Bangkok: A dynamic and culturally vibrant city

Bangkok: A dynamic and culturally vibrant city

What makes Bangkok so amazing?

Bangkok is Southeast Asia’s most dynamic and culturally vibrant city. It is known worldwide for its lively street life, cheap prices, never ending traffic and for its contrasting mix between modern skyscrapers that share space with old traditional homes and Buddhist temples.

Many people say that Bangkok is one of those cities that either you love it or you hate it… and, I definitely loved it! Maybe it is not one of those cities with innumerable tourist attractions like: Rome, Paris, or London. However Bangkok is a city that allows you to wander, enjoy its traditional culture and remarkable sights making it worth visiting.

Some of my favorite places and activities in Bangkok were:

Grand Palace

One of the most visited and famous landmarks in Bangkok is The Grand Palace and, no visit would be complete without it. The Grand palace, rich in detail, creativity and craftsmanship has been the architectural symbol of Bangkok since it was built. The construction began in 1782 and for 150 years was the home of the Thai King and Royal court. Today, the palace is used for ceremonial purposes only. It is divided into three main zones: The Outer Court, the Middle Court and the Inner Court.

Bangkok Grand Palace

The Outer Court is home to Thailand’s most sacred Buddhist sculpture, “The Emerald Buddha”. It was carved from jade stone and it is situated in the middle of  other sculptures, ornaments  and fresco paintings.  In addition the Outer court is home to royal offices and other public buildings.  The inner court is exclusively reserved for the royal family and its consorts.

Bangkok Grand Palace 1Bangkok Grand Palace 2

The Grand Palace opens daily from 8:30am to 3:30pm except during special royal ceremonies. The entrance fee is 500 Baht which is around 14 USD and it includes access to Wat Phra Kaeo, The Royal Thai Decorations & Coins Pavilion and the Queen’s Textile Museum. You can hire a personal audio guide for an additional 100 Baht.

Bangkok Grand Palace 4

Bangkok Grand Palace 5

Visiting the palace requires visitors to dress in a strict dress code which is applied for both men and women. You should wear pants or long skirts and avoid see-through / sleeveless shirts or blouses.

Bangkok Grand Palace 6

Wat Pho

Neighbouring the Grand Palace is Wat Pho, one of the most visited Buddhist temples in Bangkok. It is home to the famous 46 meter long golden reclining Buddha, whose feet are beautifully carved with mother-of-pearl Buddhist symbols.The temple was founded in the 16th century and it served as the Royal Temple for King Rama I of Chakri Dynasty.

Bangkok Wat Pho 1

Bangkok Wat Pho 2

Thai people consider Wat Pho as “Thailand’s first public university”  since there exist several medical, historical and liberal sciences inscriptions all over the place and where people could read and learn at any time. It is believed that the origin of Thai traditional massage principles lie within the Wat Pho walls making it a famous place to get a massage in Bangkok.

Bangkok Wat Pho 3 Bangkok Wat Pho 4

 

Enjoy Khao San Rd and Soi Rambuttri Rd

Just in the middle of the cosmopolitan Bangkok, and away from the traffic jam, lies a little piece of heaven, called Soi Rambuttri Road. It is located in the Banglumphu district or “old district” and right on the opposite side of Khao San Road. Soi Rambuttri Road offers everything a tourist might want: street food and restaurants, live music, cheap beer, hostels and shops but it is much quieter and relaxed than Khao San Rd.

Bangkok Soi Rambuttri

On the other side Khao San is much more crowded and loud perfect for a wild night out. After 6pm the road transforms itself into a very nice night market, attracting foreigners every single night.

Bangkok Khao San Road

Soi Rambuttri, like Khao San Road  is are considered to be the backpacker center of Southeast Asia, if not the world.  Both streets are the perfect place to slow down and relax in a city where everything moves too fast.

Bangkok Khao San Road 2

Asiatique: The Riverfront in Bangkok

Relax and enjoy a shopping day by the Chao Phraya river in one of Bangkok’s more famous night markets. Asiatique combines two of Bangkok’s most popular shopping experiences: the night market and the mall. The place is built as an homage of Bangkok’s past for being a riverside trading post during the 19th and 20th centuries and today it is becoming one of the hottest spots in the city.

Bangkok Asiatique 1

Bangkok Asiatique 2

Asiatique has around 2500 shops divided into the Factory district and the Chareonkrung District where you will find fashion garments, handicrafts, furniture, souvenirs, as well as  the Joe Louis Puppet Theatre and the Calypso Show. In addition Asiatique enjoys of around 40 restaurants where you will be able to find a variety of international and thai food. Asiatique is open from 17:00 to midnight and to get there you should take the shuttle boat (runs every 15 minutes) at Sathorn Pier.

Bangkok Asiatique 3

Massages and more massages

Finding a place in Bangkok where to get a massage its very easy, literally they are everywhere. In fact Thai people consider massages as an important part of staying healthy, and massages are available in every corner of the city at very affordable prices. On another post I will come back with the best places to get a massage in Bangkok, but now I will recommend just two that you definitely have to try.

Wat Pho Thai Traditional Massage School:

This is the place where Thai massages were born. You can plan your visit to Wat Pho and after it take some time off to indulge and pamper yourself with a traditional Thai massage. The price is 420 Baht (around 11 USD) for one hour.

Shewa Spa:

Probably, you have being walking all day long, in a very hot and chaotic city, doing shopping, visiting tourist attractions, and with almost no time to rest. When you do have a little time, you should try these foot massages, that cost 250 Baht (around 7 USD) for one hour.  Shewa Spa is located in 108/3 Soi Ram Butri and opens from 9am to 1am. Infact after I discovered this place I returned almost every night for a foot massage.

Bangkok Massages

Give yourself at least a few days in Bangkok

Well you should try to give Bangkok at least a few days since it is a city that offers so much mothe than shopping, massages, and temples. Bangkok is a city whose charm emerges slowly. In fact it is a vibrant and dynamic city in where you can find amazing international cuisine, great bars and clubs, nice neighbourhoods, and great people. Give it a try… I am sure Bangkok will not disappoint you.

Have you ever been to Bangkok? Did you like it?
Tell me about your experience on the comments section below 🙂

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