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Bangkok Flight Deals

Buzzing, humid, exotic Bangkok is a larger-than-life city. For some, the frenetic pace, heat, traffic and lack of personal space can be overpowering but, for many others, the sheer dynamism is intoxicating.

A blend of the traditional and the modern, Bangkok's every street has a surprise in store. Ramshackle buildings crouch next to exotic temples, in turn overlooked by modern hotels and offices.

The chaos on Bangkok's roads is mirrored by the busy traffic on the Chao Phraya River, which dissects the city and is regularly crisscrossed by long-tailed boats, river taxis and small rowing boats, all miraculously missing each other.

But traditional Thai life is never very far away. Weaving among the morning rush hour, saffron-robed monks collect alms, while moments from Bangkok city centre, communities live in stilt houses by the river, eking out a living using centuries-old skills.

 

Things to see in Bangkok

Tourist information: 

Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)
First Floor, 1600 New Phetburi Road
Makkasan, Rajatevee
Tel: (02) 250 5500.
www.tourismthailand.org
Mon-Fri 0830-1630.

The TAT Call Centre (tel: 1672) is open daily 0800-2000.

Ban Kham Thieng

Ban Kham Thieng is a 200-year-old classic northern-style teak house, brought from Chiang Mai and reconstructed in Bangkok. The house was owned by a worker and shows the simplicity of rural life in the north during the last century. It contains a collection of traditional implements used by farmers and rice field fishermen.

Opening Times: Tues-Sat 0900-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 131 Soi Asoke (Soi 21), Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 661 6470.
Jim Thompson Thai House

Jim Thompson was an American who came to Bangkok after WWII and the Jim Thompson Thai House was his home until he mysteriously disappeared in Malaysia in 1967. He completely revived the Thai silk industry and his house, traditionally Thai in style, is now a museum showing his collection of Asian artefacts. The house is a complex of six traditional Thai teak structures brought to Bangkok from various parts of Thailand and its construction was completed in 1955. The house can only be visited on a guided tour..

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 6 Soi Kasemsan 2 Song, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 216 7368.
National Museum

One of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the region, the National Museum houses a vast collection of artefacts from the Neolithic period through to more recent periods. The building, begun in 1782, is fascinating in its own right, having been built in traditional Thai style. The museum is so large that it needs more than one visit, however if time is short, it must be spent in the lovely teak pavilion, which houses personal royal belongings. Free guided tours in English are given by volunteers at 0930 on Wednesdays and Thursdays and are highly recommended.

Opening Times: Wed-Sun 0900-1600.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Na Phrathat Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 224 1333/1370.
Royal Barge National Museum

The royal barges are rarely used by the royal family these days because of their age. A few of them are now preserved in the Royal Barge National Museum on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. The eight long, narrow boats on display are intricately gilded and each need between 50 and 60 rowers to take their oars. The figure on the bow of each boat signifies whether it carries the King and Queen or other members of the royal family. The most important barge is the Suphannahong, exclusively used by the King.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Khlong Bangkok Noi, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 424 0004.
Royal Grand Palace

The Royal Grand Palace is a glittering walled complex that houses several palaces, all highly decorated with tiles and ceramics. Building began in 1782 when Bangkok was founded as the capital of Thailand. The complex houses Wat Phra Kaeo, the holiest of all Thai temples, where the sacred Emerald Buddha rests, not covered in emeralds but jade. There is a strict dress code and visitors wearing shorts, mini-skirts, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops will be refused entry, although it is possible to hire trousers and plastic shoes.

Opening Times: Daily 0830-1530.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Na Phra Lan Road , Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 623 5500.
Suan Pakkad Palace Museum

Suan Pakkad Palace used to be the residence of Princess Chumphot, one of Thailand's leading art collectors. Eight traditional wooden Thai houses, brought to Bangkok from around the country, are set in one of the loveliest gardens in the city. The museum houses an important collection of antiques.

Opening Times: Daily 0900-1600.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Sri Ayudhaya Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 245 4934.
Vimanmek Palace

Vimanmek Palace is the world's largest building made entirely of golden teak. It used to be a royal summer retreat and was dismantled and rebuilt in Bangkok in 1900. The 81-room mansion stands in carefully manicured lawns, located close to the current royal residence, and contains 31 exhibition rooms. Visitors are not free to wander but must take a guided tour, which take place every 30 minutes. Highlights include Thailand's first indoor bathroom and the oldest typewriter with Thai characters. The dress code is the same as for the Royal Grand Palace.

Opening Times: Daily 0930-1515.
Admission Fees: Yes (included with ticket to the Royal Grand Palace).
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Ratchawithi Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 628 6300.
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, the 17th-century Wat Arun has a 79m-high (259ft) tower decorated with multicoloured ceramic tiles, which makes it a landmark along the river. The effect of the tiles is best observed at a distance. The temple was the first home of the Emerald Buddha before it was transferred to Wat Phra Kaeo in 1785. There is a nightly light and sound show between October and May.

Opening Times: Daily 0730-1730.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Arun Amarin Road, Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 465 5640.
Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)

Occupying a 20-hectare (50-acre) site next to the Royal Grand Palace, Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok. It was built in 1688 during the reign of King Petraja of Ayutthaya and contains one of Thailand's most spectacular sights, a 46-metre (150-ft) long and 15-metre (72-ft) high statue of a reclining Buddha.

The statue itself, which is gold-plated and inlaid with mother-of-pearl on the soles of the feet, was not added until 1832 during the reign of King Rama III, and serves to illustrate the passing of Buddha into nirvana (the state of absolute blessedness).

Visitors can wander amongst the peaceful rock gardens, chapels and stupas. Today, the temple is also renowned for its teaching of herbal medicine and traditional massage. There is a strict dress code.

Opening Times: Daily 0830-1700.
Admission Fees: Yes.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Thai Wang Road , Bangkok, Thailand
Telephone: (02) 225 9595.