The best sights in Bangkok

Grand Palace, photo by katsommers on Flickr

There are several areas in which Bangkok excels, like lovely temples, nightlife and street food, but that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing else to hold your interest in the Thai capital. As flighty and entertainment-oriented as Bangkok might seem, the city has a powerful culture and rich history. There are hundreds of sights in Bangkok, some of the modern, some of them very old, and all of them very interesting. So get your fill of Thai culture and history by visiting some of the best sights in Bangkok, the colorful and vibrant capital of Thailand.

Bangkok National Museum

The Bangkok National Museum is the main branch of the National Museum of Thailand and it is one of the largest and most comprehensive museums in the country. Although it was opened in the 1870’s by one king in order to display artifacts from the rule of the previous king, today the museum covers all periods in Thai history, from Neolithic times. Guided tours are also available.

Chinatown

Chinatown, photo by twicepix on Flickr

Bangkok’s Chinatown, centered on Yaowarat Road, is one of the oldest districts in Bangkok, and currently one of the liveliest as well. The area is a maze of small streets and narrow alley lined with hundreds of shops selling everything you could ever imagine. In the past, the Chinatown had a bit of a shady reputation thanks to the clusters of opium dens, brothels and gambling houses, but today it is an interesting place with a unique atmosphere, and almost completely ignored by tourists.

Jim Thompson House

One of the best sights in Bangkok is the former residence of Jim Thompson, former American spy and silk industry tycoon, who helped put the Thai silk industry back on its feet in the fifties and sixties. He was also a passionate collector of various Thai and other Asian artifacts from all over the country, and much of hist impressive collection is displayed in six antique Thai houses which Thompson brought from Ayutthaya and Bangkuar.

Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew

Vimanmek Mansion, photo by mikecogh

The Grand Palace is without a doubt the most popular tourist attraction in Bangkok, and it is located in the enchanting Rattanakosin old district. The palace is practically joined to Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok’s most famous temple, also a much visited sight. The former royal palace is a unique mix of different architectural styles and it is filled to the brim with art.

Dusit Palace

If you bought a ticket to the Grand Palace, don’t throw it away, because you can use it to visit Dusit Palace, located in the ‘European’ style part of Bangkok. The palace was built by King Rama V as an alternative to the Grand Palace which tends to get very stuffy and hot in summer. Dusit Palace is a complex rather than a single structure, and its highlight is Vimanmek Mansion, one of the largest teakwood buildings in the world.

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