Things to do in Bangkok’s Old City

  • Posted onApril 11th, 2014

Bangkok Old CityWhile many fun-hungry tourists are attracted to the modern skyline of Sathorn, the mega malls of Siam, and the amazing food and nightlife of Sukhumvit and Silom, over in Bangkok’s Old City you’ll find contrasting scenes of ancient temples, grand museums, art galleries, and in general a much slower pace of life.

With a unique personality and character, and so many amazing buildings, parks, museums, and sites to explore, the problem can be knowing just where in the Old City to head first. So, to help you make the most of your time here’s our guide to the best attractions in the Bangkok’s Old City:

Bangkok National MuseumBangkok National Museum

Perhaps the most important museum in Thailand, the Bangkok National Museum is home to the country’s largest collection of national art and artifacts. Set on the grounds of the stunning Wang Na Palace, the museum was opened by King Rama V, initially as a place to exhibit the many treasures and historically important works of art which he had inherited from his father.

The museum has been re-organised and seen much better care in recently years, and is quickly becoming one of Bangkok’s best attractions, with lots of plaques and information now in English. It’s also very close to Wat Po and the Grand Palace, great for planning a culture packed day.

Bangkok Wat PoWat Po

Wat Po, often referred to as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha or Wat Phra Chetuphon, is one of Thailand’s most important temples, and even if you are not a temple junkie it’s worth making the effort to see this one as it’s also known for having one of the best massage schools in Asia!

The temple complex is quite large and consists of several stunning buildings, with the largest housing a 46-metre long reclining Buddha, covered in gold leaf (its huge and a real impressive sight to behold). Entry is cheap and it’s also worth paying one of the official guides to give you a tour (they have guides available in several languages). It’s also a 10 minute walk from the Grand Palace, with many combing both sites in one day trip.

Bangkok Khao San RoadKhao San Road

In contrast to the serene scenes you’ll find at Wat Po, Khao San Road is backpacker HQ and a kind of young tourist ghetto. It’s a bit manic and has a real ‘anything goes’ vibe about it -but that’s all part of its charm!

For those who haven’t seen the movie ‘The Beach’ (or read the novel), Khao San Road (and the surrounding area) is a lively street  filled with cheap and funky guest houses, laidback coffee shops, book shops, bars, restaurants, and loads of market stalls and food hawkers. It’s less ‘rough around the edges’ these days, with more modern bars and clubs, but it’s still got a unique vibe you just won’t find anywhere else in the world. At night the area really comes alive, transforming into spontaneous festival of drinking, eating and dancing.

Bangkok Flower MArketThe Bangkok Flower Market

The Bangkok Flower Market, also known as Talad Pak Klong, is the biggest wholesale (and retail) flower market in the city, and a rather colorful alternative to most other chaotic markets you’ll find in the capital.

Here you’ll discover all kinds of flowers, plants, and flora-related accessories, from starter flower arranging sets to more experienced pieces of kit, and of course lots and lots of flowers, from classic roses to lilies, orchids, and some rarer flowers and plant life.

It’s all pretty cheap too, especially if you are willing to buy wholesale (50+ flowers at a time). The market can be located on Chak Phet Road, close to the Memorial Bridge (Saphan Phut).

Bangkok Grand PalaceThe Grand Palace

One of the biggest attractions in Thailand and perhaps the most iconic, The Grand Palace is a stunning building set on large, fascinating compound. Built in 1782, for a decade and a half this was home to the Thai royal family, the royal court, and much of the countries administrative headquarters.  Today however, it is open to the public.

As well as being home to the Grand Palace, this same compound is where you’ll find Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This itself is worth the visit and is one of Thailand’s most important temples, with the highlight being Phra Kaew Morakot (the Emerald Buddha), a sacred Buddha image carved from a single block of jade.

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