Bangkok is awash in gold! The wealth of this country, formerly known as Siam, is staggering and is reflected in the many temples. The preferred method of transport in the city is via Tuk-Tuk, although these small motorized cycles spew horrible, black smoke from their small engines. My favorite activities and places to see in the city are listed below.
1. Look for Bargains at the Patpong Night Market — The streets of the red-light district of the city are transformed, at night, into a huge market, with hundreds of stalls selling almost everything imaginable.
2. Visit the Grand Palace — This huge complex in the city center is the most popular tourist attraction in the city and impresses thousands as they wander the extensive grounds.
3. See the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho — The large Buddha at this temple complex lies in a reclining position and truly impresses with his mother-of-pearl feet.
4. Admire the Sacred Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew — The elaborate temple complex which houses this small, green Buddha is found on the grounds of the Grand Palace, and draws thousands of tourists, who must take off their shoes to enter.
5. Take a Boat Ride on the Chao Phraya River — The river is perhaps the main thoroughfare of the city as it winds its way past hotels and temples. Although muddy in color, it is quite attractive.
6. Check Out Wat Arun — On the opposite bank of the river from the city center, this tall, distinctive temple complex is a colorful addition to the city’s landscape. The main stupa is covered with thousands of miniature tiles.
7. Get a Massage at Wat Pho — One of the major Thai massage schools is housed on the temple grounds and acolytes will give you a professional massage for a price much cheaper than in the hotels.
8. Ascend the Golden Mount — This temple complex can be accessed by a long, uphill pathway. Views of the city from the pinnacle are excellent. The complex includes Wat Saket.
9. Admire the Marble at Wat Benchamabophit — Known as the Marble Temple, because of the extensive use of pure white marble as its major building material, this complex is stunning.
10. Visit the Golden Buddha at Wat Traimit — Although there are many golden Buddhas in Bangkok, this one is particularly special because it was discovered quite by accident and was made with pure gold.
11. Wander Around Dusit Park — This large city park contains the royal residence (off-limits to tourists) and many other remarkable buildings, including the largest teak palace in the world.
12. Stroll Through Bangkok’s Chinatown — The area south of the city center, near the river, is a maze of narrow streets offering a huge variety of goods from China.
13. Have Clothes Custom-made — Tailors are happy to take your measurements and produce wonderful clothing at bargain prices, then deliver them to your hotel within a day or two.
14. Sample the Floating Market at Damnoen Saduak — Made famous in a James Bond film, this interesting water market can be found about an hour southwest of the city.
15. Take an Excursion to the Beaches at Phuket — Phuket is one of the world’s great beach resorts, with numerous 5-star hotel complexes and excellent beaches.
16. Explore the Ruins of Ayutthaya — The old capital of Thailand, now in ruins, makes a great day trip from Bangkok.