Tag Archives: Grand Palace

Thailand highlights – Bangkok

Thailand is a majestic country. The culture, the friendly people, the postcard perfect beauty, the food, and the weather all combine to make it an ideal vacation destination.  Oh, and it’s affordable and safe too.

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We spent 16 days there and visited three places: Bangkok, Pattaya, and Koh Samui.

Bangkok

I’ve heard Bangkok referred to as the city of temples, tuk-tuks, and temptation. It’s a pretty accurate description!

We got there late at night. I had been sick on the airplane ride(s) so was more than ready for a comfortable bed and solid sleep.

We checked into the beautiful Amari Watergate hotel in the heart of the Pratunam neighbourhood, which is famous for its numerous shopping bazaars. (I would highly recommend this hotel, and all in the Amari chain.)

I promptly fell asleep! Thankfully we woke up refreshed and ready to explore the city.

View from our hotel room

View from our hotel room

I had forgotten the overwhelming sensations of Thailand from the noisy and endless streams of traffic to the potent smells simmering on the street carts to the colourful sites and the stickiness of the heat and humidity. It is overwhelming at the beginning! After just one day, you start to get used to it.

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Here are a few tourist hot-spots we visited in our three days in the city.

Khaosan Road

We visited Khaosan Road, which is a backpackers haven. It’s full of hostels and cheap hotels, restaurants and bars, and markets with cheap clothing. At night it really comes to life.

Grand Palace

We walked from Khaosan Road to the Grand Palace and the Amulet Markets.

It was insanely hot (+39 but +49 with the humidity) and we threw on our pants to meet the clothing restrictions.

The Grand Palace is a spectacular landmark built in the late 1700s. For 150 years, members of the royal family lived in the intricately and ornately detailed complex.

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We took our time walking around, snapping photos, and taking it all in. I also had the chance to talk to young Thai students who were stopping tourists to help with their English. They were precious!

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Wat Pho

After the Grand Palace we headed to Wat Pho, better known as the Reclining Buddha.

Reclining

It is the largest temple in Bangkok and has a huge reclining Buddha covered in gold leaf. It was simply breathtaking. Despite the crowds, it is a very peaceful place.

Siam Square

After a tuk-tuk ride back to the hotel, we showered and headed to Siam Square. The malls are plentiful and full of expensive designer stores. It has high end restaurants and bars, along with food courts and other cheap eats.

Patpong Road

Patpong is known as a red-light district, but they also have a fun night market. We ended our first day there, scoping out the wares and not the various strip bars offering sex shows. We left fairly early while it was still tame!

Wat Arun

Our second full day was equally as busy with a ferry ride and visit to Wat Arun.

Wat Arun

It is an ancient temple ornately made with mosaics of Chinese porcelain. I was amazed at how people built it so long ago!

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Shopping

Everywhere you walk there is shopping, whether in malls, warehouse markets, or street markets. The markets sell everything you can think of including designer knock-off handbags, clothing of all sorts, Thai silk, watches, shoes, beautiful artwork, weapons, and even sex toys.

We hit the Pratunam Markets and an enormous wholesale mall near our hotel.

At the end of our Thailand trip, we had one more day in Bangkok. We walked for hours and literally could have shopped the entire day, as there were stalls and markets set up everywhere.

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Another ‘shopping’ feature is all the roadside food stands. There is an abundance of them, ranging from fresh fruit and fruit juices to smelly meats and seafood!

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Although tempted to eat some of the fruit, the only thing I eat from the carts is the delicious, made-to-order crepes. Heavenly!

Other sites

On our last trip to Thailand, we visited the famous Floating Markets just outside of Bangkok, saw a cobra show, and visited handicraft markets. I would highly recommend floating markets!

Bangkok is a pretty incredible city. I’m sure you could stay for days and still not see everything. However, it’s also tiring. After a couple days, I was eager to leave the big city.

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Up next…Pattaya and Koh Samui!

What do you love most about a big city? What’s your favourite big city