Bangkok is the Thailand's capital and the city of angels. It is situated on the eastern bank of the river Chao Phraya near the Gulf of Thailand. Every trip in Thailand should start with this city in order to feel the unique flavor of the East, and remain forever enchanted by its magic. This city looks much brighter than many Western capitals, skillfully combining piercing the sky tall skyscrapers and huge shopping centers with ancient temples, golden palaces and emerald gardens.
There are about 400 temples in Bangkok. It would seem an unthinkable number for such a modern and dynamic city. You can visit: the fabulous Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the complex of the Grand Royal Palace, Temple of the Dawn and the Temple of the Golden Hill here. The best way to see all the Thai capital sights is to go on a trip by a high-speed train, from whose windows you can see all the luster of this sparkling city. The exotic China and India districts of the capital also attract considerable number of tourists. The Indian district is famous for the Sikh temple that is the second largest after London Church, and the Chinatown is famous for its cuisine. You can find many unusual dishes, such as swallows' nests, shark fins and Chinese black mushrooms here.
Bangkok is called the "Venice of the East", and although many channels have disappeared during the construction of the railway, you can still make a stunning tour through the famous Bangkok streets to draw up an impression about the past of this unique city.
Life never stops here for a minute, even at night. A huge variety of restaurants from traditional Thai cuisine, various bars and entertainment facilities of every taste will surprise every visitor. Shopping centers, entertainment parks, and comfortable hotels give you plenty of opportunities to have fun.
Located on the River Chao Phraya, the island was called Rattanakosin, which means "supreme jewel". It is surrounded by canals, towers and walls built in ancient times to defend the capital. The palace of the king and the vice-king and the royal monasteries of the ministry are here now. This is a very quiet area of the capital. The historical center of Bangkok is full of monasteries; one of them is the monastery Wat Pho. It is also called the Temple of the Sleeping Buddha, it is known mainly due to the image of Buddha in anticipation to achieve nirvana, the largest of its image in that position (the statue reaches 46 m in length and 15 m in height). The Chinese library decorated with mosaics is situated near the temple; the library holds the ancient manuscripts. The Temple of Emerald Buddha which is considered the most sacred site in Thailand and one of the most beautiful temples is also situated here. Chinese ceramics, ornaments of bronze and iron, colorful stained-glass windows, frescoes, statues attract many tourists. You can also find the Royal Pantheon in this region; the statues of eight previous kings of the Chakri Dynasty were erected in the full-size here. The temple is guarded by 6 meters statue of the demons Rakshasa from Buddhist legends, armed with spears and painted in different colors, also you can see the giant statues of dragons and birds in the temple. The Heavenly Palace, built in Thai style is situated to the right of this monastery. The solemn and formal ceremony and the reception of important guests are usually held here.
Best Bangkok Hotels
The best hotels are located in the center of the city, near the island of Rattanakosin. The Oriental Bangkok is one of the best hotels in Bangkok and all over Thailand. This privileged hotel enjoys a worldwide reputation and is owned by the city's history since 1887. It has its own dock on the river, gardens and a swimming pool on the river, having an old-fashioned look from the architectural point of view. The Shangri La Hotel is situated nearby, on the banks of the river Chao Phraya. The hotel rooms have a royal setting and are designed in Thai style, the bathrooms are marble, and the lobby decor reminds about the Maharajah palace. The Siam City Hotel is another expensive hotel in the center, near the Temple of Emerald Buddha. Many tourists appreciate it for its first-class accommodation, Thai hospitality and refined luxury.
Many tourists visit the small restaurants at the hotels where cleanliness is observed in contrast to the numerous eateries, and where qualitative meals are served. But except for the hotel restaurants in Bangkok there are many others, offering Thai, Indian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The most famous and popular among Europeans are: the Seafood Restaurant, where the visitors can watch how their food is prepared, the working outdoors Royal Kitchen, Grand Shangarila Restaurant and Tandoor.
Bangkok has 50 administrative districts of the city under the control of the municipality. The rapid growth of both the area and population of the city due to the expansion of commercial areas and the influx of immigrants from the interior of the country and from neighboring states redrew the map of the city long ago, which initially developed around the river, and eventually grew into a huge conurbation, covering just six provinces. You can select more than one of the main and most important areas in which the main economic, tourist and cultural life of the city is focused.
The Historic Center of Bangkok
The area is located on the island Rattanakosin, formed by the river Chao Phraya and its ducts, as well as on adjacent areas. Originally the town was a trading center and port, supplying and servicing the previous capital city of Thailand Ayutthaya. But in 1767, Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese, and the capital was moved to Thon Buri, which is now part of Bangkok. Being under construction during the threat of another Burmese invasion, the future city occupied the whole island. When the problem was solved, Bangkok (literally "a place where olives bloom") began to expand rapidly. The Rattanakosin Island keeps the oldest city buildings - these are the Royal Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the famous temple of Lying Down Buddha, the Royal Pantheon, as well as other interesting historical sites. You can find the remains of the city walls of the XIX century and the earliest residential buildings in Bangkok here on the island. Besides these, the Thai parliament, most ministries and government agencies are situated in the historic center of the town. Also, you can find here modern buildings and monuments. The luxury hotels of the city can be also found in the center of Bangkok, for example, The Shangri La Hotel located near the island and the Siam City Hotel located near the Temple of Emerald Buddha.
The modern Bangkok's Chinatown emerged after the ethnic Chinese living on the island Rattankosin were forced to leave it, allowed to settle 3 km downstream. The area was a major trading center of the city in the XIX century, whose population was the richest in the city. Several interesting temples were built there thanks to their work. Nowadays, Chinatown reminiscent one big market where they sell goods brought from China and local produced souvenirs.
Silom is the business center of the city named for one of its main streets. It is the "home" for most offices and centers of the major international and Thai companies. The most expensive hotels, as well as key embassies (of Russia, France, and Germany) are situated in Silom. The northern part of the city will please you with curious trading stalls, shops and large supermarkets.
Siam Square is the current shopping center located north of Shiloh, where the city's largest supermarkets and shops are. They have much lower prices than the tourist areas and Silom. The major supermarkets in Bangkok: Siam Discovery Center, Colloseum Department Store, Tokyo, World Trade Center are located here. Also, the U.S. Embassy, the United Kingdom and Switzerland are located in one part of Siam Square.
The Sukhumvit area is the tourist "mecca" of Bangkok, where most of those who visit the Thai capital stop. Like Silom, Sukhumvit Road got its name from one of the streets, which, incidentally, begins the route to the border with Cambodia. There are no cross-roads in this area and the central and bustling Sukhumvit Street is crossed only by small dead-end streets or in which there is practically no movement. The reason is simple: the most city pubs and go-go bars can be found on these streets and alleys, which automatically make the area a center of nightlife in Bangkok. Overall prices are lower than in Silom, but higher than in the Siam Square.
Despite its fairly short history, Bangkok managed to acquire many unique monuments, each of which can be called a single masterpiece of architecture. You can find a lot of wonderful sculptures, murals and scenery unsurpassed in Thai style, everywhere, but especially in the historical center. There are more than four hundred churches - from the small, lost in the maze of city streets and hidden from ordinary tourists to the vast and inspiring admiration temple ensembles such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the Temple of Lying Down Buddha. Pay special attention to the fact that at the entrance to the building of the Buddhist temple you should take off your shoes and step over the threshold, not touching it. Women should not touch the monks. You also need to comply with a dress code: you cannot appear in churches in shorts, short skirts, shirts with bare shoulders and shoes without heels.
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha
The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is one of the main attractions of the city and a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists all over the world as the statue of the Emerald Buddha is inside it. So the church is willingly visited not only by tourists but also Thais across the country. The temple is located in the heart of Bangkok's Rattanakosin Island, in the same complex with the Royal Palace and it is connected to the gate with its northern part. Buddha is depicted in the traditional pose sitting cross-legged. It is worth noting the small size of the statue - just 66 inches tall and 48 inches wide with a pedestal. Just do not think that the Buddha is really emerald, because it is made of green jade in fact.
The Royal Palace
The ensemble of the Temple of Emerald Buddha and the Grand Palace is what everyone should see, once in Bangkok. Located as the temple on the island Rattanakosin, the Palace is a great architectural monument, consisting of several buildings. Some of them are now government offices, but the royal family itself doesn’t live here. The king Rama I started the construction of the palace in 1782. The palace occupies a large area of 218 thousand m2 with 95 pagodas and surrounded by four walls, whose length is 2 km. The buildings opened to the public are located in the southern part of the complex.
The Marble Temple
The Marble Temple is one of the most beautiful temples in Bangkok. Despite the fact that it has more than a century, it managed to win the love and popularity among local residents. The entire temple complex is the realm of marble.
The Temple of the Dawn
The Temple of the Dawn is named after the Indian god of sunrise Aruna and it is located on the west bank of the River Chao Phraya. The temple was built before the capital was moved to Bangkok. The King Taskin chose this temple as his residence in 1768, and kept the Emerald Buddha before the temple was erected in his honor.
The Temple of the Golden Buddha
The temple is named after its main sanctuary - a unique statue of seated Buddha, which was made from a piece of pure gold more than seven hundred years ago. The weight of the statue is 5 and a half tons and the height is over three meters. The pupils of the Buddha eyes are black Thai sapphires and the whites of the eyes are made of pure pearls. The statue was covered with plaster at the time when the country was invaded by the Burmese in order to save it.
The Crocodile Farm
The world's largest crocodile farm, which is located 10 kilometers from the city in a small town Samutprakarn, is one of the mandatory items in the list of planned places visited by almost all the Bangkok tourists. The farm "population" is more than 60 000 crocodiles of various species. But the breathtaking show is the main attraction for tourists, which every day is demonstrated by Thai crocodile’s coaches. Besides this show you can enjoy views of the trained elephants, visit the snake farm, and a mini-zoo, which contains monkeys, tigers and many other exotic animals, which can optionally be photographed.
You should visit this incredible city just once and you’ll love it forever.
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