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Bangkok (English pronunciation: /bkk/[5]) is

the capital and most populous city of Thailand. It

is known in Thai as Krung Thep Maha Nakhon
(, pronounced [kr tp mah
nkn]( listen)) or simply Krung Thep(help
info). The city occupies 1,568.7 square
kilometres (605.7sqmi) in the
Chao Phraya River delta in Central Thailand, and
has a population of over 8 million, or 12.6
percent of the country's population. Over 14
million people (22.2 percent) live within the
surrounding Bangkok Metropolitan Region,
making Bangkok an extreme primate city,
dwarfing Thailand's other urban centres in terms
of importance.

Grand Palace

Hours: 8:30am-3:30pm daily

Admission: 500 baht; additional 100
baht for audio guides (available in
English, French, German, Spanish,
Mandarin, Russian, and Japanese).

If you only visit one major historical

tourist attraction in Bangkok, this
should be the one. The royal
compound lives up to its name, with
spectacular structures that would put
the most decadent modern monarchs
to shame. It's also the home of Wat
Phra Kaeo, which houses the Jade (or
Emerald) Buddha.
Built in 1782, the grand palace was
the royal residence for generations
and is still used for important
ceremonies and accommodating
heads of state. Dress modestly when
visiting the Grand Palace, which
basically means covering your arms
and legs and avoiding any sloppy
Location: Na Phra Lan Road, Phra
Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra

Wat Pho
Located immediately south of the Grand Palace
precinct, Wat Pho makes an excellent addition to
your tour, provided your feet are up for more
walking. Also known as or Wat Chetuphon), the
temple was built by King Rama I and is the oldest
and in Bangkok. It has long been considered a place
of healing, and was famous centuries ago for its
pharmacy and as Thailand's first "university," both
established by King Rama III. You can get a Thai or
foot massage at the traditional medical school on
the premises, but the prices are significantly higher
than what you will find at massage parlors
elsewhere in the city.
Today Wat Pho is best known for the Temple of the
Reclining Buddha, where you'll find a statue so big
(45 m long and 15 m high), it cannot be viewed in its
Hours: 8:30am-6pm daily
entirety only appreciated in sections. The soles of
Admission: 100 baht
the feet, inlaid with a myriad of precious stones, are
Address: 2 Sanamchai Road, Grand
particularly interesting with the 108 signs of true
faith. Also look for the long earlobes signifying noble
Palace Subdistrict, Pranakorn District
birth, and the lotus-bud configuration of the hand to
symbolize purity and beauty.

Wat Arun

Hours: 8:30am-5:30pm daily

Admission: 20 baht
Location: Arun Amarin Rd

Wat Arun is something of a triumphant

complex, dating back to ancient battles
between the former Siam and Burma.
Having fallen to the Burmese, Ayutthaya
was reduced to rubble and ashes. But
General Taksin and the remaining
survivors vowed to march "until the sun
rose again" and to build a temple there.
Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, was
that temple. It is where the new king later
built his royal palace and a private chapel.
If you climb to the top of the prang just
before sunset, you are rewarded with an
unforgettable view as the sun sinks over
the Chao Praya River. Even if you don't
plan to be doing any climbing, sunset is
really the time to take in this place in all its

Wat Traimit, Temple of the Golden Buddha

Sheer luck (or lack thereof) makes this
attraction special. During the 1950s, the East
Asiatic Company purchased the land around
the temple. A condition of the sale was the
removal of a plaster statue of Buddha, but the
statue proved too heavy for the crane being
used. The cable parted and the figure was
dropped, being left overnight where it fell. It
happened to be in the rainy season, and when
next morning some monks walked past, they
noticed a glint of gold shining through the
plaster. The coating was removed, revealing a
3.5 m Buddha cast from 5.5 tons of solid gold.
All attempts to trace the origin of this
priceless statue have so far failed, but it is
assumed to date from the Sukhothai period,
when marauding invaders threatened the
country and its treasures, and it became
common practice to conceal valuable Buddha
figures beneath a coating of plaster. No one
knows how it came to Bangkok, but here it
stands available for the admiration of visitors
from all over the world.

Wat Suthat
Wat Suthat, adjacent to the Great
Swing, is one of the oldest and
most beautiful of Bangkok's
Buddhist temples. Three kings had
a hand in its construction: it was
begun soon after the coronation of
Rama I (founder of the Chakri
dynasty) in 1782, continued by
Rama II, and completed ten years
later by Rama III. Apart from its
delightful architecture, the temple
boasts some exceptionally
Hours: 8:30am-9:00pm daily
interesting wall paintings. Wat
Admission: 20 baht
Location: Bamrung Muang Road, Sao Suthat is less popular than some of
the other temple complexes in the
Chingcha, Phra Nakhon
city, so you'll enjoy a more peaceful
and intimate experience here.

Giant Swing
In the center of the busy square
in front of Wat Suthat stands
one of Bangkok's most eyecatching sights, the 27 m high
teak frame of the so-called Giant
Swing. This used to be the focus
of a religious ceremony held every
year in December after the rice
harvest. Teams of three took turns
to balance on a dangerously
narrow board and be swung 25 m
or more off the ground "up to
Heaven", at which point they
would attempt to catch a bag of
silver coins in their teeth. King
Rama VII banned the contest in
1932, following a number of fatal

Khao San Road

This is Bangkok's infamous
backpacker district, a neighborhood
jam-packed with guesthouses, food
vendors, clothing stalls, and
travelers from every corner of the
globe. You'll need to tap into your
patience when hanging out here
because, while it is colorful and
exciting in its own way, the crowds
and scents and blaring music can
test even the calmest soul. But it is
a great place to pick up a few pairs
of the baggy fisherman pants - the
perennial staple of every
backpacker's wardrobe when
trekking through Thailand, browse
the treasures in a used bookstore,
and dig into some delicious Indian
food from a neighborhood

Lumphini Park
Lumphini Park is more than
just an oasis of nature in
bustling Bangkok. Originally
designed to house Thai crafts
and flowers, it is a serene
place where people can stroll
paths, take a paddle boat
ride or just sit and relax and
watch others do their
morning and evening
exercises. Visitors who stroll
along the pond may even
come across a water monitor
lizard, a crocodile-like reptile.
Free outdoor concerts take
place on Sunday afternoons.

Dusit Palace
Dusit Palace is the name
of the compound of Royal
residences, constructed in
European style between
1897 and 1901 for King
Rama V. The most
prominent building is the
Vimanmek Mansion, built
of golden teak wood. The
worlds largest wooden
mansion, it contains 31
exhibition rooms as well
as the throne room,
bathrooms and bedrooms.
If you visit the Grand
Palace before this one
make sure you keep your
ticket as it gives you free
entry into the mansion.

Pattaya is a town on Thailands
eastern Gulf coast known for a wild
nightlife scene that attracts
international visitors, weekenders
from Bangkok and expats. A quiet
fishing village as recently as the
1960s, its now lined with resort
hotels, high-rise condos and a large
seaside mall. Jet-skiing and
parasailing are popular activities at

Nong Nooch Village

Hours: Daily 8am-6pm

Admission: 500 THB for adults,
includes full park access, cultural
shows, and elephant performances
Address: 34/1 Moo 7 Na Jomtien,

The sprawling park at Nong

Nooch (pronounced "nung
nut") Village offers a little
bit of everything on the
spectrum. There's a
magnificent orchid garden
that will awaken the inner
horticulturist in everyone,
and a zoo that's fun for all
ages. Guests can also see
Thai boxing matches,
cockfights, and an
elephant show (the latter
two being of dubious
ethical quality). Door-todoor transportation can be
arranged through the park
or a local tour company.

Jomtien Beach
Escape the bustle of the main
city, but still enjoy Pattaya's
highlights by relaxing at
Jomtien Beach. Sun yourself
near the peaceful shoreline or
take refuge in shade provided
by trees at the beach's edge.
Water lovers can take
advantage of all kinds of
activities, including jetskiing,
parasailing, and windsurfing.
When in need of refreshment,
guests will find plenty of
restaurants serving up local
fare and fresh seafood.

Sanctuary of Truth

Admission: 450 THB for adults,

225 THB for children (when
purchased at a discount online)
Address: 206/2 Moo 5, Soi Naklua
12 , Naklua, Banglamung

Billed as "the magnificence of

heaven recreated on Earth",
this massive building is a
study in Thai architectural
styles. Every available space is
intricately decorated with
wooden carvings and the
entire structure was built to
pay homage to ancient
religions and philosophies - a
reaction to modern egotistical
behaviors and attitudes. While
visiting the sanctuary, guests
can take in Thai cultural shows
and Thai boxing, or go
elephant trekking, horseback
riding, or hop on a speedboat
to get around.

Wat Yansangwararam
As with all of Thailand's
impressive wats, this one
offers insight not only into
Thai design and architectural
traditions, but also into the
society's values. This temple
was dedicated to King
Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1988
to commemorate the 42nd
year of his reign. To the righthand side of the path leading
to the temple there is a lake
with attractive Chinese
pavilions and other buildings.
Wat Yansangwararam's shrine
stands on a hill, reached by a
flight of 299 steps lined with
naga snakes.

Mini Siam

Hours: Daily 7am-10pm

Address: 387 Moo 6 Sukhumvit Rd.,
Pattaya City Naklua, Banglamung

A fun way to see the

wonders of Thailand and
the world, Mini Siam
displays models of some
of the most famous
international sites. Among
those on display:
Bangkok's Victory
Monument and Wat Arun
(also known as the Temple
of the Dawn), New York's
Statue of Liberty, London's
Tower Bridge, Sydney's
Opera House, and Paris'
Arc de Triomphe. Bookings
should be made at least a
day in advance.

Underwater World Pattaya

A trip to Underwater World is
not your average day at the
aquarium. Here, at Thailand's
first modern aquarium, guests
can spend the night among
the animals, feed koi fish from
bottles, and dive with sharks
and rays. Other activities and
tourist attractions include
otter and shark feedings. Be
Hours: Daily 9am-6pm (last guests sure to book in advance for
admitted at 5:30pm)
diving, snorkeling, and other
Admission: 500 THB for adults, 300 special programs.
THB for children (diving and other
special programs cost extra)
Address: 22/22 Moo 11,Sukhumvit
Rd.,Nongprue, Banglamung

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