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Bangkok Travel Guide - Sights to See
Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaeo: This landmark should be a tourist's first stop. It is a huge compound on Na Phra Lan Road near Pramane Ground... surrounded by high white walls... occupying an area of about a square mile. The palace, built in 1782, consists of several buildings with highly decorated architectural details. These details and all the gold will simply "blow your mind". The Royal Chapel, Wat Phra Kaeo, which is in the same compound, houses the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddha image in Thailand. The Palace complex is open daily 8:30-11:30, 13:00 - 15:30... closed on official holidays. Proper dress is required. A totally incredible experience! Unbelievable!

The National Museum: Across the Pramane Ground, within walking distance of the Grand Palace. This is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in Southeast Asia. There are over 1000 artifacts ranging from neolithic to the modern Bangkok period. The complex, built in 1782, marked the foundation of Bangkok by King Rama 1, the first king of the present Chakri dynasty. The museum is open daily, except Monday 9-12, 1-4. Free on Sunday.

National Arts Gallery: Opposite the National Theatre on Chao Fa Road. You'll find exhibits here of traditional and contemporary Thai artists. Tue/Wed/Thu/ Sat/Sun 9-12, 1-4.

Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha): Located next to the Grand Palace on the south side. One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok. Wat Pho was built by King Rama I nearly 200 years ago and houses the gigantic gold-plated Reclining Buddha. This unique image is 46 meters in length and 15 meters high with beautifully inlaid mother-of-pearl at the feet. Daily 8-5. You won't believe the size of this Buddha.

Wat Traimit (Temple of the Golden Buddha): Not far from the Bangkok Railway station at the end of Yaowarat Road, but on Thaimit Road. This temple is known for its famous Golden Buddha, believed to have been constructed during the Sukhothai period. The image, of solid gold, is three meters high and weighs 5 and 1/2 tons. Daily 9 - 5.

Jim Thompson's Thai House: This remarkable house, built in the old Thai style, was the work of Jim Thompson, an American who came to Thailand at the end of the 2nd WW and started the Thai silk industry. His later disappearance in the Malaysian jungles remains a mystery to this day. Displayed here is Thompson's collection of Asian artifacts. The museum is at the end of Soi Kasemsan 2 across from the National Stadium. M-F 9 - 5.

Suan Pakkard Palace: On Si Ayutthaya Road not far from the intersection of Phaya Thai Road. This is the residence of Princess Chumpot of Hagara Svarga, one of Thailand's leading art collectors. It is a complex of 5 traditional Thai houses overlooking a beautiful garden. Daily except Sun 9-4.

The National Theatre: Located on Na Phra Lan Road next to the National Museum. Thai classical dramas and other types of arts are staged here. Check!

Wat Benchamabophlt (The Marble Temple): Located on Si Ayutthaya Road between Chitralada Palace and the National Assembly. This temple is well known because of its main building constructed of marble during the reign of Rama V. This temple represents Thai architectural style of the present period. The marble was brought from Carrera in Italy and the temple was designed by the most brilliant architect of the day. The best time to visit is early in the morning when the Buddhist monks are chanting in the chapel. The inside of the main building is decorated (magnificently) with cross beams of lacquer and gold. A large collection of Bronze Buddhas line the walls of the beautiful inner courtyard. The main building is open until 5 PM.

Wat Arun (Temple Of The Dawn): Located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Reach it by Arun Amarin Road or by crossing by boat from Tha Tian Pier near Wat Pho. The most attractive structure in this temple is the tall pagoda. Wat Arun was restored during the Thonburi period and was the Royal Chapel of King Taksin. The temple is actually more beautiful from the Bangkok side at sunset.

The Shed of the Royal Barges: Located on Khlong Bangkok Noi off the Chao Phraya River not far from Phra Pin Klao Bridge. Several Royal barges are on display, the most beautiful and well known being "Suphanahong" used by the King when he made his Royal river procession for the Kathin ceremony, a Buddhist service offering robes to monks. Daily 8:30-4:30.

Wat Suthat (The Giant Swing): Located on Bamrung Muang Road, this temple took 27 years to build. It is famous for the excellent murals in the main building, dating from the reign of Rama III. Also an excellent collection of guilded Buddha's. In front of the temple is the famous Giant Swing. Daily 9-5.

The Ancient City: Located 33 Km from Bangkoklon the Sukhumwit highway in Samut Prakan province. This is the world's largest outdoor museum, consisting of smaller sized replicas of the most famous Thai monuments and temples. Daily 8:30-6. Book a tour.

The Floating Markets: There are two but one is easier to get to... the Wat Sai Floating Market. Daily 8:30-11... small boats loaded with all kinds of tropical fruits and vegetables assemble for business. You can go here by boat from the pier at the Oriental Hotel at 7:30 AM. Do not miss the floating markets!

The Rose Garden Resort: 32 Kms south of Bangkok on the banks of the Thachin River. The resort boasts large beautiful and well-maintained gardens, which are ideal for a picnic. There's also a cultural village here featuring Thai folk dancing, boxing, cock fighting and sword fighting. Highly recommended: Take a tour, which includes stopping at the Floating Markets and then lunch at Rose Gardens and then the Thai show. The show is excellent!

Phra Pathom Chedi: Located in Nakhon Pathom, 56 KMs from Bangkok. This pagoda is the largest, highest and oldest in Thailand, towering 380 feet in the air. This famous Pagoda can also be included in the tour to the Floating Markets and the Rose Garden. A MUST!

Bang Pa-In Summer Palace: Located 47 kms from Ayutthaya, This beautiful and famous palace was built in the reign of Rama V and consists of many Royal buildings in contrasting styles. The most famous is a Thai pavilion standing gracefully in the center of a small lake. It is regarded by many as the finest example of Thai architecture. The only building open to visitors is the Chinese-style Wehat Chamrun Palace. Mon/Fri 8:30-12,1-3.

Narayanaphand: This is a handicraft center, under government supervision. Located on Lan Luang Road near R.S. Hotel. Daily except Sun 9 - 6

Ayutthaya: Located 88 kms (about 50 miles) north of Bangkok, this was the capital of Thailand from 1350 until it was sacked by the Burmese in 1767. There are some great ruins of the old city. There are several ways to get here... by train from Bangkok, or by bus from the Northern Bus Terminal, or take a river excursion from the pier of the Oriental Hotel.

Anna and the King??? ... Don't even think about it! The films still are not allowed to be shown in Bangkok because they "hint" at something more than an employer-employee relationship between Anna and the King. However, you will be able to find the school at the Grand Palace complex, but there will be no mention of Anna.

Reminder: Don't try to use a street map and walk in out of the way places in Bangkok. You will get lost.
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