THINGS TO DO IN BANGKOK

Wat Phakaew
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Attractions That Tourists Can Visit Everyday

1 The Royal Grand Palace

When King Rama 1 took the throne as the first monarch of the Chakri Dynasty in 1781, he moved his capital from Thonburi to the other bank and ordered the construction of the Royal Grand Palace as the center of the new city.

Inside the Royal Grand Palace are the Maha Montien group of buildings, the Throne Halls, and other palaces and buildings. These have been renovated, refurbished, repaired, extended, and added to continually as appropriate to every reign since then. Chakri Throne Hall, is a hybrid Thai-European architecture built in the reign of King Rama V with the throne hall itself in European style and the roof in a Thai throne hall style.

The Chakrapatpiman Throne Hall is the chief throne hall of the Monthien group and the early Chakri kings mostly stayed in this throne hall. The Dusit Throne Hall has a Throne decorated in pearl and a couch of King Rama I, Phratanratchabanjathorn.

Another highlight in the Palace is the Royal Decorations & Coins Division, which has 13 exhibition rooms.

Tel: (662) 224 3328, 264 0255

Open: daily, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.

Entrance Fee: 10 baht

Wat Pho

2 Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho

The celebrated Buddha image is noted for its craftsmanship.  On the sides of the image’s feet are the 108 auspicious signs of the Buddha in mother-of-pearl inlay. In the reign of King Rama II, the entire image was gilded with gold leaf.  The Reclining Buddha is located at Wat Pho – considered s the most important of all the monasteries of the first-class royal temples because it was built beside the Royal Grand Palace.

It was originally an old temple from the Ayutthaya period named Wat Photaram, and people have always call it Wat Pho. We still do today.

Wat Pho is also home to the Wat Pho Traditional Thai Medical and Massage School (Tel: 02 221-2874, 225-4771). Enrolment daily between 8 am. And 5 p.m., and classes are held on Saturdays ad Sundays. Visitors can also just enjoy Thai massage here.

Location: 2 Sanamchai Road, Phra Borommaharakchawong Sub-district, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok

Tel: (662) 225-5910, 226-2942

Opening Hours:  daily 8 a.m.-5 p.m. (temple and ubosoth)

Entrance Fee: 20 baht for foreigners

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3 Wat Arun

The prang of Wat Arun (Wat Arunratchawararam Rachawooramahawihan). on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, is one of Bangkok’s world-famous landmarks.

The temple was said to have existed since Ayutthaya days. The temple was formerly known as Wat Makok, and when King Taksin built his palace, he ordered the temple to be annexed to it. The king restored it and renamaed it “Wat Jaeng.”

It was restored again by King Rama II, and renamed “Wat Arunchataram,” King Rama IV later and changed it to “Wat Arunratchawararam.”

Location: 34 Arun Amarin Road, Wat Arun Sub-district, Bangkokyai District.

Open daily: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Entrance Fee: Ubosot, free admission but written request to the temple’s Abbot is required.  Prang: 10 baht.

4  Wat Yannawa

Formerly called Wat Koh-kwai, this temple was built in the Ayutthaya period and a Greek cruciform ubosot added during the reign of King Rama 1. When the ubosot was restored again in the reign of King Rama III, the king supervised the building of a full-sized junk to form the base. The king then named the temple, “Wat Yannanwa” – literally, “the boat temple.”

Location: 1648 Charoenkrung Road, Yannawa Sub-District, Sathorn District, Bangkok

Tel: (662) 211 9317, 675 7895

Opens: Temple is open daily, 5 a.m- 1 p.m.; Ubosot, daily 8-9 a.m. and 5-6 p.m.

Free Admission

Jim-Thompson-House-Museum-Living-Room

OTHER PLACES OF INTEREST

1 Jim Thompson House

This house belongs to the late James H.W. Thompson, who came to Thailand as an officer in the US forces during World War II. When the war ended, he decided to settle in the kingdom.  During his stay, Thompson became interested in traditional Thai textiles, and being trained as an architect, he used his talents to create new designs and color schemes his textiles.

The name Jim Thompson became synonymous with Thai silk after he introduced the traditional silk to the international market. He had arranged for the dismantling of antique teakhouses from various places and reassembled them on the banks of Sansap Canal in Bangkok, today known as the Jim Thompson House.

He mysteriously disappeared during a visit to the Cameron Highlands in Malaysia in 1967, leaving behind him this house of historical value as his memorabilia in Thailand.

Location: 6 Kasemsan 2 Lane, Rama 1 Road

Tel: (662) 216 7368, 612 3744

Opening Hours: Daily 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.

Admission Fee: Under 25 at 50 baht, adult, 100 baht

2 Queen Saowabha Memorial Institute

In 1912, HRH Prince Dumrong proposed the establishment of an institute for the prevention of rabies in Thailand.  King Rama V granted permission and gave a building on Bamrung Muang Road to be used for the purpose of producing and testing of rabies vaccines.

Later, the King proposed the smallpox vaccine lab to be moved from Nakhon Pathom province to the building and named the institute Pasteura Sabha or Pasteur Institute in honor of Louis Pasteur, who discovered the rabies vaccine.

The King later changed the name to Queen Saowabha Memorial Institute or Sathan Saowabha. The institute houses a Snake Farm, which has become a big attraction in itself aside from the significant work it is doing.

Location: 1871 Rama IV Road, Lumpini Sub-District, Pathumwan District, Bangkok

Tel: (662) 252 0161-4

Open: Office 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon-Fri; Snake farm, Mon-Fri-8:30 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Free admission for children under 10-years-old

3 Bangkok Dolls & Museum

The award-winning producer of handmade dolls exhibits a vast collection of miniature creations crafted by its local artists. Dolls appear in a variety of sizes, shapes and styles, representing sophisticated Thai arts.

Location: 85 Soi Ratchataphan (Soi Mo Leng) off Ratchaprarop Road

Tel: (662) 245 3008

Opening hours: 8 a.m.-5p.m. daily; Mon-Sat from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Free Admission

4 Suan Pakkad Palace

Suan Pakkad means ‘cabbage patch’ and the land where Suan Pakkad Palace stands today used to be nothing more than that.

Today, however, the palace has a well-tended tropical garden with serene ponds surrounding eight traditional Thai houses, each of which brims to overflowing with fine arts, antiques and oddities belonging to Prince and Princess Chumbhot. The private residence was converted into a museum back in 1952.

The architectural centerpiece at Suan Pakkad Palace encompasses four Thai teak houses nestled between the front of the palace and garden, a family heirloom dating from the 19th Century.

Each was transported here from its original location in Chiang Mai and, like most traditional Thai houses, are two storeys high (each is interlinked by upstairs platforms, so you can walk sequentially between buildings without having to trudge up and down stairs).

Standing out among the buildings is the Lacquer Pavilion, which dates to the 17th Century and was originally located at a temple near Ayutthaya. Now fully restored, it’s an exquisite example of Thai architecture, with richly carved gilded wood walls and an interior filled with lively Ramayana and Buddha mural paintings drawn in gold on black lacquer.

Next to this is a wooden barge Prince Paribatra used for King Rama V’s royal processions.

Location: 352-354 Sri Ayudhya Road (five minutes walk from BTS Phaya Thai), near Pratunam

Tel: (662) 245 4934

Opening Hours: 9 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Admission fee: 50 baht

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5 Chinatown

The 1.43km street of Yaowarat where the Chinese community is located was built in the reign of King Rama V and has since been the center of both local and international businesses.

Known as the Chinatown of Thailand, Yaowarat Road consists of a crowded array of gold, hardware, food, and fabric shops as well as dozens of other small businesses. Today, it is also Thailand’s best known and biggest gold trading center with 132 gold shops scattered along it.

The standard of gold and its daily rental price are set by the Gold Traders Association, an organization formed by gold traders, most of them in the Chinatown area. Gold and jewelry from Yaowarat are well known both locally and abroad for their fine craftsmanship and good quality, in which a certain percentage of gold is guaranteed. Several events are held here regularly including the Amazing Chinatown, Chinese New Year, Vegetarian Festival and others. Also in this area are the Klong Tom Old Market, Nakhonkasem market, Sampeng Market, and Pahurat. Several temples are also within the vicinity.

Location: Yaowarat Road, Yaowarat Sub-District, Samphantawong District, Bangkok

How to get there: Chao Phraya Express Boat: Rachawongse Pier

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