’s intriguing and colourful ‘City of Angels’ is a feast for the eyes and senses, from street food and floating markets to beautiful temples – our writer gives you a list of the top 10 things to do in the country’s capital.
1. Weather you’re after a Moroccan lamp or pair of vintage Levis, the place to head for weekend browsing is the Chatuchak Market. One of the largest markets in the world, there are more than 8,000 stalls in its 35 acres. It might seem overwhelming to first-time shoppers, but don’t worry the market is divided into sections and you can use landmarks to help guide you.
2.is now firmly on the map when it comes to fashion and cutting edge design, and perhaps nowhere showcases this better than the Creative & Design Centre (TCDC). The organisation promotes Thai creativity in all its forms through both permanent and touring exhibitions and talks.
3. If there’s one ‘can’t miss’ sight init has to be the dazzling Grand Palace, built in 1782 and still the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom. Its impressive gold-tipped buildings include ‘Wat Phra Kaew’ or Temple of the Emerald Buddha containing the small but greatly revered emerald Buddha statue dating back to the 14th Century.
4. Bangkok is certainly a city of beautiful temples, but one of the best is Wat Pho, the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Just a ten minute walk from the Grand Palace, the famous giant statue measures 46 metres long and is covered in gold leaf. The temple also includes the largest collection of Buddha images inand is one of the best places in the city to get a traditional Thai massage.
5. Enjoy a unique shopping trip like no other at one of’s colourful floating markets. Despite becoming increasingly touristy, the famous Damnoen Saduak market, near the city, still offers a truly authentic experience with wonderful food cooked on floating kitchens. For something different try Bang Nam Pheung’s market. Located just a couple of miles east of the city it has remained refreshingly low-key.
6. There are apparently more than 31, 200 Buddhist temples spread across Thailand, but surely one of the most beautiful has to be Bangkok’s riverside ‘Wat Arun’ or Temple of Dawn. Partly made up of colourfully decorates spires, one of the best times to see it is at sunset.
7. For amazing street food and hectic people watching head for Bangkok’s Chinatown area. Packed with market stalls, restaurants and numerous gold shops, it runs for around a km adjacent to the Charoenkrung Road. If you visit in February during Chinese New Year you’ll really see it at its best.
8. On the banks of the Saen-Saeb Canal sits a gorgeous garden-enclosed compound, once home to Jim Thompson. An American architect and art collector, after World War II ended Thompson chose to make Thailand his permanent home and spent the next 30 years to reviving the Thai silk industry. His six Thai teakwood houses are well worth a visit.
9. If you want to connect with nature in the centre of the city head to Lumpini Park. Named after Buddha’s birthplace in Nepal, the park dates back to the 1920s and is home to ‘teen crocodile size’ slinky reptiles as well as a weekend food market. Packed with a bewildering array of flora, fauna and wildlife, this is the green lung of Bangkok.
10. For a truly eclectic mix of Bangkok head for riverside entertainment complex Asiatique. This trendy new attraction features more than 1,500 boutique shops, a massive choice of restaurants, a Ferris wheel, night market and cabaret shows.