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Bangkok, Thailand's capital, is a frantic, frenzied city of 7 million souls, straddling the delta of the great Chao Phraya River, 20 km from the Gulf of Thailand. Founded in 1782 by King Rama I, the young, fast-growing city has been called the 'City of Angels' and the 'Venice of the East'. Although th ese descriptions hardly fit the bill today, Bangkok still offers the traveler the rich experiences and exuberance of the steamy Oriental city.

Magnificent temples and palaces, a thriving culture, booming nightlife, and amazing shops and restaurants combine to make the city one of the world's most exhilarating and fascinating destinations.

Lying at the geographical center of the country, Bangkok is the best place to experience the true spirit of the Thai, a people and a nation unique in the world.


Transportation in Bangkok

The Skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems connect the main shopping, entertainment and business areas of the city, while river taxis and express boats can be used to explore many historic sites and attractions at the riverside. Taxis are cheap and appear on virtually every corner at almost any time. Tuk-tuks, once a big Bangkok attraction, are slowly disappearing in favour of more comfortable transport, but are still worth a ride at least once.

Bus is a great way to travel with locals and get a real feel of the city.  Another option is motorbike taxis. They're fast and efficient.

Some Points of Interest

Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew:
A real "must see" is The Grand Palace and Wat Prakaew, Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Located close to the Chao Praya River, this kilometer square "city within a city" may not be as large as Beijing's Forbidden City, but it is much more spectacular. The architecture is truely exotic and awesome, with golden pagodas sparkling in the sun. Wat Prakaew is the home of Thailand's most precious religious icon. Visitors to this amazing complex must be respectfully attired with no shorts, sandles, or sleeveless shirts.
Vimanmek Palace:
Vimanmek Palace, Cloud Mansion, is located behind the National Assembly. This palace is believed to be the world largest building made entirely of golden teak. The building was originally constructed on Srichang Island in the Gulf of Siam by King Rama V (King Chulalongkorn). In 1901, the building was moved to its present site which was Bangkok suburbs at that time.
Wat Arun:
Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, this temple can be reached either by Arun Amarin Road or by boat from Tha Tien Pier, near Wat Pho. It was restored during the brief Thonburi period to be the Royal Chapel of King Taksin. An important structure is a 79 meter-high pagoda or "Phra Phang" decorated with ceramic tiles and fragments of multicoloured porcelain. The name of this temple literary means "Temple of the Dawn" but the most beautiful view of it can be seen from the east side of the river at sunset.
Wat Saket:
Wat Saket, The Golden Mount or Phu Khao Thong, is well-known for its golden chedi atop the Golden Mount of a height of 77 metres. The artificial hill was created when a large chedi under construction by King Rama III, collapsed because of the soft soil underneath. Later King Rama IV commanded the construction of a small chedi on its crest. King Rama V later added to the structure and housed a Buddha relic from India in the chedi. The concrete walls were added during World War II to prevent the hill from eroding. Visitors can have a stunning panoramic view of Rattanakosin Island at the top of the mount. Every year in November, a festival is held at Wat Saket, included a candlelit procession up the Golden Mount.
Siam Square:
Siam Square is a very popular shopping area among Thai and foreign visitors. Siam Square itself is a few blocks area which is centrally located and surrounded by hotels, shopping complexes, movie theatres, shops, restaurants, and it is the main junction of sky train (BTS). Central World Plaza is the largest shopping complex in this area and the site for Bangkok New Year Countdown celebrations. During the cooler months of November to January, the major breweries sponsor the setting up of beer gardens on the plaza in front.
China Town:
China Town or Yaowarat is a bustling, crowded area where you can buy just about anything day or night. The main thoroughfare through Chinatown is Yaowarat Road, which is approximately 1.5 kilometers in length. It was built during the reign of King Rama V. On each side of the road, there is a network of streets and alleys lined with shops selling all sorts of things. In many of these streets, you'll find shops side by side selling the same items. There is an old fresh food market called Trok Isarnuphap where leading chefs from all over Bangkok shop for the finest and freshest ingredients for their restaurant menus.
Chatuchak Weekend Market:
This is paradise for bargain hunters. Every Saturday and Sunday, 9,000 individual booths are open selling an infinite variety of products from all over Thailand as well as things from far off lands. Handicrafts are every where including pottery, hand-made glass models of the Royal Barges, fluffy toys, colourful tropical fish, singing birds puppies of many breeds, furniture and lots of new and second hand clothing, shoes, handbags, belts. There is so much on offer that even international home decor wholesales come here to shop. Music lovers can find unique traditional Thai musical instruments being sold direct by the artisans who have crafted them to make the pleasing sounds.
Dusit Zoo:
Dusit Zoo was formerly a part of the Royal Dusit Garden Palace, called Khao Din Wana. It was established in 1938 and covers an area of 118 rai in the Dusit District of Bangkok. It has a very good collection of animals from around the world, over 1,000 birds and nearly 2,000 animals. Major sections include a Nocturnal Animals Exhibit where you can see how they live in the night- time environment. The Reptiles and Amphibians Center has more than 70 species. There is a special Childrens Zoo where youngsters can have contact with small animals. You can learn about animal behavior at the Animal Presentation area. For more fun, there is Playland where children can really enjoy themselves on amusement rides. .
Muay Thai:
Muay Thai (Thai Kick Boxing) is a national martial art of Thailand, originated in the early part of the Ayutthaya era as a form of unarmed combat, and has become very exciting spectator and famous sport nowadays. Its popularity has spread world wide, and many young foreigners come to Thailand to get trained under Thai coaches. There are Muay Thai training camps located in just about every province. Muay Thai fans can watch competitions at the 2 famous stadiums: Lumpini Stadium (Rama IV Rd.): Tel: 0 2252 8765 Tue, Fri, Sat nights at 6:30 p.m. and Saty afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Ratchadamnoen Stadium (Ratchadamnoen Nok Ave.): Tel: 0 2281 4205 Mon, Wed, Thu, and Sun nights at 6:30 p.m.
Traditional Thai Puppet Theatre :
The history of Thai puppets goes back about 300 years. The art of Hun Lakorn Lek (which means small puppet performance) has been revived by artist Mr. Sakorn Yangkhiawsod, also known as Joe Louis. Different from other traditional Thai puppets, the Joe Louis puppet play is performed in a special way in which three manipulators control the movement of one puppet. Today his troup is the only one in Thailand, which still performs this wonderful and unique kind of puppet play. Aksra Theatre is another place to enjoy a rare elegant Thai traditional performance in Bangkok. For more information, please visit www.aksratheatre.com



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