Bangkok landmarks’ guide: Where to check in first?
Bangkok is a city of many – there are numerous of places to visit and activities to enjoy. The city has a mix of Thai and Chinese culture, a great range of beautiful Thai temples with a rich history, wide choices of shopping arcades and an amazing scrumptious eating options.
These might be too much for you to decide, especially if you have limited time for sightseeing and would like to cut to the chase.
Here we have ten attractions that you have to check in first to tell the world that you have been to Bangkok. Please be reminded that these places rank among most popular venues in Bangkok or even Thailand so they sometimes refer as a tourist trap. However, if you are a first-time traveler to the country, it is totally worth your visit!
1. The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew have been a true landmark of Bangkok and Thailand for ages. A trip to Thailand and Bangkok will not be completed without a visit to the Royal Palace and Wat Phra Kaew. The royal temple holds a sacred and one of the most beautiful Buddha Images in Thailand – the Emerald Buddha – that tourists cannot miss witnessing its beauty.
Inside the Royal Palace area, you can also visit museums exhibiting royal ancient armory, coins and tools, numerous throne halls with amazing details in architectural works and designs. Apart from aesthetic buildings, the palace and the temple have beautiful landscapes with manicured gardens and endless green lawn, making a perfect spot for photo opportunities.
2. Wat Pho
Located just behind the Grand Palace, Wat Pho AKA the Temple of the Reclining Buddha ranks second on our to-go list. The temple was the first school in the country teaching Thai medicine which inherited until these days.
Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok and it has a good number of attractions inside the premise. However, the highlight of the temple has always been the gigantic golden reclining Buddha that is as tall as 15 meters high and as big as 46 meters long.
Around the temple premise, there are interesting statues that demonstrate Yoga postures, Thai medical inscriptions and illustrations located in the medicine pavilions. You will also find the four huge pagodas that represent the four past kings of Thailand. These chedis are unique from the normal kind because they were made from color-glazed tiles, making them more colorful and stunning than the usual ones.
3. Wat Arun
Set by the riverside of Chao Phraya River, Wat Arun is one of the most charming temples in Bangkok. Not only during its name, Arun, that means the dawn. The view of this temple also features one of the best spots to view the sunrise and sunset behind the chedi. Apart from its excellent view, its signature Prang or the tip of the pagoda that was constructed using the Khmer architecture. The pagoda was reported to have 66 to 86 meters height.
You can view stunning panoramic view of Chao Phraya River up close from the pagoda, but it will take you some courage to get up there.
If you have to choose temples to visit in Bangkok, the first three on this list are those you should not miss.
4. Chao Phraya River
Bangkok is a city of waterways and Chao Phraya River has long been a star and the biggest source of water supply in Bangkok. The river of the king has many attractions along the line, but the river itself is also a site not to miss. You can enjoy the Chao Phraya by visiting the riverside temples, spending a night or two at the riverside hotels or just simply dining at the restaurants by the river – the possibilities are endless.
For those who want to truly experience the river, there are cruise services operate daily from many travel companies. However, if you have a low budget, try Chao Phraya express boat service that provides boat transportation daily.
5. Bangkok City Pillar Shrine
Just across from Wat Phra Kaew, a little off to the left, Bangkok City Pillar Shrine is another attraction in Bangkok that you should visit. The place is located just a stone throw from Wat Phra Kaew so it is a good chance to also visit the shrine. The shrine houses a city pillar that made from cassia wood called Chaiyapruek. The pillar was erected upon the establishment of Bangkok in the period of King Rama I.
6. Wat Saket
Wouldn’t it be great to visit the temple that also has a viewpoint? Wat Saket is a temple that features an artificial hill that has a gigantic golden chedi and massive deck sits on top, making it a perfect spot for praying with a view. To reach the top of the hill, you have to climb 300 of well-paved steps which have mezzanines and a cute coffee shop along the way for travelers to catch their breath and rest their tiring legs.
On top of the hill, you will find a building that holds several Buddha Images for visitors to pay respect and ask for a good fortune. On top of the building, there is a rooftop with a 360 degree view of Bangkok. A golden gigantic pagoda sits in the middle of the rooftop, providing the most stunning sight even from afar.
7. The giant swing
Located in front of Wat Suthat Temple, the giant swing is a massive swing structure that was part of Brahmin ceremony in the past. The ceremony of swaying the swing was discontinued 1935 due to many fatal accidents caused by the performance. Now the red gigantic swing structure stands tall in the middle of the road, perfect for taking photos from any angels.
Bangkok is not only rich in cultural sites but also full of shopping venues for you to shop til you drop. MBK shopping mall is one of the top shopping venues that offers both street and brand name shopping. This heavily air-conditioned mall is good for shoppers who want to do street shopping but cannot bare the heat of Bangkok. MBK also has numerous dining options, coffee shops, movie theater and even bowling.
The mall is well-connected by BTS Skytrain, making it easier for shoppers to reach there in no time.
9. Chatuchak Weekend Market
However, if you are used to the heat, Chatuchak Weekend Market is definitely a heaven for those who look for cheap shopping but good quality products. Chatuchak also goes by the name JJ Market.
There is every kind of products that you can think of – from the fashion clothes, food, furniture to even pets. Most of the shops there are also producers which make their products cheaper. Bargaining is another fun activity you can do there apart from shopping.
10. China Town
Home of thousands of street food stalls and dining outlets, China Town is a real paradise to all foodies. China Town or Yaowarat Market opens almost 24-hr a day. Shops and stalls are taking turns selling their products from noodles, seafood, Chinese dishes to sweets and fruits.
The street of Yaowarat is more colorful and vibrant during the night with neon lights. The area will be most crowded during Chinese New Year with a lot of shops decorated in red and gold to celebrate the year to come.
Which one is your favorite?