddhist countries. This is an excellent place to watch religious festivals and processions. Unlike most other temples, monks do not go out seeking alms but are instead visited by merit-makers from 6a-7a.
Benchama-bo-bitr, popularly called the Marble Temple, is one of the loveliest wats in Bangkok. It was erected in about 1899 by King Rama V (Chulalongkorn), the snow-white marble being shipped to Thailand from Tuscany in Italy. Thais also refer to the wat as "The Wat of the Fifth King", Rama V, crowned soon after his 20th birthday, having spent part of 1873 as a "bikkhu" (monk) in the old monastery south of the temple.
Most unusually the compound is entered neither through a gate in a wall nor a wiharn, being separated from the street only by ornamental railings and an expanse of lawn. The boundary on the south side, between the temple and the monks' quarters, is also unusual, taking the form of a moat.
The temple has a triple-tiered roof of Chinese glazed tiles. The little pavilions, matching the temple in color and style, the red and gold curved bridges, and the green of the many trees, all play their part in creating a modern building perfectly in keeping with Thai tradition and style. King Chulalongkorn took a personal interest in many of the details while his half-brother Prince Naris, the accomplished architect, was on site for almost the entire period of construction.
Operation: 8.30am-5.30pm, Daily
Address: 69 Rama V Road, Dusit 10300
The Thai capital Bangkok was crisscrossed by khlong and so gained the name Venice of the East. The khlongs were used for transportation and forfloating markets, but also for sewage. Today, most of the khlongs of Bangkok have been filled in and converted into streets, although the Thonburi side of Bangkok (covering areas west of Chao Phraya River) still retains several of its larger khlongs.
Bangkok no longer has an authentic floating market. Most of the canals (klongs) cutting through the city were either drained and filled because of the risk of cholera they posed, or converted into badly needed roads. Only in Thonburi do one or two vendors still set up shop on the klongs in the early mornings. Even so, a boat trip along the waterways remains an absorbing experience, best embarked upon from the landing-stage near the Oriental Hotel. Here, especially in the morning, a multitude of craft wait to ferry sightseers across the Menam Chao Phraya and through the tangled web of little and not so little canals. The time to go if at all possible is in the morning or the late afternoon when life along the klongs is at its most colorful and varied.
In order to see the kind of floating market which still existed in Bangkok up to a few years ago, it is now necessary to make the journey to Damnoen Saduak.
This light-and-sound presentation focuses on the history of one of Bangkok's most famous landmarks, Wat Arun, which was named after the Indian God of Dawn, Aruna. The temple features a porcelain-encrusted, 79-meter central pagoda, Phra Prang, that sparkles in the sun. It has four towers symbolizing Mount Meru, the terrestrial representation of the 33 heavens. King Taksin selected it as a royal temple in 1767 as it was the first place in Thonburi to catch the early morning light. It housed the Emerald Buddha after it was recaptured from Laos and before it was moved to Wat Phra Kaeo in 1875.
Admission fee: 20 bath
Operation: 8.30am-5.30pm, Daily
Address: Address: 34 Arun Ammarin Road | Wat Arun, Bangkok Yai, Bangkok 10600, Thailand
Jim Thompson Museum
The extraordinarily beautiful old Thai houses that Thompson found near Ayutthaya and brought by river to Bangkok have not vanished however. Now owned by a charitable trust, they are used to display the splendid art collection the American had built up. All the proceeds of admission go to various charitable institutions in Thailand.
The seven wooden houses - which every visitor should try to see - are now almost unique in the country and contain treasures representing every period of Thai art. They are picturesquely situated in Soi Kasem San, in a pretty garden by the side of a klong on the opposite bank of which the silk weavers once worked.
Once inside, the cultured taste of the former owner is everywhere apparent. As well as old pictures in Thai silk, and Buddha figures from nearly every major epoch, there are numerous everyday items and many other works of art. Note in particular the sideboard, once part of a Chinese altar, and the miniature palace which children of some rich family would have used for keeping pets. A Buddhist by conviction, Jim Thompson moved into his house only when temple astrologers deemed the moment auspicious. Even so, he was granted but a short time in it. Just seven years later he left Bangkok never to return.
Admission Fee: Adult 100 baht; Students 50 baht
Operation: 9am-5pm, Daily
Access: Located in the center of Bangkok, it is conveniently reached by car, taxi, Tuk tuk, or the Sky Train (Bangkok Transit System).
· - Compulsory guided tours around the house.