For those embarking on the adventure of a Thailand tour, Bangkok is the perfect starting point, a vibrant city of culture and fun, tradition and innovation. Everyone’s seen images of its star attractions – including the Grand Palace and the Reclining Buddha, but these famous highlights do not exist in isolation, and those wanting to discover something beyond the temples do not need to go far. Here are some excellent Bangkok attractions that can be found in close proximity to some of the most-visited sights.
The National Museum
While the Grand Palace is certainly not to be left off the Thailand tour itinerary – its golden buildings and famous emerald Buddha offer a glimpse into the regal splendour of the city’s early days – there is plenty more to discover in nearby. To delve a little deeper into the history of Bangkok and the surrounding region, there is no better place than the National Museum, housed in a former palace belonging to the now-defunct role of ‘Deputy King’. With several halls showcasing treasures from key historic eras, this is a rewarding museum for those who are willing to spend some time exploring and investigating. The front gallery offers an overview, after which the visitor can travel through history – from the beginnings of Buddhism in Southeast Asia up to the modern day. The heart of the museum is the original palace, which houses examples of transportation, weaponry, textiles, instruments and more – including a very impressive replica of a war elephant. English-language tours are given by the museum’s knowledgeable volunteers.
Pak Klong Talat
Another popular temple for those on a Thailand tour is Wat Po, again for good reason – home of the gorgeous Reclining Buddha, it is wonderfully atmospheric and quieter than the Grand Palace. But those who visit can take advantage of another highlight of the area by visiting Pak Klong Talat, the 24-hour fruit and flower market. Stalls stretch along both sides of the main road, spilling onto the pavement where vendors and traffic mingle alongside enormous piles of marigolds and roses. It has a lively buzz of its own at any hour, and the pavement restaurants are the perfect place to sit and watch the bustle while enjoying a real, spicy Thai meal.
Anyone wanting to take a breather on their Thailand tour without leaving the comfort of the city centre can easily do so with a visit to Lumpini park. Known as Bangkok’s ‘green lung’, it is close to the bustling business district and on the skytrain line, but provides the perfect place to escape the hectic pace of the modern city. It’s also a great place to watch life go by, get some exercise, or even just feed the fish.