A was for Angkor Wat and today B is for that hectic, steamy, eclectic, exciting metropolis that is Bangkok.
More than 8 million people (over 12% of the total Thai population) live in Bangkok, a heady mix of modern metropolitan capital and traditional Thai city.
Dating back to at least the early 15th century, it can be hot and humid city but is a must visit to anyone heading to Thailand.
King Rama I decided that the former capital of Thonburi on the west side of the river was no longer suitable and so established a new capital, Bangkok.
Building work started on the Grand Palace in 1782 and once it was finished covered more than 218,000 square metres and was surrounded on all four sides by huge walls.
The Palace was not only the centre for the Royal Family, but also many parts of the Government. The Royal Family have not lived in the palace since 1925.
The Grand Palace is made up of three zones, Outer, Middle and Inner Courts.
On your visit you will probably spend most of your time in the Outer Court where the government departments which required the Kings involvement were housed.
One of the most popular attractions in the outer Court is The Temple of The Emerald Buddha also known as Wat Phra Kaew. Established by King Rama I in 1782 it is carved from a block of jasper, measures 66cm high and is in a northern Thai style probably from the 15th century. It has three different costumes depending on the season. It is regarded as the most important Buddha image in Thailand.
The King lived in the Central Court and only two of the throne halls are open to the public here.
The inner court is not open to the public and is where the King’s royal consorts and daughters lived.
Wat Arun – The Temple of Dawn
Towering spires, lit up at night and visible from the river make this one of the most recognisable sites in the city. Dating from the early 19th century and built in the ancient Khmer style Wat Arun is located on the opposite bank of the river to Wat Pho and can be easily reached via a shuttle boat from Pier 8.
Khao San Road
It’s chaotic, rowdy, full of backpackers and dodgy street sellers. It is also home to excellent shops and market stalls, restaurants and cafes, bars, nightlife and every kind of traveller you can think of. Don’t expect culture but it’s certainly fun even if it’s just for a short visit.
Colourful, bustling, exotic and well worth a visit.
Chinatown has an array of market stalls, many down tiny soi’s (side streets) and alleyways selling anything from clothing, hand made jewellery and food (including deep fried insects if that’s your thing).
Also has more gold shops than you know what to do with.
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