Must Visit Places in Bangkok: Then, in 1767, Ayutthaya was destroyed by the Burmese and King Thaksin moved the capital to Thonburi (now part of Bangkok), on the right bank of the Chao Phraya River. In a 1782-th year, King Rama I built a palace on the left bank of Bang Kok and proclaimed the capital of Siam, renaming it Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahintarayutthaya Mahadilok Phop Nopparat Ratchathani Buriram Udomratchanivet Mahasatan Amon aux Piments Avatan Sathit Sakkathattiyya Vitsanukam Prasit. Thanks to this, the city got into the Guinness Book of Records as the settlement with the longest name. Foreigners stubbornly continue to call it Bangkok, and the Thais have shortened the full name to the first words of Krung Thep, which means City of Angels.
Places to Visit in Bangkok
Earlier, hardworking Thai peasants lived in this place, growing rice in flooded fields. But then the king chose the place on the banks of the Chao Phraya River and the farmers had to make room.
The Grand Palace complex is not only a royal residence, there are government institutions and the Wat Phra Kaew temple, which houses the main shrine of Siam – the statue of the Emerald Buddha. Despite the fact that Wat Phra Kaew is translated as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, it is not made of emerald, but of jade.
Only a small part of the complex is open to tourists. It is for the best, to study in the sun all 218 thousand square meters. the palace complex is a dubious pleasure. There is a strict dress code at the entrance to the palace: you will not be allowed in a top with bare shoulders, in shorts or tight trousers. This is monitored not only by security but also by merchants across the street from the palace. Snatching an improperly dressed tourist from the crowd, they rent suitable clothes for 50 baht.
Do not throw away your ticket after visiting – during the week you can also visit the Vimanmek Palace, the world’s largest building made of golden teak. And also all the museums of the Dusit Palace complex.
Chakri Reception Halls – Phra Thinang Chakri Maha Prasat is a complex of buildings in the Grand Palace. The buildings were erected in 1869-1873 under King Rama V and combined the features of Siamese and European architectural traditions. Only three of the eleven halls have survived to this day: Moonstarn Baromasna, Somut Devaraj Ubbar, and the Chakri Maha Prasat throne room.
Chedi Phra Siratana is not just a stupa covered with golden mosaics shining in the sun, but also a reliquary – a repository of Buddhist sacred values.
The main means of transportation along the rivers and canals of Bangkok is the rya hang yao boat, which translates as “long-tail boat”. Canals appeared in Bangkok earlier than roads, because they built a new capital in the image and likeness of the old one – Ayutthaya, where Khlong canals were the main transport arteries. Having figured out the intricacies of canals (and there are about 150 of them in Bangkok), you can navigate by regular shuttle boats, avoiding city traffic jams.
And if you just want to ride along the canals, then you need to walk from the exit from the Grand Palace towards the river to the Tha Chang pier (which means “elephant” – they used to take royal elephants here to bathe). The nearest pier from Wat Po Monastery is Tha Tien. The long-tail boats were nicknamed due to the huge engines removed from trucks or pick-up trucks during auto-dismantling. Such an engine is not fixed, but made mobile, which allows the driver to change the position of the propeller shaft in relation to the hull, the boat – to pass even the smallest channels. In the bow of the boat lives the spirit of the magical grandmother Me Ya Nang. To protect it from breakdowns and troubles, every morning the bow of the boat is decorated with garlands of fresh flowers. Although recently practical Thais are cunning – they decorate the bow of the boat with plastic flowers. Like, the grandmother is old, she doesn’t care …
All white marble for the construction of this temple was brought from Italy: marble is not mined in Thailand. Temple Wat Benchamabophit, or, as the people of Bangkok call it, “Temple of the Fifth King”, was built by order of Rama V, who spent several months in his youth in a monastery nearby. The temple was designed by the king’s brother, an architect by training.
by the way In Thailand, every Buddhist youth traditionally has to become a monk – “bikhu” for several months.
In the picturesque territory of the huge park, miniature copies of the most famous buildings and monuments of all Thailand are installed (the originals of some of these buildings have been destroyed). Traditional villages of all Thai peoples and tribes are built separately. The park is so big that a bike rental is included in the ticket price.
Despite the fact that Wat Phra Kaew is translated as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the statuette itself is not made of emerald, but of jadeite. It was created in India in 43 BC. After centuries of wandering, the relic ended up in Laos. In 1779, the Siamese attacked the Lao capital of Vientiane, captured it, and took out the Emerald Buddha, who is now considered their national shrine.
Khaosan Street, popular with tourists, is located in the city center, next to the Grand Royal Palace. On it, there is a cafe called “The Place Where the Whole World Met” – which surprisingly accurately expressed the essence of this quarter. There is accommodation for every pocket: from respectable hotels to a bed in a common room for $ 3. The price of the room does not affect the attitude of the staff and the number of smiles generously given to tourists.
The first impression of the country is that the sweetest, friendliest and happiest people live here. Thais try to find a reason for joy in every little detail. This is called sanuk, spiritual harmony. When a Thai motorcyclist hits a pedestrian, he will smile, as will a waitress in a restaurant pouring beer onto a customer’s pants. A smile is perceived as the best response to any situation. Thais smile if they experience joy, fear, awkwardness, or regret. The most popular Thai expression is May Pen Rai. In the sense of “nonsense, never mind, everything is OK!” There are 13 types of smiles, “yim” in Thai:
1) Yim tak tai – a polite smile, to strangers or people you barely know
2) Feun yim – a forced smile when you really don’t want to smile
3) Yim cheuat cheuan – a smile of superiority
4) Yim tang nam dtah – a smile of a happy person
5) Yim tak tan – the smile of a person who is confident in his righteousness
6) Yim sao – a smile-mask that hides sadness
7) Yim mee lay-nai – a smile when a Thai wants to get a sword and blow off the interlocutor’s head
8) Yim cheun chom – surprised smile
9) Yim yor – a mocking smile
10) Yim mai ork – a smile through tears when a Thai is completely unhappy, but tries to “save face”
11) Yim yair-yair – an apology smile in an awkward situation
12) Yim hairng – a dry smile official
13) Yim soo – the smile of an optimist
Here, shops, travel agencies, restaurants, clubs alternate, snuggling close to each other. T-shirts with Bob Marley and Che Guevara are hung on the trays. Nearby there are stands with a proposal to make fake student IDs, journalist and photographer accreditations, driver’s licenses, as well as TEFL certificates, giving the right to officially teach English as a foreign language.
The completion of this hotel coincided with the 1997 Asian crisis. Whether there is a connection here is not entirely clear, but the resources for the construction of the tallest tower in Thailand, 309 meters high, took a lot.
From the rotating observation deck on the 84th floor, you can see the entire capital and its surroundings. Below are restaurants with good food and views. But the hotel guests were less fortunate – the elevators are constantly busy.
The piles that support the Baiyoke Sky Hotel building are buried 65 meters into the ground (this is the height of a 22-story building). Parking is from the 5th to 15th floors. The lobby is located on the 18th floor with separate lifts. The building has one of the highest golf courses in the world, and in the high-speed elevator, ears are laid like on an airplane. The hotel annually hosts a speed race championship up the stairs to the 84th floor. The record belongs to Buunchu Chandecha, who finished in 11 minutes 56 seconds.
“You will see ping-pong on Patpong soybean” – this is how tuk-tuk drivers advertise an entertainment district in broken English. Here, in two lanes (soy) Patpong, Thai girls hit an empty glass with a tennis ball from a meter away. The shooting is carried out without the help of any tools, but only thanks to the female anatomical structure. The activists of the Society for the Protection of Animals would probably turn gray if they learned that these artists on Patpong get up with birds and fish.
Girls from the poorest region of the country, Isana, demonstrate the “phenomenal” abilities of the reproductive organ on Patpong. Born into peasant families, in order not to repeat the fate of their mothers hunched over and aged in the rice fields, attracted by recruiters from the sex industry, go to work in Pattaya, Bangkok, or Phuket. After a few years, if they did not manage to save up for their own business or marry a foreigner, they “go out into circulation” and from the more prestigious “go-go” bars go to such low-standard shows.
Standing on the western bank of the Chaopraya directly opposite the Royal Palace, a slender Khmer-style temple was named in honor of the god of the morning dawn, Aruna. The full name of the temple is Wat Arunratchawararam Ratchaworamahavihara.
The central building of the temple, visible from afar, is an 80-meter stupa, the highest in all of Thailand. It is faced with ceramic mosaics and plays with bright highlights in the sun. On the upper tier of the stupa, there is an observation deck, which offers an excellent view of the complex of buildings at Wat Po and the Royal Palace on the other side of the river.
by the way, The Wat Aruna stupa is depicted on the 10 baht coin. From there, that is, from the eastern coast of Chaopraya, it is best to watch the sun setting right behind the pagodas of Wat Arun. This story has been replicated on millions of Thai souvenir postcards.
Wat Saket or “Golden Mountain” is one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. It is built on top of a 100-meter specially made hill. The main temple building is a large “chedi” stupa, whose rounded sides are covered with leaves of gold leaf. Sacred relics are immured inside this stupa, and the territory of the temple itself has been used for the ritual cremation of dead Buddhists for several centuries.
Until the recent “era of skyscrapers”, Wat Saket was the tallest building in Bangkok.
Unlike usual zoos, in a safari park, it is not people who look at animals trapped in cramped cages, but quite the opposite. All animals, including predators, live here in spacious corrals, through which special buses carry visitors. The inhabitants of the zoo are not at all shy about such an invasion and are happy to pose for photographers.
The safari park’s pet-feeding ban, which has set its teeth on edge, also doesn’t work. You can feed the animals! A special treat for different animals is sold next to each enclosure. Parrots will not give up a handful of seeds, giraffes – from green beans, and a real fish fight will break out in an inconspicuous pond, it is worth throwing a handful of carp food there.
A unique collection of objects of art, everyday life, and interior, collected from all provinces of Thailand. Some of the exhibits are under the protection of the UNESCO World Heritage Fund. The National Museum is housed in an 18th-century building, which in itself deserves special attention.
This summer residence was built for himself and his family by King Rama V in 1905. Although such “Thai” material as teak was used for its construction, a strong European influence can be seen in the architecture of the palace. The thing is that on the eve of the start of construction, Rama V had just returned from a long trip to Europe.
Thai kings no longer live in the Vimanmek Palace, and now there is a museum here. Some rooms recreate royal interiors, while others contain art and family heirlooms.
The Vimanmek Courtyard is located in the cozy Dusit Park, which houses the Bangkok Zoo and the Royal Carriage Museum.
Before landing at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, it is worth remembering that its name should be read as Suvanapum, without the “i” at the end, so as not to listen to the ridicule of local snobs. While the plane is taxiing along the runway, pay attention to the tower from which the flights are controlled. She is the tallest among her “colleagues”.
BY THE WAY, Suvarnabhumi International Airport was built in a place that has long been called the “Swamp of the Serpent”. However, before the opening in 2006, King Rama IX renamed Nong Nguhai (Swamp of Serpents) to Suvarnapum (Golden Land).
Sampeng Lane, marked on modern maps as Soi Wanit 1, is the real heart of old Chinatown, its first and main trade artery. Trading on this street has not stopped for 250 years – both day and night here you can get a bag of Hello Kitty pens or a dozen other cheap stuffed toys.
The first settlers from the Middle Kingdom appeared in Bangkok at the beginning of the 18th century, immediately after its foundation. After a while, they were evicted outside the fortress walls, and they settled in a place now known as Chinatown (learn about the walking route in this area). The Chinese, of course, were engaged in trade, and very successfully. To this day, many trade and manufacturing empires with exactly Chinese roots flourish in Thailand.
This quarter has its own Little India, temples that spread the smell of incense throughout the district, shops where they sell all sorts of things, including various magical attributes, dried legs, beaks, and tails.
One of the most important temples in Bangkok, Wat Mahathat remains practically unknown to foreigners, while Wat Po and Wat Arun are simply bursting with the pressure of tourists. Founded back in 1700, Wat Mahathat is the main training center for Buddhist monks not only in Thailand but throughout Southeast Asia. The governments of Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam send their monks here to study theology, traditional medicine, and the arts.
Like other Buddhist temples, Wat Mahathat is always open not only for believers but also for all curious people. Local residents come here to pray, and for foreign guests, there are instructions and explanations in English everywhere.
The model of the Angkor Wat temple complex, located on the territory of neighboring Cambodia, was created by order of King Mongkut (Rama IV).
The modern residence of the Thai kings was built at the beginning of the 20th century. Despite the absolutely European look from the outside, the interiors of the palace are designed in traditional Thai style.
This Buddhist temple was built in the classical Chinese style, with sloping tiled roofs in several tiers and carved stone dragons. By the way, the name of the temple is translated as “Temple of the Lotus and the Dragon”.
Wat Mangkon Kamalawat is not a stand-alone temple, but a whole complex of ritual structures. It includes several sanctuaries dedicated to various deities, and the main square, where you can always chat with a fortuneteller or let a sparrow out of the cage for a little money – for good luck.
The “area of compact residence” of immigrants from India can be found in almost any Asian metropolis. Bangkok’s Little India paradoxically found itself in the thick of the vast Chinatown.
by the way, Historically, Indians began to settle in Bangkok along Pahurat Street, named after King Rama V’s son, Somdet Chaofa Pahurat.
The streets of Little India, like the surrounding Chinatown, are more like a round-the-clock bazaar than a roadway or “walk-through”. As you approach Hindu and Sikh temples, Chinese tea shops and fortune tellers’ offices are replaced by sari stalls and ruined gems from Kashmir. Between all this, vendors of roti flatbreads, masala tea, and refreshing lassi scurry about.
On Chakraphet Street stands the main Sikh temple of Bangkok, Sri Guru Singh Sabha. Every morning at 9 o’clock, you can watch the procedure for distributing a ritual treat – prasadam, and during the Sikh holidays, go inside and take part in a collective meal. The roof of the temple offers an excellent view of the bustle of the surrounding shopping streets.
The name of this seemingly unremarkable wasteland in the middle of the quarter translates as “Royal Field”. But in fact, this is the “Red Square” of Bangkok. All the most important religious and state ceremonies since the founding of Bangkok have been held here.
In May, before the start of the new growing season, the king or princess himself holds a colorful ceremony of “Royal Plowing” on the Royal Field, and the fortune-tellers determine whether this year will be fruitful. Sanam Luang also hosts a cremation ceremony for members of the royal family, which is usually attended by almost all of Bangkok.
The rest of the time, King’s Field serves the common townspeople as a place for Sunday picnics, kite flying, and morning jogging.
Across the road from the Grand Palace, there is a small chapel called Lak Muang. Tourists rarely come here, mostly everyone strives for the palace standing across the road. Meanwhile, this is the spiritual and geographical center of the city. From here the capital began, and everyday dance ceremonies take place here, pleasing the five guardian spirits of Bangkok.
When building a house, and even more so a city, Thais try to enlist the support of guardian spirits. The ruler of Samdet Phra Phuttha Yotfa Chulalok, later Rama I, moved the capital from Thonburi to Krung Thep (Bangkok) according to all the rules: on the tenth day of the waxing moon of the sixth lunar month of the Tiger year (April 21, 1782), a 3-meter City Pillar was dug in, marking the center of the new capital.
The main exhibit of the museum is the king’s personal boat. It is carved from a solid teak trunk and covered with intricate carvings and inlays. The crew of the royal boat is 54 rowers and a drummer.
In addition to the royal one, about 50 wooden rowboats are moored at the pier of one of the Bangkok canals. All of them are used during the ceremonial ritual river “parades”, which are held on public holidays.
Thai Wang Street separates the Grand Palace from Wat Po, often referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Any Thai guide knows this is the wrong name. Buddha does not just lie on his right side – his eyes are open, this is the moment of his farewell to earthly existence, going into parinirvana.
One of the largest in Thailand and in the world, the statue of Buddha is 46 meters long and 15 meters high, covered with gold leaf. 108 signs of Buddha are laid out on huge feet with mother-of-pearl, and along the wall, to the left of the entrance there is the same number of monastic begging bowls – the metal ringing from falling money does not stop in the temple. Small Satang coins can be exchanged here in the temple and, having made a wish, put a coin into each bowl.
Wat Po is at least 200 years older than Bangkok itself. It is a functioning monastery and is divided into two parts – sacred and residential, where about 220 monks live.
Their number increases when people from other regions of the country come to the temple for exams in Buddhist sciences. It was here that the first university in the capital was opened. Here, across the road, numerous children of Thai monarchs ran to school. Rama IV, for example, had approximately 600 wives and concubines and 82 children. In 1999, the film “Anna and the King” was released, which tells about this period in the life of the monarch.
by the way, At Wat Po (outside the temple area) is the country’s main massage training center. Anyone who speaks Thai or English can learn the secrets of traditional Thai massage for 60 hours and 8500 baht.
The dress code is not too strict, if necessary, the employee will offer to put a scarf over the shoulders.
Later 6 pm for a small bribe, you can negotiate with the security and enter from the exit. In the absence of tourist groups and in the light of the moon and floodlights, the complex is a fantastic sight.
In the temple of Wat Traimit, there is a stunning three-meter statue of Buddha. It is poured from 60% gold: the weight of the “divine ingot” is five and a half tons. Previously, it stood on the second floor of the temple, recently the building was completed, and the Golden Buddha “ascended” to the fourth floor.
Places for Entertainment Bangkok
The Bangkok Oceanarium is located on the ground floor of the giant Siam Paragon mall. Its dimensions are impressive: in area, it is equal to about three 100-meter swimming pools. Inside – hundreds of species of exotic fish, sharks, rays, jellyfish, and a separate pavilion with penguins.
On 28 hectares of this amusement park, there are many attractions, go-karting, a blooming garden with miniature copies of world sights, and a whole magical world of “Fantasy Land” with the Sleeping Beauty castle, gnome houses, and Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. There are many cafes and souvenir shops in the park.
The park is located in the suburbs of Bangkok, not far from the airport. The easiest way to get there is by taxi.
Several floors of expensive boutiques and simpler shops with Ferrari and Lamborghini salons under the roof. The Siam-Paragon shopping complex is not only a store, but also a large entertainment center. It houses one of the most famous oceanariums in Asia, as well as a huge IMAX cinema with 14 rooms.
All tourists in Siam Paragon can get a Discount Tourist Card. It entitles you to a 5% discount in all boutiques of the complex. To get a card, just go to one of the information desks with a passport.
People come here not for a grand meal, but for cocktails that can be sipped overlooking Bangkok at night. The Sky Bar is located on the 63rd floor of the State Tower, one of the tallest skyscrapers in Southeast Asia. The illuminated circular bar is located directly in the open air. After ordering an aperitif and snacks, do not sit still, but go for a walk with the camera along the wind-blown area, from which the entire metropolis is perfectly visible.
The bar has a dress code (closed shoes, plain jeans, shirt: smart casual)
Banyan Tree’s rooftop bar is one of Bangkok’s most impressive viewpoints. The grandiose panorama of the city is available not only to hotel guests but to everyone – the main thing is to observe the dress code (for women – dresses, for men – pants and long-sleeved shirts). There are excellent wines and steaks, a romantic atmosphere of dinners, but most importantly – Bangkok stretched out in front of you at a glance! Many buildings in the city are illuminated at night, so it is worth arriving at the bar early in the evening to take a table by the window with the best view.
The presenter stops the show several times during the performance and asks the audience: “Who are we?” The answer to his question is not as simple as it seems. In English they are called “ladyboy”, for Thais they are “katoi”, for us “trances” – in general, people of the “third sex”. Lovers of exotic, if desired, will find in Bangkok a couple of cabarets with transvestite actors, but Calypso is the most popular among tourists. There are almost never empty seats in the hall, bright costumes and grandiose decorations compensate for the lack of choreographic abilities among the actors who have lost their way in self-identification. After the show, those who wish can take a picture with the “girls” for a small tip.
by the way, Even after a complete change of sex in Thailand, documents are not changed; legally, the new “maiden” remains a man until the end of her life and cannot officially marry. Often are even forbidden to use women’s toilets.
A small side street next to the MRT stop of Asok, according to legend, got its name in honor of the Vietnam War veteran, who constantly wore a cowboy hat, who opened the first bar here forty years ago. Now there are about fifty go-go bars on soybeans. Unlike Patpong, there are few tourists here and there are almost no “barkers”. As soon as it gets dark in Bangkok, sexpats pull up on soybeans Cowboy, take a drink in the bar and look out for the girl of their dreams. Having found, they agree with the damsel about the price, pay 500 baht to the institution for taking the girl out of circulation and going to the nearest hotel to make sure that she is the one that he has dreamed of all his life. And so every evening, while there is money.
A certain Indian named Nana “caught” his golden antelope when he opened a bar with girls on the fourth soybean of Sukhumvit. And for several decades now, the three-story building of Nana Entertainment Plaza has attracted farangs (foreigners, editor’s note) like moths. They flock to sell love, which can be obtained without even leaving the bar (for which rooms for 15 dollar short-time sessions have been built in the room). However, veteran expatriates argue that the peak of Nana Plaza’s popularity has already passed, that the nearby Arab quarter, expanding in-depth and breadth, has changed the former atmosphere of riotous fun.
by the way, In Privat Dancer, the English writer Stephen Leder is very knowledgeable about the tragic love of a girl from a bar in Nana Plaza and a farang writer.
The park is divided into two zones. In the first, there are ice slides, rafting, and sledding, as well as world sights made of ice: Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower, the Grand Palace of Thailand. The second area includes an ice bar and food court.
The air temperature in the park is maintained at minus 15 degrees, so visitors are advised to rent gloves and a down jacket at the entrance.
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