If you visit any destination in South East Asia, it may be imperative that you pass through Bangkok. Bangkok has a strange nature of evoking extreme sense of likes and dislikes amongst visitors. A few seem to loathe it while many others swear that it is the most wonderful, fascinating and exciting places on earth. Actually, Bangkok tends to be what a particular visitor wants it to be. Bangkok is a picture post-card haven with beautiful pagodas, pagodas and some of the world’s finest hotels. Bangkok’s renowned for it’s nightlife in the Orient with an opportunity to savor some of world’s most unique cuisines. Bangkok is a favorite and best shopping destination in South East Asia.
Bangkok inhabitants are known as Thais and their friendly ways would flatter the snootiest traveler. Bangkok is all in all, a load of fun and games and a great way to enjoy a civilized vacation. Thailand’s history emerges from the Bronze Age, whereas Bangkok, the capital is a young city founded in 1782. With a population of around 6 million, 50% of them are under 30. Bangkok lies on the banks of the river “Chao Phraya”, a wonderful working waterway full of sampans, wide variety of boats and rice barges.
Bangkok is a beautiful mix of the old and the new, the modern and the ancient evident from its skyline that comprises of Buddhist temples (wats), luxury hotels, high-rise office buildings and shopping malls making it a kaleidoscope. Under the thin veneer of new found Western influence you will find that the Thais are not devoid of traditional values. The sights of ubiquitous street food sellers, monks on morning begging rounds and women stringing jasmine blossoms on thread near wats will display the cultural heritage of Thailand that is not lost in the arc lights of modernity.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS IN BANKOK
Bangkok is packed with more attractions per square mile than any other city in the world. Despite the crowds, the architecture and the attractions are worth the effort to travel and see. On the top of the list would be Wat Phra Khao and the Grand Palace for sightseeing for half a day. This can include the National Museum and the Wat Pho. Chinatown, Bangkok’s major attractions has a unique traditional life untouched by modern civilization and could be fascinating. Historical sites like Rattanakosin Island (central point when Bangkok was founded) are also worth visiting. The main symbolic places of Bangkok are Wat Arun on the Chao Phraya River.
Cross the Chao Phraya to reach Thonburi and you can tour the klongs to appreciate the heritage and culture of the country of Thailand. The Vimanmek Palace, restored by Queen Sirikit, made of golden teak emphasizes the exquisite taste and oriental splendor of ancient Thai royal life.
TOURING AROUND BANGKOK
The easier way to explore the country would be put up base in Bangkok and explore the region by using the interesting and unusual daytrips.
Ayutthaya & Bang Pa-In: This probably is the most popular day trip from Bangkok and takes you to visit the Ayutthaya (A-you-ta-ya), the previous and old capital of Thailand, about 50 miles north of Bangkok, the current capital. Ayutthaya has served as the second capital of the Kingdom of Siam for over 400 years. Travellers in the past have described the glittering palaces, temples and Buddhist images depicting it as one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. In an unfortunate event the Burmese burned the glories of this city in 1767. In Ayutthaya, you could hire a tuk tuk along with an English-speaking guide to take you around the celebrated temples (cost could be in the range of 250 bahts). You can also hire a long-tail boat for cruising the 12-mile Chao Phraya River trip that ends at the king’s summer palace at Bang Pa-In (300 bahts).
Many such trips are available to be taken. Bangkok never ceases to amaze and so giving an approximate time frame of the trip becomes difficult. You could get there, relax, and see for yourself what Bangkok has to offer. May be you could go back when you have more time, or to see the rest of it. The magnetism of Bangkok is such that despite having been there many a time, travelers tend to come back.